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Great Public Schools Criteria for Arkansas

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.

Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Arkansas.

Readiness to Learn


Full-day Kindergarten:

Pre-k programs that currently receive pre-k funds through the Early Childhood Block Grant must be accredited or in the process of becoming accredited. If a program did not receive funds during the previous year, it must have documentation showing that the accreditation process has started and it must become accredited within 18 months. Includes NAEYC accreditation.

Recently participated in Getting Ready: Findings from the National School Readiness Indicators Initiative, a 17-state program that sought to identify developed sets of indicators at the state level to track results for children from birth through age 8. The goal was for states to use the school readiness indicators to inform public policy decisions and track progress in meeting key goals for young children.

A recent ABE task force recommendation identified core quality components, established a clear unit rate per child, and specified that children in center-based programs should receive at least 7.5 hours of services per day. The model also brought teacher aide salaries in line with compensation for those positions in public schools.

Quality Conditions

Funding


School funding systems must provide adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding. Making taxes fair and eliminating inefficient and ineffective business subsidies are essential prerequisites to achieving adequacy, equity, and stability in school funding. ESEA programs should be fully funded at their authorized levels. Arkansas' school funding tax structure is hurt by tax giveaways to corporations. 
Protecting Public Education From Tax Giveaways to Corporations (PDF, 62 pp) (NEA, 2003)

Recruitment and Retention


Arkansas has state policies that support hard-to-staff schools or subject areas, minority teachers, paraprofessional/teaching assistants to become certified teachers, alternative routes to certification, teaching opportunities for retired teachers, and classroom discipline. In addition, there are policies supporting requirements for tenure, statewide pension, and certification/licensure of educators from outside the state.

Hard-to-Staff Schools or Subject Areas: Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program is designed to promote academic achievement and encourage academically prepared Arkansas high school graduates to enroll in the state's colleges and universities and to encourage students to enter the field of teaching for the purpose of teaching in subject matter areas of critical teacher shortage or in geographical areas of critical teacher shortage in the state.

Arkansas Geographical Critical Needs Minority Teacher Scholarship Program is designed to attract qualified minority teachers to the Delta and those geographical areas of the state where there exists a critical shortage of teachers by awarding scholarships to minorities with the intention to serve in the teaching field who actually render service to this state while possessing an appropriate teaching license.
Arkansas Code §6-82-1001 through 1011 and 1501 through 1506

For Minority Teachers: Arkansas Geographical Critical Needs Minority Teacher Scholarship Program is designed to attract qualified minority teachers to the Delta and those geographical areas of the state where there exists a critical shortage of teachers by awarding scholarships to minorities with the intention to serve in the teaching field who actually render service to this state while possessing an appropriate teaching license.
Arkansas Code §6-82-1501 through 1506

For Paraprofessional/Teaching Assistants to Become Certified Teachers: The Office for the Purpose of Teacher Recruitment may develop, disseminate, and distribute materials on the importance of teaching as a profession, emphasizing the critical need for teachers in certain geographical areas of the state and the availability of financial scholarships to college students in exchange for service as a licensed teacher in the geographical critical-need area. It may encourage teachers' aides and paraprofessionals in the public schools to pursue a college education that will enable them to become licensed teachers and to inform all assistant teachers of the availability of financial scholarships to both full-time and part-time college students under the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program. It may also recruit retired teachers who are willing to teach either full time or part time in public school programs.
Arkansas Code §6-17-310

Alternative Routes to Certification: The Arkansas State Department of Education lists its requirements for obtaining a non-traditional provisional teaching license.
Arkansas Department of Education   
Teach Arkansas

Opportunities for Retired Teachers: The Office for the Purpose of Teacher Recruitment may recruit retired teachers who are willing to teach either full-time or part-time in public school programs.
Arkansas Code §6-17-310

Classroom Discipline Policies: Teachers and administrators in a school district that authorizes use of corporal punishment in the district's written student discipline policy shall be immune from any civil liability for administering corporal punishment to students, provided only that the corporal punishment is administered in substantial compliance with the district's written student discipline policy.
Arkansas Code §6-17-112

Requirements for Tenure: State law does not confer lifetime appointment of teachers. Teachers may be employed by written contract for a period of time not more than three years, and the contracts may be renewed annually.
Arkansas Code §6-17-301 and 1501 through 1510

Certification/Licensure of Educators from Outside the State: For Initial or Standard licensure, applicants for licensure through reciprocity shall complete the application form, criminal background check and provide a copy of a current or expired teaching license, verification of three years teaching experience, and/or copies of test scores required for out-of- state or out-of-country licensure and official transcripts reflecting the completion of Bachelor's Degree (Master's Degree when required) from a National Council for Accreditation of Teaching Education (NCATE) or regionally accredited institution of higher education. There are various requirements for people who hold out-of-state and/or out-of-country licenses depending on a variety of qualifications and type of license pursued.
State Department of Education Teacher Reciprocity At A Glance