Across the Board April 2024: Key Takeaways from the ALBOE Meeting

Recapping important State Board of Education policy decisions for you

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

Top 3 Takeaways

1. Alabama’s Graduation Rate and College and Career Readiness Rate Increased

During the Board’s Work Session, Dr. Melissa Shields and Mr. Sean Stevens presented the new graduation rate and college and career readiness rate for 2023.

The 2023 Graduation Rate is 90.04%, up from 88.21% in 2022. The 2023 College and Career Readiness Rate is 84.2%, a 5-point jump from 79.07% in 2022. 

That’s a big leap! It is especially important because earning a College and Career Readiness (CCR) Indicator will become a graduation requirement for students in the 2025-2026 school year.

A student becomes College and Career Ready if they meet at least one of the following indicators: Benchmark Score on any ACT Subtest, ACT WorkKeys Silver or Higher Level, Advanced Placement Exam Qualifying Score, International Baccalaureate Exam Qualifying Score, Approved College or Postsecondary Credit in High School (i.e. Dual Enrollment), Approved Industry Credential, Military Enlistment, Career Technical Education Completer (added July 2022), or In-School Youth Apprenticeship Program (added July 2022).

Dr. Mackey and the team also emphasized the importance of funding for College and Career Readiness Grants awarded to schools since 2023. The grants support local school efforts to help students achieve a CCR indicator and prioritize funding for schools with a greater than 15% gap between their graduation rate and college and career readiness rate. The Board proposed this idea and requested funding. The Legislature approved funding for the grants in the FY 2023 supplemental budget ($10 million), the FY 2024 budget ($15 million), and has now included $17 million in their FY 2024 supplemental, which has not passed yet. 

Finally, Dr. Mackey told the Board that Dr. Shields and Mr. Stevens had to leave to attend a special event with the College Board honoring Alabama as a leader in expanding participation in AP Precalculus. In partnership with the state, our A+ College Ready program is hosting this event, the country’s first “mock reading” professional learning for AP Precalculus. Congratulations!

2. Legislative Budget Updates

Dr. Mackey also updated the Board on the FY 2025 Education Budget moving through the Legislature now. It has been approved by the House Ways & Means Committee and is expected to go to the full House of Representatives for a vote next week. You can follow along with our FY 2025 Budget Watch series. Dr. Mackey highlighted the following priorities:

  • Support for Struggling Readers Beyond 3rd Grade: State funding for reading is currently focused on K-3 to support implementing the Alabama Literacy Act (ALA). The Board requested additional funding to support struggling readers in grades 4-6 who were not retained in 3rd grade under the ALA. Dr. Mackey was clear that the focus of these funds should be on the schools that need it most. The ALSDE will identify the schools that have the highest numbers of students that were just above the cut score to be promoted to 4th grade or that were promoted via a good cause exemption to provide them extra support. The Legislature has included $5 million in the FY 2024 supplemental budget that (if passed) would be available when school starts in August. A+ supports this effort.
  • Summer Reading and Math Camps: The Board requested and the Legislature has included funding in its budget to replace the federal ESSER funds the ALSDE had been using to fund these programs for the last few years. This is only the funding at the state level, not any ESSER funding that a local district might have used to fund summer camps.
  • More Assistant Principals: The Legislature also included a Board priority for more assistant principals in its budget. The Legislature is allocating $20 million, which would add state funding for ½ an assistant principal unit for elementary schools larger than 300 students and a full assistant principal unit for middle schools larger than 300 students. 

Principal Leadership & Mentoring Act funding: Dr. Mackey also reported that the Legislature is including funding for the new principal mentoring program and stipends for principals and assistant principals that meet the professional learning requirements of the new law passed last year.

3. Alternative Teacher Preparation Organizations See Some Movement

The Legislature first passed a law allowing alternative teacher preparation organizations (ATPOs) to come to Alabama in 2022. In 2023, the Legislature amended that law, changing the requirements for ATPOs to increase the number approved, despite the Board’s hesitation. At last month’s board meeting, #T.E.A.C.H. was recommended for approval but failed to get enough Board votes with five abstentions.

At today’s board meeting, American Board and iTeach were up for approval after being presented to the Board at last month’s work session. American Board was not approved when the motion to approve them did not get a second, and no vote was taken. iTeach was then approved on a  6-1-2 vote (Voting yes were Governor Ivey, Richardson West, Chestnut, Manning, and McRae. Zeigler voted no. Bell and Reynolds abstained). Dr. Richardson clarified that iTeach received her support because of their CAEP accreditation, which the American Board does not have. iTeach is the first alternative program to be approved under these changes in law.

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

The Alabama State Board of Education usually meets on the second Thursday of each month, with the exception of the July meeting, 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.