Implementation in Arkansas

Grant Awarded: State-wide School Improvement

The Arkansas Department of Education (Special Education Unit) received a five-year federal grant from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in 2003 to implement a state-wide school improvement process focusing on at-risk and underachieving students, and those students with disabilities.

Project ACHIEVE was explicitly written into this grant, and its state-wide implementation is under the direction of Dr. Howard M. Knoff. Given the results of this grant, Arkansas received a second five-year State Personnel Development Grant (the "next generation" of the first grant program) to expand its Project ACHIEVE outcomes to include schools needing improvement and turn-around.

The primary focus of the new State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) is:

  • (a) to improve the strategic planning, organizational alignment, resource development, and leadership capacity within involved districts and schools (Goal 1);
  • (b) to increase students' academic performance and success in reading and mathematics through a multi-tiered system of differentiated instruction and needed services, supports, strategies, and interventions (Goal 2);
  • (c) to develop and sustain students' interpersonal, social problem solving, conflict prevention and resolution, and emotional coping skills, and participating schools' overall positive school climate and safety (Goal 3); and
  • (c) to build the capacity of schools across the state relative to staff development, especially in the areas of leadership, literacy, mathematics, behavior, Response-to-Instruction and Intervention, and services for students with disabilities (Goal 4).

Through the first State Improvement Grant, Project ACHIEVE was implemented in over 50 schools across the state, and more than 75 school districts received leadership training in Project ACHIEVE's Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS). With the more-recent SPDG, we have expanded our reach to include middle and high schools, and entire districts, and virtually the entire Project ACHIEVE blueprint is being implemented as a foundation to the state's School Improvement and Closing the Achievement Gap (CTAG) initiative.

The Arkansas State Personnel Development Grant's Project ACHIEVE/Positive Behavioral Support Goals

The Arkansas State Personnel Development Grant’s Goal 3 focuses on developing and implementing positive behavioral support systems in select schools across the state using Project ACHIEVE as its evidence-based foundation. It also emphasizes the development and implementation of integrated community-based and school-based mental health models and services.

Project ACHIEVE’s Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS) involves student, staff, school, district, and community-wide programs that build and reinforce:

  • (a) students’ interpersonal, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills, resilience, strength, and capacity so that they can academically and behaviorally succeed;
  • (b) schools’ positive, safe, supportive, and consistent climates and settings; and
  • (c) collaborative partnerships from school to home to community.

For more information:

More information on the outcomes from these first two Arkansas' State Personnel Development grants, a comprehensive Evaluation Report is available from Dr. Knoff.