Pulaski County, Arkansas - 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 exploratory study will include an initial financial investment by the local business community, through the Little Rock Regional Chamber, which will collectively benefit all four Pulaski County public school districts. The NGL model is nationally recognized for its unique approach to learning and is transforming public high schools to better prepare students for college and professional success in today’s competitive, global economy.
The study will evaluate what each district currently has in place to bring a career-focus to student achievement at the high school level. Additionally, it will provide critical information to help district leadership and senior chamber officials decide if full implementation of the five phases is necessary.
Through this initial phase, chamber officials and school district leaders will work side-by-side with the Ford NGL team of experts who will visit each participating high school the week of January 14th.
“The Jacksonville North Pulaski School District looks forward to the partnership with the Little Rock Regional Chamber and all the school districts in Pulaski County, as we move forward to strengthen our career and technical educational programs.”
– Dr. Bryan Duffie, superintendent of the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District
“This is a perfect example of schools and community working collaboratively to ensure student success. I am especially grateful that the Chamber has actively worked to engage all of districts in Pulaski County. The Little Rock School District is appreciative of the efforts that are taking place though this partnership and excited about the next steps in moving the initiative forward to create real, relevant learning opportunities.”
– Mike Poore, superintendent of the Little Rock School District
"I personally thank the Little Rock Regional Chamber for taking a vested interest in the direction of our schools. I, along with our district leadership, teachers, and staff, look forward to seeing the results of the exploratory study."
– Bobby Acklin, superintendent of the North Little Rock School District.
"The Pulaski County Special School District is thrilled to be working alongside the other school districts in Pulaski County to begin this exploratory study. We're excited to see how Ford NGL can help all of us showcase our strengths and improve upon weaknesses for the betterment of our community."
– Dr. Charles McNulty, superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District
Frequently Asked Questions
Ford Next Generation Learning is a collaborative community-driven approach to achieve the following outcomes:
- young people prepared for college, careers, lifelong learning, and leadership;
- increased community prosperity shared by all;
- a strengthened talent pipeline;
- educational equity and justice for all; and
- the capacity to contribute and go further
Ford Next Generation Learning comprises a network of mutually supportive communities that encourage one another to continuously improve. They seek opportunities to innovate and go further in their quest to increase student achievement, improve workforce and economic development outcomes, and ultimately achieve community prosperity.
Ford NGL mobilizes educators, local employers and community leaders to prepare a new generation of young people who will graduate from high school ready for college, careers and life – prepared to compete successfully in our modern economy.
Three distinct but interconnected strands comprise the ford NGL Framework. These strands enable whole communities to design and carry out a long-term plan for revitalizing education:
Transforming Teaching and Learning:
Creating meaningful learning experiences that enable students to learn and apply academic, 21st century, and technical knowledge and skills to real-world challenges and that equip them for success in college and careers.
Transforming the Secondary School Experience:
Creating and maintaining the career and interest-themed academies and the collaborative culture, structures, and practices necessary to transform teaching and learning and to capitalize on community engagement.
Transforming Business and Civic Engagement:
Engaging employers, educators, and community leaders in building and sustaining transformed secondary schools that promote community growth and prosperity by preparing students for future work and citizenship.
Ford NGL is a unique and comprehensive community initiative that brings together educators, employers and community leaders to implement a proven model for transforming secondary schools. These transformed schools infuse the high expectations and academic rigor of college preparatory academic programs with the real-world relevance and rigor of career and technical education. Students choose career pathways across a variety of sectors that drive economic growth in their communities. Ford NGL uses the power of workplace relevance and business relationships to excite young people about education and to prepare them for success in college, careers and life.
Communities benefit from access to the Ford NGL network, which cultivates a spirit of sharing and innovation aimed at improving the practices used across our communities. Communities are able to cut down the amount of time and money it takes them to transform their secondary school experience by learning from the network of other communities who have been in their shoes. Each Ford NGL community has a dedicated Ford NGL National Advocate and team Coach, who supports and guides communities as they develop and implement a Ford NGL Master Plan to scale and sustain a career academy network and prepare students for success in college, careers and life. Ongoing access to innovative approaches that emerge from the network helps communities develop the local capacity to sustain community engagement and continue to transform the high school experience.
The NGL program prepares students for life after high school partially by involving businesses in the education process. Businesses partner with NGL schools in various ways. They might hold occasional chats with students at lunch or even offer mentorships. In Nashville, Tenn., the first Ford Next Generation Learning community, some businesses have even installed centers in the schools that employ students. NGL business partners can also offer teacher externships during the summer so educators can learn how traditional school subjects are applied in the workforce.
The process begins with a Phase I assessment by the NGL experts, which includes a thorough analysis of the local schools and regional economy. The results of that assessment will then be used during Phases II (Envision) & III (Plan) to help the local planning committees, comprised of community stakeholders, parents, teachers, district leadership, business leaders, faith-based leaders, elected officials, etc., make data-driven determinations as a group. Planning committees for Pulaski County have not been selected at this point. Public solicitation for committee members will occur if the districts elect to move forward with Phases II & III.
During the Phase I assessment, a team of technical experts from Ford NGL will visit Pulaski County for four days to conduct information gathering and exploratory meetings with leadership in the Jacksonville North Pulaski, Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School districts. They will also meet with principals, staff, teachers, students, and parents at the following high schools:
- Mills HS
- Robinson HS
- Sylvan Hills HS
- Maumelle HS
- Jacksonville HS
- Metropolitan Career Vocational Tech
- North Little Rock HS/COE
- Central HS
- Parkview HS
- Hall HS
- Southwest HS
During the Phase I visit, the team will also meet with business leaders, elected officials, chambers of commerce, nonprofits, post-secondary education, and other community stakeholders to gather critical feedback on the connections between schools, post-secondary education, and industry and opportunities for greater collaboration.
After conducting their exploratory visit, the team at Ford NGL will document and synthesize their findings, present opportunities, and highlight areas where good work can be leveraged and grown. These results will help give the four districts the information they need to identify if, and how, to move forward with any additional steps in the creation of career academies. The results should be delivered to the districts and their partner, the Little Rock Regional Chamber, by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
During Phase I, if you are interested in being part of the exploratory visit and you are a student, teacher or parent at one of the high schools within the Jacksonville North Pulaski, Little Rock, North Little Rock, or Pulaski County Special School districts, please contact your principal. If you are a business leader, elected official, or other community stakeholder please reach out to the Little Rock Regional Chamber at 501-374-2001.
At this point, each of the four superintendents have committed to have their district participate in a Phase I assessment paid for by the business community through the Little Rock Regional Chamber. No decisions beyond the initial exploratory study have been made.
No. The Ford NGL model can be applied individually in each district. Consolidation of the districts is not necessary at any point during the NGL process and has not been part of the discussion. The agreement to explore this model together, is simply an acknowledgement, that common challenges and opportunities exist across all four districts, and pursuing solutions as partners can lead to expedited and scalable success for all.
During Phase I, no changes will occur at the school or district levels. Phase I is simply an information gathering and exploratory process. Should the districts agree to move forward beyond Phase I, an inclusive and collaborative local planning process would begin. Several committees, comprised of community stakeholders, parents, teachers, district leadership, business leaders, faith-based leaders, elected officials, etc., would work with Ford NGL experts and district leadership to craft plans for small learning communities within the existing high schools. Determinations on the scale and type of academies will be left to those community planning committees. For more information on NGL academies in other communities please view the following video:
Phase I is being paid for by the local business community through the Little Rock Regional Chamber. These dollars cover the time and expertise of the Ford NGL team.
At the moment, no decision to create academies has been made. Phase I is merely an exploratory study of the four school districts in Pulaski County. This question would not be tackled until Phases II and III should the districts elect to move forward. At that time, several committees, comprised of community stakeholders, parents, teachers, district leadership, business leaders, faith-based leaders, elected officials, etc., would work with Ford NGL experts and district leadership to craft the plan.