Applications for the Arkansas Declaration of Learning program are open.

Over the last three years, more than 6,000 Arkansas students have participated in classroom lessons and civic engagement projects developed through the program.

Tracy Cline, school librarian for grades seven and eight at Butterfield Trail Middle School in the Van Buren School District, and Jennifer Pitts, who teaches grades seven and eight at Alma Middle School in the Alma School District, recently completed the year-long program and returned as a mentor to fellow educators.

“The ADOL program brought an engaging awareness of civic issues into my classroom,” Pitts said. “Students examined historical objects, artwork and artifacts that motivated them to use their creativity in an exciting way to bring awareness about issues they face in the world today.”

The program provides participating educators with the opportunity to use historic art and objects to develop innovative lesson plans for classroom learning and civic engagement projects.

“I learned so much participating in the Arkansas Declaration of Learning program, both as a teacher during the first year and as a mentor during the second year of the program,” Cline said. “This program has the ability to improve the teaching experiences of Arkansas teachers and those across the country as well as broadening the cultural experiences of our students.”

Arkansas is the first state in the nation to participate in the Declaration of Learning program. Partners include the Arkansas Department of Education, Clinton Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, William J. Clinton Presidential Library, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms. “

This program is a great learning experience for teachers and students,” said Cassandra Barnett, the Arkansas Department of Education program advisor for school libraries. “Because of the hard work of these teachers, students have the opportunity to explore real world issues using art and historic objects.”

The Declaration of Learning program was formed in 2013 as part of an inter-agency educational initiative that began when representatives from 12 national organizations committed to working with state and local partners to create learning tools for educators and students in middle and secondary education. The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms is leading the initiative nationally.

Applications close Feb. 25.

Arkansas school librarians and teachers of art, English language arts, and social studies in grades 7 to 12 may apply at http://bit.ly/2AopCBK. To learn more about the program, visit http://bit.ly/1RRIrwP.