College of Education and Health Professions

Project RISE

Project RISE
Realizing and Increasing Student Excellence

The University of Arkansas, College of Education and Health Professions is leading state higher education in providing innovative, online professional development for teachers serving an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse student population in the state of Arkansas. After the successful implementation of Project Teach Them All (2007-2012), which trained 90 teachers in Springdale Public Schools, the U of A has been awarded a new $1.8 million Professional Development grant from the Office of Language Acquisition - U.S. Department of Education to implement Project RISE.


Project RISE now works in partnership with six school districts in Arkansas including Bentonville, Cossatot River, Decatur, Fayetteville, Green Forest and Springdale. In the five-year cycle of this grant, another 100 teachers (distributed in two 2.5 year cohorts) are expected to enroll in graduate work leading to an ESL endorsement. The ultimate goal is improved classroom instruction and academic performance of English Learners (ELs) in grades pre-K to 12 through the increase of highly qualified, ESL-endorsed teachers in Arkansas.


This innovative, site-based, distance learning program for in-service teachers utilizes the nationally recognized, research-based CLASSIC© Model from the Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy (CIMA), Kansas State University. Its framework includes four graduate courses taught in professional learning communities and includes biography-driven reflective coaching. The most fascinating component of the project is that it is job-embedded where teachers engage in theory-into-practice applications tailored to the ELs needs in their own schools.


Principal Investigator: Janet Penner-Williams (Ed.D.), Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction,


Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director: Diana Gonzales Worthen (Ph.D.),


Research Associate: Eva I. Diaz (Ph.D.),