State law encourages districts to provide professional development for school personnel on cultural competency.
Arkansas Administrative Rules 005.22.017 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Section 4.0. Professional Development Generally. 4.01 Professional development is a set of coordinated planned learning activities for educators that: 4.01.1 Improves the knowledge, skills, and effectiveness of teachers, including the ability to apply what is learned; 4.01.2 Improves the knowledge and skills of administrators and paraprofessionals concerning effective instructional strategies, methods, and skills, including the ability to apply what is learned; 4.01.3 Leads to improved student academic achievement; 4.01.4 Is research-based and Standard-based; 4.01.5 May incorporate educational technology as a component of the professional development, including without limitation taking or teaching an online or blended course; and 4.01.6 May provide educators with knowledge and skills needed to teach: 4.01.6.1 Students with intellectual disabilities, including without limitation Autism Spectrum Disorder; 4.01.6.2 Students with specific learning disorders, including without limitation dyslexia; 4.01.6.3 Culturally and linguistically diverse students; and 4.01.6.4 Gifted students.
Arkansas Code 6-15-1705. Incorporation of parental involvement into teacher education programs.
The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Division of Higher Education shall collaborate with institutions of higher education to incorporate into teacher and administrator education programs instruction regarding: (1) The importance of parental involvement; (2) Successful strategies for encouraging a parent to be a partner in his or her child's education; and (3) The relationship between cultural diversity and parental involvement.
Arkansas Code 6-17-110. Program to increase racial and ethnic sensitivity
(a) The State Board of Education is hereby authorized and directed to develop, in cooperation with the Black History Commission of Arkansas, an inclusive statewide program to increase the racial and ethnic sensitivity of teachers and administrators in the public schools of this state.
(b) The program shall serve to assist teachers and administrators in developing a greater awareness of ethnic and racial differences, improving interpersonal skills, and enhancing racial harmony.
(c) Participating schools and school districts shall permit their teachers and administrators who have received training in the program to assist in training other teachers and administrators.
(d) Colleges and universities are hereby encouraged to work with neighboring local school districts regarding professional development of racial and ethnic awareness.
(e) Records shall be kept of the activities authorized by this section.
Arkansas Code 6-17-704. Professional development plan — Definition.
(a) As used in this section, “professional development” means a set of coordinated planned learning activities for teachers, administrators, and nonlicensed school employees that:
- (1) Is required by Statuteor by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education; or
- (2) Meets the following criteria:
- (A) Is part of the minimum number of professional development hours or professional learning credits as determined by the division required by law or by the division;
- (B) Improves the knowledge, skills, and effectiveness of teachers;
- (C) Improves the knowledge and skills of administrators and paraprofessionals concerning effective instructional strategies, methods, and skills;
- (D) Leads to improved student academic achievement; and
- (E) Is research-based and Standard-based. (b) The purpose of professional development is to improve teaching and learning in order to facilitate individual, school-wide, and system-wide improvements designed to ensure that all students demonstrate proficiency on state academic Standard. (c)
- (1) Annually, each school district shall prepare a professional development plan.
- (A) Teachers, administrators, and classified school employees shall be involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of their respective professional development offerings under the plan.
- (B) The evaluation results shall be given to each group of employees in the school district and used to improve professional development offerings. (d) The professional development offerings may include approved conferences, workshops, institutes, individual learning, mentoring, peer-coaching, study groups, National Board for Professional Teaching Standard certification, distance learning, micro-credentialing approved by the department, internships, and college or university course work. (e) The professional development under this section:
- (1) Shall comply with the division Rules Governing Professional Development; and
- (2) May provide educators with knowledge and skills needed to teach:
- (A) Students with disabilities, including without limitation autism; and
- (B) Culturally and linguistically diverse students. (f) A teacher shall complete any missed hours of professional development through professional development that is:
- (1) Substantially similar to the professional development missed and approved by the person responsible for the teacher's summative evaluation under the Teacher Excellence and Support System, § 6-17-2801 et seq.; and
- (2) Delivered by any method, online or otherwise, approved by the division under the State Board of Education rules. (g) Accreditation for or approval of professional development for public school teachers and administrators is governed by the rules of the state board.
Arkansas Code 6-20-2305. School funding.
- (a) The State Board of Education shall establish by rule a list of approved programs and purposes for which funds allocated under this subdivision (b)(4) may be expended.
- (b) School districts shall expend funds allocated under this subdivision (b)(4) for the programs or purposes on the State Board of Education's list of approved programs and purposes for which funds allocated under this subdivision (b)(4) may be expended, including without limitation: (19) Recruiting and retaining effective teachers, if the school district meets the minimum salary schedule under § 6-17-2403 without using funds provided under this subdivision (b)(4), by implementing: (A)
- (i) Approaches identified within the school district's support plan required under § 6-15-2914 to address a disproportionate rate of low-income students or minority students being taught by ineffective teachers, teachers who teach out of their licensure content area, or inexperienced teachers, either within the school district or as compared to surrounding school districts, including without limitation strategies:
- (a) For reassignment;
- (b) For differentiated pay plans to address identified shortage areas; and
- (c) For addressing teacher recruitment and retention, as recommended by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, including without limitation models for:
- (1) Effective use of teacher leaders;
- (2) Cultural responsiveness training; and
- (3) Equity audits.