Growing Where Needed: A Strategic Plan for 2020-2025

The Last Seven Years.

The Arkansas Teacher Corps was founded in 2012 by Dr. Gary Ritter, the 21st Century Endowed Chair in Education Policy, and Dean Tom Smith as a partnership between the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions (COEHP) and Arkansas Department of Education to address teacher shortages at school districts in high-needs areas throughout the state.

As the state’s flagship university and a land-grant institution, the University of Arkansas seeks to provide all Arkansas schools with committed, high-performing teachers. Initial funding was provided by the Walton Family Foundation, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Arkansas Women’s Giving Circle, and individual donors through the ATC Society to support the inaugural 2013 cohort of 21 Fellows teaching in 9 school districts.

Since then, ATC has recruited, trained, and supported eight cohorts of more than 170 teachers in 39 schools and 28 school districts throughout central, eastern, and southern Arkansas. Of the alumni who have successfully completed the fellowship, 70% remain teaching and leading in public schools.

The Next Five Years.

Building off of this success, ATC staff facilitated a strategic planning process in 2019 to engage stakeholders in setting a comprehensive guiding direction for our work. “Growing Where Needed: A Strategic Plan for 2020-2025” highlights nine main priorities that will allow us to double the number of fellows supported each year, ultimately reaching over 40,000 students and saving nearly $2,000,000 through increased efficiencies:

  • Student Outcomes: Facilitate academic and social-emotional growth for all students
  • Fellow Enrollment: Build a diverse, high-quality, homegrown teacher workforce with partner schools
  • Staff Capacity: Build a larger, more diverse team of high-performing education leaders
  • Fellow Retention: Retain Fellows as classroom teachers during the 3-year Fellowship and beyond
  • Staff Retention: Retain full-time team members to increase institutional knowledge and capacity
  • Program Funding: Increase and diversify the total amount of program funding received annually
  • Research: Collect and analyze program data to identify, replicate, and share promising practices
  • Communication: Share success stories and lessons learned to increase awareness and sense of possibility
  • Collaboration: Strengthen community partnerships for continual learning and improvement

The last seven years have been a journey of discovery, innovation, and resilience as we have worked tirelessly to ensure that all Arkansas students receive an excellent, equitable education. From the Mississippi Delta in the east to the Piney Woods of the southwest, we’ve seen the amazing work being done in schools and communities to engage, inspire, and support students across our state!

Brandon Lucius, ATC Executive Director