9 months ago

Alabama takes another step forward in early childhood education

Alabama continues to show that early childhood education is critical to turning the state’s overall education metrics around.

On Tuesday, Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced that 41 new classrooms will be funded through the Pre-K through 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning (P-3).

“Alabama children have reaped the benefits of our nationally recognized First Class Pre-K program, and our P-3 program works to build upon those gains all the way through the third grade. As we head into year three of the P-3 program, I’m proud to be funding 41 additional classrooms,” Ivey said in a statement. “Those early years are vitally important for a student’s future success. By expanding this program even further, we are certainly taking advantage of those valuable years in a child’s learning journey.”

This funding supports an additional 32 Kindergarten classrooms, five first-grade classrooms and four second-grade classrooms to take part in the P-3 program, bringing the new statewide total from an original 35 classrooms in the 2017 pilot year to 117 P-3 classrooms this upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

The recipients are as follows:

Zion Chapel, New Brockton & Kinston in Coffee County – $160,000
Wetumpka Elementary in Elmore County – $45,000
Skyline, North Sand Mountain & Woodville High in Jackson County – $90,000
Lexington High, Central High, Brooks Elementary & Rogers High in Lauderdale County – $105,000
Brewbaker Elementary in Montgomery County – $30,000
Odenville Elementary & Moody Elementary in St. Clair County – $180,000
University of North Alabama Kirby Laboratory in Florence – $30,000
University Charter School in Sumter County – $90,000

Currently, 1,348 children are impacted by the P-3 program. With the addition of 41 new classrooms to the program, more than 2,100 students will be participating in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

The goal of the P-3 program, now moving into its third year, is to expand the early learning continuum from First Class Pre-K through third grade. Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program has been recognized as the nation’s best for 13 consecutive years.

“A high-quality early education provides the foundation for student success in school during the years when children have the greatest growth potential,” Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Jeana Ross remarked. “We are excited to have these new models of seamless learning continuum from pre-K to 3rd grade that align and integrate a comprehensive approach to student learning.”

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education and the Alabama State Department of Education are currently working together to align instructional practices, assessment and leadership from pre-K to 3rd grade.

P-3 works to ensure student success and achievement gap closure by expanding access to the nationally recognized, high-quality First Class Pre-K program model and taking the most successful parts of K-3 initiatives to establish a strong foundation of early learning experiences that promote student achievement and success.

P-3 is funded by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the governor’s Strong Start Strong Finish education initiative and the federal Preschool Development Grant, Birth through Five.

In addition to funding new P-3 classrooms, 14 Alabama elementary school principals and school system administrators have successfully completed the Alabama Pre-K – 3rd Leadership Academy. The first collaborative initiative of its kind in the nation, the P-3 Leadership Academy is provided in partnership with Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). This is the only such program in which participants, upon successful completion of the program, receive a national certification credential.

In June 2018, the first-ever such cohort in the country to complete this national pilot program received their Alabama P-3 Leadership Credential, and the third leadership cohort will commence in May 2019.

By applying their knowledge of child development, subject matter content and pedagogical approaches to align educational experiences along the P-3 continuum, educators ensure that children enter classrooms that promote their ongoing educational progress by building on what they learned during the previous year. Knowing this, educators can intentionally integrate the developmental domains into the teaching and learning subject matter for young children.

Research findings from multi-year early education interventions suggest that the components of the P-3 approach can combine to make a positive contribution to young children’s learning, providing the pathways through which more children will achieve success by the end of third grade.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

17 mins ago

Trey Gowdy to speak at Faulkner University’s winter dinner

Trey Gowdy, a former eight-term U.S. Representative from South Carolina, will be the speaker at Faulkner University’s 2020 benefit dinner.

Gowdy gained prominence during his time in Congress for being one of the most conservative members on Capitol Hill. He was the driving force behind the congressional investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack that discovered Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The now-retired representative joins a star-studded list of previous speakers at the Faulkner University Benefit Dinner, including Nikki Haley, Tom Brokaw and Dr. Ben Carson.

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“Congressman Gowdy was entertained as a potential member of the President’s legal team for the impeachment proceedings, so he’ll have a lot to say that is relevant to what Montgomerians are talking about and thinking about as we think about the future of our nation,” Faulkner President Mike Williams said on Tuesday.

The dinner will be held on October 1 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. A range of ticket packages are available. Some packages on the higher end grant the purchaser photo opportunities with Gowdy and access to an exclusive reception.

Those interested in purchasing a ticket for the event can go here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

44 mins ago

Doug Jones to host second annual HBCU summit at Miles College

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) is inviting Alabamians to his second annual HBCU summit. The 2020 version of the summit will be at Miles College in Fairfield on February 14.

The event will have a student career and employment opportunities from across Alabama in addition to two panels moderated by Alabama’s junior senator.

Doug Jones has made championing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) one of the cornerstones of his time in the U.S. Senate.

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In 2019, Jones took to the Senate floor to say, “HBCUs are the leading educators for African American PhDs in science and in engineering. They are foundational to building generational wealth in communities that have long faced headwinds in doing so. They are doing amazing work. ”

Alabama is home to 14 HBCUs. Jones helped guarantee the continuance of their federal funds by co-sponsoring the FUTURE act with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). The bill was signed in to law by President Donald Trump in December 2019.

The effort received praise from the leaders of Alabama’s HBCUs, many of whom will be joining Jones for the two panels during his summit.

The two panels, as follows:

Women in the Lead: How Six Alabama HBCU Presidents Are Raising the Bar
Dr. Patricia Sims, President, Drake State Community College
Dr. Cynthia Warrick, President, Stillman College
Dr. Martha Lavender, President, Gadsden State Community College
Ms. Bobbie Knight, Interim President, Miles College
Ms. Anita Archie, Interim President, Trenholm State Community College
Dr. Shirley Friar, Chief of Staff, Tuskegee University
Moderator: Senator Doug Jones

Student Voices: How Alabama HBCU Student-Leaders Are Lifting Up Their Campuses
featuring student representatives:
Miss Keila Michelle Lawrence, Miles College
Mr. Jacobi Gray, Alabama A&M University
Miss Arin Massey, Shelton State Community College
Mr. Amani Myers, Talladega College
Mr. Dakus Sankey, Jr., Trenholm State Community College
Moderator: Senator Doug Jones

Those interested in attending the summit can go here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 hours ago

Birmingham marketing firm tapped for Super Bowl ad

Birmingham-headquartered marketing firm Big Communications has made a Super Bowl ad promoting the Fox broadcast of the 2020 Daytona 500.

The firm was tasked with making the ad by Fox Sports’ marketing team. When the ad airs on Sunday, it will be the first time in Big’s 25-year history that one of their ads will broadcast during the Super Bowl, which is the advertising industry’s biggest event of the year. Recent Super Bowls have averaged around 100 million American television viewers.

Blake Danforth, vice president of marketing for Fox Sports, credits Big’s award-winning work on Valvoline’s Never Idle campaign with piquing his interest in the firm.

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In a statement, Danforth said, “Big’s creative team had a genuine understanding of exactly what makes NASCAR fans love the sport with such an unrelenting, unrivaled intensity.”

“Promoting something as huge as the Great American Race on the biggest stage in all of advertising — that’s kind of a big deal,” commented Ford Wiles, Big partner and chief creative officer.

“This is the kind of moment that we live for — putting Alabama’s talent on display for the world to see,” Wiles concluded.

You can view Big’s Super Bowl ad here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 hours ago

Monument to gold star families will be added to Huntsville’s Veterans Memorial

The Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial, a park on the north side of Huntsville’s downtown area, will be adding a monument to gold star families in 2020.

Gold Star families are those who have lost a member during service in the United States Armed Forces.

The monument is the final planned addition to the veterans memorial, a project that was first dedicated on 11/11/2011. Its origin dates back to 2000 when a half-sized replica of the Vietnam memorial was temporarily displayed in Huntsville. Some residents wanted something more permanent.

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“The Veterans Memorial has been erected not to commemorate the glory of battle or triumph of victory, but to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and to pay homage to those heroes we have lost,” said Brigadier General (Retired) Bob Drolet, chair of the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial Foundation.

The monument to the gold star families is designed and aided by the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, a foundation that has helped install similar monuments across the United States. To date, the group has placed 59 monuments across 45 states.

An identical monument was recently announced for installation in Mobile.

The primary sponsors of the Huntsville installation are Mike and Christine Wicks.

The Gold Star Family Memorial to be installed in Huntsville will be the first of its kind in Alabama.

The four panels on the back of the monument will read, “Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

3 hours ago

Bruce Pearl praises religious freedom in Alabama — ‘I can live here in Auburn and practice my faith’

Speaking to members of the media Monday on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Auburn University head basketball coach Bruce Pearl lauded the religious freedom he enjoys living in the state of Alabama. He also called for unity and spoke strongly against anti-Semitism.

Pearl last spring became the fourth Jewish head coach in NCAA history to take a team to the Final Four. He was the first president of the Jewish Coaches Association.

“Today has always been a difficult day for me as it Holocaust Remembrance Day,” the coach said on Monday in the opening statement of his press availability.

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“I was born in 1960, 15 years after we opened up the gates in Auschwitz and discovered the atrocities,” he continued. “We vow to never let that happen again to anyone. Anti-Semitism is a terrible thing. As a Jewish man, I’ve lived with it my whole life and I’ve seen its ugly face many times.”

Pearl explained, “That’s why I’m so blessed to live in this country where there is great religious freedom. I can live here in Auburn and practice my faith.”

“The great challenge for me has always been that we are brothers. We are all brothers. We are all sisters. We are all related,” he outlined. “Abraham had two sons: Isaac and Ishmael. That makes us brothers because we have the same father – Abraham the father of many nations. Jesus was born a Jew and he died a Jew. That makes me brothers with my Christian brothers. If we can focus on that, whether you agree with it or not, that’s not my point. The point is we have a lot more in common than we have apart. We should celebrate those. We should never tolerate racism or something like anti-Semitism. What I would ask you all to remember is: never again.”

RELATED: Bruce Pearl slams AOC for ‘concentration camps’ tweets: ‘Attempt to rewrite the Holocaust’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn