The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) requires the state to adopt standards designed to ensure an adequate supply of qualified special education personnel that are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained. For professionals in the field of deaf education, the standard in the State is licensure as a Special Education Hearing Specialist. For professionals in the field of visual impairment, the standard in the State is licensure as a Special Education Vision Specialist. In the field of speech-language pathology, the Stateís standard is licensure based on a masterís degree in Speech-Language Pathology/Communication Disorders.
The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) will provide financial assistance in the form of tuition reimbursement to eligible individuals pursuing the necessary coursework to qualify for licensure in these three areas. As a condition of acceptance into the tuition reimbursement program, each potential participant will file with the ADE an application with a signed Commitment Statement obligating the participant to obtain licensure and employment in an Arkansas local education agency in the field for which tuition assistance was provided. Employment must be for a period of time not less than the length of time reimbursement was awarded. Individuals holding a valid Arkansas teaching license are eligible for financial assistance leading to licensure as a Special Education Hearing Specialist or a Special Education Vision Specialist. Individuals holding a teaching license as a speech therapist or individuals employed by school districts and education service cooperatives as speech-language pathology assistants on the basis of a Bachelorís Degree in speech-language pathology are eligible for financial assistance leading to licensure as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Individuals pursuing the necessary coursework in earning a Masterís Degree in Speech Language Pathology/Communication Disorders also will be provided financial assistance to complete this degree toward obtaining licensure.
At the present time there is not a higher education hearing or vision teacher training program in Arkansas. However, an individual may be eligible to receive tuition reimbursement if enrolled in and taking classes at an accredited out-of-state college or university hearing or vision teacher training program. Upon starting classes, the individual must submit to the Special Education Unit evidence of the universityís accreditation, accreditation of the program, a letter of acceptance into the program, a copy of a valid Arkansas teacherís license, and coursework for the program of study.
For eligible individuals, each term/semester the ADE will reimburse all tuition and instructional fees relating to coursework leading to licensure, mileage for one roundtrip per week at the rate of $ .43 per mile from home or an origination point beyond a 50 mile radius of Little Rock, and $175.00 to address incidental costs for books and other curricular materials. Proof of payment to the programís registrar for the coursework taken will be required prior to reimbursement for tuition and instructional fees. Reimbursement for mileage will require documentation of class attendance. All reimbursement is contingent upon successful completion of term/semester coursework. Upon completion each semester, an official transcript must be submitted with the receipt of payment indicating the coursework that was paid for and completed.
For additional information, contact Donna Broyles at email@example.com or Kim Johnson at 501-682-4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.