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State Board Discusses Alternative Certification, Educator Prep. Report Card



State Board Discusses Alternative Certification, Educator Prep. Report Card

The State Board of Education’s Feb. 8 meeting drew students and educators from across the state for an agenda packed with recognitions honoring Alabama’s 2017 Milken Educator Award recipient, Vincent Chiaramonte, and the Alabama 2018 School Counselor of the Year, Mindi Anderson. The state’s 2017 Blue Ribbon Schools also were honored: Saraland Elementary School (Saraland City Schools); Leon Sheffield Magnet Elementary School (Decatur City Schools); Liberty Park Elementary (Vestavia Hills City Schools); Memorial Park Elementary School (Jasper City Schools); and Tuscaloosa Middle Magnet School (Tuscaloosa City Schools).

Interim State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson gave a brief update on Alabama’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan. He told the board all required changes from the peer review have been made, and the revised ESSA plan is being sent to the U.S. Department of Education. The state still will have an opportunity to make additional amendments, as the State Education Report Card will need to be sent once finalized.

The board unanimously voted to approve the timeline for the state superintendent search, which is being conducted by Ray and Associates. Richardson informed the board that the vacancy is ready to be posted, and the deadline to apply is March 23. Candidate interviews will be held in April.

During the board work session following Thursday’s meeting, board members discussed plans for updating the current Alabama Alternative Certification routes. ALSDE officials delivered a presentation outlining the current pathways available for teachers to gain alternative certification. The bulk of discussion centered on ways to combat current teacher shortages.

Richardson said the state is not getting enough teachers with math and science certifications and stressed the need to consider new options. The governor’s education policy adviser, Nick Moore, told the board Gov. Ivey has encouraged “thinking outside the box” to attract those who really want to teach but may not fit the requirements for current alternative certification routes. Suggestions he offered included targeting and mentoring high school students who have expressed an interest in teaching and promoting alternative education certification routes to academic majors who decide upon completing their degrees that they would like to enter the classroom.

Board members expressed concern about a change in the requirements for special education certifications. Shavon Cummings, ALSDE program coordinator for Educator Certification, explained that due to new ESSA rules, the state no longer will be able to offer emergency certifications in special education. She told the board the rule change is likely to pose significant challenges for the state, as 73 of the more than 100 emergency certifications approved last year were for special education.

Mary Scott Hunter (District 8) suggested the state “push back” on the rule change, and several board members agreed. Richardson suggested they get together to draft a letter framing the problem and promised he would sign it, ensuring the communication will carry the full weight of the state superintendent’s office.

The work session also included discussion of a prototype for a report card evaluating educator preparation programs. Dr. Jayne Meyer, Director of the ALSDE’s Office of Teaching and Learning, stressed that the board’s support will be needed to move forward with the report card, which would allow the ALSDE to review and take steps to address educator programs with insufficient pass rates.

Board members also received a presentation on a proposed Digital Literacy and Computer Science course of study.

Next State Board Meeting

The board’s next meeting will take place on March 8 at 10 a.m. in Montgomery, with a work session to follow.

News Conference Held on Montgomery Public Schools Intervention  

Interim State Superintendent Ed Richardson held a news conference Friday, Feb. 9 to announce details of the state’s intervention plan for Montgomery County Public Schools. The plan includes major changes aimed at addressing systemic financial and student achievement issues facing the school system. Major elements of the plan include:

Richardson also announced that he has received several letters of intent to start charter schools within MPS. He added that he intends to approve the charters, upon receipt of official applications and once approved by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

Still Time to Register for March Conference 

It’s not too late to register for AASB’s annual Spring Academy Core Conference: Leadership for Policy & Planning, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel on March 2 & 3. School Board members will earn 6 training hours and enjoy information-packed general sessions and breakout clinics. Arrive early to take part in AASB’s Poverty Simulation seminar and this year’s Early Bird Workshop, Project iGuardian.

General session keynote speakers and topics include:

Subscribe Now to Policy Pipeline  

Want access to the information needed to keep your school system’s policy manual up to date with a minimal investment of time and money? AASB’s Policy Pipeline service is your solution.

The annual Policy Pipeline edition, which includes experts’ insights as well as relevant draft policies and updates on legal and administrative developments, typically arrives after the legislative session and before school starts. Read the issue and ask questions during the annual policy maintenance conference call for subscribers only. This year’s call will be July 26 at 10 a.m.

Policy Pipeline subscriptions are $850 per year. If you use AASB’s Policy Review & Analysis Service, you will get a free, first-year subscription to the Policy Pipeline in the year your policy revisions are completed. For details, contact

Earn Hours and Sharpen Your Advocacy Skills 

Spend a day in Montgomery with AASB staff during the Association’s annual Advocacy Days, where you’ll get an up-close view of the legislative process and meet your lawmakers at the State House. We are encouraging local board members in specific districts to attend an Advocacy Day together. Participants will not only earn two hours of training credit, but also will complete one of the criteria for attaining Master’s Honor Roll Status.

Feb. 20 - Districts 4, 5 and 6

March 20 - Districts 7, 8 and 9

April 10 - Open to all districts

New School Board U Course Available  

AASB’s newest School Board U course, Leadership for Academic Achievement (6 training hours) is open for registration. In this course, you will dig deep into what is possible for all students and explore how your board can adapt beliefs and policies to promote academic achievement in your school system. The course addresses testing, data-driven decision making and the board’s role in effective learning. The course also features a section on Special Education. Like all School Board U courses, Leadership for Academic Achievement is available online, 24/7, so you can work at your pace from the convenience of your computer.

Schedule Your Whole Board Training 

There are only four months left in the 2017-18 training year, and slots are filling up quickly for AASB-led Whole Board Trainings. Have a conversation as a board-superintendent team and review AASB’s Whole Board Training catalog to determine which topic will best fit your training needs. Once your team has made a decision, contact our Leadership Development team at to schedule your training.

Application Deadline March 31 for Alabama Bicentennial Schools 

As part of Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration, Gov. Kay Ivey has announced the Alabama Bicentennial Schools Initiative. Up to 200 schools will be selected as Alabama Bicentennial Schools, and a total of 21 schools will be recognized as an Alabama Bicentennial School of Excellence. Applications are due March 31, 2018. For program information packets and participation forms and applications, visit

Register for Feb. 15 Sexual Harassment Webinar 

As a heightened awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault sweeps the nation, now is an excellent time for school leaders to refresh their knowledge of sexual harassment law and to ensure that their school systems’ policies are effective and up to date.

Don’t miss AASB’s upcoming webinar, Sexual Harassment Law & Policies, What School Boards Need to Know, which will be held Feb. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join us and hear from Anne Yuengert, a partner at the Bradley law firm’s Birmingham office who specializes in labor and employment law. Yuengert works with clients to manage their employees, including conducting workplace investigations of harassment. Register today.

It’s a date!  

Feb. 15 (1.5 hours)
Sexual Harassment

March 2 (2.5 hours)
Poverty Simulation
9 to 11:30 a.m.
Birmingham, Ala.

March 2 (2 hours)
Project iGuardian
1 to 3 p.m.
Birmingham, Ala.

March 2 & 3 (6 hours)
Conference: Leadership for Policy & Planning
Birmingham, Ala.

Advocacy Days (2 hours)
Feb. 20: Districts 4-6
March 20: Districts 7-9
April 10: All Districts

June 15-17
ASB Summer Conference & Law Clinic Orange Beach, AL

June 16 & 17
ACSBA Summer Conference

June 18-20
AAAA Summer Conference