Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Teacher Induction/Mentoring

TESS Updates 2017 - 2018         Teacher Leader Support and Development          Survive and Thrive for All Teachers          School Starter Kit


TESS Updates 2017-2018 (Facilitators Guide)          TESS 2.0



Teacher Support and Development

Believing that all students should have equal access to excellent educators, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is committed to its vision of leading the nation in student-focused education by attracting, preparing, developing, and retaining effective educators.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

As defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), an effective teacher is a teacher who, through training and experience (more than 3 years of teaching), exemplifies the state’s teaching standards as demonstrated by consistently high-performance ratings within a state-approved evaluation and support system that includes multiple measures of student growth. For example, an effective educator:

  • consistently plans and prepares to meet the needs of all students;
  • establishes an environment most conducive for learning;
  • uses the most highly instructional practices;
  • communicates and collaborates effectively with all stakeholders; and
  • seeks continual professional growth and ethical professional practice

Novice Teachers

The ADE, partnering with the state’s education service cooperatives (ESCs), provides a stronger, more flexible, personalized system of support, and prepares and develops educators who arrive through varied educational pathways. These educators may include educators with no prior teaching experience, such as:

  • novice teachers
  • school counselors
  • library media specialists, and
  • teachers hired under a waiver from licensure

Novice Teacher Quest

To align with our Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS), a tiered support structure expands mentoring support to the first three (3) years of employment. These years are designed to be formative years during which novice educators are developing their professional skills. 

A key structure of mentoring support during these formative years is the Novice Teacher Quest, (NT Quest), held by the ESCs. The multiple and tiered “Journeys” of the NT Quest are led by master teachers who utilize a variety of research-based educational strategies, including in-depth information regarding Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching upon which the Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) is based. The educational strategies are tools by which educators can translate their professional learning into practical and effective implementation on the job. Multiple journeys are held during the school year, providing novice educators opportunities to engage both in focused, professional growth development specific to their work and in networking with other educators in their region and respective fields.

Out of State Experienced Educators and Educators Returning to the Profession

Experienced educators new to Arkansas or returning to the profession may attend informational meetings on TESS and EdReflect at regional meetings. The regional meetings will be held and scheduled by each Educational Service Cooperative.

All Arkansas Educators

To facilitate professional development, TESS is a statewide support/evaluation system for all educators to have flexibility in personalizing their professional learning to meet their individual growth needs. Educators have the capacity to become self-empowered and more effective through documentation and reflection of professional practices. EdReflect is the online data collection and management system used for TESS to promote self-advocacy. This electronic platform provides educators transparency and access to communication tools to broaden their personal learning network.  Other self-directed professional growth opportunities are available through competency-based micro-credentials, located in BloomBoard Resources.


For more information, please contact:

Maureen Harness, Teacher and Leader Support Program Advisor
Arkansas Department of Education
Educator Effectiveness
Four Capitol Mall, Box 5
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-683-4382

State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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Licensure & Certification

Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.

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ESEA Flexibility

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