Governor Ivey Announces Pre-K through Third Grade Pilot Schools

By  | July 12, 2017 | Filed under: News

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey today announced that five Alabama school systems, with a total of eight individual schools, will lead a new effort to improve student success by aligning effective teaching strategies and improving collaboration among educators in early elementary school grades.

The schools chosen to serve as pilots for the Alabama Pre-K-through-Third-Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning program are Pleasant Grove Elementary School (Cleburne County); Kinston Elementary School, New Brockton Elementary School, Zion Chapel School (Coffee County); Wetumpka Elementary School (Elmore County); Barkley Bridge Elementary School (Morgan County); and Skyline School (Jackson County).

Each school was selected from a pool of applicants participating in the Alabama Pre-K-3 Leadership Academy, which will launch July 17th.

“A strong start in the early years of a child’s education ensures a strong finish in their later educational endeavors. Whether a student will find success in school and the workforce is traditionally evidenced in their performance by third grade,” Governor Ivey said. “If we haven’t given our students a strong learning foothold by the third grade, they will be fighting an uphill battle for the rest of their educational careers; this program addresses that truth head-on.”

The Alabama Pre-K-through-Third-Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning program is a joint partnership between the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education and the Alabama State Department of Education. Each participating school will receive a $15,000 grant for each classroom to purchase age-appropriate classroom materials and improve early learning experiences.

The pilot program, based on research from Harvard University, the University of Washington and others, creates a structure for aligning and coordinating academic standards, instructional practices, professional development and developmentally appropriate classroom assessments from pre-k to the third grade.

Throughout the year, grantees will participate in ongoing observation and joint planning sessions, provide increased opportunities for teachers to share best practices, and organize collaborative professional development meetings across all grade levels. The program will emphasize effective teaching, instructional coherence, and meaningful learning opportunities as keys to improving student success.

The Alabama Pre-K – 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning program is an acknowledgement that early childhood extends until age eight and requires a special expertise and coordination to ensure student success.

“Children have the most potential for growth from pre-K to third grade, and we are delighted to partner with the Alabama State Department of Education to create new opportunities for local schools to support students during their critical early years of learnings,” commented Jeana Ross, Secretary of the Department of Early Childhood Education. “This approach to early learning combines best practices from our programs to better support strong teaching, student achievement and student success for all students.”

Schools participating in the program will gain access to early childhood education specialists who will help pre-k to third grade teachers implement evidence-based instructional practices. The support structure is modeled after Alabama’s nationally-recognized First Class Pre-K program and other successful leadership, instruction and assessment strategies currently being implemented in Alabama’s schools.


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