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IMPACT Independence County to Hold Education Summit

| Events | August 20, 2018

All four community school districts and statewide education leaders participating Aug. 4 event

IMPACT Independence County, a strategic community plan formed by the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Lyon College, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, and the residents of Independence County, is hosting an all-day Education Summit August 4 at the Batesville Community and Aquatic Center. The event will feature education leadership experts from various sectors and will focus on best practices to improve education in the community.

In addition to members of the IMPACT Educational Excellence Committee, representatives from the University of Arkansas’s Office for Education Policy, the Zuni Learning Tree, Arkansas State University Childhood Services, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Department of Career Education and the AR Regional Innovation Hub are all scheduled to participate and facilitate discussion at this event. A full schedule is available at

“Our collective focus on educational excellence as part of our IMPACT Independence County strategic plan was driven by a community need for a well-educated and skilled workforce,” said Jamie Rayford, Chief Operating Officer for the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce. “All four of our public school districts Batesville School District, Cedar Ridge High School (Arkansas), Midland High School (Arkansas), Southside School District and both colleges joining together for this event is reflective of our community’s willingness to collaborate and respond to that need, and we’re thrilled to offer this opportunity to offer data insights and assist them in discovering more innovative ways to continuously improve education. ”

Independence County is one of five ForwARd Communities chosen as a fundamental strategy for implementing the Forward Arkansas Vision for all Arkansas students to graduate prepared for success in college or the workplace. This Summit comes on the heels of the organization’s ForwARd Thinking Conference, a meeting for all five Communities held in Batesville March 30-31 because of the existing progress made in the education sector with its IMPACT Independence County plan.

“It is clear that Independence County has made a deliberate effort to improve education, and we are proud of their continued success,” said Susan Harriman, executive director of ForwARd Arkansas. “In just the last year the percentage of students graduating high school has increased more than seven percent to nearly equal 100, a reflection of all four school districts implementing strategies that offer students a seamless transition into an affordable career pathway to pursue a four-year degree or technical training to enter the workforce.”

For more information on the Education Summit, visit, and for more information on ForwARd Arkansas, visit or email

About IMPACT Independence County
IMPACT Independence County is a 10-year strategic community plan for Independence County, Arkansas, developed by the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Lyon College, the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville and several county residents. The plan is intended to improve the quality of life, quality of place and economic opportunities for all residents and is made up of four areas of focus: economic prosperity, tourism, educational excellence and healthy living and wellbeing. For more information, please visit

About ForwARd Arkansas
ForwARd Arkansas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a partnership of education, business, government and community leaders committed to improving public education in Arkansas. This partnership has conducted extensive research and continues to encourage statewide discussion and bold action to strengthen public education. ForwARd was established through a partnership between the Arkansas Board of Education, the Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. For more information, please visit

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