Alabama expanding effort to improve pre-K through 3rd grade learning


Thirty-four more Alabama classrooms are adopting a program for prekindergarten through third grade that officials say aims to consistently use the best teaching methods for students during those critical early grades.

Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced the expansion of Integrated Approach to Early Learning, or P-3.

With the expansion, P-3 will be in 208 classrooms in 21 counties with about 3,600 students for the 2021-2022 school year, the governor’s office said.

“Today’s announcement is part of an intentional effort to give Alabama’s children a strong start towards a successful educational career,” Ivey said in a press release. “P-3 works to align the gains in First Class Pre-K to ensure students do not have a gap in instruction. I am proud that we can provide more tools for teachers and school leaders to continue providing students with the best models for learning in the critical early years.”

The schools are Harmony School in Cullman County; Blount Elementary in Montgomery County; Iola Roberts Elementary in Pell City; Edgewood Elementary in Selma; Myrtlewood Elementary in Tuscaloosa County; Carbon Hill Elementary, Curry Elementary, Parrish Elementary, and Lupton Junior High in Walker County; and Lynn Elementary in Winston County.

The P-3 program is moving into its fifth year. The goal is to close gaps in student learning by expanding access to teaching methods used in Alabama’s nationally recognized prekindergarten program.

“As we work to align the birth through 8-year-old early learning continuum, P-3 provides successful transition of Pre-K children and families into their school settings,” Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Barbara Cooper said in a press release. “Data shows that First Class Pre-K students are more likely to be proficient in reading and math and less likely to have disciplinary issues or be retained in a grade.”

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