Arkansas Teacher Corps Honors Graduates, Welcomes New Fellows

Graduates of the Arkansas Teacher Corps program celebrate the completion of their Fellowship with Mireya Reith, center, chair of the Arkansas State Board of Education.
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Graduates of the Arkansas Teacher Corps program celebrate the completion of their Fellowship with Mireya Reith, center, chair of the Arkansas State Board of Education.

The Arkansas Teacher Corps honored Fellows who completed their three-year teaching commitments in high-need schools in Arkansas at a celebration May 20 in Little Rock. The event also welcomed the incoming Fellows who will begin their commitments this summer.

The Arkansas Teacher Corps, a program housed within the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas, recruits, trains and supports individuals to serve as teachers in difficult-to-staff school districts across southern and eastern Arkansas. The Fellows, who are provisionally licensed during their placements, receive their standard Arkansas teaching license upon completion of the program. ATC currently partners with 28 schools across 18 high-need districts across the state.

Of the 10 graduates who completed their Fellowship this year, nearly all plan to stay in education. More than half will be teaching in Arkansas schools, while others pursue opportunities in educational leadership.

The event also welcomed the newest cohort of teachers. The Fellowship remains highly selective with fewer than 30 percent of applicants placed in the program this year. Among the 2017 cohort, the Fellows averaged above the top quartile in standardized test scores and hold an average GPA of 3.4. The program is also notable in its diversity, with people of color comprising approximately half of the incoming cohort.

Guest speaker, Mireya Reith, chair of the Arkansas State Board of Education and co-founder and executive director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition, encouraged the Fellows to remain engaged in the field of education as well as broader political issues. Reith shared her story of growing up as a Mexican-American student in Arkansas and described education's role as an equalizer within the state. Emphasizing the importance of education for students within the Natural State in particular, Reith noted, "Arkansas catapults people to opportunity in ways that I've never seen anywhere else."

Tiffany Morgan, principal at Osceola High School, also shared her experiences as an administrator and introduced the 2017 cohort to the community where they will work this summer. Fellows will participate in a seven-week summer training institute in Osceola. They will teach summer school courses at the high school as well as at a STEM Academy for middle-schoolers. They will also receive intensive training aligned with Arkansas Teacher Corps' development outcomes and the proficiencies outlined in Arkansas' Teacher Excellence and Support System.

This is the first year that Summer Institute will be held in Osceola. The training in Osceola is intended to provide Fellows with experience working in a rural, Delta community similar to many of the communities where they will teach during the next three years. 

Contacts

Shelley Aschliman, executive director
Arkansas Teacher Corps
479-575-5496, shelleya@uark.edu

Heidi Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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