The P-3 Initiatives Aligned to Strong Start, Strong Finish Benchmarks 1-3
As a former teacher, Governor Ivey knows that home life has a major impact on a child’s learning throughout their educational journey.
The P-3 initiative promotes research-based home visiting programs, which are proven to help parents become better “first teachers” for their children. Governor Ivey encourages parents to read and talk to their children to be their child’s best first teacher and to help develop “reading-ready minds.”
Alabama was recently awarded a technical assistance grant of $25,000 from the National Governors’ Association to improve pre-k readiness and childhood health of Alabama’s children from birth to age three. The grant will be used to coordinate existing policies and programs to ensure that Alabama meets the pre-k readiness Strong Start, Strong Finish benchmark.
The grant will also bolster first teacher home visiting, well child visits, infant mortality reduction, early head start child care partnerships, and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has recognized the Alabama First Class Pre-K program as the nation’s highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten program for 13 consecutive years.
The Alabama Legislature approved Governor Ivey’s recommended budget increase of $26.8 million for First Class Pre-K for FY 2020, which is the largest ever single-year expansion in the program’s history. This investment will result in an additional 193 classrooms, bringing the total number of classrooms for next year to 1,238, moving closer to Alabama’s goal of serving up to 70 percent of eligible four-year-old children.
A new study shows that students who participate in First Class Pre-K are more likely to be proficient in math and reading, with no evidence of fade out of the benefits of high-quality pre-k over time.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded Alabama with a significant grant to support the launch of the Pre-K through Third Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning pilot program (“P-3”), starting with 35 classrooms in 2017-2018. The program grew to 75 classrooms in the 2018-2019 school year.
The P-3 pilot builds upon the student success and achievement gap closure produced by the Alabama First-Class Pre-K Program by taking the most successful parts of K-3 initiatives to establish a strong foundation of early learning experiences that promote student achievement from birth to age eight.
The three focus areas of the continuum are leadership, instruction and assessment. Governor Ivey secured $950,440 to expand the P-3 pilot in the FY 2020 Education Trust Fund Budget.
Literate by Age Eight
Reading at grade level by the time a student completes third grade is a major educational milestone and a critical component to all other learning in the future.
Most students who fail to reach this critical milestone falter in the later grades. To ensure that all of Alabama’s students will enter the fourth grade as proficient, grade-level readers by 2022, Governor Ivey created the Alabama Grade-Level Reading Campaign.
The Alabama Grade-Level Reading Campaign focuses on five primary areas: school readiness, preventing chronic absenteeism, restoring the Alabama Reading Initiative to fidelity, increasing summer learning opportunities for P-3 students, and improving childhood health.