Mashburn Center for Learning Awarded $280,000

The College of Education has received notice from the Arkansas Department of Education that UCA’s Mashburn Center for Learning has been awarded $280,000 to improve academic outcomes for students at risk for school failure.

The grant will be used to fund high-quality, research-based professional development to science, math, English, social studies, and special education teachers who work with adolescents.

A critical part of the Mashburn mission is to build statewide capacity to provide professional development for teachers across content disciplines. The Mashburn team has developed a professional development/sustainability model designed to certify professional developers within school districts and education co-op sites.

The funding is part of the Arkansas Adolescent Literacy Intervention (AALI), an intervention developed and implemented by the Mashburn Center for Learning team in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education. The intervention is designed to prepare classroom teachers to use scientifically based instructional practices to improve outcomes for students prone to fail or fall behind.

Currently, there are approximately 580 content teachers, instructional facilitators, special educators, and co-op content education specialists involved in the AALI. The participants in the AALI represent approximately 25 to 30 Arkansas school districts.

Drs. Mark Cooper, Patty-Kohler Evans, Renee Calhoon, and Kathleen Atkins wrote the grant proposal.

“This grant award speaks volumes about the confidence the ADE has in the achievements of the Arkansas Adolescent Literacy Intervention,” said Dr. Kathleen Atkins, Chair of the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education. “The Mashburn Team has replaced the traditional ‘hit and run’ professional development approach to professional development designed for sustainability and scalability.”

Dr. Diana Pounder, dean of the College of Education, said the college is pleased for the continuance of this relationship with the ADE.

“The Mashburn Center for Learning team continues to build some significant bridges among general content educators, special educators, STEM educators, and those in Higher Education,” she said.

Dr. Cooper, director of the Mashburn Center for Learning added, “We are indebted to the ADE for their confidence in our efforts. We have one of the most skillful professional development teams in the state. Dr. Patty Kohler-Evans and Dr. Renee Calhoon coordinate our professional development.”