State Personnel Development Grant

The Arkansas Department of Education recently 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 develop literacy and behavior resources and tools, including professional development and technical assistance, that teachers can utilize to assist all students, especially students with disabilities. The SPDG will also partner with the Parent Training and Information Center to provide literacy and behavior support for parents in targeted districts.

Arkansas was one of nine states to receive the grant. ADE will use the funds to build upon the Response-to-Intervention Arkansas initiative, which is a multi-component, general education model designed to identify students who may be at risk academically or behaviorally, offer support and monitor progress.

“The grant will provide the resources we need to move the needle in Arkansas toward increased results for all students, including those with disabilities,” Lisa Haley, the associate director of Special Education, said. With the grant, ADE will enhance partnerships with the American Institutes for Research and the Arkansas State University at Jonesboro’s Center for Community Engagement to implement a statewide system of support for behavior and academics.

ADE previously received two grants from the Office of Special Education Programs: a State Improvement Grant (more than $7 million) from 2003 to 2007 and another State Personnel Development Grant ($5 million) from 2009 to 2014. The new grant allows ADE to build upon the positive outcomes of the previous grants, such as utilizing personnel at the state, regional and district levels who have benefited from previous professional development provided through the grants. To learn more about the RTI Arkansas initiative, go to http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/learningservices/curriculum-and-instruction/rti.