State Personnel Development Grant

The Arkansas Department of Education was awarded a $5 million State Personnel Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

The five-year grant will be used to assist State educational agencies in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development to improve results for students with disabilities.  The SPDG will also partner with The Center for Exceptional Families, (TCFEF), the Parent Training and Information Center for the State of Arkansas. Working collaboratively with ADE-DESE staff, American Institutes for Research, the Office of Innovation, and other stakeholders, TCFEF will support the training and technical assistance for parents of the SPDG. 

The Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) will use the funds to build on the work of previous grants to

  1. Enhance Response to Intervention resources and tools in the areas of behavior and literacy to scale up RTI statewide.
  2. Increase the capacity of regional and LEA teams to offer and validate high-quality professional learning with a focus on integrated evidence-based practices within a multi-tiered system of support.
  3. Improve educators’ ability to implement and sustain RTI with a focus on evidence-based academics and behavior support practices.
  4. Increase the knowledge, skills, and implementation of high-leverage practices by offering general and special educators’ choice in competency-based professional learning with the added goal of personnel retention.

To support the work of the SPDG, TCFEF will

  • Collaborate with the American Institutes for Research and the SPDG on the development of professional learning activities to be provided to school districts. 
  • Participate in training, provided by SPDG, on understanding the components of quality core instruction, the essential components of a coherent support system, and the ways in which these components support student progress. 
  • Provide training to parents in targeted SPDG school districts within the state on quality core instruction and response to intervention (RTI).
  • Provided training around RTI and quality core instruction to Education Service Cooperatives (ESCs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs). 
  • Provide support to District Implementation Teams and schools around parent and community engagement for RTI.
  • Work directly with the SPDG Project Director and other stakeholders for planning and delivery of professional development and technical assistance. 

Tracy Risley

tracy.risley@tcfef.org
(870) 897.4174

Tracy is the TCFEF representative on the State Professional Development Grant (SPDG) Core Management team where she functions as the Family & Community Liaison.  This provides her with additional insight into the state’s work on Response to Intervention (RTI).  She is excited for her work on the new SPDG grant which will assist State educational agencies in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development to improve results for students with disabilities.

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