Across the Board April 2022: Key Takeaways from the ALBOE Meeting

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 April 14th State Board of Education meeting and work session – and what they mean for Alabama’s students.

April Board Meeting

Click here to view the meeting agenda.

Attendance: All Board members were present except Governor Ivey. 

Awards: Congratulations to Mr. Robert M. Davis for being selected as the Barbara Fannin Memorial Employee of the Quarter!

Educator Prep Programs: The Board approved Jacksonville State University’s Class AA Elementary Education educator preparation program. 

Foundations of Reading 190 Test: The Board adopted a passing score of 233 (out of 300) for the Foundations of Reading 190 test that pre-service educators take before entering the classroom. On the recommendation of the Alabama Literacy Task Force, the Board decided to switch to the Pearson test as it is more aligned to the science of reading. The switch is effective beginning September 1, 2022. Read our March 2021 Across the Board for more about the change. 

ELA Textbook Adoption: The Board approved an addendum to the Recommendations of the State Textbook Committee for Adoption of Textbooks for English Language Arts, Grades 4-12. Core and supplemental materials were adopted at the February meeting, but some materials were accidentally left off. There is still no action being taken on materials for K-3.

Superintendent’s Report: Mr. Russ Cofield presented the Academy of Craft Training based in Birmingham, which allows high school students to participate in internships in the construction industry and have a career in construction after graduation.

April Work Session

Click here to view the work session agenda.

Superintendent Updates:

  • Reorganization for the Division of Administration and Finance: With the recent departure of Andy Craig, Dr. Mackey is proposing to promote Dr. Brandon Payne to Deputy Superintendent for Administration and Finance. Dr. Payne is currently serving as interim. Board members asked about Dr. Payne’s experiences in finance so they could be sure that they were in compliance with the position requirements in the Administrative Code.   As part of this reorganization, Drs. Mackey and Payne discussed adding a strategy and research team to this section of the department, as recommended by PCG’s review of the ALSDE. Dr. Mackey mentioned that this could supplement some of the research required by the newly-passed Alabama Numeracy Act. As a side note: One project Dr. Payne previously managed was digitizing the ALSDE’s antiquated document routing process. An outside analysis estimated that, once fully implemented, the changes will save over 100,000 sheets of paper and over 66,000 man-hours each year. 
  • Social Studies Course of Study was up to be adopted during COVID, but has been pushed back until 2026-2027. Click here to see the updated Course of Study Standards and Textbook Adoption Cycle through 2030.
    • Several Board members expressed concern about delaying Social Studies for a number of reasons. The Board discussed moving that review to 2024 from 2026. Dr. Mackey asked to bring in the Textbook Adoption and Course of Study Adoption specialists in the department before making any changes to the adoption schedule. 
  • Struggling Readers – Upper Grades: Dr. Elisabeth Davis could not be there, so the presentation was given by Mrs. Bonnie Short. Supports for older students struggling with reading include Language Enrichment for Older Students (LEOS) training for teachers in grades 4-12, a middle grades coaching pilot with Alabama Best Practices Center, the ABILI-TY middle grades pilot with the Governor’s office, as well as other professional learning opportunities offered directly from the ALSDE. 

Educator Prep Programs: The Board considered resolutions to authorize the review of two educator preparation programs: the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Montevallo. 

Administrative Code: The Board discussed its intent to adopt a change to the Alabama Administrative Code regarding extended learning opportunities


  • The Board discussed a resolution commending Charles R. Drew Middle School, Talladega County School System, as a 2022 awardee for Alabama Green Ribbon schools
  • The Board discussed a resolution commending Charles R. Drew Middle School, Talladega County School System, as a 2022 awardee for Alabama Green Ribbon schools
  • The Board discussed a resolution commending the 2022-2023 District Teachers of the Year
  • The Board considered a resolution recognizing Alabama’s “Grow Our Own” Initiative and “Future Teachers of Alabama” Organization
  • The Board discussed resolutions commending the following principals:
    • Mrs. Jaclyn Wright, Principal, Brewbaker Primary School, Montgomery County School System, recipient for Transformation and Triumph in Closing the Reading Achievement Gap, 2022 Model Schools Conference, International Center for Leadership in Education
    • Dr. Lucretia Prince, Principal, Crestmont Elementary School, Tuscaloosa County School System, for School Turnaround through a Thriving Culture and Building Relationship, 2022 Model Schools Conference, International Center for Leadership in Education
    • Dr. Teresha M. Jones, Principal, and Ms. Tonya Crews, School Improvement and Turnaround Administrator, Central High School, Tuscaloosa City School System, for School Improvement, 2022 Model Schools Conference, International Center for Leadership in Education

Board Member Questions: 

Several board member questions were about legislation passed during the 2022 session. Read our Legislative Recap here

Alabama Numeracy Act: Several Board members asked questions regarding the implementation of the recently passed Alabama Numeracy Act, including: 

  • Mrs. Zeigler: What are the qualifications of the Director of the Office of Math Improvement required by the Alabama Numeracy Act? Dr. Mackey: The position has already been posted and qualifications are listed there, but the national search will likely take more than the 90 days allowed in the law. The task force will be convened by Dr. Mackey before the OMI director is hired, but none of the real work will start until the OMI director is hired. 
  • Dr. Reynolds: Regarding the Alabama Numeracy Act, how will the department handle the approaching deadlines in the law? Dr. Mackey will convene the task force within 90 days, and he anticipates that a director of the Office of Math Improvement will be hired in 90 days even though he is unsure if the person will be on-site by then. So the department will be in compliance. 
  • Dr. Reynolds: With all the math coaches being hired within the school systems, how will we replace math teachers in the schools? Dr. Mackey clarified that these are elementary teachers (K-5) and that while there is not an abundance of them, the shortage is not as bad in elementary as it is in the upper grades. The department will notify schools if they will qualify to have a math coach next year by October 1 of this year. Allocation of funds for math coaches will start around July 1 of next summer so they can get in and get trained. 
  • Dr. Reynolds: How does the timeline being proposed for the Numeracy Act affect the expenditure of funds in the current fiscal year? The legislature allocated a small amount of money in the supplemental budget which is immediately available to set up the OMI in the first 90 days.

“Bathroom Bill” and “Don’t Say Gay” Bill: Dr. Reynolds: On the last day of the session, the legislature passed the “bathroom bill”, and the SBOE is required to handle implementation. How will we do that? The bill requires that restrooms that are for multiple person occupancy have to be for male or female students as identified on their birth certificate. Some districts have made plans for certain students to use single unisex bathrooms, and this doesn’t affect that. Regarding the amendment that states no instruction can be given in grades K-5 on gender identity or sexual orientation that is not age or developementally appropriate, Dr. Mackey said there is no instruction in grades K-5 in these topics at all. The amendment also included a ban on classroom discussion of the same topics, which is more tricky because if a child brings it up, it has to be cut off. The law says the board has to write a rule on that. Dr. Mackey said that it would be considered a violation of the teacher code of ethics. A draft of the code change will likely be presented in June so that it can be in place for the fall. 

NAEP Data: Dr. McCarty: When are NAEP scores going to be released? Dr. Mackey said that they are typically released in October, but there is a discussion about releasing data anywhere between September-January 2023 to avoid being released around election season.

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.