7 Alabama schools chosen to pilot early education program

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Alabama is launching a pilot program to help improve student success by aligning effective teaching strategies and improving collaboration among educators , Governor Kay Ivey announced on Monday.

“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,” Ivey said.

Five Alabama school systems, with a total of seven individual schools, will serve as pilots for the Alabama Pre-K-through-Third-Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning program. The selected schools are:

  1. Barkley Bridge Elementary School (Morgan County)
  2. Kinston Elementary School (Coffee County)
  3. New Brockton Elementary School (Coffee County)
  4. Pleasant Grove Elementary School (Cleburne County)
  5. Skyline School (Jackson County)
  6. Wetumpka Elementary School (Elmore County)
  7. Zion Chapel School (Coffee County)

The new 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.

Based on research from Harvard University, the University of Washington and others, the program 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.

“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 also gain access to early childhood education specialists who will help pre-k to third grade teachers implement evidence-based instructional practices.

“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,” Ivey concluded.

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