Under the leadership of UALR, the Little Rock School District, the City of Little Rock, Arkansas Children's Hospital, New Futures, and the Central Arkansas Library System will embark on a new joint project which targets the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood.
Armed with $430,000 the group will begin planning a strategy to provide "cradle-to-college and career" services for families in this neighbhood.
As City Director Ken Richardson noted at Tuesday's press conference, the services may already exsists, it is just often the service providers don't communicate with each other.
All six partners are excited to move forward with the project and offer their area of expertise to the neighborhood. Dr. Joel Anderson, UALR Chancellor, noted this new start for the neighborhood, "A new season is beginning today."
The Little Rock School District will work speficially with the schools that fall in the targeted Promise neighborhood, which include Franklin Elementary, Stephens Elementary, Bale Elementary, Forest Heights Middle, and Hall High. The emphasis will be to bring educational reform that results in a high quality education for these students from Pre-K to graduation. From this strong foundation these students will be able to attend college and embark on their dream profession.
Dr. Sadie Mitchell, Associate Superintendent for Elementary Education, acknowledged the enormity of the project and the district's dedication to its success, "One block at a time....We will have a 'whatever it takes' attitude.
The start-up grant will give UALR and its partners a year to prepare for the full-scale implementation of a program aimed at replicating the kind of private-public partnerships that made the Harlem Children’s Zone a model to provide children in the neighborhood “whatever it takes” to raise them up from babyhood to college.
To address the challenges faced by students living in communities of concentrated poverty, Promise Neighborhoods grantees and their partner organizations will plan to provide services from early learning to college and career, including programs to improve the health, safety, and stability of neighborhoods, and boost family engagement in student learning.