School districts will use multiple sources of data to make decisions about onsite operations for the upcoming school year. Below are links to two new data elements, which should be used with other available community-level health data.
Information and resources are also available on the COVID-19 Information page.
This guide was written and assembled by a team of medical, behavioral health, and education experts from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s, the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, and partners. The goal of the guide is to bring together good health information. This information includes the latest scientific advice, guidelines, and best practices. Every school is different. This guide can help school officials, educators, and families plan for in-person learning. >
Students may have a harder time coming back to school this year than usual. While they may look forward to seeing friends and returning to a regular routine, they may also be coping with significant stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers will need strategies to support their students’ social-emotional needs as they transition back to the classroom. The following guide was written and assembled by a team of medical, behavioral health, and education experts from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s, the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, and partners.
We have released the latest resource in the Arkansas Ready for Learning initiative to support school districts' preparation for the 2020-21 school year. The Response Levels for On-site Learning document will guide districts in determining and mitigating health risks associated with COVID-19 occurrences connected to on-site instruction and school activities.
In collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, we have established a clear communication process and a three-tiered system of response conditions based on data-informed factors. Each response level contains a matrix of operational decision points, with the associated precautions and actions increasing at each level. The three broad categories of decision points are:
The document is for assisting districts with responding to situations that may be encountered when on-site learning resumes. It is not intended to identify a district's status prior to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.
Updated August 20, 2020 with Supplemental Guidance: Modification of On-site Operations
The Arkansas Department of Education has established a Ready for School Resource Call Center. The purpose of the call center is to provide Arkansans with information and resources regarding the reopening of schools. With the support of partners from UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the Arkansas Bilingual Resource Network, the call center will be staffed by education and health professionals, as well as community partners. The operating hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 1-833-353-6050 (English) or 1-501-218-4015 (Spanish).
We believe learning can happen anytime, anywhere. The COVID-19 pandemic put this belief to the test, but we were, and continue to be, unwavering in our commitment that learning must continue. In the face of COVID-19, Arkansas schools faced a real-world opportunity to assess their school and district plans. The result? Our foundation is strong!
In order to be even more prepared for learning this fall, districts must implement strategies that focus on three key indicators for student success: blended learning, guaranteed and viable curriculum, and a student-focused approach. To assist schools with these efforts, we are providing resources and tools, as well as an opportunity to apply for waivers, that will help them achieve success.
During the AAEA summer conference on August 5, Secretary Johnny Key provided clarification regarding the expectations for onsite learning this fall in response to questions that have been generated as districts finalize their plans. To learn more, please go to Clarification Regarding On-site Learning.
The 2019-2020 school year ended in an unexpected way. While districts' responses to the crisis focused on continued engagement, preparing for the future requires more strategic planning to build on lessons learned. With state support, districts will be able to create systems that adhere to components of Arkansas's model and:
Districts that opt-in to the Ready for Learning model will need flexibility to implement onsite or remote teaching and learning and will receive state support for digital content, access to a Learning Management System (LMS), and an expedited process to receive waivers. Districts will need to support schools, and their teachers, parents and students, to innovate and adapt to new learning opportunities. In order to provide a strong academic setting that ensures student learning no matter the method of delivery, districts must provide a guaranteed and viable curriculum that consists of blended learning and diagnostic assessments.
In order to provide a quality education, six educational systems must operate in harmony. The Planning for Re-engagment document highlights each system and identifies the priorities for each. Districts are encouraged to review the document and existing practices and make modifications that strengthen each system.
A new section, Supplemental Guidance: School Facilities, has been incorporated into this revised document.
In an effort to help educators address lost learning that may have occurred because of school closures due to COVID-19, a team of approximately 130 educators developed a playbook that will serve as a learning guide this fall. The Playbook identifies learning standards that need review and provides lesson plans for each grade level that educators can use to address learning gaps. The playbook was developed by teachers for teachers and serves as a valuable resource for schools.
To be prepared for the upcoming school year, it is important that districts have necessary resources to continue the teaching and learning. Grade-level standards or higher must continue to be taught next year, regardless of the COVID-19 circumstances. If instruction does/must take place off-site, districts must have in place the support for continuation of teaching new content. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment must be deliverable through multiple modes to ensure equitable access to continued teaching and learning among all students.
Funding through the state portion of the CARES Act will provide a full K-12 digital curriculum aligned to Arkansas Academic Standards to all students statewide in all public and non-public schools through a digital platform provided by the approved digital provider. Districts may choose to utilize the content on the digital provider's platform or the content from any licensed platform already used by the district. The state provided solution will allow:
The Arkansas Public School Resource Center’s AR Ready for Digital Learning resource is available to all public schools in Arkansas at NO COST to the district. Through a partnership with Lincoln Learning, AR Ready for Digital Learning provides teachers access to full kindergarten through 12th grade digital content aligned to Arkansas standards that they can use along with any other PDF materials, links or other items they wish to completely customize their course to serve their students’ needs. In addition, Lincoln Learning content is available either through the Buzz Learning Management System (LMS) platform, another LTI-compatible, licensed LMS of the district’s choosing, or Google Classroom. Districts can use as much or as little of the resources available to completely customize the system to best fit their district’s unique needs.
To learn more visit, https://www.apsrc.net/online-learning/.
Additional resources are in development for CTE Blended Learning Solutions, including Digital Content and LMS Resources.
Other state partner resources include:
Team Digital is a free resource provided through the education cooperatives to provide guidance, support, and training for digital and blended learning. Assistance and training covers a wide variety of digital learning resources. Email email@example.com or call 501-504-6656.
Arkansas Schools: As you continue developing your blended learning plans, we are excited to share that we have new modules ready to provide you guidance! In addition to Laying the Foundation for Blended Learning and Technology Considerations, we have added Curriculum Considerations and School Models. If you have not already signed up, use the District Team Request spreadsheet to request access to these resources.
Virtual Arkansas offers supplemental online programs to Arkansas school districts. School districts can choose from a variety of courses and options to meet the needs of students. During the event of school closures and disruptions, Virtual Arkansas can provide content and online educational solutions and training for schools.
If you are ready to begin the process of utilizing the Canvas LMS and/or the Virtual Arkansas content, please complete the MOU request form below.
Office for Innovation in Education (OIE). As a DESE partner, the OIE is a trusted colleague for change work in schools across the state -- particularly for new approaches to learning such as blended and remote practices. OIE is a free resource to all districts/schools and we are here to serve you during this pandemic, particularly for your Ready for Learning plans and implementation through one-on-one coaching, rapid planning sessions, responsive cross-district learning communities, and access and connection to high quality resources, models, and extended networks.
For updates about re-entry to onsite summer program activities, school communication flow chart for COVID-19, onsite PD guidance and more, please visit COVID-19 District and School Information.
To continue the flexibility districts need in order to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, plan for re-entry to onsite instruction, and implement blended learning systems, the following process will be used:
Districts applying for additional waivers will go through the regular Act 1240 waiver process and should complete a District Waiver Request Form and email the completed form and the charter waiver list(s) to Tracy.Webb@arkansas.gov.
For more information, visit the District Waiver Requests webpage
Districts will post their District Support Plans on the district website (State Required Information) on or before September 1, 2020, and include information regarding how they will accomplish the following:
Time & Date
Ready for Learning Webinar
Ready for Learning:
Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Please email any additional questions to ade.RfL@arkansas.gov.
Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.Learn More
Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.Learn More