EDUCATION NOTEBOOK: PCSSD considers closing virtual school after this school year | City Year accepts new applications | Forward Arkansas creates new educational initiative

Virtual school's closing proposed

Leaders in the Pulaski County Special School District are recommending that the Driven Virtual Academy -- the district's online school that attracted more than 600 students in 2020-21 -- be discontinued after this school year.

The School Board has not yet acted on the proposed plan that could save the district as much as $2.6 million.

The school's initially high enrollment was fueled by the covid-19 pandemic. Since that first year, the school's student count has declined to about 170 this school year, 142 of those in middle and high school.

District leaders have met this month with the school's staff and with parents about the fate of the kindergarten-through-12th grade school, and to offer parents a list of options including traditional brick and mortar schools and virtual schools that include online charter schools that operate in Arkansas.

Applications are open at City Year

City Year Little Rock is accepting AmeriCorps member applications for the 2024-2025 school year at

Additionally, interested individuals may also pursue midyear positions with an application deadline of Dec. 1 and a service start date of Jan. 8.

"As high school seniors and upcoming college graduates consider their next steps, I strongly encourage them to consider serving with City Year," Jennifer Cobb, senior vice president and executive director, said. "Beyond the significant financial benefits, being an AmeriCorps member allows for unparalleled personal and professional development."

Those selected to be AmeriCorps members for the 2024-2025 school year will serve a total of 1,700 hours to provide Central Arkansas students with academic, emotional and social support.

AmeriCorps members will receive a biweekly stipend of $1,000, a $6,500 Segal Education Award, exclusive access to scholarships, paid vacation, health insurance and more than 200 hours of professional development and training.

Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are due by Feb. 2. Individuals interested in serving with City Year are encouraged to visit:

City Year Little Rock's nonprofit's community partnership manager is also available to answer any questions about the application process and next steps at

Forward Arkansas has new initiative

The Forward Arkansas organization has created a new initiative, The LeARner Collective, to help schools partner for creative solutions to their challenges in promoting student learning.

Schools in Benton and Washington counties in northwest Arkansas and Phillips and Jefferson counties in the Mississippi River Delta region of the state are invited to apply to participate in this first initiative.

School teams will be made up of three to five people, including the principals and two teachers. The teams will meet in person and online during the second half of the 2023-2024 school year.

Each participating school will receive a $5,000 grant to be used for substitute teachers, stipends, travel and supplies.