The Academies of Central Arkansas

College Ready. Career Ready.

Pulaski County Educational Initiative with Ford NGL


Implementation of the Academies of Central Arkansas continues to move forward and schools will be ready to launch for the Fall 2020 semester despite the challenging times our districts are facing with COVID-19.

About Ford NGL

In January 2019, the Little Rock Regional Chamber – in collaboration with the Little Rock, North Little Rock, Jacksonville/North Pulaski and Pulaski County Special school districts – enlisted the help of Ford Next Generation Learning to see whether a community-centered, career-focused educational model could improve outcomes in those district’s high schools. 

In the News – “Academies of Central Arkansas launching this fall” READ MORE

“Cash helping Pulaski County schools on career-focus aims” READ MORE

FORD NGL

Ford NGL is a collaborative community-driven approach to education. The Academies of Central Arkansas is focused on increasing students’ academic success. Click the link below to learn more about Ford NGL.

Inside the Successes of Ford NGL Communities

The Ford NGL framework has proven to be successful. Download the PDF below to learn more about the roadmap to success for Central Arkansas.

Portrait of a Graduate

Academies of Central Arkansas students will graduate with a personal resilience and awareness necessary for success in life after high school.

phase 1 findings & Recommendations

The Ford NGL team found opportunities and feasibility across the four Pulaski County school districts. Read the details of the team’s report, along with its recommended path forward.

pulaski county ready for transformation

Pulaski County schools were deemed ready to undertake high school transformation with Academies of Central Arkansas.

infographic

Take a look at how Academies of Central Arkansas are elevating all public high schools across Pulaski County.

Achieving education excellence for our future generations is critically important for moving Arkansas forward. As part of the business community invested in the educational and economic development success of our state, we saw this as a great opportunity to facilitate the progress and potential of our students and workforce.

Laura Landreaux

President & CEO of Entergy Arkansas

Frequently Asked Questions

Established as an arm of the Ford Motor Co. Fund, Ford Next Generation Learning is an educational initiative that helps students prepare for college, career and life by engaging them in project-based learning. The team has helped more than 35 communities, including Nashville, Tenn., Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and Lexington, Ky.

The approach aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • young people prepared for college, careers, lifelong learning and leadership
  • increased community prosperity shared by all
  • a strengthened talent pipeline
  • educational equity and justice for all
  • the capacity to contribute and go further

Established as an arm of the Ford Motor Co. Fund, Ford Next Generation Learning is an educational initiative that helps students prepare for college, career and life by engaging them in project-based learning. The team has helped more than 35 communities, including Nashville, Tenn., Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and Lexington, Ky.

The approach aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • young people prepared for college, careers, lifelong learning and leadership
  • increased community prosperity shared by all
  • a strengthened talent pipeline
  • educational equity and justice for all
  • the capacity to contribute and go further

Ford NGL brings everyone to the table, including local business and civic leaders, school and district leaders, and parents and students to plan and implement an educational model to transform secondary schools.

It does so by following a frame work made up of three parts:

Transforming
teaching & learning

Transforming the secondary school experience

Transforming civic & business engagement

The first part is about changing the way that students learn, putting them in front of a hands-on project that allows them to embed their academics into authentic projects. The second part focuses on changing the school culture and structure to support the project-based teaching and learning. The third part is what separates Ford NGL from the rest: Ford NGL believes that civic and business leaders should be at the table at all times, helping form a vision of success, develop a plan to get there and implement the strategy.

To ensure success,
Ford NGL recommends a five-phase approach:

01

Explore

Understand the benefits and features of transforming the secondary school experience using the Ford NGL community-driven approach.

02

ENvision

Deepen community-wide understanding of the benefits and features. Understand and develop the systems, structures, processes and competencies needed to implement the plan and guide continuous improvement.

03

Plan

Achieve community-wide consensus on and ownership of a vision for transformation and learn what it will take to implement the vision. Create a community-wide, three-year master plan for achieving the vision that is aligned with the school district’s plans. Agree on a set of priorities for the first year of implementation.

04

Implement

Strengthen community-wide capacity to implement and continuously improve the master plan. Inspire, share and contribute to the Ford NGL network.

05

Go Further

Deepen and broaden the community-driven transformation and apply it to the entire education system. Serve as models for creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as demonstrated competence.

As a result of these efforts, Ford NGL communities have experienced:

  • increased high school graduation rates
  • increased academic achievement
  • improved preparation for college, careers and life
  • development of 21st century skills
  • increased number of students graduating from high school with industry certifications and
    college credits
  • increased earning potential
  • strengthened talent pipeline

The Pulaski County community will benefit from access to the Ford NGL network, which cultivates a spirit of sharing and innovation aimed at improving the practices used across communities. The four school districts will also be able to cut down the amount of time and money it takes to transform their secondary school experience by learning from the network of other communities who have already undergone these transformations. Pulaski County communities will have a dedicated Ford NGL National Advocate and team coach who supports and guides them as they develop and implement the master plan to scale and sustain a career academy network and prepare students for college, careers and life.

Each of the four superintendents have already taken part in Phase I (Explore), and they’ve committed to conducting the initial Design Session as part of Phase II (Envision).

No. The Ford NGL initiative can be applied individually in each district. Consolidation is not necessary and has not been – nor will it be – part of the discussion. The districts have agreed to explore this model together, knowing that all four face similar opportunities and challenges. Together, the districts can not only expedite and scale success, but they can also help elevate the entire Little Rock metropolitan area.

All high schools (10) in the Little Rock, North Little Rock, Jacksonville/North Pulaski and Pulaski County Special school districts will take part in the initiative.

The districts are currently in Phase II, setting the stage for a community-driven, collaborative planning process. Several committees, which include educators, parents, school officials, civic and business leaders and more, will work with Ford NGL and the superintendents to put together plans for small learning communities within the existing high schools. The committees will be responsible for determining the scale and types of academies created in each district.

Students’ day-to-day school activities will not change, as no decision to create the academies as been made. Once the communities determine the scale and type of academies to create in each district, we will notify educators and parents about any changes.

The exploratory phase of the process was funded by Entergy Arkansas through the Little Rock Regional Chamber and covered the time and expertise of the Ford NGL team.

If you are a business leader, elected official or other community stakeholder interested in participating on a community committee during the Phase III (Plan) processes, please contact the Little Rock Regional Chamber at 501-374-2001.

Contact Us

For more information about this educational initiative, contact Kristi Barr, director of workforce development and education at the Little Rock Regional Chamber.

Kristi Barr

Director of Workforce Development & Education
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