ForwARd Arkansas Announces Innovative Toolkit for Little Rock School District

On April 27, ForwARd Arkansas – alongside the Little Rock School District (LRSD) and the Clinton School of Public Service – released a new toolkit aimed at boosting academic achievement among LRSD middle school students.

Last September, a group of practicum students from the Clinton School of Public Service began conducting best-practices research on successful school-community partnership models from around the U.S. They used this research to develop a toolkit that would serve as a guiding mechanism for implementing hands-on, project-based learning at LRSD middle schools.

Specifically, the practicum students focused on eight LRSD middle schools and how community partnerships could help improve academic success. ForwARd Arkansas played an integral role serving as the community organization that connected the practicum students with the LRSD middle schools.

At its press conference to announce the release of the toolkit, LRSD highlighted two of the community-school partnerships that will be implemented during the next school year. Dunbar students will familiarize themselves with the mission and work of Heifer International to study and address issues of poverty, hunger, and sustainability. Henderson students will take advantage of unique communication opportunities at West Central Community Center to develop programming support for the Center’s new radio station.

According to the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, students earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school and are more motivated when schools, parents, families and communities work together. High quality schools at the elementary and secondary levels have demonstrated improved student outcomes when connected to community resources and families.

And while this specific project may have come to a successful end, ForwARd Arkansas is committed to continuing a partnership with Little Rock School District to best serve its students, families and the community as a whole.