Written by Corinn O’Brien, VP of Policy
Recapping important education policy decisions for you
The Alabama State Board of Education usually 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.
We are making a few changes to Across the Board to ensure that the content is more relevant and accessible. Moving forward, you will receive a recap that features 3-5 updates of what we believe are the most important topics covered.
Here are our key takeaways from the November 10th State Board of Education meeting and work session – and what they mean for Alabama’s students. To see the agendas for the meeting and work session, click here.
Top 5 Key Takeaways
College & Career Readiness Graduation Requirement Adopted: At today’s Board Meeting, the board adopted (5-2 vote) a change in the administrative code requiring students to earn a College and Career Readiness (CCR) indicator in order to graduate, beginning with students who will graduate during the 2027-2028 school year. Voting Yes: Governor Ivey, Dr. Reynolds, Mrs. West, Dr. Richardson, and Dr. Chestnut. Voting No: Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Zeigler. Absent: Mrs. McRae and Dr. McCarty.
Last year, 92% of Alabama students graduated high school, but only 76% earned a College and Career Readiness (CCR) indicator. Governor Ivey urged the Board to adopt the change, “This is about measuring what matters. Focus our energy on making sure resources are where they need to be. Parents want their kids to graduate high school with the skills needed to excel in college and career. Since the rule doesn’t take effect until 2028, we have time to work with local school districts to expand access to various CCR indicators to meet the interest of every student.”
A+ Education Partnership supported this change, and we thank the Board for its commitment to student success.
A student will be required to earn at least one of the following College and Career Readiness Indicators in order to graduate, beginning in 2028:
- Earning a benchmark score in any subject area on the ACT college entrance exam.
- Earning a qualifying score of three or higher on an advanced placement exam.
- Earning a qualifying score of four or higher on an international baccalaureate exam.
- Earning college credit while in high school.
- Earning a silver or gold level on the ACT WorkKeys Exam.
- Completing an in-school youth apprenticeship program.
- Earning a career technical industry credential.
- Being accepted into the military before graduation.
- Attaining career and technical education completer status.
- Any additional indicator approved by the State Board of Education.
Office of School Improvement (OSI) Update: Dr. Melissa Shields, Director of the Office of School Improvement, shared updates from the team that supports our lowest-performing schools in the state (presentation linked here). In Alabama, there are multiple ways that schools are formally identified if they are struggling, including
- Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools (CSI)
- Targeted Support & Improvement Schools (TSI), and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement Schools (ATSI)
- Alabama Accountability Act, through the Failing Schools List
- Alabama Education Report Card, with A-F grades
- Literacy Act, through the Full Support and Limited Support Schools list
- Numeracy Act, through the Full Support and Limited Support Schools list
If you are interested in a brief overview of Alabama’s multiple accountability systems, check out the Public Consulting Group’s overview on pages 19-23, linked here.
Last January, Governor Ivey announced a new initiative to turn around Alabama’s 15 persistently lowest-performing schools, all of which have spent time on several of the lists above, some for many years. While the initial work was managed by an external vendor, ALSDE recently ended that contract and brought this initiative in-house to be managed by the OSI team.
There was an intense discussion, with board members expressing frustration at the lack of progress in Alabama’s persistently lowest-performing schools and a sense of urgency to improve them. Almost all of the board members’ comments had a common thread of what’s best for students. Dr. Wayne Reynolds urged, “We are failing generations of students. What are we going to do differently?” Jackie Ziegler asked, “When do we say enough is enough, and the children deserve better?’
Accountability Release: SBOE and Superintendents received an embargoed copy of the new Alabama Education Report Card scores for the 2021-2022 school year, as well as the list of schools that qualified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI), Targeted Support & Improvement (TSI) and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI). The scores will be public by the end of next week, November 18, 2022, and we will share them once they are released. You can access Alabama’s Education Report Card here.
First-Grade Readiness: The Board is considering requiring local boards of education to adopt policies that ensure students entering the first grade can demonstrate first-grade readiness, either by successfully completing kindergarten (public, private, or homeschool) or passing a first-grade readiness assessment of basic developmental skills. If this requirement were not met, they would have to go to Kindergarten first. Over 90% of students complete some form of Kindergarten, but some 6-year-olds arrive in First Grade without any preparation, where they immediately start way behind their peers.
The Legislature has come very close to passing a law with a similar requirement during the last two legislative sessions (see here). Most Board members have expressed support for this idea, and they are now considering taking the lead and adopting it on their own. Jessica Sanders, ALSDE governmental affairs director, presented the draft of a potential administrative code change (draft linked here) that the board will consider in the coming months.
A+ College Ready Schools of Excellence Honored: At today’s Board meeting, the Board honored the following high schools and middle schools in our A+ College Ready program that were named Schools of Excellence for meeting or exceeding their school goals on AP exam scores and academic achievement. A+ is so proud of their hard work!
High Schools: Elberta High School (Baldwin County), Crossville High School (DeKalb County), Dothan High School (Dothan City), Geneva High School (Geneva City), Charles Henderson High School (Troy City)
Middle Schools: Wetumpka Middle School (Elmore County), Pisgah School (Jackson County), Orange Beach Middle School (Orange Beach), Scottsboro Junior High School (Scottsboro City), Hewitt Trussville Middle School (Trussville City), Brookwood Middle School (Tuscaloosa County), Carbon Hill Junior High School (Walker County)
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.