Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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ESEA Flexibility

NEW: Arkansas’ ESEA Flexibility request has been renewed for one year. To view the approved request, go to For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Education’s website at

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 requires states to update the list of priority and focus schools to ensure that interventions are being implemented in the lowest-performing schools. Arkansas’ ESEA Flexibility request was recently renewed for one year, resulting in an updated list. View the list of priority and focus schools under Related Files on the right side of the page. To learn about priority and focus schools, ESEA flexibility and more, see the PowerPoint presentations below. 

Priority Schools PowerPoint (posted Sept. 25, 2015)

Focus Schools PowerPoint (posted Sept. 28, 2015)

The U. S. Department of Education allowed each State Education Agency (SEA) the opportunity to request flexibility on behalf of the State, Districts, and Schools to better focus on improving educational outcomes, closing achievement gaps, and increasing the quality of instruction. This opportunity will provide flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). In addition, this flexibility will build on and support the significant State and District reform efforts already underway.

Arkansas, through its Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility, seeks to support every school where students continue to struggle. The state has created a system focused on college and career readiness that incentivizes continuous improvement in every school. Building on a record of strong reforms, including the ongoing enhancement of the state's highly rated longitudinal student data system, Arkansas will maintain its track record of setting high standards and expectations; unify its accountability and support systems; better differentiate between schools and districts to ensure the needs of all students are fully met and implement a comprehensive and aligned system of educator evaluation and support.  
Arkansas's ESEA Flexibility aligns with its state’s long-range education priorities and goals. It builds on the leadership the state has demonstrated to advance reform efforts to raise the bar beyond current requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in order to achieve college and career readiness for all students through a comprehensive, interconnected plan for education in the state. The state sets clear, high expectations, thoughtfully collects information to determine if those expectations are being met, then works with schools and districts to provide the necessary supports and interventions to improve outcomes. Arkansas's rigorous system uses an important combination of data for both academic achievement and growth toward proficiency to determine if schools and districts are meeting their goals.
The state maintains a critical focus on traditional subgroups, with a continued commitment to publicly reporting disaggregated data for all subgroups and targeting supports to any group that is not meeting its targets. This new accountability system incentivizes continuous improvement for all schools and districts, and is particularly focused on intensive supports and interventions for schools that are struggling the most. 

For more information, please contact:

Annette Barnes, Assistant Commissioner
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Public School Accountability
Four Capitol Mall, Box 19
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-1298
Dr. Debbie Jones, Assistant Commissioner
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Learning Services
Four Capitol Mall, Room 306-B
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-683-4800
Ivy Pfeffer, Assistant Commissioner
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of HR, Educator Effectiveness
 and Licensure
Four Capitol Mall, Room 103-B
Little Rock, AR  72201
Phone: 501-683-4863
Fax: 501-682-1193

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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