The Arkansas - 21C Network Web Site promotes an initiative between the Yale School of the 21st Century Program and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation in Arkansas. The ultimate goal of the Arkansas 21C Network is to ensure that more children and families throughout the state have the benefit of high-quality preschool and other 21C program services in their communities. Lessons from the Arkansas 21C Network will hopefully inspire changes in the funding priorities on the part of Arkansas state leaders and position Arkansas as a leader among other states. As other states make decisions about how to best support young children and families, they can look to Arkansas for their experience and direction.
Arkansas and the School of the 21st Century (21C) have a long history. The first 21C site in the state, Paragould’s School of the 21st Century, was established in 1992. In the mid-1990s, other schools in Arkansas expressed an interest in the program, and in 1997 the Yale Center for Child Development and Social Policy started working on a statewide presence in Arkansas with the Arkansas Department of Education. Additionally, the Ross Foundation has made a substantial investment in the Arkadelphia school district to enable district-wide implementation and outreach to the wider community.
There are many schools across Arkansas that are participating within the Arkansas 21C Network, with many more coming on board.
Our schools are facing changes related to the needs of today’s children and families and school achievement requirements.
New patterns of work and family life have generated concerns for parents, especially a pressing need for affordable, quality childcare. These same changes have created new challenges for educators to ensure that children arrive at school ready to learn and receive the support they need to succeed academically.
Schools across Arkansas are implementing the School of the 21st Century Program, a school-based or school-linked model providing services and programs -- such as home visitations, all day early care and education, before-, after-school, and vacation care, and more -- to families with children from birth to age 12.