(Huntsville, AL) — The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), A+ College Ready and the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) celebrated an important milestone in Alabama May 31st at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
During this celebration, the DoD and NMSI presented a symbolic $1-million check to A+ College Ready, announcing their investment to bring Daleville, Central (in Phenix City), and Russell County High Schools into the College Readiness Program.
Through this investment, 100% of the military-connected schools in Alabama will be served by the successful NMSI College Readiness Program, administered in Alabama by A+ College Ready and funded by a consortia of partners including the DoD, the Alabama State Department of Education, and private sector partners such as Exxon Mobil, Alabama Power, The Boeing Company and others.
Keynote speakers included; Lt. General James H. Dickinson, Commander – U.S. Army Space and Missile Command, Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and Michael Sentance, Alabama State Superintendent of Education. The corporations that provided more than $1 million in matching support for this program through the Schools Foundation of Huntsville were also in attendance.
“It is our duty to ensure that all of our students receive a high-quality education,” said Governor Kay Ivey, in a statement read by her education policy advisor, Christian Becraft. “Offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses allows students to earn credit of the same rigor as every other school in the country. Nationally accepted and transferable credit helps ensure students stay on track to graduate and are well prepared for college. AP credits also ensure our students are ready for the workforce, and I believe strongly that investment in education is an investment in economic development.”
NMSI’s College Readiness Program has been deployed to support military-connected schools as a signature capability of the DoD Military Child Pilot Program. The DoD recognizes the importance of this investment because Advanced Placement exams are valid and reliable third-party assessments of student learning, serving as an indisputable quality control measure for schools near military bases. The program also addresses the need to strengthen the STEM workforce pipeline in communities where bases are located.
NMSI currently has 215 military-connected high school program sites serving 89 military installations across 30 states with more schools, like these three additional schools in Alabama joining the program this coming year.
The Huntsville-Madison County region was selected as the site for the celebration because it has the largest number of military-connected schools in Alabama. The schools have had great success implementing the program, and the corporate community has provided over $1 million in matching funds to support their schools.
“With today’s announcement of a $1-million DoD investment in A+ College Ready to carry out the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) Military Families Mission, Alabama distinguishes itself for achieving 100% coverage of military-connected high schools, implementing the highly effective NMSI College Readiness Program,” said Marcus Lingenfelter, NMSI’s Senior VP for Advancement, who also spoke during the event.
“NMSI is now seven years into this mission with 215 military-connected high schools served nationwide, representing approximately one-third of military associated schools nationally,” said Lingenfelter. “There are many more celebrations like this one that need to occur in other states hosting significant numbers of military personnel. We applaud the Alabama State Department of Education and The Boeing Company for their significant commitments over the years to arrive at this point, and we challenge other states and donors to follow their lead.”
Next school year in Alabama, 170 high schools in 82 Districts will have participated in the state-wide AP initiative through the NMSI College Readiness Program. Alabama has ranked first in the nation for the past eight years in the percentage increase in qualifying scores on AP math, science, and English exams.