ArkansasIDEAS: Winter Professional Development Challenge

07 Dec 2022 in

Educators, wrap up your professional development hours this season with the fourth annual ArkansasIDEAS Winter Professional Development Challenge. As a teacher, professional development helps you reflect on your teaching practices, discover different classroom strategies and build new skills.

Now through Jan. 10, Arkansas teachers have a chance to win an exciting prize package from ArkansasIDEAS. Take all nine of the campaign courses seen here, plus one additional LinkedIn Learning course, and you can enter! If you have already completed a course listed prior to the start of the challenge, no worries — you have a head start. Courses may be completed in any order.

The challenge runs from Dec. 9, 2022, - Jan. 10, 2023. Upon completion, please send an email to for verification.

CIDCourse TitleCredit Hours
TLC22002Closing the Empathy Gap2
ERC23004Code of Ethics Part 1: Professional Relationships0.5
ERC23005Code of Ethics Part 2: Mental Health Awareness0.5
HWB22004Dealing with Death: Crisis Communication2
PIB22001From Extra to Essential: Family Engagement in Arkansas Schools2
TCC22011SMACtalk for Teachers: Establishing an Online Presence0.5
TCC22012SMACtalk for Teachers: Online Dangers1
TCC22013SMACtalk for Teachers: Unplugging0.5
TCC22014SMACtalk for Teachers: Digital Learning Unit0.5
LinkedIn Learning Course ChoicesLearning to Teach Online (46 min) 
Learning How to Increase Learner Engagement (41 min) 
Enhancing Your Productivity (45 min) 
Leading In Every Direction (43 min) 
Teaching Civility in the Workplace (43 min)

Campaign Courses

With an extraordinary and constantly growing collection of ADE-approved courses, ArkansasIDEAS provides teachers of Arkansas free professional development. Courses required for participation are our most recent additions to the LMS. 
Closing the Empathy Gap brings to the forefront the vision of Susanna Post, 2021 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. Through her experience of teaching in alternative learning classrooms, she realized something important was missing. She began to understand that her students' life experiences were very different from her own, and she was unable to empathize to some degree. She began to suspect this was happening in every classroom across the country. Mrs. Post understood that these gaps were unintentional, and she built a platform on the desire to close those empathy gaps.

Arkansas has the highest rate of traumatic adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in the country, so it made sense to start here in Arkansas. Through this course, you will follow her journey, learn about the brain science behind her claims, listen as other Arkansas Teachers of the Year and one Missouri Teacher of the Year discuss how empathy impacts their own classrooms, and watch one student's journey as he learns that empathy also comes with high expectations. 
In this first of 12 courses on Code of Ethics, host Alyson Courtney sits down with Arkansas educators to discuss the topic of professional relationships. Given the advancement in technology and communication, it is more pertinent now than ever for teachers to maintain professional boundaries inside and outside the classroom. Participants in this course will view animated scenarios that delve into the potential pitfalls of crossing boundaries with students and will receive guidance from experts to make good decisions in ethical dilemmas. 
In part two of Code of Ethics, host Alyson Courtney sits down with Arkansas educators to discuss the topic of mental health awareness. The stress teachers endure can be burdensome, and educators are not immune to hardships in life. This course aims to address the need for teachers to practice self-care and mental preparation when it comes to educating students. Participants in this course will view animated scenarios that illustrate what happens when the mental health of educators is neglected and what can be done to promote and practice mental health awareness. 
There are many different types of school crises that occur and being prepared is essential to provide appropriate support in the event of a traumatic school or community event, especially one that involves the death of students, faculty or staff members. It is important to be ready beforehand, with a crisis response team and action plan in place. Inspired by When Death Impacts Your School: A Guide for School Administrators, a 2007 publication from The Dougy Center: The National Grief Center for Children and Families, ArkansasIDEAS brings you Dealing with Death: Crisis Communication. This course is the first episode in a two-part podcast series exploring the importance of a crisis response team, the respective roles and tasks of team members and what should be included within the team’s action plan.

The course features a podcast-style production hosted by Christina Muñoz, featuring both scenarios and interview segments. Experts interviewed include Andrea Fortner, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidance and counseling coordinator; Arkansas Children's Hospital vice president of community engagement, advocacy and health Dr. Marisha DiCarlo; and Greg Adams, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Center for Good Mourning program coordinator. Course takers may choose to experience the podcast via video or audio-only options. 
Today’s classrooms are filled with children of many ethnicities, cultures, and languages. To fully support our students, we must tap into the range of assets, experiences and perspectives within our families and communities. Research shows us that when schools, families and communities work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and enjoy school more. What are we doing in Arkansas to co-create with parents, guardians and invested community partners in our students’ development, wellness, and learning?

In this course, host Alyson Courtney and Arkansas Department of Education’s Freddie Scott take us on a tour around the state and through the essentials of engagement. These essentials are: communication, equity, safe and friendly schools, innovation, leadership and support, and partnerships and relationships.

As students spend more time learning and socializing online, we all need to work together to ensure they stay healthy and safe. The social media awareness campaign, SMACtalk, was formed in response to this need. SMACtalk for Teachers is a series featuring an audio podcast published by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The purpose of SMACtalk For Teachers is to raise awareness, provide resources, and increase communication for parents, teachers, and students. 
Episode six of the podcast series brings together host Cassandra Barnett, Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) program advisor for school libraries, and Dr. Joe Sanfelippo to discuss teachers establishing an online presence. 
In episode seven, Cassandra Barnett and Lisette Yang discuss online dangers students may face on social media, review warning signs of abuse, and suggest ways to make students feel safe at school. 
In episode eight, Cassandra Barnett speaks to Tommy "Coach" Welch, Emily England, and Heather Blocker from Marshall High School to discuss unplugging to recharge from social devices.

Educators, take all nine campaign courses from Dec. 9 to Jan. 10, 2023, as well as one additional LinkedIn course, and you can be entered to win an exciting prize package.