During the 2021-2022 school year, many districts were approved by the State Board of Education to provide a remote digital learning option to enrolled students. As districts plan for the 2022-2023 school year, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) wants to ensure districts have the necessary information and resources regarding digital learning to prepare to meet the needs of all students. DESE recognizes that much progress has been made in understanding the important role technology plays in learning, and we want to provide opportunities for districts to continue to offer digital options in addition to requirements for onsite instruction. Most importantly, we want to be sure that every day of student-teacher interaction is a quality learning experience.
Because digital programming options may require more flexibility to operate than traditional onsite instruction, the State Board of Education will continue a streamlined Act 1240 waiver process for the 2022-2023 school year for districts that submit successful plans. To ensure that the district participates in the expedited process, digital learning plans (DLP) should be submitted by May 20, 2022, in LEA Insights. The plans will be reviewed by DESE staff and submitted to the State Board with recommendations for approval if the plan meets requirements that include involvement of staff in the plan development and approval of the local school board. The online application can be accessed on the LEA Insights webpage.
Open-enrollment charter schools that wish to operate a digital programming option will need to determine whether their charter will need to be updated and reviewed by the Charter Authorizing Panel. The same online application can be accessed on the LEA Insights webpage.
New and Renewal Applications
Arkansas public schools that do not have a currently approved application and plan to offer a remote digital program for the upcoming school year must seek State Board of Education approval by submitting an application. Districts that received multi-year approval in 2021-2022 do not need to submit a new plan (application). Renewal applications are only required for districts that do not have an approved plan for the 2022-2023 SY due to expiration of previously approved plans. Submissions by May 20, 2022, will be reviewed during an expedited process using the online application that can be accessed from the LEA Insights webpage.
Revisions to previously approved applications
A district with a multi-year approved plan may need to request a revision to the district digital learning plan in certain circumstances such as:
- additional waivers are needed;
- the digital provider (third party instruction) has changed;
- there is a significant increase in students participating or grade level changes; or
- if classroom teachers will be required to provide on-site and digital learning simultaneously.
In these instances, districts will need to submit a revision to the current application in LEA Insights. The State Board of Education will consider these requests for final approval. A district may make curricular changes to an approved digital learning plan without seeking revision or approval by the State Board of Education.
To assist with planning and programming, please review the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Digital Learning webpage. A Digital Learning Guidebook is available to assist districts with developing options for continued digital learning during the 2022-2023 school year.
DESE staff will work with education service cooperatives and the Digital Learning Unit to schedule and conduct technical assistance sessions for schools who want support in designing digital options for next year and who need assistance in completing the application. The training/technical assistance meetings will be updated on the Digital Learning Unit webpage as sessions are scheduled.
All students participating in the district’s digital learning program must be documented in ST0317 Student Instructional Option for cycle 2-7 reports.
Rescind DLP Waivers
If a district would like to rescind their digital learning option, please send a letter on district letterhead requesting to rescind the DLP waivers, effective <date> to email@example.com