Birmingham City Schools

Almost One-Third of Schools on the Statewide Failing Schools List Are in the Birmingham Area

A bus pulls up at Jones Valley School.  (Source: Julianna Hunter)

The state Department of Education released its annual list of failing schools Friday and Birmingham-area schools make up 30% of the schools on the statewide list.

Six of the area districts, Birmingham City Schools, Jefferson County Schools, Bessemer City Schools, Fairfield Schools, Tarrant Schools and Midfield Schools had schools on the list.

The list is composed of the bottom 6% of schools based on students’ standardized test scores. Unlike the Education Report card, which measures school performance based on a variety of criteria – including academic achievement, academic growth, graduation rates, college and career readiness, chronic absenteeism and English language proficiency – the failing schools list is based solely on the standardized test students take each year.

Birmingham City Schools had 16 schools on the list, which is a fifth of the total schools on the list. That number is down from 20 schools last year. Fourteen of the Birmingham schools on this year’s list also appeared on the list last year.

BCS Superintendent Lisa Herring said: “We are not a failing school system. We recognize there is work to be done. We are a turnaround district, and we will not be satisfied until every scholar in our district is highly successful.”

BCS has the highest number of schools on the list. Montgomery County follows with 11 schools. Mobile County Schools, the largest district in the state, has seven schools on the list.

Center Point High School was the only school in the Jefferson County Schools system on the Failing Schools List. The school has been placed on the failing schools list for six of the eight years that the list has been published since 2013. 2015 and 2016 were the exceptions.

Bessemer City Schools has two schools on the failing list. One of them, Bessemer City High School, has remained on the list since 2014.

Midfield City School’s Midfield High School and Tarrant City School’s Tarrant City High School were the only schools listed for each of these small school districts. Both were on last year’s list.

By law, ALSDE is required to publish the failing schools list and offer parents the option to keep their children enrolled in their current school despite its failing status; transfer to another non-failing school within the school district, providing there is space available; transfer to another school district, providing the district has room and is willing to accept the student; or transfer to a private school. The same law that allows transfers also established a tax credit-based scholarship program to provide scholarships for students who transfer to qualifying private schools.

Here are the Birmingham-area schools on the list.

Jefferson County

Center Point High School

Bessemer City

Abrams Elementary School

Bessemer City High School

Birmingham City

Bush Hills STEAM Academy (formerly Bush Hills Academy)

Charles A Brown Elementary School

George Washington Carver High School

Green Acres Middle School

Hayes K-8

Hemphill Elementary School

Hudson K-Eight School

Huffman High School-Magnet

Jackson-Olin High School

WE Putnam Middle School-Magnet

Smith Middle School

Washington Elementary School

Jones Valley Middle School

Wenonah High School

West End Academy

Woodlawn High School-Magnet

Fairfield City

Fairfield High Preparatory School

Midfield City

Midfield High School

Tarrant City

Tarrant High School