Year-end Message from Caroline, A+ President

“Alabama Ranks Among Top 20 States for K-12 Academic Performance!”
Can you imagine that headline? Currently, Alabama is a bottom-tier state in many categories, but we don’t have to be. We know that you share our strong belief that every student deserves a chance to reach their highest potential. We know the vital work that needs to be done, and the work that must be continued to make greater achievement as a state possible. But we need your help.

States like Kentucky and Florida have seen significant increases in academic rankings by focusing on the success of all students through sustained improvement efforts. The good news is that the State Board of Education adopted an ambitious plan for Alabama that incorporates lessons learned from these states.

Alabama’s roadmap, known as Plan 2020, provides the framework to equip students with knowledge and skills for the workplace, or for post-secondary education by ensuring:

  • high expectations that enable our students to compete nationally;
  • recruitment and retention of the best and brightest to lead and work in our schools;
  • access to high quality voluntary Pre-K;
  • social and emotional services for children who need them; and
  • transparent reporting on the progress of our schools.
  • Although our graduation rates are improving, we must maintain strong momentum to see results in Alabama.

We need your help as we rally our support and energy around Plan 2020 in the following ways:

Policy: A+ provides research-based information and briefs to state leaders that address critical areas for improvement like testing, accountability, and teacher/principal development and evaluation. We also established a coalition of some four dozen organizations known as Alabama GRIT (Graduate Ready. Impact Tomorrow.) to build broader support for holding Alabama students to high standards that will prepare them for real life.

Practice: The Alabama Best Practices Center manages networks of superintendents, district leaders, principals and teachers who collaborate to successfully implement proven, effective ideas for improving schools. Educators from more than 50 school systems across the state are learning from and inspiring each other. Participants rate this support as essential for helping students meet higher expectations.

Preparation: Alabama does rank #1 in our nation for percent increase in math, science, and English Advanced Placement qualifying scores from 2008-2014 – and that success can be directly attributed to the efforts of our A+ College Ready division. We work relentlessly to train teachers to lead higher-level courses, encourage more students in our state to challenge themselves, and provide the support they need to meet those challenges no matter what their circumstance or zip code.

I am deeply proud of our efforts and successes this year, and more than ever I am confident that with Plan 2020, we can continue our momentum to improve not only our national rankings, but our state’s future through today’s students. But we cannot do it alone.

With your help, we can provide every student an excellent education. Please consider a year-end gift to enable us to achieve this goal.

With gratitude,

Caroline Novak, President