Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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A Division of the Arkansas Department of Education

ForwARd Arkansas


We work to advance equity, opportunity and innovation in education.

ForwARd Arkansas (ForwARd) is a public-private partnership established in 2014 by the Arkansas State Board of Education, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation to increase equity and achieve increases in student achievement and economic prosperity for Arkansas. ForwARd works in partnership with the education, philanthropic, government and business community to advance public policy and legislation to provide greater equity and opportunity while also accelerating progress by leveraging state, federal and private resources to pilot innovative new approaches that can potentially be replicated statewide.

ForwARd has one overarching vision – to help every Arkansas student graduate prepared for success in college and the workplace. As detailed in its A New Vision for Arkansas Education report, ForwARd identified seven focus areas to guide its work to increase equity and drive enhanced educational outcomes for all students – Pre-K, Teaching & Learning, Teacher Pipeline, Support Beyond the Classroom, Leadership, Academic Distress (now referred to as levels of school support), Systems and Policies. Following a series of ForwARd Together Conversations convened in May 2018 with hundreds of Arkansas educators, business and civic leaders, policy-makers, parents, students and other partners, three key themes emerged that are grounded in the original focus areas to guide ForwARd’s ongoing programmatic and policy priorities – increasing access to high-quality Pre-K, elevating employability skills as a learning outcome and strengthening the educator pipeline.

In addition, two promising areas of innovation – implementing the community schools model as well as building community and school leadership capacity – have emerged from ForwARd’s work throughout the state. They will work directly with communities across Arkansas to advance this work, and record best practices for successful education strategies and partnerships that can be replicated across the state and beyond.

ForwARd Arkansas is poised to broaden its reach, expand partnerships, drive critical policies and practices, and inspire sustainable innovation in public education excellence in Arkansas. For more information, visit

Documents Related to the Partnership
August 18, 2014 Foundation Statement of Intention (PDF)
June 10, 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (PDF)

State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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Licensure & Certification

Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.

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