SBOE Approves Intent to Adopt College & Career Readiness Indicator as Graduation Requirement
Sept. 8, 2022, SBOE Meeting & Work Session Recap
The SBOE voted 6-3 Thursday to announce intent to adopt a new Amended Administrative Code rule that would require a college and career readiness (CCR) indicator to graduate high school beginning in 2028. Gov. Kay Ivey, who serves as president of the board by virtue of her office, told a packed auditorium the time is now to close the gap between the graduation and college and career readiness rates, citing a 92% graduation rate vs. a 76% college & career readiness rate. “It’s about closing opportunity gaps and giving kids an opportunity to excel,” Ivey said.
Current CCR indicators students can earn include:
- Earning a benchmark score in one of the areas of the ACT
- Earning a qualifying score of 3 or more on an AP exam
- Earning a qualifying score on an IB exam
- Earning a dual enrollment credit
- Earning a silver or gold or the ACT WorkKeys exam (about 37% of CCR are this)
- Completing an in-school apprenticeship (Required to be 18 to participate in apprenticeship.)
- Earning a Career Tech Industry Credential (4,000 credentials available in Alabama)
- Being accepted into the military before graduation
- Earning a Career Tech Completer status, by taking one Foundations course in a career tech field, intermediate course in that field, and an additional course like a capstone project.
- Any additional CCR indicator approved by the SBOE
Board members heavily debated the issue before voting, with opposing board members Belinda McRae (District 7), Stephanie Bell (District 3) and Jackie Zeigler (District 1) each expressing different reasons not to move forward. “We don’t put something in place without legislative support to fund it,” Bell said. McRae cited ELL concerns while Ziegler said in the interest of doing what’s best for kids, now is not the right time to add the new indicator. Dr. Tonya Chestnut (District 5), who ultimately voted in support of the rule, also shared concerns about inequities with available offerings in her district to help students to attain some of the indicators.
Mackey assured the board students in every district can achieve a CCR indicator on the ACT or ACT WorkKeys assessments and that most people he has spoken with have been in favor of the new requirement. He added that most students receive their CCR indicator in WorkKeys. Mackey also shared that expanding access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses to rural and high-poverty schools through training and preparation will be a priority. He also explained state funding is available for equipment needed to start a career tech program, but it would be left up to the district to sustain it.
The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 45 days with a vote expected in November.
Work Session Includes Overview of 2021-2022 ACAP Results
Alabama students saw overall improvement on the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP) in ELA, math and science at every grade level (Grades 2-8). ALSDE Coordinator of Student Assessment Maggie Hicks presented a comprehensive overview of state assessments scores, with comparisons between 2021 and 2022. State leaders and board members said they were pleased to see gains, but all acknowledged more growth is needed for students with low proficiency levels.
“We now have the data, knowing where we are, to determine what we need to do to move forward,” Board Vice-President Yvette Richardson (District 4) said.
Key takeaways from the ACAP results include:
2022 ACAP Overall Improvement
- English Language Arts (ELA) 45% to 47%
- Math 22% to 27%
- Science 35% to 37%
ACAP Proficiency Highlights
- Reading: 2nd graders on or above grade level increased 2% from 78% to 80%
- Reading: 3rd graders on or above grade level increased 1% from 77% to 78%
- ELA: 3rd grade students increased from 43% as 2nd graders to 55%
- ELA: 8th grade students increased from 43% as 7th graders to 53%
- Math: 2nd graders increased from 34% in 2021 to 44% in 2022
- Math: 3rd graders increased from 30% in 2021 to 40% in 2022
- Science: 4th graders increased by 5%, from 34% in 2021 to 39% in 2022
- Science: 6th graders increased by 6%, from 22% in 2021 to 28% in 2022
- Science: 8th graders increased by 1%, from 39% in 2021 to 40% in 2022
ACT with Writing (11th graders)
- Alabama 11th graders saw a slight improvement in the ACT composite score from 17.2 to 17.3
FY24 Budget Discussion
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Brandon Payne shared updates to the ALSDE’s FY24 budget request discussed at last month’s board work session with a few minor changes:
- Assistant Principals: An assistant principal allocation for schools with an ADM of 250 or higher
- Special Education Teacher Incentive Stipend: An additional $68 million to provide a stipend to special education teachers and help address the special education teacher shortage
- Other Current Expenses (OCE): Adjusted proposed OCE funding to create a separate line item addressing school safety with an additional $100 million
- Mental Health Coordinator Program: An increase from $1.3 to $2.1 million
- Computer Science for Alabama (CS4A): A $250,000 increase to bring the FY24 total to $750,000
The board work session also included a presentation from ALSDE Special Education Director DaLee Chambers on updates to special education services.
Board Meeting Action
Approved resolutions honoring Alabama’s 2021 School Counseling Program of Distinction recipients:
- Amanda Blake and Sheniqua Roberson, Baldwin County Schools
- Carissa Davis and Jane Evans, Baldwin County Schools
- Summer Davis, Katrina Kinn and Kristy Elderkin, Mobile County Schools
- Shannon Parker and Malachi Wilkerson, Birmingham City Schools
- Brandi Shanklin, Latonya Jemison and Emily Woodroof, Tuscaloosa County Schools
Adopted amended Alabama Administrative Code rules:
- Local Mechanic Certification: Will allow a school bus shop foreman who performs the duties and meets the requirements of a certified mechanic to be counted as such, regardless of fleet size, which now is set at 150 buses. Code Rule 290-2-4-.06
- Annual Apportionment of Foundation Program Funds: Will change language to reflect fiscal year, adjust experience steps in minimum salary schedule and amend language related to allowance for student growth. Code Rule 290-2-1-.01
- Certain Teaching Techniques: Will subject educators to the Educator Code of Ethics if found to engage in developmentally inappropriate classroom discussion regarding sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-5, as passed in the state legislature. Code Rule 290-040-040-.02
Adopted new Alabama Administrative Code rule:
- Mental Health Service Coordinator: the rule addresses the requirement for local school boards to employ a mental health coordinator, outline qualifications, certification requirements and create a local board requirement to adopt a policy concerning parent opt-in for mental health services. Code Rule 290-4-5-.05
Other approvals from the board meeting included:
- A resolution proclaiming October as Statewide Parent Engagement Month
- A resolution recognizing Alabama’s 2022 Inaugural Purple Star Schools
- A resolution to extend approval to University of Montevallo’s Educator Preparation Program
- ALSDE’s FY23 Operating Budget
- Alabama Public Charter School Commission nominees: The board approved Luis Ferrer and Debbie Alvis to serve on the Alabama Charter School Commission. Pursuant to the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act (Act 2015-3), the Speaker of the House is required to submit to the board a recommended list of nominees.
Next SBOE Meeting
The board’s next meeting will take place October 13 at 10 a.m. in Montgomery with a work session immediately following.