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Walton Family Foundation grants $1.3 million to Arkansas schools

The Walton Family Foundation announced Tuesday (June 18) grants totaling  $1.3 million to two organizations working to improve the quality of the state’s K-12 schools. 

The Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science (AAIMS) and Arkansas Tech University’s Center for Executive Leadership (ACEL) Leader-to-Leader (L2L) program were awarded the funds.

“The economic well-being of our state depends upon the ability to create an environment where every child in Arkansas has access to a high-quality, publicly funded education,” said Kathy Smith, senior program officer for the foundation’s Arkansas Education Reform initiative.

“We believe in preparing students for success with a quality education. When you do, academic expectations grow, graduation rates rise and the standard of living improves. Arkansas has made significant gains in education and we will continue to invest in programs that help raise the academic bar.”

Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science (AAIMS), will receive $875,000 to continue growing the number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes available to low income and minority populations.

This two-year grant will help the group increase enrollment in AP Math, Science, and English courses with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of qualifying scores on these exams. Previous foundation support for AAIMS is more than $2.9 million.

“This grant will help us reach more of Arkansas’ most vulnerable students and give them the tools they need to excel at AP courses and in turn prepare them for college. We are proud of the success we’ve had the past four years and look forward to seeing the results of our efforts in the coming years,” said Tommie Sue Anthony, executive director of AAIMS.

The second organization, Arkansas Tech University Center for Executive Leadership (ACEL) Leader-to-Leader (L2L) program, will receive more than $450,000 to continue work in developing strong district and school leaders for Arkansas public schools.

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The program promotes creative thinking and problem solving by Arkansas’ school administrators.  With this investment, the foundation has now supported the program with more than $2.5 million in grants since 2007.

The L2L program conducts a series of “academies” to assist the school and district leaders in obtaining the skills necessary to meet the challenges in the demanding and politically charged world of public education.

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