As part of his goals related to education in Little Rock, Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. is focusing on chronic absenteeism, after school initiatives, workforce training, literacy and advocacy. Scott hosted a meeting Monday for more than 60 city and state leaders from a variety of education organizations representing everything from pre-natal care to adult education.
After sharing their individual approaches to meeting Little Rock's education needs, the organizations were invited to be a part of workgroups on each topic.
"I feel very positive about the response today," Scott said after the meeting. "Anytime that you can convene that type of powerful and productive room in the name of education in the City of Little Rock is a great day."
Each workgroup is expected to meet at least once more before the end of the year to begin working on a report to be presented to the mayor's office.
During her 10 years as the Director of the Arkansas Out of School Network, Laveta Wills-Hale has participated in similar meetings. She felt something was different about this one.
"I didn't hear anyone in that room talking about turf and what my organization does as opposed to yours," she said. "Folks are really thinking through if we're going to address these challenges in a way that makes a difference that is sustainable, then it has to be together. And so what I heard was a theme of unity and real deep, meaningful collaboration and partnership."