Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Curriculum Updates - May 2024

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Office of Learning Services
Regulatory Authority
Response Required
Assistant Principal; Assistant Superintendent; Curriculum Coordinators; Gifted & Talented Coordinators; Principals; School Counselors; Superintendents; Teachers

Primary Contact Information

Secondary Contact/s Information

Memo Text

Curriculum updates are provided to inform educators and stakeholders of opportunities, updates and resources related to teaching and learning.   


Professional Learning 

The Summer 2024 DESE Professional Learning Calendar is available here. Scheduled Professional Learning is available for a variety of education professionals. Register and secure your spot today! For more information on a session, please review the calendar for the Unit Contact.     

English Language Arts:  

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and First Book are working to increase educator access to foundational books about the Holocaust. The collection is intended for high school students and includes various formats, genres, and reading levels. The goal is to enhance students' understanding of the Holocaust. The nine books offered are not an exhaustive list for teaching about the Holocaust. Download an overview of the collection here. Every educator can request one free nine-book collection here by May 15, 2023. Multiple educators in a school or program can also request collections. 

Contact: Amber Pirnique, Disciplinary Literacy Program Administrator at

Academic Reading & Strategic Reading

The 2024 standards for Academic Reading courses, grades 6-12, and Strategic Reading courses, grades 6-12, are now posted on the English Language Arts Standards and Courses website.  


Gifted & Talented and Advanced Placement 


The 2024 AEGIS Summer Programs are now available here. Twelve programs will provide Academic Enrichment for Gifted/Talented in Summer (AEGIS) Programs to Arkansas students through grant funding provided by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. Students do not have to be identified as gifted and talented in their school in order to apply or be accepted to an AEGIS program. Each program's procedures for student selection will be aligned to the program goals. Students who have shown exceptional ability or interest in the program's content should be encouraged to apply. Additional information can be found at each program's website which are compiled at 

Contact: Krystal Nail, Gifted & Talented and Advanced Placement Program Director at

Social Studies:  

The America250 Commission is launching a scholastic contest for 3rd-12th grade students to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Participants can submit artwork, videos, or essays about what America means to them. Winners receive a field trip experience to one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks or cash awards. First-place winners in each age group will enjoy an unforgettable "field trip" experience to one of the nation's most iconic historical landmarks. Twenty-five students will be selected for this honor. Second-place winners in each age group will receive a $500 cash prize. Submit an America’s Field Trip Contest Application here. For information regarding the America250 Field Trip program, such as contest details, judging criteria, and grade-specific submission guidelines, please visit the Americas250 Field Trip site here

Mystery League is an engaging live-action series designed to teach kindergarten through second-grade students about friendship and community. Viewers will follow fifth-grade detectives Millie, Mike, and Marta as they work together to solve mysteries in the fictional town of Mulberry Springs, Arkansas. As these young investigators tackle different challenges, Mystery League viewers will accompany them on intriguing adventures while learning problem-solving skills and the importance of fostering meaningful relationships. 
Mystery League episodes can support social studies in the areas of civics, economics, leadership, and serving your community. Each program has accompanying kindergarten through second-grade learning resources that align to the Arkansas Social Studies Academic Standards in the Mystery League Guide. Dancing Detective video clips are a companion that may be utilized as additional resources for classrooms.

Contact: Ronda Smith, Social Studies Program Advisor at



PreK-12 schools interested in seeking an Arkansas STEM Model School designation in 2024-25 are invited to attend an informational session. Sessions will cover program details, submission guidelines, and professional development opportunities. Participants will also gain insight from successful AR STEM Model schools about establishing and sustaining vibrant schoolwide STEM schools. Register for a session and join via Zoom here.  

Session Dates:  


Contact: Michele Snyder, State STEM Specialist at 

World Languages:  

Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy: Celebrating Over 5,000 Students Achieving Biliteracy 
Across 105 Arkansas high schools, students in 28 languages have attained biliteracy through the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy program. This prestigious seal is granted twice a year, in spring and fall, to students in grades 9 to12. It is supported by the Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association (AFLTA) and the Arkansas Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ARKTESOL), officially endorsed by the Arkansas Department of Education in June 2018. For more details or to introduce the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy in your school or district, reach out to the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy Committee at

Contact: Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy Committee at


Mental Health Awareness Week:


Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) was established with the passing of Act 290 of 2023 and shall be recognized, annually, by Arkansas schools during the first full week of classes in May.  The Arkansas Department of Education has created a toolkit to assist schools with organizing activities. This toolkit offers various resources, including ideas for schoolwide activities, materials for students, parents, and teachers, including a scripted presentation designed to educate students on mental health awareness.  

The MHAW toolkit may be accessed HERE.


The 2024 MHAW theme is “Light the Way! End the Stigma Today!” Schools and districts are encouraged to share activities on social media by tagging @ArkansasEd. Be sure to include #LightTheWayAR and #MentalHealthAwareness to help “light the way” in your community.



ADE Summit

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will host the ADE Summit which combines many smaller conferences from the past into one amazing opportunity, expanding the reach of those previous events. The Summit gives participants the opportunity to attend sessions they may have never considered before. All educators can benefit from the wide range of topics that are offered. Educators have access to exciting presenters, learn about innovative programs and so much more here

Print Memo

Share this memo