The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) seeks proposals from Arkansas Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to create Early Childhood PreK Special Education Teacher Academies to prepare licensed public school teachers to add the Early Childhood PreK Special Education endorsement. Although DESE will approve the Early Childhood PreK Special Education Teacher Academy proposals for a two-year period, the award must be renewed annually based on availability of funds, satisfactory performance on participant evaluations, compliance with DESE reporting and requirements, and the success rate for the Early Childhood PreK Special Education Teacher Academy graduates passing the Praxis© Early Childhood/Early Intervention (5692) upon first administration. The Early Childhood PreK Special Education Teacher Academy will be at no cost to the participant.
Public school districts in Arkansas have an obligation to provide the personnel and resources necessary to effectively provide a Free Appropriate Public Education for students three to five years of age with disabilities in each student’s least restrictive environment. This obligation includes having an adequate number of highly qualified educators who are skilled in providing the supports students need to progress in the general education curriculum. (IDEA Section 1414 (d) (1) (A) (i) (ii) (aa) .
The Early Childhood PreK Special Education Teacher Academy will prepare educators who are currently licensed in Early Childhood PreK (#517), Early Childhood P-4 (#001), or Elementary Education K-6 (#183 or #253) employed by an Arkansas public school or an educational cooperative on behalf of a school district to serve children with disabilities.
Currently licensed participants should have the opportunity to complete the endorsement program within one year of their acceptance to the Early Childhood PreK Special Education Teacher Academy.
A completed RFP proposal packet, grant budget narrative, and Statement of Assurances, along with appropriate support data and a letter from the college President must be submitted by September 30, 2022, to:
Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
1401 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 450, Little Rock, AR 72201
Anticipated timeline of Early Childhood PreK Special Education Teacher Academy determination process:
• Proposal packets are due to DESE by September 30, 2022.
• Selected sites will be notified no later than October 21, 2022.
• Academies will begin January 2023.