Connecting the Dots
Four years ago, the number of underachieving schools and districts in Arkansas was trending upward leading to an increase in designations of academic distress by the Arkansas Board of Education.
Kathy Smith, Senior Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation, and Sherece West-Scantlebury, President and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, sat through State Board meetings and thought what would happen next for the schools and communities. “There wasn’t even really a ‘what happens next,'” says Smith. With “What’s next?” unanswered, Smith and West-Scantlebury decided to ask, “What if?” and an unprecedented partnership between the Walton Family Foundation, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the Arkansas State Board of Education created ForwARd Arkansas to move educational improvements forward in the state.