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Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on inquiries we have received during our “Conversations with the New ALA” tour, as well as through email submissions.

If you have a question or need additional information, please feel free to contact us using the form link below: 

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Frequently Asked Questions

ALA Reach is a set of professional learning offerings that any Arkansas educational leader or aspiring leader may choose to join. These offerings range from an ongoing, virtual community of practice to one-time webinars that can be watched live or on-demand. There is no application process for ALA Reach. Participants may register and join single events or series as their schedule allows.

There will be many offerings throughout the course of the year. Some will be pre-recorded and available on-demand. Others will be offered live and recorded when possible, for later viewing. Date will be published on the website and advertised several weeks in advance.

ALA Reach offerings that are available on-demand will not require pre-registration but we ask for participant information at the time of viewing for record-keeping purposes. We anticipate there will be many groups accessing the ALA Reach offerings, and we need to document correctly the number of participants accessing the training.

Each ALA Reach offering with limited participation will have its own registration. Registration will be available several weeks in advance.

Some sessions may occur during the school day, while others will be offered outside of school hours. Sessions specifically designed for teacher leaders and aspiring leaders will be offered at times when most teachers would be able to participate. The majority of sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing for those whose schedules do not allow live participation.

At this time, there are no ALA Reach offerings planned that would have a cost associated.

Teacher leaders and aspiring leaders are encouraged to participate in ALA Reach events that relate to the teachers’ interests, career goals, and schedules. Administrators are also encouraged to participate based on their own interests, career goals, and schedules.

The Arkansas Leadership Academy is a state-funded program for educational leaders and aspiring leaders serving in Arkansas schools. It is not open to educators working in schools outside of Arkansas.

ALA Collaborative is the collective name for all programs and experiences offered by the ALA that require application and a long-term commitment. Some programs, like the Master Principal Program, are specifically designed as a multi-phase, multi-year process. Other programs and experiences are designed to last approximately one school year; however, all of the ALA Collaborative programs and experiences are personalized to the participants and teams who apply. Participants and teams will have personalized journeys that include the following:

  • Common professional learning in the ALA focus areas of Collaborative Leadership, Collective Efficacy, and Cultural Competence;
  • Personalized professional learning and application based on team goals, individual career goals, and current roles in education; and
  • Opportunities to demonstrate professional growth, school outcomes, and student outcomes.

The ALA Collaborative will include the Master Principal Program, Teacher Leader Program, Instructional Leder Empowerment, School Team Empowerment, and Executive & Policy Leader Empowerment.

Costs associated with participation are primarily related to travel for face-to-face events. These costs include hotel rooms, meals, and mileage to and from the event venue. The Master Principal Program is unique in that overnight accommodations and meals are provided by the State funding.

Sessions will be scheduled throughout the year and dates provided to potential participants as part of the application process.

Relationships are quickened by joint work, which is key to leadership development programs like ALA. And lasting connections are often forged in the “down time” between formal sessions and in the evenings of overnight institutes. Participants will be encouraged to use these opportunities, both inside and outside of formal learning experiences, to develop relationships with colleagues across the state as well as those closer to home on whom they can rely for years to come.

The ALA Collaborative is set up as a cohort model, which supports both joint work and common “down time.” Participants of one cohort will have opportunities to engage with participants in other cohorts; however, the majority of learning and “down time” will likely be with others from the same cohort.

Over the past five years, research, evidence, and our own experience have shown that relationships can be built in a variety of contexts, including completely virtual cohorts when they are designed specifically with relationship-building in mind. It is not the intention of the ALA to have any completely virtual cohorts but rather to supplement face-to-face learning with virtual experiences. When virtual experiences are used as part of a cohort, those experiences will be designed to nurture the relationships already developed and build on the work begun in face-to-face sessions.

Teacher leaders and aspiring leaders are encouraged to apply to ALA Collaborative, specifically for the Teacher Leader Program and School Team Empowerment. Administrators are also encouraged to apply to ALA Collaborative, specifically for the Master Principal Program, Instructional Leader Empowerment, School Team Empowerment, and Executive & Policy Leader Empowerment.

For this transition year (2021-2022), our first focus is on transitioning participants of the Master Principal Program because it is a multi-phase process, and also on launching ALA Reach. Therefore, new cohorts of other ALA Collaborative programs and experiences will begin later in the school year. When applications are posted, notifications will be sent through a variety of channels. If you would like to make sure you are notified, please submit your email address here.

Any Arkansas educational leader or aspiring leader is eligible to apply for the ALA Collaborative. When you apply, you’ll be asked to identify which of the programs or experiences align with your current job role and career goals. If you are applying as a part of a team for School Team Empowerment, you will also have an opportunity as an individual to select “add-on” programming for Teacher Leadership, Instructional Leadership, or Executive & Policy Leadership.

  • The Teacher Leadership Institute will become the Teacher Leader Program of the ALA Collaborative. It will be similar in content but may have some noticeable changes in delivery. The Teacher Leader Program will continue to allow participants to work toward Lead-Teacher Professional Licensure as part of the ADE’s Career Continuum.
  • The Team Institute will become School Team Empowerment of the ALA Collaborative. It will be similar in content but may have some noticeable changes in delivery. The intention of School Team Empowerment is to assist schools in accelerating implementation and impact of school initiatives and continuous improvement processes.
  • The Assistant Principal Institute will be merged into Instructional Leader Empowerment of the ALA Collaborative. Participants will be grouped based on current role; therefore, assistant principals will continue to have access to colleagues across the state in the same position.
  • The Student Voice Institute will not be offered by the ALA; however, it may be offered by other organizations or even individual partners of the ALA. The topics of student voice, educator voice, and community voice in school decision-making will be addressed as a key theme throughout ALA Reach and ALA Collaborative programs and experiences.
  • School Support/Organizational Development Performance Coaches will not be offered through the ALA; however, they may be offered by other organizations or even individual partners of the ALA. Schools and districts wishing to continue support from the ALA may find the School Team Empowerment to be a useful experience. Teams in School Team Empowerment will receive individualized support and technical assistance as part of the experience.
  • Facilitation of Adult Learning will be addressed through ALA Reach and ALA Collaborative programs and experiences.
  • Executive Leadership Collaborative will be part of Executive & Policy Leader Empowerment of the ALA Collaborative. Participants will be grouped based on current role; therefore, executive leaders will continue to have access to colleagues across the state in the same position.

Application criteria will be finalized and published on the website when applications are available.

The ALA will have six advisory committees. These are:

  • Governance Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Publicity and Communications Committee
  • Project Management and Leadership Committee
  • Evaluation Advisory Panel

Each committee will include experts, partners, and key stakeholders, including current practitioners. If you are interested in serving on an advisory board, please email us at ala@apsrc.net or submit this form.

No, there is no requirement that in-state experts be part of other state programs. A variety of in-state experts will be needed for various roles. All applicants for consulting contracts and those interested in serving as mentors, presenters, or learning facilitators will be vetted for knowledge and expertise in their field.

Arkansas Public School Resource Center is the lead partner on this project and the fiscal agent. APSRC will subcontract with its two partners, Arkansas State University and EDUTAS at the University of Oklahoma Outreach, to provide various aspects of the Arkansas Leadership Academy. Other national subject matter experts, as well as in-state experts, will be used in addition to these two partners to provide high-quality professional learning.

The Master Principal Program was created by law to provide “training programs and opportunities to expand the knowledge base and leadership skills of public school principals.” It consists of three phases:

“Phase One,” which shall expand the knowledge base and leadership skills of the principal;

“Phase Two,” which shall require the principal to apply strategies and to collect evidence of improvement in student learning and school processes; and

“Phase Three,” which shall require the principal to publicly demonstrate the ability and skills that lead to sustained academic improvement in a school and a school district.

Any Arkansas principal with one year of experience may apply for Phase 1. A school principal successfully completing all phases and designation requirements of the program is designated as a Master Principal by the Arkansas Leadership Academy.

Our Master Principal Program Director will convene a group of stakeholders to review the current performance strands and rubrics and crosswalk these with the Arkansas Leadership Standards, LEADS 2.0, and other state expectations. If a decision is made to modify the current performance strands and rubrics for new cohorts entering the Master Principal Program, a subsequent decision will be made about how best to transition or continue the current performance strands and rubrics for those participants currently in Master Principal Program Phase 1 and 2.

Our intention is to provide as smooth a transition as possible for those already in the Master Principal Program; therefore, we will assess current knowledge and skills of those already in the program using the portfolio of evidence they submit to the ALA facilitators in May 2021. We will then modify our program to best meet the needs of each cohort already in the Master Principal Program.

The majority of the Master Principal program will be face-to-face sessions, supplemented with virtual experiences to provide more frequent touch-points with program participants. When virtual experiences are used as part of a cohort, those experiences will be designed to nurture relationships already developed within the cohort and build on the joint work begun in face-to-face sessions.

Face-to-face sessions will be scheduled based on venue availability and the number of participants for each cohort. The majority of Master Principal Program face-to-face sessions will be held in a centralized location; however, participants may also be required to attend some regional face-to-face experiences to increase their engagement with local leaders. Some sessions may be offered in retreat settings allowing for more extensive cohort relationship building, while other sessions may be held in larger venues to support cross-collaboration among cohorts.

Yes, the Master Principal Program will continue to be free for participants and their districts, including lodging and meals.

Yes, there will be a Master Principal Program in 2021-2022, and it will include all three phases of the program.

Participants in Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the Master Principal Program have been asked to submit a portfolio of evidence about their professional growth, school outcomes, and student outcomes to the Master Principal Program facilitator by May 9, 2021. Upon review of these portfolios, the previous ALA operator determined who met the criteria for completing the current phase and is ready to move onto the next phase. Those current participants who are committed to continuing in the program will complete our intake form, which includes signed expectations for the upcoming year.

Please contact us directly at ala@apsrc.net or submit this form to ensure we have your contact information. We will ask you to complete our intake form, which includes signed expectations for the upcoming year.

Yes, the AAEA will be notifying us of who has successfully completed the 2020-2021 AAEA First Year Principal program so that we can provide those participants with our intake form, which includes signed expectations for the upcoming year.

Yes. Our Master Principal Program is personalized, so some participants may be able to work through Master Principal Program Phase 1 at a faster rate than other participants; however, all participants must meet the expectations and pass the assessments of Phase 1 to move on to Phase 2. The Master Principal Program supports HRS implementation, but there is not a one-to-one relationship between Master Principal Program Phase 1 and HRS Level 1 certification.

Dates and locations for Master Principal Program Phase 1, 2, and 3 are in the process of being finalized. These will be communicated to participants already in the program and will be included in the application for the new Phase 1 cohort.

According to state law, “a school principal successfully completing the program shall be designated as a master school principal by the academy.” Designated Master School Principals are eligible to receive financial incentives from the State as described below:

  • All Designated Master School Principals
    • $9,000 yearly incentive bonus for up to 5 years, while serving as full-time, building-level principal in an Arkansas public school;
  • Designated Master School Principals in High-Need Schools
    • $20,000 yearly high-need salary bonus for up to 5 years, while serving as a full-time, building-level principal in a high-need Arkansas public school;
    • Plus $15,000 at the end of the third consecutive year and $10,000 at the end of the fifth consecutive year in the same school.

After July 1, a notice will be published with instructions on how to indicate that you intend to apply for designation. If you would like to make sure you are notified, please email us at ala@apsrc.net or submit this form.

As long as you are still within the window of six years from the time you began the Master Principal Program, you may apply for designation without any additional steps. If you are not within the six years, you may seek a waiver based on extenuating circumstances. COVID-19 should not be a reason that someone would need to go back through the three phases.

Our intention is to make the transition as smooth as possible for Master Principal Program participants. We do not intend to make any major changes to the rubric or designation process for those who have already completed Master Principal Program Phase 3. Each team of designation reviewers will include individuals who are experienced with the rubrics and designation criteria.

The decision is currently under review and will involve input from a wide variety of stakeholders.

For those individuals who demonstrate mastery of the content through a site visit during Phase 3 programming, an additional site visit may not be necessary. If additional information is needed to confirm that the candidate has met the requirements for designation, an additional site visit may be scheduled.

No. DESE provide the stipends to eligible Master School Principals.

The law does not distinguish between the models; therefore, there would be no additional financial incentive to complete the process and designate again.

High-need schools are identified as failing to meet certain established levels of academic achievement under rules adopted by the State Board of Education. The State Board is reevaluating Master Principal Program rules. We will make this information available as soon as possible.

Teacher leaders are encouraged to participate in ALA Reach and/or to apply for the Teacher Leader Program. Teachers may also apply as part of a team for School Team Empowerment. All of these offerings will extend a teacher leader’s learning about leadership in and through the classroom.

Through the Teacher Leader Program, School Team Empowerment, and ALA Reach, teacher leaders will be provided knowledge and skills to expand their reach throughout their school, district, region, and state. Teacher leaders who have already gained such knowledge and skills are encouraged to consider applying to be a mentor, learning facilitator, or presenter who helps lead and facilitate ALA offerings statewide or regionally.

Teacher leaders who can demonstrate mastery of teacher leadership knowledge and skills will have opportunities to serve as mentors, learning facilitators, and presenters – both as part of ALA Reach and through the ALA Collaborative programs and experiences.

Yes, the Teacher Leader Program, School Team Empowerment, and ALA Reach will incorporate strategies for working with other adults to build strong structures within and across departments.

Yes. DESE created Lead-Teacher Designation as part of the Teacher Career Continuum. “To encourage teacher leadership and provide Arkansas Teachers with viable career options, the state’s Teacher Leader Advisory Group created the Teacher Career Continuum, effective May 2019 … Lead-Teacher Professional designations recognize teachers for demonstrating job-embedded professional learning. [This designation distinguishes] these teachers as expert practitioners and leaders in the teaching profession. Teachers with lead … designations may become mentors to aspiring teachers or early career professionals, and assume leadership positions with their school communities.”

The Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Teacher Leader Program is designed to incorporate the requirements for Lead-Teacher Designation for those who would like to purse that career pathway.

To learn more about the Lead-Teacher Designation, please see https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/educator-effectiveness/impact-tomorrow-grow-through-the-career-continuum/lead-teacher-designation-pathways