Ashley Scott of Oxford Learning Academy: 5 Things That Should Be Done To Improve The US Educational…

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Ashley Scott of Oxford Learning Academy: 5 Things That Should Be Done To Improve The US Educational System

Providing opportunities for students to apply real-life experiences with the things that they are learning. So often, students do not have the opportunity to travel beyond their communities, allow students culminating activities beyond their local municipalities and cities will allow them to broaden their knowledge.

As a part of our interview series about the things that should be done to improve the US educational system I had the pleasure to interview childcare expert and author Ashley Scott.

Ashley is the owner of A. Scott Consulting Group and author of the children’s book “Zoey Goes to the Zoo: An Alphabet Adventure.” As a Childcare Expert and Non-Profit Grant Writer Guru, Ashley secured over $60 million in grant funding for nearly a dozen non-profits and businesses.

She founded Oxford Learning Academy, which brings an innovative, data-driven approach to preschool education. Ashley has been featured in Purpose Driven Magazine, The US Times, Stars of Entrepreneurship Magazine, and Business Shark Magazine. She is one of the Top 25 Women You Need to Know and has also received the UnSung Hero Award.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career path?

As I reflect on my journey over 16 years ago, God provided me with every benchmark to meet my needed milestones. During my first year in college, I completed a business plan for a daycare. At that time, owning a daycare was a dream of mine. I started my career in educational administration at the state level and then teaching.

I reflect and think, wow, how things have come full circle. I wanted a Preschool Academy: Oxford Learning Academy. As I began starting my new business, I remember my Pastor speaking to me one Sunday. He said, “God has given you the airplane and a safe landing. He has given you everything and every person that you need to be successful. He has even given you a parachute. You will not fail.”

I remember taking some time off work and visiting Canada with my husband and children. I think I can hear what God is sharing with me in moments of quietness. Though I had earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, a Master’s in Criminal Justice, a state Florida Educational Leadership (Principal) certification, and several other certificates in my industry, I still needed additional certifications to be a Director in Childcare. I was able to earn every certification that I needed. Our school opened, and we took off!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I launched a Preschool in August 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic. When so many daycares were closing and/or going out of business, people were afraid to be around others, let alone wanting their kids to be around others. Teacher recruitment was at an all-time low, supply manufacturers had little supply, and at any moment, you two could have a Covid closure impacting parents significantly.

Despite knowing these challenges, I still took a leap of faith and resigned from my well-paid leadership position.

Leaving my previous job was not an easy decision to make. It’s easy to leave a job when things are going wrong. However, I absolutely loved the work; my team brought in millions each year. I enjoyed working to build programs and projects; oddly enough, I also loved the stress it brought. However, I knew I needed to be fully present on day one for my business to have a solid foundation.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! I saw the need for additional support and activities for parents to do with their children beyond the school day. So I created the reading book series: Zoey Goes to the Zoo to assist parents in encouraging their children to fall in love with reading. The reading book series includes a story, a coloring book, and then an at-home practice workbook.

The reading series focuses on phonics, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, sight word development, handwriting skills, comprehension, an introduction to punctuation, social-emotional learning, and communication skills.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority in the education field?

I have been in the education system for over 16 years. I have served in several capacities, impacting schools’ ability to increase student achievement. Having served as the Lead Program Monitor for Title I Programs, I helped ensure the state received $8.3 million annually to support the most needed schools within school districts. I was also responsible for creating the state-wide grant application to draw down those funds and monitoring and compliance systems across the state to ensure funds were being used legally.

After serving as a classroom teacher, financial grant administrator, and Title I Program Administrator, which required me to be responsible for $10.9 Million a year, I decided to step out and launch my very own preschool Oxford Learning Academy.

Through my firm A. Scott Consulting Group, I have secured over $60 million in grant funding for local non-profits and school districts.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. From your point of view, how would you rate the results of the US education system?

I am quite biased, but having traveled the globe, I rate our education system as number 1!

Can you identify 5 areas of the US education system that are going really great?

1. School Choice is super awesome. Parents’ ability to choose which schools work best for their child is amazing.

2. The push and support for students to attain industry certifications foster support for career tech educational programs. This also supports students on their journey to entrepreneurship

3. Dual enrollment classes for students starting in 10th grade allow parents to have some ease on college courses as they matriculate to college.

4. Increasing funding for schools to have law enforcement on all campuses

5. Increasing funding to support early childhood education programs.

Can you identify the 5 key areas of the US education system that should be prioritized for improvement? Can you explain why those are so critical?

1. Funding to support additional mental health counselors and social workers that are specifically dedicated to ensuring students have access to close barriers.

2. Pushing students to learn foreign languages earlier in K-3 grades so that they can build upon foundational skills. This also allows for students to be able to compete in a global economic society.

3. Increasing access services for students with Individual Educational Plans. So often, students who have disabilities do not have extended or enough frequency and duration to keep services going during the week. Funding to hire more therapists would help support students and close gaps.

4. Removal of subgroup data allows us to compare student success and breakdown disparities within the different gender, race, and ethnic groups. This has been added, however, certain elements still go unreported.

5. Providing opportunities for students to apply real-life experiences with the things that they are learning. So often, students do not have the opportunity to travel beyond their communities, allow students culminating activities beyond their local municipalities and cities will allow them to broaden their knowledge.

How is the US doing with regard to engaging young people in STEM? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

– Offering opportunities for kids to travel globally and explore rich STEM environments

– Providing young people with opportunities to participate ongoing in STEM Camps once a week or robotics camps that are at low costs, just like sports

– Increasing STEM awareness via social media and tapping into cool arenas that engage young people.

Can you articulate to our readers why it’s so important to engage girls and women in STEM subjects?

Wow! Women are incredible and powerful. Life is not created without having a woman. It is important to engage girls and women as they are born to nurture the environments that they are in. Women and girls have a keen perspective and add value to the conversation about STEM and education together. Little girls become future women; we must provide them with role model figures that can assist them in seeing themselves at the table and providing input to the evolution of science.

How is the US doing with regard to engaging girls and women in STEM subjects? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

– Create enrichment programs that are specifically catered to young girls

– Provide opportunities for young girls to meet and shadow legislators, researchers, and scientists to create exposure to the different professions or resources that impact STEM.

– Allowing more funding for grant grants supporting girls in STEM and college scholarships for girls going into STEM programs.

If you had the power to influence or change the entire US educational infrastructure, what five things would you implement to improve and reform our education system? Can you please share a story or example for each?

1. More funding for school choice, adding elements to support sports and extended programs.

2. Funding to support student’s career paths

3. Funding to allow students the ability to take as many college courses as they can in high school

4. Increased diversity of law enforcement personnel hired at schools and training that allow law enforcement to understand families and how to support their needs best.

5. More funding for private providers in the area of early childhood education so that more students need can be met.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

A life lesson quote that truly resonates with me is Dare to be who God created you to be! I find that authenticity in today’s society is so very important. The beauty of being authentic and finding your purpose together reminds me of the importance and value of serving others.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

OMG! Hands down, Deion Sanders, AKA Prime Time. Over the years, I have watched him as a servant leader, business owner, and philanthropist. In truly listening to some of his speeches, you can tell that the hand of God is within all that he does. He focuses on serving people while also not being afraid to let his light shine.

How can our readers further follow your work online?


Follow me on Instagram: @thereal_ascott

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Ashley Scott of Oxford Learning Academy: 5 Things That Should Be Done To Improve The US Educational… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.