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Collaboration is the strategy-Children are the priority!

Collaboration is the strategy-Children are the priority!

On Monday evening, the Little Rock Stakeholders group made a historic decision to collaborate with the local charter schools. The Stakeholders, after more than ten years of increasingly combative appearances at the Board of Education, reviewed the latest OEP, Office for Education Policy, research on student movement within the Central Arkansas Area. You can read the report here, for more detail  here, and for even more detail here.

OEP's  enlightening news is that "when students exit traditional public schools in the Little Rock metro area, their exit makes the school more integrated." Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, "student transfers out of traditional schools are  improving the level of racial and economic integration in the Little Rock metro area public school system." WOW! With this research, the proverbial fist is beginning to stretch into an outstretched hand of collaboration.

Children are the priority in education. A simple statement, right? Now that the olive branch has been offered, what will the collaboration entail?  Will Little Rock and the charters decide to join the 21 cities that have signed collaborative compacts to help provide equitable access to schools and resources?

The Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, Bothell might be an interesting asset. They are currently conducting a multi-year project that looks into what works and what can be refined in a district-charter collaboration. Uniquely, CRPE is also researching personalized education which in an innovation Arkansas. (Arkansas is a member of the CCSSO Innovation Network that is attempting to identify, test, and implement approaches to learning that will transform education) 

The children of Central Arkansas will definitely benefit from the collaborative effort of all educators. It is time for the children to rise on their shoulders of their elders and not be held back by the angst of segregation by color or school type. It is time that we all realize that collaboration is the strategy because children are the priority!

Suzanne Rogers


District Director of Professional development, AP English Teacher, ELA Coach and cradle United Methodist. 


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