Arkansas education is changing.
Since receiving a release from some of No Child Left Behind's most-constricting standards, Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell and his staff have been working to implement new flexibility standards.
Monday, Kimbrell appeared in a live, closed circuit video training meeting, explaining some of the changes to administrators watching remotely from across the state.
Dr. Denise Arreola sat next to Kimbrell in the video, and was acknowledged as a key player in Arkansas' efforts to receive the flexibility waiver.
Kimbrell says the waiver will allow schools to better prepare students for college, and also provide a system for school improvement.
Dr. Jerry Guess, Superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District, watched the conference from the North Little Rock School District Annex building.
When asked about the changes, and what parents need to know, "I think this means a much greater chance that their students are going to graduate from high school better prepared to pursue any career that they choose after that high school diploma."
Guess says news of the flexibility might give people the mistaken impression that education standards are going to be relaxed, when in fact, there will be more accountability than ever.
'This is a system of accountability that will change the building and the district level dramatically," Guess said. "You're seeing the confluences of forces coming together to change education in a very good way."
Kimbrell says there's going to be another big meeting Thursday for the superintendents and principals of "priority" and "focus" schools, new designations for the state 15 percent lowest-performing schools.
Kimbrell says the meeting will be closed to the public, but in the state' NCLB waiver application, the Department of Education is given a lot of authority under the priority and focus classifications, all the way up to the termination of a school's principal, and half of its teachers.