MOBILE — The welcoming introduction Monday to 2,900 educators at the annual "MegaConference" was indeed welcome news.

State School Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey opened the 2024 MegaConference on Monday by announcing that 12 Alabama school districts gained a remarkable 20% or higher in reading scores for third graders.

The conference, called the largest gathering of educators in Alabama, celebrated its 25th anniversary with its largest annual attendance — roughly 2,900 educators. They are meeting all week at the Mobile Convention Center. There are 100 school districts represented.

Mackey had the attendees from each of the twelve improved districts stand and be recognized:

Conecuh County

Perry County

Greene County

Barbour County

Anniston City

Selma City

Bessemer City

Fairfield City

Wilcox County

Chickasaw City

Hale County

Chickasaw City

Mackoeystats Alabama News
Alabama State Department of Education

The reading test is administered to all public school students toward the end of their third-grade year. A student reading at grade level is promoted to fourth grade. If a student is not reading at a third-grade level, he is either held back or other "good cause exemptions" are imposed.

Mackey also announced that the Orange Beach School District had 100% of its third-grade students reading at grade level.

The theme of the 2024 MegaConference is "Unlocking Potential: The Power of Education."

The keynote speaker for the MegaConference was Dr. Susan Pepper, author of the book "Teaching in the Fast Lane." The conference gave out copies of her book there. 1819 News will write a book review for later publication.

Jim' Zig' Zeigler's beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.