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Education & Training


Within Pine Bluff and its environs there are four public school districts, eight parochial schools, an adult education center, a special training center for the mentally and physically challenged, a state community college, on-the-job and pre-employment training programs and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Colleges & Universities


University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities, UAPB is a part of the University of Arkansas System. With a Fall 2010 enrollment of 3,435, the university offers 42 bachelor degree programs in its five schools: Agriculture and Home Economics; Business and Management; Education; Liberal and Fine Arts; and Science and Technology. Extensive additional course offerings are available through the Division of Continuing Education. UAPB offers 2 master's degree programs and 2 associate degree programs, as well as the world's only undergraduate Regulatory Science Degree program. UAPB is also a step away from getting its first doctoral program, in aquaculture and fisheries. It would be only the second U.S. institution to offer this doctoral degree.


Southeast Arkansas College

Accrediated by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, SEARK's two-year academic transfer program leads to an associate of arts degree that is fully transferable to all public colleges and universities in Arkansas. Fall 2010 enrollment was 2,071. Its Workforce Development Center was established to develop a qualified entry-level workforce.


University of Arkansas at Little Rock/University of Arkansas at Monticello

Two additional units of the University of Arkansas System are within one hour's driving range of Pine Bluff. UALR, with an enrollment of approximately 15,000, offers the following degrees: AA, AAS, AS, BA, BBA, BBE, BME, BS, BSE, MA, MAP, MBA, MEd, MHSA, MPA, MS, MSW, EdS, JD, PhD and EdD. UAM, particularly noted for excellence in forestry management, serves about 2,900 students and offers BA, BS, BSE, BBA and BSF degrees.


Graduate Institue of Technology

Graduate Institute of Technology, located in Little Rock, provides graduate level studies in science and engineering, technical support to industry and engages in advanced scientific research to attract and support high-tech industry to central Arkansas. Two advanced degrees offered: MSE in Engineering and MS/PhD in Instrumental Sciences.


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, located in Little Rock, provides quality educational opportunities for students in the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Health Related Professions and the Graduate School. Degrees offered are: AS in EMS, ASBIT, ASDH, ASRT, ASST, BSC, BSN, BSDH, BSMT, BSNMT, BSRT, MD, MNSc, PharmD and PhD. Pine Bluff's award-winning Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is an educational outreach effort of UAMS and provides training for allied health service professionals, especially in family practice.


University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, located at 500 Idaho Street in Pine Bluff, provides quality educational opportunities and services in Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth Development and Community Development.

Public Schools

Excellence in education is a stated goal for Arkansas and its local communities. The Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment and Accountability Program (ACTAAP) encompasses the state's Smart Start Initiative (Grades K-4); the Smart Step Initiative (Grades 5-8); and a demanding curriculum for Grades 9-12.

Current law and State Board of Education regulations require administration of criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) and norm-referenced tests (NRTs), with all students expected to participate. The CRTs include Benchmark Exams at grades 3-8, End-of-Course Exams in Algebra I and Geometry, and a Grade 11 Literacy Exam. Beginning in 2003, norm-referenced testing (comparing state achievement levels to a national sample of students) has been the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which in 2004 was administered in grades 3-9 in reading comprehension and math problem solving. Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, sub-tests in social studies, science and language arts were added. The Iowa Early Learning Inventory is also given to all kindergarten students. Beginning in Fall 2009, students in grades 7-9 who take Alegebra I must pass the End of Course test to qualify for a high school diploma.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is administered periodically to a sample of students at grades 4, 8 and 12 in core subjects. Results provide information on student performance for the nation and states.

Colleges and universities in Arkansas require only the American College Test (ACT); therefore, it is taken more frequently than the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) required by many out-of-state schools.

Four separate public school districts serve the Pine Bluff area, with a Fall 2010 combined enrollment of 12,478 students:

School District # of Students # of Teachers Ratio
Dollalrway 1,528 126 12.1
Pine Bluff 4,800 365 13.2
Watson Chapel 3,109 195 15.9
White Hall 3,041 223 13.6

In their aggregate, the districts provide service through:

Four Senior High Schools, each fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; 6 Junior High Schools; and 19 Elementary Schools, each having the highest rating granted by the state Department of Education. Utilizing a $29 million bond issue, Pine Bluff School District concurrently replaced or renovated district facilities, a project completed for the 2007-08 school year. Included was construction on the high school campus of the new Pine Bluff High School Academy for the top 50 students in each grade, 10-12.

The Arkansas Department of Education, in its 2010 School Report Card, provides the following information on the local districts:

School District Expenditures per Pupil Graduation Rate ACT Composite
Dollarway $11,647 81.5 15.9
Pine Bluff $11,004 83.1 17.8
Watson Chapel $8,741 87.1 18.5
White Hall $7,722 89.6 21.6
State of Arkansas $9,228 84.8 20.65

Private Schools

There are numerous private and parochial schools in the Pine Bluff area offering exceptional academic programs and a variety of sports and extracurricular activities. Elementary programs include: Ridgway Christian School, K3-12; and St. Peter Catholic Elementary School, K-6. All have certified teachers.

Providing secondary education is St. Joseph Catholic Junior and Senior High, grades 7-12, with a college-preparatory curriculum. Certified faculty members are fully accredited by the Arkansas Non-public School Accrediting Association.

Charter Schools

Lighthouse Charter Academy opened in Fall 2011.

Home Schools

Some parents in the Pine Bluff area have opted for an even more nontraditional approach to their children's education. According to state Department of Education records, a total of approximately 275 students in the Jefferson County are reported as being home schooled by their parents. Home-schooled students have traditionally scored higher than public school students on state and college-entry tests by their parents for 2007-2008.

Vocational & Employment Training

Arkansas' Industry Training Program. This two-fold, state-funded program has long been a national model for effective and efficient employment training. The Business and Industry Training Program (BITP) provides no-cost, pre-employment or on-the-job training programs designed to the exact requirements of new or expanding industry. Included are employee recruitment advertising; development of curricula; preparation of training manuals and audio-visual instructional materials; and conduction of classes on-site or in proximity to plant sites. Also available is the Existing Workforce Training Program (EWTP), which provides on-the-job retraining of an existing labor force when new technologies are introduced. The Alliance will be pleased to arrange for confidential discussions with state training program personnel.

Jefferson Area Vocational Center. Approved by the State Workforce Education Board, the center provides programs of study and youth apprenticeship opportunities for 11th and 12th grade Jefferson County students in heating and refrigeration; agriculture education; business, administration and management; industrial equipment mechanics; and medical professions.

Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) Schools. Radiologic Technology - Cosponsored by SEARK College, this twenty-four month program offers an RT degree; Nursing - this twenty-eight month program, leading to a diploma in nursing (RN), includes general education courses at SEARK and UAPB; and Respiratory Care - leading to an Associate of Science Degree and CRT credentials, in a cooperative effort with UAMS and its Area Health Education Center (AHEC) here.

Special School

Jefferson Couny Regional Adult Education Center. General education courses are offered for high-school age students and adults with less than a high school education in both day and evening classes. Some 125 to 150 graduates annually are awarded Arkansas High School Diplomas (formerly called general equivalency diplomas or GEDs).

Jenkins Memorial Children's Center. Jenkins serves as a diagnostic, educational and treatment center for the mentally and physically challenged. Students at Jenkins range from infant to adult.