The Arkansas Academy for Educational Equity expands the University of Arkansas' efforts to address teacher shortages across the state.

 

The first group of 13 teachers in the Arkansas Academy for Educational Equity at the University of Arkansas has completed a rigorous summer training program and will beging teaching this month in high-need school districts across the state.

The new academy was created to help address severe teacher shortages in Arkansas by recruiting talented and motivated licensed teachers from out-of-state to relocate to Arkansas while also supporting early career teachers who are already teaching in struggling school districts. The Arkansas Academy for Educational Equity also seeks to transform the way that teachers are prepared, supported, and mentored throughout their early career.

“Our teacher preparation programs do an excellent job of preparing educators for elementary and secondary schools,” said Tom Smith, who co-founded the program when he served as dean of the U of A’s College of Education and Health Professions. “Unfortunately, most of these teachers do not choose to take teaching positions in high-need districts in Arkansas that have a difficult time attracting teachers. The Arkansas Academy for Educational Equity will provide an avenue for teachers to assume teaching roles in these districts by providing extensive mentoring and support. The academy is an example of how the University of Arkansas is meeting its responsibility as the state’s land grant institution.”

This year’s group includes mathematics and English language arts teachers. In the future, the academy plans to recruit teachers who specialize in elementary education, science, special education, and English language learners.

The teachers began their time in the program with a rigorous four-week summer training institute at the U of A in Fayetteville designed to prepare them to lead classrooms in high poverty schools.

Teachers in the program will receive continued support through ongoing, real-time coaching in their classrooms, group professional development sessions and a second summer session next year. In exchange for their commitment to teach in one of the placement districts, teachers receive a $2,500 stipend, along with their full-time salary and benefits from the partnering school district. 

The following teachers are ready to make an impact in Arkansas middle and high schools:

Pate Bauldree, math, El Dorado School District

Stephanie Beckler, English language arts, El Dorado School District

Elizabeth Britting, English language arts, Crossett School District 

Rashad Carswell, math, KIPP Delta Public Schools, Blytheville    

Dawn Coates, English language arts, Exalt Academy of Southwest Little Rock 

Jason Curlin, math, Lee County School District 

Iesha Green, English language arts, Exalt Academy of Southwest Little Rock 

Michelle Joyner, math, KIPP Delta Public Schools, Helena-West Helena

Molly Kopplin, math, El Dorado School District

Wendy Miya, English language arts, Helena-West Helena School District

Brianna Sheely, math, El Dorado School District

Michael Townsend, math, Exalt Academy of Southwest Little Rock 

Laura White, English language arts, El Dorado School District

The Arkansas Academy for Educational Equity has the support of the Arkansas Department of Education and collaborates with school districts across the state. Funding for the program has been made available through collaboration between the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas and the Walton Family Foundation.

Applications for the 2019 teacher group open in September; early career teachers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to apply. Contact Jessica Pontoo, associate director of recruitment, at pontoo@uark.edu  for information on applying.