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Arkansas Geographic Alliance “Promoting Geographic Literacy in a Global Environment�

Strategic Plan: 2012 - 2014

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Table of Contents Vision ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…….….……..….. 4 Mission Values Current Situation Strategic Goal #1: Communicate With and Engage Stakeholders …...…………….…………….……… 6 Activity #1.1: Create Plan to Communicate and Engage Objective #1: Regularly inform stakeholders about Alliance Strategic Goal #2: Measure Geographic Literacy …………………………………………………………………. 6 Activity #2.1: Create Plan and Measure Geographic Literacy Objective #1: Annually measure geographic literacy Strategic Goal #3: Establish an Efficient Infrastructure ……………………………………….……..…….… 7 Activity #3.1: Develop Organizational Structure Objective #1: Create an efficient operational plan and structure Sub Activity #1: Partner with host institution Objective #1: Establish a Memorandum of Understanding …… 7 Sub Activity #2: Establish a Coordinator transition plan Objective #1: Create a transition plan Activity #3.2: Develop a Financial Plan ………………………………………………………………………. 8 Objective #1: To enable long-term financial sustainability Activity #3.3: Incorporate Technology …………………………………………………………..….….……. 9 Objective #1: To function effectively and efficiently Activity #3.4: Increase Membership 2% per year Objective #1: To provide more exposure and build a larger labor force Strategic Goal #4: Provide Professional Development and other Programs ……………………….. 10 Activity #4.1: Create a series of professional development programs Objective #1: To improve geographic knowledge and improve pedagogy Strategic Goal #5: Establish Partnerships that will contribute to Educational Reform ……..… 11 Activity #5.1: Develop partnerships with organizations interested in Alliance initiatives Objective #1: To broaden support for geographic literacy and education Activity #5.2: With partners, develop a plan to reform school curriculum Objective #1: To improve geographic literacy among students Evaluation Plan …………………………………………………………………………………………………….…...….…….. 12

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Appendices Strategic Plan Chronology ……………………………………………………….………….……..………….. 14 Organizational Structure ……………………………………………………………………..…………………. 17

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Vision Individual citizens, businesses, educational institutions, and public and private organizations in Arkansas realize that a geographic literate population is essential and critical for economic competiveness in an interdependent, global society for the preservation of the quality of life and for environmental sustainability. These persons, institutions, and organizations will promote the need for, assist in the advancement of, and provide financial support for geography education and geographic literacy. Therefore, by 2025, geography will be a preeminent component of the school curriculum at all levels and supported by all stakeholders.

Mission The Mission of the Arkansas Geographic Alliance is to advocate and advance geographic literacy in Arkansas. This is accomplished by: 1) communicating with and engaging stakeholders; 2) measuring geographic literacy; 3) building an efficient and effective organizational infrastructure; 4) providing high quality professional development and other programs for practicing teachers, teacher candidates, and others; and 5) partnering with other organizations that will assist in reforming geography education.

Values In alignment with the Vision and Mission, the Arkansas Geographic Alliance values: 1) Pre K 16 geographic education that abides by core and national standards and promotes geographic literacy at all levels and disciplines of instruction; 2) professional preparation and development that produces teachers well educated in geographic knowledge and pedagogy; and 3) public awareness and support of geographic literacy through the involvement of state policy makers, schools and school districts, businesses, communities, parents, and families.

Current Situation For many years, the State Social Studies Frameworks required students in the 7th or 8th grades to enroll in a World Regional Geography course. During those years, that was the only required geography course in Arkansas. There were electives at the high school level and a few AP Human Geography and AP World Regional courses were offered. In 2006, the State Social Studies Frameworks were changed. The change resulted in the deletion of the required World Regional Geography course. Additionally, the new Frameworks required that a social studies course in grades K – 8 include four strands: geography, history, civics, and economics. There were essentially no changes in geography courses in grades 9 – 12. Since 2006, geography has been a strand in social studies courses. Each school district can determine what that course is. In some districts, for example, in the 7th and 8th grades, the course is called World History. Three major concerns have emerged since 2006. First, geography was removed from the curriculum and integrated with civics, history, and economics. The worry is that geography, and civics and economics, would be ignored while history would become the dominant strand. Second, many teachers do not have a solid background in geography and would, we think, naturally drift toward history, ignoring geography, civics, and economics. And 4


third, the course content would be so heavily focused on history, that the other strands would be ignored. Scholastically, geography is under-appreciated, under-represented, and under-taught in Arkansas. A new generation of students will perpetuate the lack of geographic knowledge that is so vital in today’s world. Finally, outside of academics and the schools, the business community is well aware of the need for a geographically literate workforce, but as of 2012, they have not sufficiently influenced the school curriculum to force geography to be placed back in the classroom in a more independent, stand-alone way. The Arkansas Geographic Alliance began in 1991. From then until 2010, the major focus was on professional development for practicing teachers and teacher candidates. From 1991 to 2007, Dr. Jerry Hanson, Professor Geography at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, was the Alliance Coordinator and Dr. Brooks Green, Professor of Geography at the University of Central Arkansas, was Co-Coordinator. The Alliance office was hosted by the University of ArkansasLittle, Rock. In 2007, Dr. Hanson retired and Dr. Brooks Green became the Alliance Coordinator. In 2010, the Alliance changed it focus as directed by the National Geographic Society. The focus became strategic planning. A Planning Team was created; they attended Capacity Building Courses; and, a consultant team was hired. By the end of 2011, the Strategic Plan had been written and its implementation began in January 2011. The current situation in the State regarding the lack of geography education provides a great challenge and opportunity for the Arkansas Geographic Alliance as it attempts to enlist the help of the business community and other interested organizations and institutions to reform education in Arkansas so that geography is a core subject and taught as a separate subject at a variety of grade levels. This Strategic Plan, as outlined below, will guide the Alliance into the future as it attempts to promote improved geographic literacy and education.

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STRATEGIC GOAL #1: COMMUNICATE WITH AND ENGAGE STAKEHOLDERS Activity #1.1: Create a plan to regularly communicate with and engage stakeholders Objective #1: Regularly inform stakeholders about Alliance Strategy #1: A copy of the AGA-Brief is sent to State Legislator every other month. Strategy #2: A copy of the AGA-Brief is sent to all other stakeholders every month. Strategy #3: A breakfast for State Legislators is held in early March of each year. Strategy #4: Radio spots advertising the Alliance are played on KUAR each day. This is reviewed by the Board each August for possible renewal or cancellation. Strategy #5: Communicate each month with EAST, ACSS, Economics Arkansas, Economic Development Commission, and others as identified. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: At each meeting of the Board, the Alliance Coordinator will report on each strategy noting successes and concerns.

STRATEGIC GOAL #2: MEASURE GEOGRAPHIC LITERACY Activity #2.1: Create a plan and measure geographic literacy in Arkansas among first semester college freshmen. Objective #1: Annually measure the literacy rate of first semester college freshmen in order to track improvement in geographic literacy to the 80% level. Strategy #1: The Alliance Board will prepare, review, and finalize a geographic assessment instrument. Strategy #2: A plan will be developed to test the instrument. Strategy #3: The literacy assessment instrument will be tested in two high schools or at university.

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Strategy #4: In early August of each year, selected university professors will be contacted and asked to assist with administration of the geo-literacy assessment. Strategy #5: During the first week of the fall semester, the assessment will be administered to students in classrooms of selected university professors. Strategy #6: Following the administration of the assessment, the Alliance Board will collect, analyze, and review the results and determine the score which will be used as the baseline to measure geographic literacy. Strategy #7: The assessment will be given annually at selected universities to measure improvement in geographic literacy as the Alliance works toward the 2025 goal. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: Each May the Alliance Board will review the geographic literacy instrument and process. Based on that review, adjustments will be made to the instrument and/or to the process.

STRATEGIC GOAL #3: ESTABLISH AN EFFICIENT INFRASTRUCTURE Activity #3.1: Develop an efficient organizational structure for the Arkansas Geographic Alliance. Objective #1: To create an efficient operational plan and organizational structure Strategy #1: Alliance Board meetings will be held in January, May, and September of each year. Strategy #2: The Alliance Board will review the activity of each Board member and recommend replacements as necessary. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: At the final Board meeting of each year, the Alliance Board will reflect on previous meetings to determine successes, adjustments, and future modifications. Sub Activity #1: The Alliance Board will specify how the Alliance should best be partnered with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). Objective #1: A formal relationship will be developed with the host institution-currently, the University of Central Arkansas.

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Strategy #1: The Director of the University of Central Arkansas Foundation will create a Memorandum of Understanding that recommends its relationship with the Arkansas Geographic Alliance. Strategy #2: The Alliance Coordinator will meet with officials of the UCA Foundation to discuss its relationship to the Alliance. Strategy #3: After The Memorandum of Understanding is reviewed by the Alliance Board, it will be signed and become official. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: At the May meeting of the Alliance Board, the Memorandum of Understanding with UCA will be reviewed. Sub Activity #2: Develop a Coordinator transition plan. Objective #1: The Alliance Board will create a plan that will guide the transition when a Coordinator steps down. Strategy #1: Following an announced resignation, the Alliance Board and National Geographic Officials will begin a discussion about an Alliance Coordinator transition. Strategy #2: The discussion about an Alliance Coordinator transition will continue until the next Coordinator has been identified. Strategy #3: The plan will enable the Coordinator transition to occur seemlessly.

Activity #3.2: Develop a financial plan that will guide the Arkansas Geographic Alliance toward financial sustainability. Objective #1: To enable long-term financial sustainability Strategy #1: The Alliance Board examines annual expenditures at its April Board meeting and makes recommendations regarding expenditures for the next fiscal year based on National Geographic Education Foundation guidelines. Strategy #2: A proposed budget is prepared during April of each year. The Alliance Coordinator aligns the budget with NGEF guidelines and submits the proposed budget. 8


Strategy #3: If the budget proposal to NGEF is successful, the Alliance Coordinator reports that to the Board in July or August of each year. Strategy #4: In September of each year, the Alliance Board reviews the budget for that fiscal year and notes “deliverables� in the NGEF contact. Strategy #5: The Alliance Board discusses funding options at each of its meetings. Strategy #6: A plan to secure annul funding from the state is created. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: At the end of each fiscal year, normally August 31, the Alliance Board reviews expenditures and makes recommendations for improvement, re-allocation, and future funding options, etc. Activity #3.3: Incorporate Technology into Alliance Operations Objective #1: To enable the Alliance to function effectively and efficiently Strategy #1: The Alliance Board will identify and create a list of potential technologies to be utilized in the operations of the Alliance. Strategy #2: The Alliance Board will incorporate identified technologies into the operation of the Alliance. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: At the January meeting of the Alliance Board reviews technologies incorporated into its operation. Activity #3.4: Develop a plan to increase the membership of the Arkansas Geographic Alliance by 2% annually Objective #1: To provide more exposure and build a larger labor force Strategy #1: The Alliance Board will discuss potential ways to increase the Alliance membership. Strategy #2: The Alliance Board will decide upon a method to increase Alliance membership. Strategy #3: The Alliance Board will create a plan focused on the method chosen to increase Alliance membership. 9


Strategy #4: The Alliance Board will implement the plan to increase Alliance membership. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: The Alliance Board will review Alliance membership data to determine the growth rate of the Alliance. Based on that review, additional discussions and plans will be made to continue the Alliance membership growth.

STRATEGIC GOAL #4: PROVIDE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND OTHER PROGRAMS Activity #4.1: The Arkansas Geographic Alliance will create a series of professional development programs of different types to reach key stakeholders including practicing teachers, teacher candidates, social studies methods professors, geography professors, parents, community and business leaders, and leaders of potential partners such the Arkansas Council for the Social Studies, Project Citizen, and Environment and Spatial Technology (EAST). Objective #1: To improve geographic knowledge and improve pedagogy Strategy #1: In January of each year, the Alliance Coordinator will contact each Education Service Co-op in Arkansas to determine their workshop needs as related to geoliteracy. Strategy # 2 A workshop will be held annually for practicing teachers and teacher candidates. Strategy #3: A leadership workshop for the Alliance Board and selected teacher leaders will be held as needed. Strategy #4: A workshop will be held annually for parents of homeschooled students. Strategy #5: A workshop will be held annually for teachers in Private Schools. Strategy #6: A workshop will be held annually for teachers of AP Human Geography. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: At the first Alliance Board meeting of each year, a report will be given regarding the types and numbers of programs that were delivered and a discussion will be held regarding successes and potential adjustments.

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STRATEGIC GOAL #5: ESTABLISH PARTNERSHIPS THAT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO EDUCATIONAL REFORM Activity #5.1: The Arkansas Geographic Alliance will develop partnerships with organizations that have an interest in geographic literacy and geography education, and where it would be to both the Alliance’s and their advantage to partner to 1) research and/or share information; 2) design programs; 3) promote Alliance programs, 4) distribute Alliance programs, and 5) work together to reform geography education. Objective #1: To broaden support for geographic literacy and education Strategy #1: The Alliance Board will meet to identify organizations or institutions with which it might develop partnerships. Strategy #2: The Alliance Board will create teams of leaders and Alliance members who will be assigned the responsibility of contacting and meeting with the leadership of organizations or institutions that might partner with the Alliance. Strategy #3: A schedule will be created so that all leaders of potential partners will have a oneon-one meeting with at least one Alliance representative. Strategy #4: Alliance teams will report back to the Alliance leadership regarding partnership development and recommend next steps. Strategy #5: Alliance Board and members will create a plan that will address the next steps that will lead to the development of partnerships. Strategy #6: Alliance Board will design a communication format so that members will remain in constant contact with partners and involve them as much as possible in the plan to improve geographic literacy in Arkansas. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: The Alliance Board will ask for a report on identified partner organizations and institutions. Activity #5.2: Develop a plan in cooperation with partner institutions that will lead to a reformed school curriculum that includes geography as a key subject. Objective #1: To improve geographic literacy among students

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Strategy #1: The Alliance will partner with the Director of the State Geographic Bee each year to promote the Alliance and geo-literacy. Strategy #2: Discussions will occur with selected partners about a plan to reform the education curriculum in Arkansas so that geography plays a much more important role. Strategy #3: A plan to reform the education curriculum in Arkansas will be developed during the final 5 months of 2014. Assessment Plan for Objective #1: The Alliance and its partners will assess each phase of the process which led to the plan to reform geography education. Adjustments, modifications, and corrections will be made during the process as indicated by the assessment.

Evaluation Plan The Evaluation Plan essentially consists of two components: 1) formative evaluations are conducted for each objective in each Focus Area, and 2) a summative evaluation of the components of the entire Strategic Plan is made toward the end of the implementation period. Each objective is evaluated within a short time of its completion to determine how successful the Alliance was in meeting that objective. These are monthly or at least bi-monthly evaluations. Reports on each evaluation will be given at the Alliance Leadership meeting following the date when the objective was to be met. These formative evaluations occur at regular intervals during the implementation of the Strategic Plan and act as milestones as we move through the Strategic Plan period. These milestone evaluations will enable the Alliance to make mid-course corrections to the Strategic Plan; a dynamic document. The summative evaluation conducted at the end of the Strategic Plan period will be supervised by Dr. Nancy Gallavan, a specialist in assessment and evaluation. This evaluation will enable to Alliance to determine how well we met all objectives. And, the summative evaluation will provide guidance as the Alliance looks forward to the next time period when another Strategic Plan will have to be developed.

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APPENDIX A. Strategic Plan Chronology B. Organizational Structure

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Strategic Plan Chronology (Revised) January 2013 January 2013

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Contact education co-ops for PD needs

February 2013 February 2013 February 2013 February 2013

Prepare/review assessment instrument Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Sponsor breakfast for state legislators Hold Board meeting

March 2013 March 2013 March 2013 March 2013 March 2013

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Assessment instrument finalized Examine budget options for next fiscal year KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

April 2013 April 2013 April 2013 April 2013 April 2013 April 2013 April 2013 April 2013 April 2013

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Develop a plan to test instrument Discussion about Coordinator transition Conduct workshop for practicing teachers and teacher candidates Leadership workshop for Board and others Assist with State Geographic Bee Prepare budget for next fiscal year KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

May 2013 May 2013 May 2013 May 2013 May 2013 May 2013 May 2013

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Assessment instrument tested Discussion about Coordinator transition Discuss ways to increase Alliance membership Leadership workshop for Board and others, brief Board meeting KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

June 2013 June 2013 June 2013 June 2013 June 2013 June 2013 June 2013

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Identify high schools (universities) to administer assessment Discussion about Coordinator transition Create a plan to increase Alliance membership Replace inactive Board members KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

July 2013 July 2013

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Plan created for Coordinator transition 14


July 2013 July 2013 July 2013

Implement the plan to increase Alliance membership KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

August 2013 August 2013 August 2013 August 2013 August 2013 August 2013

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Administer assessment (incoming college freshmen?) Plan created for Coordinator transition Conduct workshop for parents of home schooled students KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

September 2013 September 2013 September 2013 September 2013 September 2013 September 2013

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Coordinator transition takes place Hold Board meeting Review use of technology KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

October 2013 October 2013 October 2013 October 2013 October 2103

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators KUAR radio spots Review the success of increasing Alliance membership Workshop for Private School teachers Communicate with partners

November 2013 November 2013 November 2013 November 2013

Send AGA-Brief to ALL legislators KUAR radio spots Workshop for AP Human Geography teachers Communicate with partners

December 2013 December 2013 December 2013

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Review continuation of KUAR radio spots Communicate with partners

January 2014 January 2014 January 2014 January 2014

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Contact education co-ops for PD needs Discuss education reform with partners Board meeting

February 2014 February 2014

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Discuss education reform with partners

March 2014 March 2014

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Discuss education reform with partners

April 2014 April 2014

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Discuss education reform with partners 15


April 2014 April 2014 April 2014

Review plan to increase Alliance membership Conduct workshop for practicing teachers and teacher candidates Assist with State Geographic Bee

May 2014 May 2014 May 2014 May 2014

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Administer assessment to schools Discuss education reform with partners Hold Board meeting

June 2014 June 2014

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Discuss education reform with partners

July 2014 July 2014 July 2014

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Discuss education reform with partners Planning Team begin to consider next 3-year strategic plan

August 2014 August 2014 August 2014 August 2014 August 2014

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Create plan to reform geography education Administer geographic literacy assement Conduct workshop for parents of home school students Planning Team works on next 3-year strategic plan

September 2014 September 2014 September 2014 September 2014 September 2014

Send AGA-Brief to ALL legislators Create plan to reform geography education Review use of technology Hold Board meeting Planning Team presents first draft of next 3-year strategic plan

October 2014 October 2014 October 2014 October 2014 October 2014

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Create plan to reform geography education Review plan to increase Alliance membership Planning Team revises next 3-year strategic plan Workshop for Private School teachers

November 2014 November 2014 November 2014 November 2014

Send AGA-Brief to ALL stakeholders Create plan to reform geography education Planning Team submits final draft of next 3-year strategic plan Workshop for AP Human Geography teachers

December 2014 December 2014 December 2014

Send AGA-Brief – not legislators Create plan to reform geography education Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2017 is adopted

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A.

Organizational Structure of the Arkansas Geographic Alliance Regional Representatives

Teacher Consultants

Dr. Brooks Green Coordinator

Dr. Nancy Gallavan Board Member

Lori Delk Board Member

? Board Member

Teacher Candidates

AP Human Geography

Community Liaison

Conferences and Workshops

Symposia

Curriculum and Assessment

Conferences and Workshops

Karen Davis Board Member

Julie Hill Board Member

Practicing Teachers

Geographic Bee

Conferences and Workshops

Geography Awareness Week

Private School Consultant and Liaison

Teacher Consultant Development

Barry Reed Board Member

? Board Member

State Education Policy and Community College Consultant

Charter School Consultant and Liaison

? Board Member

Dr. Mounir Farah Board Member

Graduate Assistant

Social Studies Methods Consultant

Assistant to the Coordinator Grant Research and Writing

Ben Lykins Board Member

Geography Student Liaison Step up for Geography

Hans Haustein Board Member

? Board Member

Tanya Reddin Board Member

Kayla Gustafson Board Member

Business Community Consultant and Liaison

Partnership Cooperation and Development

Parent, Family, and Home School Consultant and Liaison

Social Studies Teacher Candidate Consultant and Liaison

Teacher Leadership Development

Strategic Goals: 2012 - 2014

Coordinator’s Responsibilities – NGS Liaison, Administration and Operation, Budget Management, Fundraising, Communication, Technology, Policy Initiatives, Regional Representatives, Education Service Co-ops

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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Communicate with and Engage Stakeholders Measure Geographic Literacy Establish an Efficient Infrastructure Provide Professional Development and Other Programs Establish Partnerships that will Contribute to Educational Reform


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AGA Strategic Plan  

The Strategic Plan of the Arkansas Geographic Alliance

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