We believe that all students will learn when they are provided with appropriate pedagogy, technology, and a positive learning environment. It is our responsibility as educators to hold high expectations and accountability for all.
The SAU Educational Renewal Zone is part of a statewide initiative by the State of Arkansas to dramatically improve overall school performance. The State of Arkansas took strong steps to resolve the gap between the academic performance of lower socio-economic students and more affluent ones. Recognizing that the overall performance of schools needed great improvement in order to meet increasing rigorous state standards and the adequate yearly progress (AYP) mandates of NCLB, the 84th General Assembly of the State of Arkansas established the Division of Education Renewal Zones within the Arkansas Department of Education to facilitate sustained collaboration with one another as well as with the regional educational service cooperatives, and with higher education institutions with teacher and school leadership preparation programs.
The legislatures reasoned that because of the dispersed rural and often lower socio-economic profiles of a large percentage of schools across the state, inter-local agreements would be quite beneficial in facilitating collaboration to strengthen school performance and student academic achievement throughout the Arkansas public schools with this profile. One of the key components of the Education Renewal Zones (ERZ) is designing an effective strategic planning framework and capitalizing on financial resources to enlist universities and educational cooperative in professional development and school improvement initiatives of lower performing campuses and districts.
Through a model of inclusiveness and high performance, the SAU Education Renewal Zone consortium actively sought synergistic advantages of collaboration and diversity. The consortium members readily achieved consensus on the use of the following model as a framework for the strategic planning process:
The strategic planning process utilized by the group is reflective of a classic strategic plan model but modified by the Director of the SAU ERZ, Dr. Roger C. Guevara, to adhere to the mandate of the state department while also, and just as importantly, meeting the unique needs of our individual school improvement plans and the common needs of the partnership schools.