Quality teaching begins with a teacher’s formal education, but it grows through a process of continuous improvement gained through experience, targeted professional development and the insights and direction provided through thoughtful, objective feedback about the teacher’s effectiveness.
Arkansas' focus on high quality instruction and instructional leadership through the passage of the Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) defines a system to support high quality classroom instruction and high quality instructional leadership, i.e., effective teaching and leading in Arkansas’s schools.
The 2011 Arkansas General Assembly introduced and passed legislation to standardize comprehensive evaluation and support for licensed educators and non-licensed teachers employed in public charter schools under a waiver of teacher licensure requirements granted by the State Board of Education in the schools’ charters. In the 2013 Legislative Session the Teacher Excellence and Support System was amended. TESS provides statutory direction for reform of teacher and leader evaluation systems. Rules and regulations promulgated as a result of this legislation will provide districts with a blueprint to operationalize a standardized valid and reliable evaluation and support system focused on professional growth of educators as measured by professional practice as well as student growth and achievement. This evaluation and support system, coupled with Arkansas’s longitudinal data system teacher / student link, will provide state, district and school educators with essential feedback to ensure College and Career Ready (CCR) access and achievement for all Arkansas students.
As stated in Arkansas’ Annotated Code Section 6-17-2802, the Arkansas General Assembly intended to promote the following objectives through TESS:
Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.
Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks, National Board Certification assistance and more.