Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who attended the inaugural Alabama Conference on Grading and Assessment for Learning.

Watch this space for future announcements regarding ACGAL 2019!

Please complete the feedback survey. We need to know your perspective, particularly on the question of whether to plan for ACGAL to happen again next year.

Resources for you:

1. The handouts Rick Wormeli’s morning session are available here: Standards-Based Grading for Alabama Educators: Myth-Busting, Ethics, Principle, and Practicalities

2. You can access the conference Padlet here.

3. For more information and to access the PLU, log in to STIPD and using the following number: PLUACLD680.  The title is Fair Isn’t Always Equal – Assessments and Grades.

4.  If you need a PD certificate, please complete the feedback survey.  A certificate will be sent to you upon completion.

5. Below you will see presentations from several of the breakout sessions.


Presenter(s) Session Title














Dr. Greg Benner


Dr. Gregory J. Benner is the Helen and Pat O’Sullivan Endowed Professor in the College of Education at the University of Alabama. He has a knack for collective impact—getting whole communities including families, child welfare, mental health, and schools on the same page to meet needs of the whole child.




Getting “Behavior” out of the Gradebook: Implementing Social and Emotional Learning and Trauma-Sensitive Practices in the Classroom








The purpose of this presentation is to build your capacity to integrate and infuse trauma-sensitive social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies into your classroom. Strategies for building youth and adult SEL competencies while maintaining an engaging classroom learning environment will be demonstrated. In this session, you will get an engaging, user-friendly approach for implementing and sustaining classroom SEL.













Kelly Bonds & Rhonda Ballentine


Kelly Bonds – ELA/SS K-12 Instructional Coach

Rhonda Ballentine – Math/Science K-12 Instructional Coach







Leveling the Playing Field with SBG












Do all teachers have the same definition of proficiency when grading? Are there certain teachers whose classes are “easier” than others teaching the same subject? How do we level the playing field so we can be assured that an “A” means something on the report card? This session will explore those questions, and detail how we use common assessments, weighted grading categories, and other tools to standardize grading practices.
















Ashley Bowling


Ashley Bowling serves as the Assistant Principal at Florence Middle School in Florence, Alabama. Ashley taught nine years as a Collaborative Education teacher and is in her fourth year as an administrator.









Transforming Parent/Teacher Conferences into Student Led Conferences













Teachers and administrators are faced with the ever-increasing challenge of ensuring students are leading their own learning. Teachers are faced with the challenge of facilitating learning where students take ownership and understand their development as a learner. This session will provide an outline and examples of how to transform the traditional parent-teacher conference to a student led the conference. Walk away with resources and gain practical strategies to help your school begin the journey of student-led conferences.













Leigh Anne Brown


Leigh Anne Brown is in her 15th year of teaching. She has taught grade 6-12 English and AP Psychology. She is completing her Masters in Ed Leadership this semester and is currently in the process of obtaining National Board Certification.





Have I Been Doing This Wrong All Along?











What is a grade? What am I communicating to my students through my grading? What is the endgame of grading? Is there a different way to look at this monster called grading? Can I change the way I assess my students? Will the entire educational system collapse if I don’t follow the prescribed teach, test, grade, move on formula? These are questions we will explore as we take a step back and entertain a different way of doing things.










Dr. Patrick Chappell & Dr. John Lowry


Drs. Chappell & Lowry are long-time administrators in Homewood Schools. Dr. Lowry has worked as assistant principal and principal at Shades Cahaba Elementary. Dr. Chappell is the district’s director of instructional support


One Step at a Time: One System’s Journey with Standards-Based Grading







Converting to standards-based grading is a big commitment, involving research, professional learning, district work, and parent education. Come hear one district’s step-by-step story of how they worked to systematically align the curriculum and establish a K-5 standards-based grading system.








Kristie Goodwin

Oxford City School’s TEAM of experienced practitioners (Teacher, Principals and District Admin) Contact: Khristie Goodwin, Curriculum Coordinator, Oxford City Schools


TOP TEN TIPS for SBG: #LessonsLearned






Take away our “TOP TEN TIPS” for Standards-Based Grading/Reporting whether you are implementing or just beginning. Oxford City Schools will share our lessons learned over our TEN years of experiences with Standards-Based Grading & Reporting.








Laren Hammonds

This is Laren’s 15th year as a classroom teacher. She has taught and learned at Paul W. Bryant High, Rock Quarry Middle and Northridge Middle.




Feedback Hacks








Feedback is a necessary support for student learning, but generating feedback for numerous students can be daunting. Participants in this session will explore practical strategies and helpful tools for providing the meaningful, timely feedback that each learner needs.





Beth Sanders & Natalie Tucker

Beth is Coordinator of Technology Integration and Natalie is Coordinator of Enrichment at Pike Road Schools. Beth and Natalie are responsible for all professional learning.

A Disruptive Innovation Approach to Standards-Based Assessment — Go Slow to Go Fast




A learner-centered assessment start-up school journey. How disruptive innovation can be used to set students, teachers, and leadership up for success in a standards-based assessment model.









Michelle Shelton & Erica Smith

Michelle teaches ELA and computer science at Oxford High School. She also cohosts Across the Hall, a podcast for ELA teachers.

Erica teaches math and is a leader in instructional technology at Oxford Middle School.

SBG in secondary schools: A middle school math & high school ELA perspective






Getting started with standards-based grading at the secondary level: a rationale and a plan












Melissa Shields

Dr. Shields is an ALSDE Regional Support Coordinator, serving districts in central-north Alabama. Previously, she was a Curriculum & School Improvement Director for Etowah County Schools.

Standards-Based Grading and Reporting Resources





Dr. Shields will share many resources, including tools, book studies, and K-12 samples, to inform standard-based grading and reporting practices. Session website link:















Heather Simpson & Brandi Wilson

Heather has taught kindergarten for 11 years. She currently teaches at Hueytown Elementary. Heather was recently awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) in Washington, D.C.
Brandi Wilson is eager to try new things, and implement best practices in all areas of her career. She has 12 years of combined experience as a special education self-contained classroom teacher, special education resource teacher and first grade general education classroom teacher.

SBG: Making it Work in the Primary Grades













Are you wondering what Standards-Based Grading (SBG) looks like in the primary grades? Hear from a kindergarten and a first-grade teacher about the real-world application and implications of SBG. Brandi and Heather teach for Jefferson County Schools and have used standards-based grading for several years. They will share examples, resources, and ideas for how to implement SBG efficiently and effectively.




















Amy Tilford & Rachel Hill


Amy Tilford-Federal Programs Specialist/Interim Principal, Tuscaloosa City Schools
Rachel Hill- Former First Grade Teacher, Current Fourth Grade Teacher, Tuscaloosa City Schools











Paving the Way for Deeper Mathematics Learning: Our Journey Through Developing and Implementing Standards-Based Grading Practices













During this session, we will share the collaborative process our district used to transition from traditional grading practices to standards-based grading practices in K-2 mathematics. This shift was inspired by the adoption of the College and Career Readiness Standards by the ALSDE. It was our aim to ensure that teachers were empowered with tools needed to monitor students’ progress towards learning objectives and targets. Through use of more meaningful, evidence-informed, standards-based practices in K-2 mathematics, parents and teachers became more knowledgeable of students’ learning needs and better able to determine students’ next steps.










Courtney Wilburn


Middle School principal for 10 years.  Currently serve on the ALAMLE board.  New Principal Mentor for CLAS.  2018 AL Middle School Principal of the Year




Standards-Based Grading Could Never Work In My School – Or Could It??








Although SBG comes with a somewhat prescribed “how-to” list, there are numerous variations that can be implemented to make this process work in your school. This session will be one in which ideas “from the field” are shared and discussions will center on ways to make this belief system merge with the belief system in your school/system.












Erica Williams


Erica Jewel Williams is a graduate of Samford University and a National Board Certified Teacher. She is currently the Turnaround Specialist at Rutledge Middle School.






A Blueprint for Instructional Leaders on Assessment and Its Effects on Student Achievement








How can administrators support educators to create, administer, and reflect on quality assessments for learning? In this session, we will explore the benefits of “short-cycle assessments” and discover how to support the creation of assessment items. Leaders will learn practical ways to help build strong connections between standards-based instruction and a quality assessment system.