During these critically important years, school occupies a significant space in a student’s life. We recognize the importance of maintaining a strong link between school and family, and we will keep you apprised of the news and events that impact your family on these pages.


Arkansas Lighthouse Academies Partners with Frontlines of Justice

May 4, 2021

Arkansas Lighthouse Academies Partners with Frontlines of Justice
to Bring First-of-Its-Kind Social Justice Course to Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 4, 2021) - Arkansas Lighthouse Academies (ALA) announced a partnership with Frontlines of Justice (FoJ), bringing social justice education programs to its charter schools in the state of Arkansas. The new social justice course will begin fall 2021.

“We are thrilled to announce this partnership with Frontlines of Justice,” said LaShawnDa Noel, executive director and superintendent of Arkansas Lighthouse Academies. “The civil unrest of the last year was a profound reminder that radical change is needed in the name of social justice. Our academies are committed to eliminating the achievement gap and paving the way for scholar success. We believe this partnership further enables this commitment.”

“As educators, we must do all that we can to address disparities in diversity, equality and 
inclusion,” said Roger Sundermeier, board chairman of Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School. “We must be aware of, and embrace, the impact that we have on future generations and stand firm in the principle of calling out inequities and addressing these challenges head on. Arkansas Lighthouse Academies is the right leader, at the right time, to bring this education to our state because of its long-standing commitment to both community impact and scholar success.”

FoJ is a learning management system that incorporates culturally responsive teaching   
competencies, based on comprehensive research by New America. “We’re excited about this partnership with ALA,” said Co-founder and Producer Chad Williamson. “All teachers should be exposed to the culturally responsive teaching competencies and all students should understand how to engage in social justice work.”

The digital platform is conducive for professional development and ALA teachers and scholars alike will partake in online courses covering social, racial and educational justice.

“This collaboration between LaShawnDa (Clinton School Student) and Chad (Clinton School Alum) is a testament to President Clinton’s vision that public service is a noble pursuit,” says Skip Rutherford, dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. “Implementing this program is not only a game-changing moment for education in Arkansas, but serves as a beacon for  the nation proclaiming social justice and public service are bound together in the pursuit of our common humanity.”

The curriculum is a collection of digital lessons designed to help teachers and students discover and analyze the history of systemic oppression that has affected justice-impacted people and communities for centuries. Scholars learn how to work toward an equitable and just society. The foundation relays to scholars an obligation to themselves and their community to identify, name and destabilize injustices. This social justice curriculum is designed to inspire scholars to be upstanders and provides them with the analytical and practical tools to lead and serve.

About Arkansas Lighthouse Academies
Arkansas Lighthouse Academies is an affiliate of the national nonprofit network of charter schools known as Lighthouse Academies. This network encompasses more than 6,000 scholars and families, in addition to 605 teachers, principals, and staff members. ALA has four campuses: two in Jacksonville, one in North Little Rock and one in Pine Bluff. Each of its schools follows a unique, civic-minded program emphasizing social development designed to give its scholars an edge and prepares them for college, career and life in an ever-changing world. Scholars are prepared to activate their hopes and dreams and to affect positive change and a significant impact on the community around them. ALA educators inspire and empower scholars to think curiously, creatively, critically and collaboratively about the human experience and to explore answers to open-ended questions. Scholars’ ability to critically listen, think, evaluate, generate new ideas and understand their own learning process are the organic products of the Purpose of School. This development of scholar agency is an indicator of success as it enhances the ways scholars think, solve and communicate about the complexities of the world around them.

About Frontlines of Justice
Frontlines of Justice (FoJ) is an online, video-centric eLearning platform designed to create social, racial, and educational justice through compelling content and curriculum. FoJ reimagines education through the lens of film, technology and high-fidelity storytelling.

Information Contact:
Mary Claire Hill

The Importance of Financial Literacy with Wendell Scales Jr. on KLRT Good Day
CCLCS Partners with Sootchy

February 25, 2021
(download here)

David Adefeso and Sootchy App Take on Black Financial Literacy Gap by Partnering with Capital City 
Lighthouse Charter School

North Little Rock Charter School Students Receive Funding Toward 529 College Savings Accounts

Los Angeles, Ca. (Feb. 25, 2021) – As the end of Black History Month draws near, the impact of African Americans on our society continues to spread far and wide - in this case, through generations. On a mission to close the African American financial literacy gap, Sootchy announced today it will be partnering with Lighthouse Academies at their Capital City campus in North Little Rock, AR to help the next generation of Black scholars achieve education without student loans.

Sootchy is a free intuitive crowdfunding platform that allows parents, and an extended network of friends, family and acquaintances to contribute to a child's 529 college savings plan at the touch of a button with less reliance on student loans or debt. With information on tax benefits, education options covered by the Plans and state-by-state guidelines, Sootchy helps communities become more informed and provides gifting options to get family and friends involved in saving for a child’s future education expenses. As a tax-advantaged education account, the contributions grow tax-free, and with no signup or account maintenance fees, more of your money goes toward your education.

Realizing a staggering achievement gap in America today, Arkansas Lighthouse Academy teachers and parents of students were hand selected to be an exclusive group of early adopters to use Sootchy’s beta app. A recent study found that children with college savings accounts are seven times more likely to go to college. By simplifying the process of opening tax-advantaged 529 College Savings Accounts, this partnership is designed to help these students save for higher education. As an additional incentive, Sootchy will be giving each of these students a matching grant into their 529 College Savings Accounts.

“Closing the achievement gap in America is our focus and financial literacy is a key component at play,” said Wendall Scales, Jr., Arkansas Lighthouse Academies’ Deputy Director of Innovation. “This partnership with Sootchy enhances our ability to provide resources to help our students succeed.”

Knowing that in order to manage your finances, a sound, effective and thorough understanding of finance is crucial, Founder & CEO of Sootchy, David Adefeso, wanted to find a way to educate people in underserved communities while reducing the wealth disparity that exists in Black, Hispanic and Native American communities. Embodying the true definition of Black greatness, he is seeking to help his community improve with financial literacy and a singular vision, debt-free education for all.

"Education has the ability to be a great equalizer and eliminate the wealth gap that exists in our country - but only if it's accessible. When I started Sootchy, it was with the goal of ensuring everyone has access to debt-free higher education. That's why I'm so excited about our partnership with Lighthouse Academies! It's a major step toward achieving that goal. These children have unimaginable potential, and I'm very proud to work with the LHA teachers and parents to help them realize it,” Mr. Adefeso explained.

Following the footsteps of his ancestors before him, Adefeso fought and sacrificed to become one of America’s very few Black founders/CEO of a technology startup. As we celebrate Black people worldwide who have overcome obstacles in order to achieve excellence and success, Sootchy’s David Adefeso, is no stranger to this account.

"Having the opportunity to partner with Sootchy has opened up a new world of possibilities for our staff and scholars at Capital City Lighthouse. Our families now have the knowledge and consistent opportunity to invest in their scholars' future,” stated Rosanna Mhlanga, Principal, Capital City Lighthouse Charter School.

Creating financial freedom for future Black generations to come, David and his diverse team of tech experts are empowering Black communities by emphasizing the need for proper financial education knowing they play a vital role in the economic establishment of the United States.

With the intent to adopt all Lighthouse Academies’ campuses to ensure their success, David Adefeso and team Sootchy will continue to provide opportunities for internships and financial literacy support.

"Our team is dedicated to the success of each scholar, now and in the future," said Superintendent LaShawnDa Noel. "With this partnership and the establishment of a focus group of teachers and parents, we are equipped to incorporate a financial literacy program as a tool for our scholars' future success."

The true meaning of “from rags to riches,'' Mr. Adefeso was born in Nigeria, and moved to New York City at the age of 21 all by himself. With just $250 in his pockets and knowing no one, he experienced struggles with homelessness and hunger. With nothing but his intelligence and determination to succeed, he graduated from Harvard University with his MBA in General Business Administration and Management. From there he broke down several barriers as he became a top contender in Wall Street working for some of the world’s largest companies and financial institutions.

Sootchy's five-minute set up and easy-access money management tools simplify the process and make tech-enhanced financial planning, the power of community and tax-efficient incentives to combat student debt, now at a historic high of almost $1.7 trillion, accessible to all.

Click here to access student and team photos, as well as video from the announcement.

About Sootchy:

Sootchy is an innovative financial technology company that enables parents to leverage the power of family and friends with contributions to 529 College Savings Accounts that help fund a child’s higher education. Through the Sootchy mobile and website platform, the company is changing the traditional way individuals gain access to 529s. The company’s mission is to provide future students and parents with an alternative to student loans and debt.

About Lighthouse Academies:

Lighthouse Academies is a national nonprofit network of charter schools encompassing more than 6,000 students and families, in addition to 605 teachers, principals, and staff members. The team goes above and beyond to pave the way to a college education for students who would otherwise face limited opportunities due to no fault of their own.


Joanna Bunten

Mary Claire Hill 501-519-1772


  • cclcs
  • college funding

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