WHEREAS, the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education recognize the need to increase the level of expectation and learning for Alabama high school students, tapping their utmost potential and better preparing them for advanced education, the work force, and life in the 21st Century; and
WHEREAS, the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education also recognize the need to improve Alabama’s high school graduation rate and decrease the amount of high school dropouts by providing effective intervention and academic flexibility that removes barriers between students and high school graduation; and
WHEREAS, the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education have, through a representative committee of stakeholders, prepared an implementation guide to address the components of the FIRST CHOICE Initiative to include:
- Beginning with the ninth grade class of 2009-2010, the Advanced Academic Endorsement to the Alabama High School Diploma will serve as the default diploma for all students with an opt-out option to be determined collaboratively between the student, his or her parent or guardian, and school officials.
- Within the Advanced Academic Endorsement to the Alabama High School Diploma will be capstone courses of Algebra II with Trigonometry, two years of a Foreign Language, and an Online Experience.
- To support the individual learning needs of all students, local school systems may offer Credit Recovery and/or Credit Advancement through which students may obtain course credit based on proficiency or mastery of content rather than time spent in the classroom.
- For those students who have not been successful in passing all five sections of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam but have completed all of their required coursework and have attempted to pass the Graduation Exam at every administration through March of the Senior Year, the Credit-Based Endorsement to the Alabama High School Diploma is a local option. This diploma endorsement is available to those senior students who have completed all of their course work and passed three out of five sections of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, including Reading and Mathematics, by spring of the Senior Year.
WHEREAS, the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education also recognize the need to ensure that all middle grade students receive a high-quality, challenging, and appropriate education that prepares them for success in college-preparatory level courses in high school, the Alabama Middle School Initiative will be implemented to support FIRST CHOICE; and
WHEREAS, the State Superintendent of Education made his recommendations known to the Alabama State Board of Education during the October 23, 2008, work session through the presentation of the FIRST CHOICE Implementation Guide:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Alabama State Board of Education does hereby adopt the Alabama FIRST CHOICE Implementation Guide as recommended by the State Superintendent of Education, which includes no changes to student assessment with respect to the Stanford Achievement Test or by other assessments other than the aforementioned Alabama High School Graduation Exam.
Done this 11th day of December 2008.