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Federal deadline for plans moved

The deadline for Arkansas and other states to submit new school accountability plans to the U.S. Department of Education has been moved from July to Sept. 18, the Arkansas Department of Education announced last week.

States are revising their school accountability plans as the result of the passage in late 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama. The federal law replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002.

Once approved, the Arkansas school accountability plan will be fully implemented in the 2018-19 school year.

Arkansas Department of Education staff welcomed the new deadline for submitting the plan, saying the state will have three years of student test data from the ACT Aspire tests by the time the new accountability system is in place.

The state Education Department last year established the Vision for Excellence in Education and Arkansas Accountability System Steering Committee to help with the development of the state plan. Ten community forums were held around the state, and surveys have been used to gather ideas from the public about the new state plan.

District gets gift for STEM program

The Jacksonville/North Pulaski School District has received $15,000 to bring a science, technology, engineering and mathematics program to its elementary schools.

The money was given by two private donors and the Jacksonville Education Foundation, thanks in part to Suzanne Mitchell, the executive director of the Arkansas STEM Coalition. The foundation, along with Mitchell, presented the check to the district's board on Tuesday.

The funds are for Project Lead the Way Launch, an initiative to engage kindergartners through fifth graders in STEM fields. The district has already implemented similar initiatives in its middle and high schools.

The district has bought starter kits and is training lead teachers, who will then train their colleagues. Officials are hoping to have the program up and running by fall 2017.

Metro on 01/15/2017

Print Headline: Education notebook

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