Local Leads

In spring 2023, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the Arkansas LEARNS Act into law. The LEARNS Act is comprehensive, creating a suite of changes that affect the state’s education system. One of the requirements within the LEARNS Act is to improve the experience of families and providers by establishing local early childhood lead organizations. LEARNS calls for local early childhood leads for each locality in Arkansas who is funded to make and execute the plan for their area on how to use available resources to best prepare Arkansas children for kindergarten. These organizations are charged to:

  • Support access to early childhood programs
  • Identify gaps in services
  • Foster local partnerships
  • Create alignment among public and private providers and agencies within the community
  • Establish a comprehensive, locally supported plan for providing early childhood programs and
    services.

The Arkansas Department of Education received 34 applications from public agencies, school systems, Arkansas-based nonprofits, education-focused organizations or business, and education cooperatives across Arkansas. Through a rigorous process, ADE selected 12 organizations for Cohort 1 in the pilot year:

The 12 organizations will cover the following catchment areas:

By October 2024, all of Arkansas will be covered by a local lead organization.

Resources for local leads:

 

For more information, please contact:

Paige Cox, Education Program Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Office of Early Childhood
700 Main Street, Slot 140
Little Rock, AR 72203
Phone: 501-320-8940
Email: paige.cox@ade.arkansas.gov

Ashelyn Abney, Program Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Office of Early Childhood
700 Main St, Slot 140
Little Rock, AR 72203
Phone: 501-910-6479
Email: Ashelyn.Abney@ade.arkansas.gov