Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL)
On January 11th, 2019 the Little Rock Regional Chamber, in partnership with the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District, Little Rock School District, North Little Rock School District and the Pulaski County Special School District, announced the launch of an exploratory study into Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL), the education initiative of the Ford Motor Company Fund.
NGL represents an inclusive, comprehensive community initiative that brings together educators, employers, and community leaders to implement a proven model for transforming secondary schools, which ultimately improves the regional workforce development system.
The results of that report were released May 1, 2019 and include a conclusion that the four Pulaski County public school districts, along with community and business partners, are in a strong position to undertake this transformation to improve student outcomes for all students in the districts.
According to the report, “Based on our research, observations, and analysis, we believe Pulaski County districts are at a unique juncture and on the verge of community-connected education transformation. The local and regional workforce presents various high-wage, high-skill opportunities for students. Community leaders, educators (secondary and post-secondary), and employers in Pulaski County are interested in transformation and see this moment in time as the stars aligning for the change that this community needs.”
The report, which was underwritten by Entergy Arkansas, was informed by data collected over a four day visit by the NGL team to the community. They held meetings with school leaders, teachers, parents, students and alumni from all the high schools; district and state education officials; school and community advisory board presidents; teachers association representatives; leaders from UA Pulaski Tech; state legislators; chambers of commerce; and business and community leaders.
The study also outlines an inclusive community planning process for the districts to follow should they choose to move forward with this initiative. These include community visioning sessions and a representative master planning committee of over one hundred business and community members who would, in partnership with teachers and district officials, help write a master plan to guide the transformation efforts of the individual districts.
Over the next few months, representatives from each of the four districts will begin working through the process of identifying if and how they elect to proceed with the report’s recommended path forward.
“The partnership with Ford NGL, the Little Rock Regional Chamber, and our colleagues in LRSD, NLRSD, and PCSSD will transform opportunities for our scholars in the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District and all of Pulaski County. Further, this endeavor represents the commitment of multiple organizations to enhance career and college opportunities for all scholars in Pulaski County. JNPSD looks forward to the partnership and continued progress with Ford NGL.”
– Dr. Bryan Duffie, superintendent of the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District
“I am really excited about the prospect of moving forward with the Ford NGL solutions. It is critical for all the Pulaski County districts to come together to better prepare and support our students. This model will deliver real, relevant learning that will create a win for students, parents, educators, and the business community.”
– Mike Poore, superintendent of the Little Rock School District
“Our goal is to help students to become successful, productive adults by any means possible. We appreciate the representatives from Ford NGL who came into our school to gather good information that can be used to better prepare our students for careers.”
– Bobby Acklin, superintendent of the North Little Rock School District.
"We look forward to working with our colleagues in the other public school districts of Pulaski County as we engage in Phase II of NGL. We're also excited about the continued substantial engagement of the business community and their efforts to provide our young people viable and empowering educational experiences."
– Dr. Charles McNulty, superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District
“This historic partnership between the four districts has been tremendously energizing and productive. There are pockets of real excellence in each of these districts and schools, and we believe Ford NGL is the right model to help scale and spread that good work for the benefit of all students in the county.”
– Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber
“Achieving educational excellence for our future generations is critically important for moving Arkansas forward. As a 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 and CEO of Entergy Arkansas