SREB and Alabama


SREB and Alabama

An overview of SREB programs and services and how Alabama participates in them.

November 2016

Appropriations from member states support core SREB services. SREB leverages the longstanding commitment of member states to attract external funding for additional programs and services that benefit member states. States may also choose to join targeted networks for additional fees.



Goals for Education | Monitoring State Policies

Monitoring and reporting to assist education leaders and policymakers as they shape public policy. SREB tracks trends and analyzes the progress of all 16 SREB states in each area in the Challenge to Lead 2020 Goals for Education and provides Legislative Reports that detail legislative and budget actions in each state.

SREB’s new Insights data tool allows leaders to explore actions across states, delve into a topic for a deeper understanding, or select a detailed state report. >

College and Career Readiness

Intensive work to help states implement essential components of SREB’s recommendations for statewide college and career readiness. These include assessing high school juniors to determine their progress toward the state’s readiness standards — and requiring those who are underprepared to transitional courses in 12th grade. >

Benchmarking Implementation of College- and Career-Readiness Standards 

Tracks and reports progress on implementation of college- and career-readiness standards and related reforms across 15 states. Based on this research, SREB staff support these states through reports, meetings and technical assistance.


In May 2016, SREB published Benchmarking State Implementation of College-and-Career-Readiness Standards: Professional Learning. Seventeen reports make up the set: a cross-state trends report that describes implementation across the states highlights strong state efforts and recommends actions for improvement in the SREB region; 15 state profiles, which each describe one state’s efforts in detail; and a Project Overview and Look-Fors document.

The reports note Alabama’s strong efforts in the areas of establishing clear expectations for high-quality professional learning on state college- and career-readiness standards; providing guidance and tools to help educators design and deliver professional learning and learn about the standards; providing technical assistance to support local professional learning efforts; offering professional learning to educators; and using data and accountability for continuous improvement.


Project staff presented information and facilitated dialogue on implementation of state college- and career-readiness standards and related reforms at SREB’s annual Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff in October 2016. Three participants from Alabama attended the meeting. >

Career and Technical Education 

State Leaders Forum 

Alabama attendees at SREB’s State Leaders Forum on policies for high-quality career and technical education in November 2016: 5 >

    Computer Science

    The Commission on Computer Science and Information Technology’s 2016 report challenged states to expand access for all students to education in the fields of computer science, information technology and cybersecurity.

    Educator Effectiveness

    Advises state and district leaders as they develop strategies to support the professional growth of teachers and principals. SREB serves as technical advisor to state education agencies, conducts focus groups to help states evaluate implementation, spotlights inspiring stories of local practice and convenes stakeholders at regional meetings.

    Technical Assistance

    SREB partnered with the Alabama State Department of Education to support the implementation of a statewide educator effectiveness strategy. Educators-in-residence are conducting in-depth professional learning and training with district teams as they develop their educator evaluation plans. SREB staff visited the department in January, April, June, October and November 2016 to support this strategy.

    Staff responded to eight information requests from Alabama stakeholders in the last 12 months. Constituents requested SREB analysis of regional trends related to teacher evaluation, recruitment and retention. 

    During 2016, the SREB educator effectiveness team provided technical assistance, brokered expertise and provided policy and practice resources to Alabama state legislators and their staff, state education agency staff, district administrators, principals and teachers.


    The Alabama State Department of Education sent representatives to the SREB Annual Educator Effectiveness Convening in March. They participated in working sessions with peers from 11 SREB states.

    reports and data

    SREB produced several resources for Alabama leaders in 2016, including: >

    Teacher Preparation 

    SREB’s Teacher Preparation Commission meets during 2016, 2017 and 2018 to develop practical and effective statewide recommendations to improve teacher preparation programs. 

    Postsecondary Education

    SREB’s Commission on College Affordability in the South recommended policies and practices to keep college costs within reach of all students. In addition to a final report with recommendations released in October 2016, policymakers can draw on individual state affordability profiles to better understand how these costs impact different family income levels.

    State Services

    Connects policymakers with custom information, presentations and assistance on education issues as they arise. Leaders in member states are encouraged to contact SREB for data, analysis and advice.

    SREB staff visited Alabama to meet with legislators and staff and attend committee meetings in 2016.

    Throughout 2015-16, legislators, legislative staff and governors’ staff from Alabama requested assistance on topics, including college affordability, education tax credits, principal-performance bonus programs, redistricting, state-level education governance and state-level scholarship funding.


    SREB state services convenes legislative and governors’ staff from across the SREB region each fall to discuss topics that will likely be on agendas during upcoming legislative sessions. Alabama staff were among those from 10 SREB states at the 2016 meeting.

    SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council meets twice annually, once in the winter and again at the annual Legislative Work Conference. The conference is for legislators designated by their state leadership to attend. >


    Curriculum and School Improvement

    Model District: Jefferson County

    The Jefferson County School District in Birmingham and SREB are working in partnership to accelerate learning districtwide in middle grades and high schools. Educators across the district participate in these SREB programs to get students ready for college and careers:

    Literacy Design Collaborative
    Mathematics Design Collaborative
    Advanced Career 
    School leadership training
    Career counseling support
    Readiness Courses for high school seniors and middle grades students

    One key task of the partnership has been finding time for teachers to do deep instructional planning.

    SREB honored Jefferson County Schools with the Outstanding LDC-MDC District Award in July 2016. Fultondale Elementary in Jefferson County won the Outstanding LDC-MDC School Award for elementary grades.

    Advanced Career

    A new approach to career and technical education that combines college-readiness academics with hands-on, project-based assignments focused on modern careers. Advanced Career helps prepare students for as many options as possible after high school: a high-value job, college, community college or technical school. 

    Alabama was the lead state working with SREB to develop the AC aerospace engineering pathway.

    Alabama participation in AC programs, 2016-17:

    • Aerospace Engineering: 2 schools
    • Energy and Power: 3 schools
    • Health Informatics: 1 school
    • Informatics: 1 school
    • Teachers trained: 7 >

    Readiness Courses:
    Math Ready and Literacy Ready

    Courses specifically designed to help underprepared students succeed in the next phase of education. 

    Ready for college

    Courses to teach young adults the reading, writing and math skills they must have to succeed in college. Taught in an engaging way that leads students to learn and think independently, read for information and solve problems.

    In 2015-16, 68 Alabama teachers from 26 schools participated in training for the courses.

    The Alabama Department of Education and the Alabama Community College System are collaborating to pair local community colleges with high schools and ensure a smooth transition to college for students who take the courses. 

    Ready for high school

    New courses for the transition from middle grades to high school. Underprepared students take the classes in eighth or ninth grade.

    Alabama is one of 10 states that have participated in developing, field testing, training or piloting Ready for High School Literacy or Ready for High School Math

    In 2015-16, 21 Alabama teachers from 10 schools participated in training for the courses. >

    High Schools That Work

    The nation’s largest school improvement program. HSTW strategies transform high schools into places where all students master complex academic and technical concepts. More than 1,150 schools in 30 states use the framework and its six design features and nine key practices to raise student achievement and graduation rates.

    HSTW State Network

    Member states select schools to receive services. The fee for state membership in the consortium covers several services and visits.

    Alabama is a member of the High Schools That Work state network.

    HSTW Board Member: Philip Cleveland, Director of Career and Technical Education, Alabama Department of Education

    HSTW State Coordinator: Craig Collins, Career and Technical Student Organization Coordinator, Alabama Department of Education

    Contracts for Direct Support

    Schools, districts and states contract with SREB for targeted school improvement services, such as onsite coaching, technical assistance and professional development. 

    50 Alabama schools contracted for direct services in 2015-16. 
    SREB delivered 342 days of onsite coaching and 123 days of onsite staff development at the schools. >

    Making Middle Grades Work

    Engages state, district and school leaders in partnerships with teachers, students, parents and the community to raise student achievement in the middle grades. In addition to workshops and school visits, SREB links schools to the professional development resources they need. The network includes over 650 schools in 20 states.

    In Alabama, in 2015-16:

    • 60 schools were active in the network.
    • 25 schools contracted with SREB for direct services.
    • 95 days of onsite coaching and 35 days of onsite staff development were delivered to schools. >

    Technology Centers That Work

    Helps shared-time centers produce high-demand, high-wage graduates. SREB provides staff development, technical assistance, publications and assessment services. The network includes almost 200 sites in 18 states.

    Active centers in Alabama in 2015-16: 20 >

    Counseling for Careers

    Awakens students to career goals and connects them to the high school and postsecondary programs of study to succeed in them. SREB offers workshops, materials and coaching for districts, schools and technology centers, which then involve teachers, counselors, administrators, parents and community partners.

    Five Alabama districts, middle schools or high schools participate in Counseling for Careers professional development and coaching.


    Professional Development
    For Teachers, Principals and Counselors

    College- and Career-Readiness Standards Networking Conference

    Conference to share effective instructional strategies of the Literacy and Mathematics Design Collaborative frameworks. 

    Alabama attendees at the July 2016 conference: 178 >

    Go Alliance Academy

    Strives to increase the postsecondary education and career success of all students by providing timely and relevant professional development in college and career readiness to school counselors, teachers, principals, career coaches and college access advisors. 

    Alabama is one of 20 member states and one of the founding six states. 

    Go Alliance Academy Representative: Sean J. Stevens, Education Administrator, Counseling and Guidance, Alabama State Department of Education >

    High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference

    Annual conference for thousands of school leaders, teachers and counselors from middle grades, high schools and technology centers across the country.

    Alabama attendees at the July 2016 conference: 147 >

    Learning-Centered Leadership Program

    Works with district, state and university partners to prepare aspiring principals and school leadership teams to lead school reform to ensure that students are ready for college and careers. This program offers training, guidance and technical assistance.

    Alabama attendees at the 2016 Annual Leadership Forum: 5

    Three Alabama educators attended LCLP trainings held at the HSTW summer conference in Louisville.

    The staff of the Council for Leadership in Alabama Schools were trained on SREB leadership modules and redelivered training across the state through an agreement with SREB. >

    Literacy and Math Professional Development

    In Alabama, SREB is partnering with the state on a large-scale effort to help districts and schools adopt, spread and sustain effective literacy and math teaching strategies to meet their state’s college- and career-readiness standards.

    The Literacy Design Collaborative framework empowers language arts, science and social studies teachers to build meaningful assignments aligned to their state’s college- and career-readiness standards. Teachers take ownership of their professional growth, and students take ownership of their learning.  

    “With LDC modules and mini tasks, students are transitioning from single sentence opinions to paragraphs, referencing research to support their ideas — then to full-length assignments with multiple layers of cited research to support their claims.” — Reese Woytek, science teacher, Slocomb Middle School, Geneva County

    The Mathematics Design Collaborative teaching framework uses formative assessment lessons — part assessment, part instruction — to help teachers know whether their students understand material they have been taught. Teachers learn to adapt assignments and engage students so they understand the hows and whys of math.

    “Your students may be able to recite a three-step method for finding slope from a given representation, but if they lack the deep conceptual knowledge of what the slope tells you and are unable to apply this in a practical situation, their knowledge is shallow and disconnected from other important mathematical ideas.” — Jillian Watson, Bottenfield Middle School, Adamsville

    Since the three-year effort began in the 2014-15 school year, this SREB professional development has reached Alabama educators in 115 schools in 24 districts.

    Alabama teachers who have participated in training and coaching: 676

    Alabama principals who have participated in training and coaching: 104

    Alabama trainers prepared by SREB to continue local training and coaching: 84


    These schools and educators were honored by SREB in July 2016:

    Jefferson County Schools
    Outstanding LDC-MDC District Award

    LaToya Gay
    Banks Middle School, Pike County School District
    Outstanding LDC Teacher Award

    Fultondale Elementary School, Jefferson County Schools
    Outstanding LDC-MDC School Award (elementary grades) >

    Project-Based Learning in Career Pathway Courses

    Training model for teachers in high-skill career and technical education programs and career pathway academic courses. Academic and career and technical education teachers improve assignments and assessments by working with business and industry partners to develop projects that require students to apply college- and career-readiness and technical-academic standards.

    Alabama participation in 2015-16: 

    Teachers and administrators in training or coaching: 11

    Schools: 1


    Postsecondary Education

    Academic Common Market

    A tuition-savings program for college students in SREB member states who want to pursue degrees not offered by in-state institutions. Students can enroll in out-of-state institutions that offer their degree program and pay the in-state tuition rates.

    During calendar year 2015, approximately 1,900 degree programs were available, 150 institutions participated and nearly 3,200 new students were certified for study.

    Number of Alabama students who participated in ACM during 2015: 136

    ACM State Representative: Paul B. Mohr, Director of Special Programs, Alabama Commission on Higher Education >​

    Regional Contract Program

    Gives students the opportunity to earn a professional health degree from participating institutions in other states through in-state tuition rates at public institutions or reduced tuition at private institutions. More than 600 students participate each year.

    Number of out-of-state students who enrolled in Alabama programs in fall 2016: 220

    Residents of other states may contract for entry into Auburn University and Tuskegee University in veterinary medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham in dentistry and optometry. These Alabama institutions receive more than $6 million annually from other SREB states. >

    Electronic Campus

    Partners with colleges and universities to give students access to more than 10,000 online courses and almost 4,000 online degree programs. All 16 SREB states participate in the Electronic Campus.

    Programs Alabama institutions provide as of November 2016: 343

    Alabama EC Representative: Paul B. Mohr, Director of Special Programs, Alabama Commission on Higher Education >

    State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement 

    A nationwide system to open more high-quality distance education offerings for students and ease regulatory burden on institutions. SREB member states may opt in to offer online courses in other states. 

    Alabama is an approved member of SARA. >

    Fact Book and Data Exchange

    Publishes one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of comparative data through a cooperative effort of state higher education agencies. Data are updated annually on topics ranging from degree and certificate completion to faculty salaries. 

    Alabama leaders receive the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education, as well as Alabama: Featured Facts From the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education and the annual SREB-State Data Exchange Indicators Report.

    Alabama’s Participating Agency and SREB-State Data Exchange Coordinator: Subrena Simpkins, Alabama Commission on Higher Education >

    Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing

    Helps expand and strengthen schools of nursing to reduce the critical shortage of nurse educators needed to educate the nation’s registered nurses. The Council surveys institutions for nursing education trends and shares online graduate nursing courses.

    Nine Alabama institutions are members (listed here with their representatives to the Council):

    Auburn University: Gregg Newschwander, Dean
    Faulkner State Community College: Jean Graham, Director
    Jacksonville State University: Christie Shelton, Dean
    Samford University: Nena F. Sanders, Dean
    Troy University: Diane Weed, Director
    Tuskegee University: Doris Holeman, Associate Dean
    University of Alabama at Birmingham: Doreen C. Harper, Dean
    University of Alabama at Huntsville: Marsha Adams, Dean,
      SREB Nursing Council Board Member
    University of South Alabama: Debra Davis, Dean >

    Doctoral Scholars Program

    Supports minority students to help them earn Ph.D.s, begin careers at colleges and universities, and diversify campus faculties. The SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program hosts the annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the nation’s largest gathering of minority doctoral scholars, with more than 1,200 attendees.

    Scholars funded by Alabama in 2016-17: 10
    2015 Institute attendees from Alabama: 47

    Scholars Alabama has supported since joining in 1993:173

    Graduates since 1993: 126
    Graduates currently employed: 109
    Percent employed in education: 80

    Alabama-supported Ph.D. students have attended these institutions since 1993:

    Auburn University 
    Clemson University
    Howard University 
    Meharry Medical College
    Texas A&M University
    University of Alabama
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    University of Kentucky
    Vanderbilt University >


    Interstate Cooperatives

    Go Alliance

    An interstate cooperative to increase high school graduation rates, access to education beyond high school, and postsecondary degree completion — particularly for those who would be the first in their families to enroll. Go Alliance research, services and professional development focus on college access policy and communications strategies to motivate students to plan for and apply to college.

    Alabama is a Go Alliance member state.

    Go Alliance Representative: Sean Stevens, Education Administrator, Alabama State Department of Education >

    Educational Technology Cooperative

    Membership group of state K-12 and higher education coordinating and governing boards that represent more than 800 colleges and universities and 3,100 school districts in SREB states. The ETC focuses member agencies and state policymakers on using technology wisely, helps states understand technology issues, and forms an action agenda for effectively using technology in education. 

    Alabama representatives attended the spring and summer webinars. Alabama was the first state to participate in the ETC Intrastate Networking Visits in June 2015 hosted at the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in Montgomery, Alabama. Participants from the state Board of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Community College System, and the University of Alabama engaged in discussion of topics to improve collaboration across education systems in Alabama to gain efficiency and K-20 alignment.

    Alabama sent three attendees to the 2016 ETC annual meeting. Melinda Maddox of the Alabama Department of Education conducted a presentation on data access, connecting with theme of Access and Affordability. Alabama ETC representatives helped determine SREB’s 10 Critical Issues in Educational Technology and served on the working groups for revisions. Earlene Patton is a member of the ETC Executive Committee.

    Alabama ETC Representatives and Member Agencies: Paul B. Mohr, Director of Special Programs, Alabama Commission on Higher Education

    Earlene Patton, Educational Technology Coordinator, Alabama Department of Education >

    Technology Purchasing Savings

    Schools, universities and agencies in SREB states saved $1.7 million on $17 million in technology purchases during fiscal year 2016 through SREB’s participation in MHECtech discount agreements. Organizations in each of the 16 SREB states participated.

    Alabama saved $27,239 on $274,330 in technology purchases in fiscal year 2016. >