Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Announcing THRIVE AR Leader Academy - Supporting Behavior and Mental Health for All

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Memo Date
Memo Type
Central Administration
Regulatory Authority
Act 1084
Response Required
Federal Programs; Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; Curriculum Coordinators; School Counselors; Equity Coordinators (Disability/Race/Gender/National Origin)

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Memo Text

The Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications from school districts for Cohort 1 of the AR THRIVE Leadership Academy. The AR THRIVE Leadership Academy is an intensive, hands on, multi-day training for school leaders in positive behavior and mental health supports.  The goal is to equip building leaders to support behavior and mental health in their schools both reactively and proactively.   Successful completion of the academy will result in an endorsement added to the participant's teaching license.    Space is limited, so you must submit your application by 4:30 PM on Friday April 22, 2022. Accepted applicants will be notified by Friday, May 6, 2022, with next steps and additional details.


DESE will host an informational webinar on Tuesday, March 29th at 11:00 a.m. for more details and to answer questions.  The webinar will be recorded and posted on the DESE website.  Sign up to attend the webinar:


THRIVE Leader Candidates must plan to attend all sessions of the AR THRIVE Leadership Academy. Please remember to check your professional and personal calendars and make sure you are able to attend ALL sessions. Session dates are provided below.


Dates for Cohort 1 - All sessions held at the Benton Event Center, Benton.  Lodging will be provided. 

  1. Monday - Thursday, June 20-23, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily
  2. Monday - Wednesday, July 18-20, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily
  3. Tuesday - Thursday, September 13-15, 2022, 8:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. daily
  4. Spring Presentations - 1 day TBD

AR THRIVE Leader Academy Cohort 1 District Application 


Participants must also complete and submit the Signed Expectations along with their district application.


Participants will be paid a $2500 stipend and will be eligible for an endorsement to be added to their current teaching license upon successful completion of the academy.  Successful completion of the academy includes:

  1. Attending and participating in all days of training;
  2. Completing all required assignments;
  3. Demonstrating progress toward implementation of required plan;
  4. Completing final project and presentation in spring 2023.


Purpose and Design 

The AR THRIVE Leader Academy is for those individuals who are currently serving as an administrator, dean of students or interventionist in an Arkansas public school and whose job duties require them to directly manage behavioral expectations for students in the K-12 setting. The academy will prepare participants to support behavior and mental health in their schools both reactively and proactively and strengthen current educational structures to systematically teach academic and social behaviors.  Participants will learn a variety of strategies used for prevention, de-escalation and positive supports. Some topics will include: 


  • Recognizing internal and external biases about behavior; 
  • Recognizing signs of trauma/distress that may be having an affect on the child’s behavior;
  • Establishing a Multi-Tiered System of Support to address the needs of ALL students;
  • Correcting undesirable behaviors by reinforcing desirable behaviors;
  • Understanding the behavioral and mental health supports located in their region;
  • Learning how to coordinate an inclusive building behavioral team to glean the fullest picture of a child’s resources and needs; 
  • Utilizing a Behavioral Support Plan;
  • Learning about non-punitive classroom management strategies and how to establish a system that addresses behavior from a positive lens;
  • Coaching teachers in the strategies learned;
  • Establishing essential standards and curriculum for academic and social behaviors;
  • Recognizing best practice school based mental health programming.


The AR THRIVE Academy will provide 11 days of face-to-face professional learning with assignments to be completed between the sessions. 


All expenses will be covered by the Arkansas Department of Education through the use of ARP ESSER Funds. 

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