ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : COM-09-143

Date Created : 03/19/2009



Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: No
Section:   Communications - Julie Thompson, Director
Stimulus/Smart Accountability meeting

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
Julie Johnson Thompson

Phone Number:


On April 10, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA) will host a meeting at North Little Rock High School–East Campus to provide details to key district personnel regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and Smart Accountability.

Arkansas Commissioner of Education, Dr. Ken James, will present the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) guidance for ARRA education spending as well as ADE’s further directives for appropriate investments and transparent record-keeping.

By April 3, 2009, ADE will send Superintendents an electronic copy of the guidance to review. Questions may be submitted to the department through April 7, 2009, to enable the issues to be addressed by Dr. James at the meeting. Questions may also be asked at the meeting. Superintendents should coordinate all questions from the district so that one email is sent to

Please note that Dr. James would like the following personnel from each district to attend: superintendent, finance director, curriculum director (or other lead administrator, such as a principal or school improvement specialist), special education director, and one board member.

The USDOE has listed four guiding principles – or “assurances” – for ARRA expenditures, which include:

• Spending funds quickly to save and create jobs.

• Improving student achievement through school improvement and reform by:
o Making progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities.
o Establishing pre-K to college and career data systems that attack progress and foster continuous improvement.
o Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students, particularly students most in need;
o Providing intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools.

• Ensuring transparency, reporting and accountability. States and Local Education Agencies (LEA’s) are accountable for every penny.

• Investing one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the “funding cliff.” Funds should be invested in ways that do not result in unsustainable continuing commitments after the funding expires. At the same time, LEA’s need to think differently in regards to how ARRA funds are utilized.

Also at the meeting, Dee Cox, ADE special assistant to the commissioner, will present details of Smart Accountability, the state’s plan for differentiated accountability under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This plan does not change any of the guiding principles included in NCLB, however it does provide a differentiated intervention process so that the state can collaborate with school personnel to help the state's lowest performing schools. Specifics of the plan, including professional development plans and state school support teams, will be outlined.

ADE will provide lunch at the meeting, so districts should confirm the number of individuals that will attend to ensure enough lunches are ordered. Because of space limitations at this time, no more than five people from each district should plan to attend. Again, the following personnel from each district are encouraged to attend: superintendent, finance director, curriculum director (or other lead administrator, such as a principal or school improvement specialist), special education director and a board member. The Superintendent of each district should coordinate the district's attendees and register at Registrations will be accepted until April 3, 2009. Also, please carpool as much as possible to help with parking restrictions.

A map to the school is available at,-92.240524&spn=0.078927,0.154495&z=12&om=0

Also find attached the Smart Accountability Proposal. It is also available at


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