Across the Board May 2023: Key Takeaways from the ALBOE Meeting

Recapping important State Board of Education policy decisions for you

Here are our key takeaways from the May 11th State Board of Education meeting and work session – and what they mean for Alabama’s students.

Top 4 Key Takeaways

1. Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Alabama Teacher of the Year! Congratulations to our 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, Jeffrey L. Norris from Oak Mountain Middle School! Also congratulations to Kevin Pughsley, from Berry Middle School, on becoming Alabama’s Alternate State Teacher of the Year! Thank you to these dedicated teachers, our district teachers of the year, and all today’s honorees for their commitment to our students!

2. Consolidated Plan for Instructional Supports: In several previous Board work sessions, there has been discussion with legislators and Board members about a potential plan for improving education outcomes in the state, particularly in failing schools. This plan is the result of those conversations. 

The two documents that guided the creation of the new plan were the state’s ESSA plan and the ALSDE’s strategic plan (Alabama Achieves). The consolidated plan outlines a plan of action for each of the following offices in the department: 

  • Alabama Reading Initiative
  • Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative
  • Office of Math Improvement
  • Office of School Improvement
  • ALSDE Professional Learning
  • ALSDE edTechnology

Each departmental plan includes a vision, skills, incentives, resources, and an action plan. You can find the website with all the links to the departmental plans here. Staff let Board members know that the next phase is determining specific steps for implementation. 

Today’s presentation also included information on the five different school turnaround pillars, which determine the schools that receive the supports outlined in the departmental plans. These pillars are: 

  • Comprehensive Support Schools (CSI): 50 schools on this list in 2022. 
  • Governor’s Turnaround Initiative: 15 schools identified in 2022.
  • Alabama Literacy Act: 40 schools + feeders in 2022
  • Alabama Numeracy Act: 19 full support, 64 limited support schools in 2023
  • Alabama Accountability Act: 79 schools in 2023

ALSDE staff explained each pillar, what schools were included, what supports are provided, and what progress has been made for schools on the list. Read these explanations here.

3. Praxis Score Requirement for Teacher Certification: At the July 2022 Board meeting, the Board passed a resolution that allowed candidates to receive their teacher certification through one of three ways: 

  • Receiving a passing score on the Praxis exam (the current law)
  • Scoring within -1 standard error of measurement (SEM) on the Praxis with a 2.75 Teaching Field GPA or higher
  • Scoring within -1 SEM on the Praxis without a 2.75 Teaching Field GPA, but
    • Achieves the required Praxis score within 3 years
    • Completes 100 hours of ALSDE-approved high-quality professional development or micro-credential in their certificate area

Today, at the May 2023 work session, the Board heard from ALSDE staff about the number of teacher candidates who have been able to take advantage of the new pathways: 

  • Since the resolution was adopted, 3,148 teaching certificates have been issued based on completing a program at a college or university. Of those, 56 have utilized the -1 SEM option. 
  • 129 teaching certificates have been issued from provisional or emergency certificates, with 9 of those utilizing the -1 SEM option.

During last summer’s discussion, the Board was made aware that the -1 SEM option could lead to hundreds of teachers becoming eligible for certification, but only 65 total have taken advantage so far. The -1 SEM pathway is optional for colleges and universities, and not all have taken advantage of it. 

The change to allow candidates scoring -1 SEM on the Praxis to be certified expires automatically if the Board does not take action in June 2024. ALSDE staff will return in August to present updated information on the number of candidates taking advantage of the -1 SEM option, including those graduating this spring. 

There was a discussion about what schools the 65 certified teachers went to, if those schools were in high needs areas, and how could those teachers be incentivized to go where they are most needed. The Board will continue to review data to determine next steps for the -1 SEM Praxis score requirement before it expires.

4. New Praxis Score Requirement for Initial Certification: The Board unanimously passed a resolution that would discontinue certain Praxis assessments required for initial certification. These assessments are being replaced with new versions by ETS, the company that owns the Praxis, as part of a regular process. The change to the new assessments will take place on September 1, 2023.

To see the full May Board Meeting and Work Session agendas, click here.

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

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.