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Arkansas receives $38 million grant to improve literacy

Arkansas receives $38 million grant to improve literacy


LITTLE ROCK — According to the Arkansas Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education has given Arkansas a five-year grant to improve literacy in the state.

Arkansas received the maximum amount allowed under the grant, which is $38 million.

ADE has received an initial $1.1 million to begin implementing the grant this year.

Ninety-five percent of the funds will be subgranted to districts and communities to improve literacy outcomes for students in preschool through twelfth grade.

With the grant money, ADE says they will begin to finalize details for the Arkansas Comprehensive Literacy State Development Program.

The program has four main objectives which are listed below. The objectives have an emphasis on helping disadvantaged children, including those living in poverty, English learners, and children with disabilities.

• Strengthen Arkansas literacy instruction.

• Provide Arkansas children access to educational excellence.

• Foster collaboration among various stakeholders.

• Build a culture of reading.

In order to meet the grant’s objectives, ADE must engage families by giving access to books through a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. ADE will also expand the development of R.I.S.E. Arkansas activities, which has emerged as the leading critical reading and literacy improvement model for Arkansas schools, including all three public schools in Crittenden County.


Video of judge holding baby while swearing in mother draws praise

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A video of a Tennessee judge holding a baby whose mother was being sworn in as a lawyer is warming hearts on the internet.

State Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dinkins is seen bouncing the toddler in one arm as he reads the oath of admission to mother Juliana Lamar, who was being sworn in as an attorney. The video, originally shared on Lamar’s Instagram page, racked up nearly 700,000 views after her law school colleague, Sarah Martin, re-shared it on Twitter.

Lamar said Judge Dinkins saw her son, Beckham, in the crowd and wanted him to be a part of the ceremony. Dinkins served as a mentor to Lamar, who clerked for him during law school at Belmont University College of Law.

Beckham was born on Oct. 20 of last year, while Lamar was still a student, and she returned to class just over a week after giving birth.

“She was back at school within a week of an emergency c-section before she was even allowed to drive or climb stairs,” Martin wrote on Twitter.

Lamar said becoming a mom while getting through law school was “nerve-racking.”

“I didn’t know anything about babies,” she said. “I was worried about law school and being a new mom.”

Lamar, who is married, said she felt guilty when she first had Beckham and had to leave him behind for law classes.

Having her young son be a part of her swearing-in ceremony was “the pinnacle of everything because it was all worth it,” she said.

Lamar’s story, and the judge’s small, yet meaningful gesture, was praised on social media, with many women calling her a hero.


DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — An Olive Branch man serving life in prison without parole for a crime he committed as a teenager, will not be getting a reprieve.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals ruled against Charles Dalton Shoemake on Nov.

12, upholding his original sentence in the 2012 murder trial.

Shoemake was 17 when he and his friend Nicholas Walker killed their neighbor, 21-year-old Paul Victor, over a dispute about money.

Investigators say Walker beat Victor with a gun. Shoemake strangled him with an extension chord. They dumped his body at Shelby Farms and set it on fire. A jogger discovered the gruesome scene.

Shoemake pleaded guilty to murder in March 2014 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His attorneys filed a motion for post-conviction relief, which was denied.

His attorneys then took their argument to the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

Two years later, the appeals court issued its decision, affirming the court’s ruling.

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