Arkansas: Working in Education in Arkansas

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Arkansas has several financial aid programs to attract educators to the state. To attract quality educators to the state Arkansas has created the Arkansas Teacher Housing Development Fund. The fund helps all educators find housing opportunities around the state, and provides financial assistance and special incentives to teachers who serve school districts that are high priority.

The per-student expenditure in Arkansas was $8,030 for May 2005-2006, compared with $9,154 for the nation as a whole, according to the Digest of Education Statistics.

Curriculum and Instruction

The Arkansas Learning Standards describe what students must know and be able to do in each of the academic content areas. The academic content standards and the student learning expectations provide the focal point for instruction in the local school districts without regulating every aspect of the curriculum of the individual schools. Instructional programs and assessments focus on improving student performance in terms of the learning expectations of the standards. The state maintains a list of instructional materials it has adopted for this purpose.

Technology Education

Arkansas IDEAS is Internet Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools. Educators can access a comprehensive digital library containing more than 4,000 standards-based videos, over 40,000 video segments, high quality images, and built-in tools to help them integrate technology into their lessons.

LiteracyLink is an adult education resource that combines public television, video, the Internet, and print materials to reach adult learners and their teachers. It links underserved and hard-to-reach adults and their teachers to new learning and innovative tools.

The Arkansas State Teachers Association offers mini-grants that teachers can use to buy software and other technology items.

Educational Management

The Arkansas Leadership Academy Master Principal Institute is designed to develop the leadership skills of principals through professional development. In the first phase of the program principals from all over the state meet for four sessions of several days each for intense study. At the same time they apply what they learn in their schools. The second phase involves creating a portfolio that documents their application of their first phase learning and the results in terms of improvement in student learning. Step three is a rigorous assessment. Those who complete the three steps are deemed Master School Principals.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for elementary and secondary school administrators in Arkansas in May 2008 was $70,410, compared to the nationwide mean of $86,060.

Teacher's Aides

Recognizing the important roles paraprofessionals play in special education services and the changing demands of this work, the Special Education Unit of the Arkansas Department of Education has developed a training program for teacher's aides and other paraprofessionals who give direct service to children with special needs. The program has three core modules that are delivered over two days plus eight additional modules. At least one postsecondary institution in Arkansas offers an associate of applied science degree (AAS) in paraprofessional education and a certificate in child development for paraprofessionals. Schools may provide tuition reimbursement for these programs.

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