What does it take to chart a bold course for the future of Central Alabama’s children? It takes all of us working together to ensure every child has the right support, every step of the way. We have to work together to define and measure our success in an aligned way. Bold Goals Education is bringing people, organizations, and systems together to do just that.
We now have action networks working all along the education pipeline to ensure every child is prepared for college, career, and life. Our Early Learning Action Network is guiding a cohort of childcare centers to improve quality and apply for Alabama First Class Pre-K funding. Our 3rd Grade Reading Action Network is equipping schools and systems with the data, best practices, and support that they need to reduce chronic absenteeism, a key driver for improving reading proficiency. Our FAFSA Action Network is providing real time data, best practices, and support to schools to get more students to complete financial aid forms so that they can go to college.
We’ve even added two new networks in 2016. The Birmingham City Schools Action Network, launched this summer, is aligning after-school and in-school youth service organizations around a common reading curriculum and assessment system. The Workforce Development Action Network, still in the early planning stages, is developing a region-wide attainment goal that will drive better alignment of education systems and workforce opportunities.
Charting a bold course for the future of Central Alabama’s children means that our community must align around education priorities like never before. It is challenging work, but we know that working together gets results. For example, in 2016 we were able to increase FAFSA completions to 5,970 students, an increase of 642 students from the prior year. In Blount County, a collaborative math intervention project raised proficiency rates by as much as 12% in just one school year. Through Bold Goals Education, we can continue to accelerate and expand these success stories across Central Alabama.