Recapping important education policy decisions for you
We’re continuing our monthly series dedicated to keeping you informed about key policy discussions and decisions made by the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). The Alabama State Board of Education meets on the second Thursday of each month to discuss important policies, procedures, and changes for Alabama’s K-12 public schools. The Board takes official action during their monthly Meeting and then follows up with a Work Session to get updates and discuss future action that will be voted on at the next board meeting. You can watch them live and see old meetings here.
Here are our key takeaways from the May 13th State Board of Education meeting and work session – and what they mean for Alabama’s students.
May 2021 Board Meeting
>Board approves appointments to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission –
The board voted to appoint Dr. Ty Moody, Mr. Paul Morin, and Mr. Sydney Raine to the Public Charter School Commission.
The Public Charter School Commission is appointed by the State Board of Education from a pool of nominations made by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Each commissioner serves for 2 years. Governor Ivey currently has 3 commission seats that are up for election, and she presented the board with her nominations at the April Board work session.
For her first seat (currently held by Rebecca Lee-Gwin), Governor Ivey nominated Dr. Ty Moody (Hoover, AL), currently the Executive Director of CDF Freedom Schools, and Mr. Tevin Jones (Birmingham, AL), Chief of Staff to the City of Birmingham. The Board voted 5-2 in favor of Dr. Ty Moody for the seat, accepting her nomination over Mr. Jones.
VOTES for Dr. Ty Moody: Board Vice President Jackie Ziegler (District 1), Tracie West (District 2), Dr. Cynthia McCarty (District 6), Belinda McRae (District 7), and Dr. Wayne Reynolds (District 8).
VOTES for Mr. Tevin Jones: Dr. Yvette Richardson (District 4) and Dr. Tonya Chestnut (District 5)
Stephanie Bell (District 3) abstained.
For her second seat (currently held by Paul Morin), Governor Ivey renominated Mr. Paul Morin (Birmingham, AL), an education training consultant, and also Tracy Plummer (Marion Junction, AL), Deputy Director of the Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. The Board voted 5-2 to nominate Paul Morin for the seat, accepting his nomination over Ms. Plummer.
VOTES for Mr. Paul Morin: Board Vice President Jackie Ziegler (District 1), Tracie West (District 2), Dr. Yvette Richardson (District 4), Dr. Cynthia McCarty (District 6), and Dr. Wayne Reynolds (District 8).
VOTES for Ms. Tracy Plummer: Dr. Tonya Chestnut (District 5) and Belinda McRae (District 7).
Stephanie Bell (District 3) abstained.
Finally, for her third seat (currently held by Sydney Raine), Governor Ivey renominated Mr. Sydney Raine (Mobile, AL), President of Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment (SWAPTE), and also nominated Dr. James Carter Sr. (Hoover, AL), retired Superintendent of Greene County Schools. The Board voted 5-2 to nominate Mr. Sydney Raine for the seat, accepting his nomination over Dr. Carter.
VOTES for Mr. Sydney Raine: Board Vice President Jackie Ziegler (District 1), Tracie West (District 2), Dr. Tonya Chestnut (District 5), Dr. Cynthia McCarty (District 6), and Belinda McRae (District 7).
VOTES for Dr. James Carter Sr.: Dr. Yvette Richardson (District 4) and Dr. Wayne Reynolds (District 8).
Stephanie Bell (District 3) abstained.
The Board voted 6-0 to approve the three nominees. Stephanie Bell (District 3) and Dr. Wayne Reynolds (District 8) abstained.
>Board approves recommendations for adoption of textbooks for Career and Technical Education clusters –
Board members unanimously approved the textbook recommendations from the state textbook committee in the following career and technical education clusters: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
>State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey recognizes Alabama’s School Nurses, Future Teachers of Alabama, and student recipients of the 2021 National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations award –
During his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Mackey welcomed the large crowd that attended the SBOE meeting in-person. Of note, this was the first board meeting in over a year where all board members (except Governor Ivey) attended in-person. Dr. Mackey thanked all of the student visitors receiving honors, including the “Future Teachers of Alabama” organization and student recipients of the NCWIT Aspirations award. Dr. Mackey also recognized Alabama’s school nurses in honor of National Nurses Day.
May 2021 Board Work Session Discussions
>Deputy State Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Daniel Boyd and Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Terry Roller provide updates on Montgomery Public Schools’ Release from State Intervention –
Dr. Terry Roller, Chief Administrative Officer for the Montgomery Public Schools Intervention, provided an update on Montgomery Public Schools impending release from state intervention. Dr. Roller shared the seven deficiencies the state sought to address as part of the intervention: Fiscal procedures, Child Nutrition (CNP procedures), Student transportation, Student Academic Achievement, College & Career Ready Rates, gap between CCR & Graduation Rates, and graduation rate.
Among the positive interventions and updates ALSDE highlighted included hiring Dr. Arthurs Watts as CFO, balancing the district budget year over year, a $13 million budget deficit reduction, establishing a one month budget reserve, hiring Directors of CNP and Transportation. Academic Achievement increased by 5 points in 2019. Additionally, 86% of MPS schools improved academically from 2017-2019 (no 2020 data was available because of the COVID-19 pandemic).
ALSDE recommended a release from educational intervention effective December 1, 2021 so long as MPS maintains compliance in the following areas:
- Maintain adequate academic progress
- Maintain fiscal sustainability by having a minimum of 1.5 month’s financial reserves; amd
- Maintain adequate operational standing in areas related to transportation, child nutrition, and other auxiliary departments.
All conditions are subject to periodic review by the ALSDE. The Board will vote to formally release Montgomery Public Schools from state intervention as of December 1, 2021 at the June board meeting.
>State Student Assessment Director Maggie Hicks provides updates on Spring 2021 ACAP and ACT Assessment –
State Student Assessment Director Maggie Hicks provided an update on Alabama’s spring state summative assessments. This spring was the first year the new Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP) was administered to students in grades 2-8. As discussed by State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey during the March State Board Work Session, Alabama needed a minimum of 70% participation to create a valid baseline for the ACAP to serve as the accountability assessment measure for the Alabama Literacy Act.
Ms. Hicks noted that testing windows were maximally extended for all assessments and that no remote option of the assessments was offered. These procedures netted promising preliminary participation results. Mrs. Hicks shared preliminary participation rates: 93% for the ACAP Summative; 87% for the ACAP Alternative (for select students with disabilities); 96% for the Access assessment (for English Language Learners); also, 86% for the ACT with writing. These are strong preliminary results and much higher than many other states.
Finally, Mrs. Hicks noted that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will be administered next school year (it was originally scheduled to be administered during the 2020-21 school year) and local schools will be notified in late summer 2021 if the school has been selected to participate this coming school year.
>Assistant State Superintendent Mrs. Shanthia Washington provides updates on the American Rescue Plan and ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary Relief) Funds –
Assistant State Superintendent Mrs. Shanthia Washington provided an update on the ESSER III funds received by the state of Alabama as a part of the American Rescue plan, signed into law by President Biden this past March (Read more about the American Rescue Plan, the allocation of funds to the state, and how they may be expended here). Mrs. Washington shared that the primary purpose for the ESSER III funds are to safely reopen schools to in-person instruction, maximize instructional time, sustain the safe operation of schools, and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. With ESSER III funds included, Mrs. Washington shared that local Alabama school districts stand to receive almost $3 billion dollars in federal relief funds.
Mrs. Washington shared that each local district must develop two plans in order to receive their ESSER III funds. Each requires significant community engagement. First, each local district must post their In-Person Instructional Learning Plan to their website by June 23, 2021. Second, plans detailing how each local district plans to expend their ESSER funds will be due August 23, 2021 and will be required to be posted on each local district website. Dr. Mackey shared that Superintendents will be attending a webinar regarding ESSER III plans on May 25th.
Mrs. Washington also reminded board members that ESSER II plans are due to ALSDE June 1, 2021. Dr. Mackey shared that 30 districts have already turned in ESSER II plans, of which 12 district plans have been approved. That leaves over 100 plans that must be submitted between today and the end of the month.
Contact Your Board Member:
Have feedback on any of the above items – or anything else? Contact your state school board member using the resources below:
-To contact your State Board of Education Member, click here.
-To find out which district you live and/or teach in, click here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your address in the “Polling Place Search” box. Once entered, it will take you to a page that shows your polling place and the districts you live in.
-To view a map of the state school board districts, click here.