Ten Stories from 2015

Miss important stories from BirminghamWatch this year? Want a refresher on subjects likely to make news in 2016? Here are ten BirminghamWatch stories from 2015 to check out or read again.

Alabama Teacher of the Year Leaves Classroom. Here’s Her Story.

“No Guarantee” for Future Tax Breaks to Help Rescue Historic Birmingham Buildings

Fall Behind, Pay the Price: Remediation Rate Story

Alabama Cities Act Quickly, End Deals with Company Criticized for Collection Tactics

Sound Familiar? Jeffco’s $5Million-plus Financial Software Not Working Right

Study: Alabama’s Government Integrity Ranks Among Best in a Bad Lot

Jim Williams, PARCA and a Scorecard on Improving Alabama Government

Assignment Birmingham: Build on City’s Assets to Create Innovation Powerhouse

At UAB, Carly’s Law Leads to Trial of Cnnabinoid Drug to Treat People Suffering from Seizures

At Hueytown Elementary School, Love and Data Tackle Alabama’s Education Problems

A Birmingham View

Photographer Walt Stricklin has helped us see our city for much of the past two decades, first at The Birmingham News, now often at art shows, and recently as a contributor to BirminghamWatch.

It’s Walt Stricklin’s work that greets all of us on BirminghamWatch.org, with his city skyline view in the site logo.

This holiday week, please join BirminghamWatch in enjoying his distinctive photographs of places that define Birmingham, for ourselves and others.

5 Things You Should Know about Test Results for Alabama’s Public Schools

Alabama’s public school students are struggling with the annual standardized test required by the Alabama State Department of Education, judging by recently released results for the 2014-2015 school year.

Though annual testing isn’t new, the ACT Aspire, first administered during the 2013-2014 school year, is. The test is given to students in third through eighth grade in math and reading, and in fifth and seventh grades in science.

Statewide, of the six grades tested, only in third grade were more than half the students proficient in math; in no grade were more than half the students proficient in reading.

At Hueytown Elementary School, Love and Data Tackle Alabama’s Education Problems

The 850 kindergarten- through-fifth- grade students at Jefferson County’s Hueytown Elementary School have a message about education: Poverty doesn’t always mean lower scores on standardized tests.

On the ACT Aspire test they took last spring, in most grades and subjects, a higher percentage of the Hueytown students scored in the proficient range than did Jefferson County school district students overall or students statewide.

The accomplishment comes in a school where 58 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and where students are a diverse mix – 52% are white, 39% are black and 6 percent are Hispanic.