The purpose of this Commissioner’s Memo is to clarify the requirements for teaching Arkansas History and the in-service requirement for teachers of Arkansas History. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) would like to remind all district personnel that Act 787 of 1997 requires one unit of Arkansas history be taught as a social studies subject at each elementary grade level in every public school in the state, with greater emphasis at the fourth and fifth grade levels. In addition, at least one full semester of Arkansas History shall be taught to all students at the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, OR twelfth grade in every secondary public school in the state. Ark. Code Ann. Sec. 6-16-124 addresses Act 787 of 1997. Furthermore, Arkansas History courses shall follow the Arkansas History Framework for content to ensure that the courses represent the most accurate and historically sound account of the pre-history, history and culture of Arkansas, including the significant contributions and achievements of all segments of the population.
Act 2095 of 2005, and Ark. Code Ann. Sec. 6-17-703, amend the Arkansas History in-service training requirement. Act 2095 states the following: “Every public school district in this state shall provide two hours of substantive and meaningful in-service training in Arkansas history each school year for its teachers who provide instruction in Arkansas history.” In other words, if a teacher teaches Arkansas History, the teacher must have two hours of Arkansas history in-service every year. The in-service hours will count toward satisfaction of the required sixty hours of professional development.
At this time, the State Board of Education has no plan for criterion-referenced assessment in social studies. According to the ADE Rules Governing the Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment and Accountability Program and the Academic Distress Program, 5.02.1 “The Department shall develop and implement criterion-referenced assessments as follows: … (4) social studies as funds are available and approved by the State Board of Education.” ADE, well in advance of a comprehensive criterion-referenced social studies assessment, will notify school districts.
Questions should be directed to Maggie Herrick, Social Studies Specialist, Arkansas Dept. of Education, 4 State Capitol Mall, Rm. 105-A, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-5303 or email@example.com.