Laura Ward's son, Lane, is able to attend ACCESS Academy thanks to school choice and the Succeed Scholarship, helping him to become more confident in his own abilities and to enjoy learning.

School choice has changed my son’s life. Last year before he entered kindergarten, Lane was tested by our local public school for developmental delays. To our surprise, they told us he could attend a regular classroom despite showing signs of learning difficulties.

However, he struggled both academically and socially all year in the regular classroom. Lane wasn’t able to receive the individualized instruction and therapies he needed. I had to check him out of school two days a week and take him to another facility for speech, physical and occupational therapies. As a parent, I couldn’t sit by and watch him continue to go down that path and fall farther behind his peers.

Many people, including my son’s pediatrician, had recommended ACCESS Academy, a private school for special needs. However, it was too expensive. While searching for alternative ways to afford the tuition, I learned about the Succeed Scholarship.

The Succeed Scholarship allows public school students with Individualized Education Programs to apply for scholarship funds to attend a private school that may be more suited to meet their needs. High-quality educational opportunities should be available to all students, regardless of zip code or income.

We were thrilled when we found out that Lane received the scholarship and would be able to attend a school that also offers all of his therapies at the same location. The difference is night and day between last year and now. Being able to send Lane to a school that focuses on reading, language development and vital social skills training has been more than we could have ever hoped for. It’s a blessing for our whole family.

Each child learns differently and they can’t all be taught the same way. In addition to academics, social and communication skills work together in a holistic approach to education and this combination has benefitted Lane. He now enjoys learning and is excited to show me the progress he is making.

Parents deserve options and know what is best for their child. I encourage all parents of students with special needs who are struggling to find the best educational fit for their child to consider the Succeed Scholarship. I hope that all Arkansas families will have the opportunity to find the best educational fit for their unique needs.

About the Succeed Scholarship
This program allows a public school student with special needs to apply for up to $6,700 in scholarship funds to attend a private school that may be more suited to meet the student’s needs.

Public school students with an IEP who have been accepted for admission into a private school that is eligible to participate in the program can apply for the scholarship. A list of approved schools is available at Currently, the program serves more than 160 Arkansas students. Thanks to a 30 percent increase in funding, more students will receive the scholarship in the 2018-19 school year.

The application process is easy! Fill out the student application available online and return it to The Reform Alliance for processing. Along with the application, you will need to include proof of an IEP, proof of private school acceptance and either proof of public school attendance or a signed superintendent waiver. New student applications for the 2018-19 school year will be accepted through June 30.

The Reform Alliance is helping the Arkansas Department of Education implement the Succeed Scholarship Program. Call (501) 244-9028 for more information or email