The Learning Pass Initiative
Community Institutions team up to create innovative experiential learning program
LITTLE ROCK (April 22, 2014) – Exalt Education, a Little Rock non-profit
organization, and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, launched
on Tuesday an innovative learning program called the Learning Pass.
The Learning Pass initiative will turn the entire city into a classroom by providing middle
school students with hands-on, daily, experiential, learning opportunities throughout the
community. Four students from the Clinton School of Public Service have established
partnerships with more than 15 community institutions to make this unique program
The students gathered information from LRPA parents, students and staff members to
develop partnerships with central Arkansas organizations that would be beneficial to
students. Partnering organizations include: the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Center for
Arkansas History and Culture, Dunbar Community Garden Project, First Tee of Central
Arkansas, Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, Junior
Achievement of Arkansas, The Launch Pad, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Old State
House Museum, Painting with a Twist of West Little Rock, Museum of Discovery,
William J. Clinton Presidential Center, and Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature
Center. The launch was held at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Public Library and Learning
Center, where leaders from the Clinton School, Exalt Education and LRPA thanked their
distinguished community partners and celebrated the launch of the program.
After the launch, participants from the fifteen partner institutions celebrated their learning
collaborative over dinner at Salut Bistro.
Ben Lindquist, CEO of Exalt Education said, “This initiative represents a ground
breaking way to motivate our youth and expand their vision of opportunities in the
community by exposing them to deep experiential learning at a network of partner
“Instead of just studying in the classroom, our students will go out into the community to
experience first-hand our community’s educational resources,” he said. “For example,
instead of reading about business or music, they’ll spend time on-site at Junior
Achievement, the Center for Arkansas History and Culture, or the Arkansas Symphony
Orchestra for firsthand accounts.”
Accomplished master’s level students developed this initiative as part of the Clinton
School of Public Service two-year degree program. These four students bring
distinguished backgrounds including graduating from Stanford University, studies
abroad, AmeriCorp service, and the founding of a company to assist students with
science projects that improve communities.
Launch Pad Director Joel Gordon said the Learning Pass is a response to the lack of realworld
learning opportunities students have in school. By providing students with places
to go and resources to use to create and complete projects, they can see how what they
“We’ve stopped encouraging students to literally make something of their learning
experience,” Gordon said. “Our society and our educators no longer encourage students
to engage in projects and experiences that prepare them to create, to be creative or, quite
simply, to work in real-world jobs.”
About Exalt Education
Exalt Education is a Little Rock non-profit agency founded to improve the quality of
education for the 32.3 million children from birth to age 18 living in low-income homes
in the United States. Exalt’s mission is to build a teaching-and-learning network that
equips mission driven educators with the knowledge and tools needed to serve lowincome
students. It’s efforts are demonstrating that it is possible to deliver a “gold
standard” education to these children by operating a highly productive, economical
network of community-based public schools that attract dedicated educators from local
More information about Exalt Education is available at exalteducation.org.
About the Clinton School
The first school in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree, the
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service gives students the knowledge
and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer
or private sector service. The school embodies President Clinton’s vision of building
leadership through civic engagement and enhancing people’s capacity to work across
disciplinary, racial, ethnic and geographic boundaries.
More information about the Clinton School is available at clintonschool.uasys.edu.
About Little Rock Preparatory Academy
Little Rock Preparatory Academy Middle School is a tuition-free charter school that
focuses on developing character and leadership among students from underserved
communities. LRPA provides students 25% more instruction time than other central
Arkansas schools as a means to prepare students for high school, competitive colleges,
and success in rewarding careers. Opened in 2009, LRPA joined the Exalt Education
network in 2011, which now oversees the school’s operations.
More information about Little Rock Preparatory Academy is available at lrprep.org.
Learning Pass Partners
For a list of the Learning Pass Partners visit this website.