College of Education and Health Professions

Project RISE

Participants in the methods course took part in a gallery walk during the closing session to share their course projects.

Project RISE
Realizing and Increasing Student Excellence

The University of Arkansas, College of Education and Health Professions is leading state higher education in providing an innovative, high quality, graduate level professional development for teachers serving an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse student population in the state of Arkansas. The goal of the program is to increase the number of ESL-endorsed teachers in Northwest Arkansas.

After the successful implementation of Project Teach Them All (2007-2012), the U of A has been awarded a $1.8 million Professional Development grant from the Office of Language Acquisition - U.S. Department of Education to implement Project RISE. This new grant enables U of A to build upon and expand an earlier program, Project Teach Them ALL, which trained 90 teachers in Springdale Public Schools to attain their endorsement in English as a Second Language.

Project RISE now works in partnership with six school districts in the Northwest Arkansas region including Bentonville, Decatur, Farmington, Gravette, Prairie Grove 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 to12.

This innovative, site-based, distance learning program for in-service teachers utilizes the nationally recognized, research-based CLASSIC© Model from 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.),