School Choice Week Begins, Features Family Activities and Town Hall-Style Reunion

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School Choice Week in Arkansas and around the country, which begins Sunday and ends Jan. 29, will include community nights in Little Rock and Pine Bluff, a virtual escape room activity, and a town hall-style session in line for military families.

Additionally, school choice supporters and schools across the state will participate in a “Wear Yellow Day” on Wednesday. And special nighttime lighting of city structures will be done to celebrate the week that aims to bring attention to the school options available to families in Arkansas and across the country.

Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed Arkansas School Choice Week.

“I support school choice,” Hutchinson said in a video statement. “Every student should be able to pursue an education in a way that gives them the best chance of success.”

The various events marking the week are organized by The Reform Alliance, a non-profit organization that champions school choice options. The alliance operates at no cost to the state the Arkansas Succeed Scholarship Program, which provides public funding for private school tuition for students who include those with disabilities or those who are dependents for military service. active and who meet the eligibility criteria.

“School Choice Week is the perfect time to celebrate the innovative solutions that schools and communities have developed to help students continue their learning during the pandemic,” said Emmy Henley, chief executive of The Reform Alliance.

“Now is also a great time to share resources for students and families who need additional education options,” Henley added.

The Reform Alliance held a rally at the State Capitol in early 2020 to celebrate school choices, but had to scrap that last year and this year due to the covid-19 pandemic. The alliance, however, is providing free supplies for the School Choice Week celebration across the state and inviting families to participate in the virtual escape room and art nights.

The Reform Alliance is hosting a virtual town hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday about opportunities and resources available for K-12 students from military families.

Panelists for the event are Terri Williams, Child and Youth Education Services School Liaison Program Manager with the 19th Force Support Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, and John “Don” Kaminar, military and veterans liaison at the Arkansas Department of Education

The panel moderator will be Lt. Col. William B. Phillips II, commander of the 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment and public affairs officer for the Arkansas National Guard.

Children of military families face unique challenges that come with military life, Henley said. “It is important that we show our support for those who serve our country by ensuring that the needs of these students are met.”

The virtual town hall will be streamed live on The Reform Alliance Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/arreformalliance.

The conversation will cover the Purple Star School program, Month of the Military Child, Impact Aid for Schools, the Succeed Scholarship Program and other topics.

More information about the week’s events is available by contacting DeAnn Thomas at [email protected] or (501) 244-9028 or by visiting the organization’s website: thereformalliance.org.

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