Applications for the prestigious Arkansas Declaration of Learning program are now open. Over the last three years, more than 6,000 Arkansas students have participated in classroom lessons and civic engagement projects developed through the program.


Miekka Maile, who teaches grades seven and eight at Lonoke Middle School in the Lonoke School District, and Victoria Wadley, who teaches World and A.P. European History at Cabot High School, were among those who recently completed the year-long program and returned as mentors to fellow educators. The program provides participating educators with the opportunity to use historic art and objects to develop innovative lesson plans for classroom learning and civic engagement projects.


“The strategies we learned: teaching students to observe details first, then ask questions, and only then draw their conclusions – have made my students much better thinkers,” Maile said. “Now they are the ones saying to each other: ‘No, I think that is a conclusion. What observations are leading you to that conclusion?”


Arkansas school librarians and teachers of art, English language arts, and social studies in grades 7 to 12 are encouraged to apply. Applications are now open and close at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 25. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/learning-services/curriculum-and-instruction/library-media-services


Arkansas is the first state in the nation to participate in the Declaration of Learning program. Partners include the Arkansas Department of Education, Clinton Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, William J. Clinton Presidential Library, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms.