University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Save the Date! Bridging the Gap Symposium

In The View from the OEP on May 28, 2014 at 11:01 pm

The third annual Bridging the Gap Symposium will be held June 12, 2014 at the Jones Center in Springdale from 8:00 am-3:30 pm. This is a professional development symposium to address and coordinate statewide best practices on effectively closing the academic achievement gap. See event flier for more details.

The organization sponsoring the event is the Arkansas Commission on Closing the Achievement Gap. The philosophy of the Commission is to ensure that all children have an opportunity for an education that will focus on equity as a means to achieve a closure in scores between and among diverse learning communities of students. Further, the Commission focuses on initiatives to ensure that highly qualified teachers will be part of the equation for closing the achievement gap. Yet another gap closure strategy is to build opportunities for parents to become more involved and connected to their children’s education.

Registration costs for the event are $50 for adults and  $15 for students. There is also a limited number of need-based fee waivers available for parents and community members. Click here to register.


keith jacksonThis event will feature many exciting speakers, including Keith Jackson and the OEP’s own, Gary Ritter.

Keith Jackson is a former professional football player, a radio broadcaster for the Arkansas Razorbacks and founder and president of P.A.R.K. (Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids).

The agenda for the day will include panels on different education-related issues. The Gary Ritterfirst panel will center on the topic: Teaching for the Success of Underserved Students. Moderators and panel presenters will include:

  • Dr. Chris Goering, University of Arkansas
  • Donna Wake, University of Central Arkansas
  • Jason Endacott, University of Arkansas
  • Brandon Flammang, Springdale Public Schools
  • Olga Muñoz, Rogers Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Jeremy Owoh, Little Rock Public Schools
  • Luke Vandewalle, KIPP Delta Public Schools
  • Sarah Ford, Springdale Public Schools
  • Diana González-Worthen, OneCommunity/University of Arkansas
  • Misty Newcomb, Prism Educational Center

The second panel will discuss Effective Programs for the Success of Underserved Students. Moderators and panel presenters include:

  • Anne Saullo, Arkansas Teacher of the Year
  • Grace Hill, Arkansas Teacher of the Year
  • Jonathan Crossley, Arkansas Teacher of the Year
  • Michael Mills, University of Central Arkansas
  •  Jeanette Arnhart, UA Sin Límites
  • Bill Kopsky, Arkansas Public Policy
  • Carlos Amargós, Community Liaison at Rogers Public School District
  • Michael Poore, Superintendent for Bentonville Public Schools
  • Scott Shirey, KIPP Delta Public Schools
  • Jared Henderson, Teach for America
  • Sherece West-Scantlebury, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
  • Angela Webster- Smith, University of Central Arkansas
  • Diana González Worthen, OneCommunity/University of Arkansas
  • Jerri Derlikowski, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

The third panel is titled College and Career Programs for the Success of Underserved Students. Moderators and panel presenters include:

  • Dr. Freddie Bowles, University of Arkansas
  • Codie Ryan, LIFE/NWACC
  • John Jones, UA Center for Multicultural Diversity and Education
  • Dr. Luis Restrepo, University of Arkansas
  • Javier Reyes, University of Arkansas
  • Kathryn Birkhead, NWACC
  • Dawn Simpson, Arkansas Career Institute
  • Kim Davis, NWA Council
  • Amy Charpentier, KIPP Delta Public Schools

Again, you can register here for what is sure to be an educational and inspiring event! For more information, contact Dr. Luis Restrepo at or (479) 304-8858 or Dr. Dawn Tirado Simpson at



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