Excel by Eight in Conway County
Child Care Aware of Northcentral Arkansas actively supported Conway County’s facilities to take advantage of this opportunity to elevate and expand care in their community. Successes include five facilities increasing their Arkansas Better Beginnings quality rating from Level 1 to Level 2, which allows them to continue accepting vouchers from families in 2023 and receive a higher reimbursement rate. One facility moved from Better Beginnings Level 2 to Level 3, the highest quality rating available at that time.
Additionally, one provider was awarded funding to open a new center, which will bring 89 new child care slots, including infant and toddler care, to Morrilton and the surrounding area.
In 2023, the Conway County steering committee will focus on increasing parent access to early development resources as well as engaging families directly in local community planning efforts about young children.
Located in the Arkansas River Valley
Major industries are manufacturing and transportation
Home to Petit Jean State Park, the first Arkansas State Park
E8 Core Team
John Gibson, Chair, Conway County Community Foundation
Amber Holland, Community Service, Inc.
Princess Johnson, Parent
Kara Jones, Conway County Center for Exceptional Children
Dr. Susan Okroglic, Community Service, Inc.
Robbie Belew, Curricula Concepts
Shandee Gordon, Wonderview School District
Shawn Halbrook, South Conway County School District
Lora Hendrix, South Conway County School District
Aida Kuettle, South Conway County School District
Stephanie Lipsmeyer, Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce
Michelle Mallett, Conway County Juvenile Probation and Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Kaila Parker, Parent
Jenifer Riley, Community Service, Inc.
Jamie Stacks, Wonderview School District
Karey Tapley, South Conway County School District
Candace Williams, Rural Community Alliance
Logan Williams, Nemo Vista School District
Sharon Wilson, South Conway County School District
Read more about E8 Communities
Representatives from each of Excel by Eight’s six communities came together in Pine Bluff for two days of relationship building, learning, and idea sharing at the Fall 2023 Learning Community. Thank you to the Jefferson County steering committee and the team at the Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative for being such gracious hosts!
How an emphasis on early childhood helped usher in a $25 million investment for the city of Batesville
During an August 2023 special election, residents of Batesville voted overwhelmingly in favor of four ballot issues that marked a turning point for the city. These issues secured a $25 million investment for the expansion and improvement of the city’s parks and recreation facilities as well as an additional $110 million to go toward the construction of a new water treatment system. Opportunities to reshape a city’s infrastructure and enrich its social and recreational offerings without a tax increase seldom arise. But when they do, seizing these moments requires more than a stroke of luck; it demands collaboration, a willingness to learn, and data-informed planning.
Horatio School District, public libraries partnering to provide free summer meals to children in southwest Arkansas
Excel by Eight’s Sevier County Steering Committee and the Horatio School District are partnering with No Kid Hungry to offer free summer meals to children under the age of 18.