September is “Take Your Legislator to School Month”. Each fall when students prepare to return to school, legislators from the Arkansas House and Senate visit schools in their local districts. The goal is to build stronger communication between educators, students, and legislators. There are also goals of showcasing district success, allowing faculty and staff to discuss challenges, and working to find viable solutions. Some of those solutions might show up in the form of new legislation when lawmakers resume the regular session the following January.

There are 238 school districts in the state of Arkansas. Those districts comprise 1,064 total schools. Arkansas schools employ 32,818 educators. Those educators serve 477,268 students.

In the 90th General Assembly of the Regular Session of 2015, legislators passed HCR1008. This resolution designated September as an annual occasion for “Take Your Legislator to School Month”. The resolution was a bipartisan initiative motivated by a need for General Assembly members to fully understand and become active in challenges and issues facing schools in their districts. This annual event also serves as a way legislators can work with educators to devise, develop, and place into action innovative solutions for school education.

Again, HCR1008 was a resolution passed in the 90th General Assembly in 2015. The goal of the resolution was to encourage public school districts to plan special events with their local legislators. Example visits might include guest lecturing or reading to students; school-sponsored panel discussions with teachers, administrators, and students regarding education issues facing their schools; or any engaging activities involving legislators. The resolution regards legislator visits in the school districts as a great way for the groups to interact.

To kick off the initiative for District 11, I visited Portland Elementary in the Hamburg School District this past week along with Representative LeAnne Burch of District 9. We visited with school administrators regarding education needs and how the new laws are now affecting their district. I am now working with superintendents from each school system in District 11 so I can visit, share, and learn on behalf of our students and educators.

If you would like a visit from your District Legislator or would simply like to learn more about this initiative, visit the Arkansas School Board Association’s website. You can find contact information for state representatives, senators, Education Committee members, Judiciary Committee members, Revenue and Taxation Committee members, and State Agency and Governmental Affairs Committee members. You can also find information on the Arkansas House website. If September is not the most feasible time, it is certainly encouraged to conduct such activities at a time that is more conducive to mutual schedules. I hope that educators and students are as encouraged as I am, and I look forward to visiting with educators and students in District 11.

I like to share informative items that constituents might find useful. If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me via email at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682-6211.

[Pictured above are Rep. Don Glover, back right, and Rep. LeAnne Burch, back left, and students at Portland Elementary School in the Hamburg School District.]