Little Rock

Excel by Eight in Little Rock

 Little Rock has focused on digital equity in 2022, a priority area that gained awareness during the pandemic when schools and families needed more than ever to be able to use technology effectively for virtual learning. Digital equity involves not only ensuring community-wide access to affordable broadband and devices but also equipping residents with the skills needed to maintain devices and navigate the web.

The City of Little Rock was awarded $5,000 by Heartland Forward to pilot computer skills classes in English and Spanish. Classes will address knowledge gaps for hardware care and for using education-related applications so that parents can communicate better with school leaders and stay updated on grades, school events, educational resources for at-home learning, and more. The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub is creating course content and leading courses beginning in Spring 2023.

Additionally, two graduate-level researchers are surveying Little Rock residents to find out where there might be gaps in internet access, whether due to spotty broadband or affordability issues. The results from the study will help the steering committee identify strategies to strengthen digital access in the future.

Other priority areas in Little Rock include child care affordability and food security.


Home to state government

Major industries are health care, aerospace, and banking and finance

Little Rock Central High was one of the first sites of integration following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling

Steering Committee


Jennifer Glasgow, City of Little Rock

Committee Members

Sarah Argue, Pulaski County Imagination Library
Tiffani Fletcher, Child Care Aware of Central and Southwest Arkansas
Charity Hallman, Hope Credit Union
Esther Jones, Little Rock School District – Early Childhood Education
Tyra Larkin, UAMS Head Start
Amanda Orgel, Central Arkansas Library
Mollie Palmer, Heart of Arkansas United Way
Anna Strong, Little Rock School District, Board of Directors and Arkansas Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics
Kim Toots, Save the Children

Read more about E8 Communities

Excel by Eight hosts Spring 2024 Learning Community

Excel by Eight hosts Spring 2024 Learning Community

Representatives from our E8 communities came together in April for our semiannual Learning Community. The agenda for the two-day event focused on identifying resources to support the development and implementation of their community plans, specifically in the areas of early care and education, maternal health, and K-3rd grade literacy.

Jefferson County hosts Fall 2023 Learning Community

Jefferson County hosts Fall 2023 Learning Community

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

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.