ALSDE unveils new strategic plan called 'Alabama Ascending' - Montgomery Alabama news.

ALSDE unveils new strategic plan called 'Alabama Ascending'

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

At Wednesday's state board of education work session, State Superintendent Michael Sentance unveiled his plan to improve education across Alabama.

The new strategic plan is called 'Alabama Ascending' and its goal is to make sure kindergartners starting school this fall will be successful when they graduate in 2030.

"It's ambitious, bordering on audacious in some areas," said Dr. Tony Thacker with the Alabama State Department of Education. "But should all of this occur, and we feel that all of this can occur, it's gonna result in an educational process that is effective and equitable."

2030 may sound like a long time away but to make their goals a reality, Sentance says they will have to make some changes in the present.

"The goal here is to make Alabama a much more competitive state in the future. It's a series of incremental steps moving forward to increase the quality of teachers, making sure our teachers are getting the right materials and are challenged with the right kind of curriculum and eventually getting us to the kind of student success that we all want to see," Sentance said.

Alabama Ascending has seven major targets for improvement.

The first two goals - 'A prepared graduate' and 'Multiple pathways to higher education and careers' - are all about making sure Alabama's students are ready to take on whatever the future may hold for them after they leave high school.

The next two goals  - 'Superior educator preparation' and 'Continuous improvement of world-class educators' are ready for the challenges in the classroom while also learning and improving themselves.

Goals five and six  - 'Equitable and accountable systems' and 'Healthy and safe systems and schools' will certainly help with the first four goals. The state hopes to make funding, staffing and academic support equitable across the state while also making sure testing and standards are fair.

When they're not being tested, the state wants to make sure students are as happy, healthy and safe as possible.

Last, but certainly not least, 'Engaged families and communities' is a goal that the state would like to see to ensure students and educators are getting the support they need once they leave the classroom and head home.

Even though what he presented was a first draft, Sentance says the process of improvement has already started and could cause a major wave of other improvements across the state.

"If we're successful, it's going to have a tremendous impact on the state's economy, the ability to attract businesses, the ability to grow businesses here," Sentance said.

The goal is to have the final version of the strategic plan approved sometime over the summer so any major changes that would require board approval can be implemented by the beginning of the next school year. However, Sentance says minor changes are already taking place.

"We're going to do a little bit of work across the state, meeting with superintendents, meeting with other people talking about it," Sentance said. "We're going to get some more feedback from board members, of course. After that, we'll have a second draft sometime in either June or July but the implementation of that starts now."

Sentance says his goal ultimately is to have Alabama "at least in the top half of the country" in terms of performance.

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