Category: Birmingham City Schools

Education Town Hall Set for Jan. 15

A town hall meeting on the status of education in Birmingham has been set for Jan. 15, 6-8 p.m. State Reps. Mary Moore and John Rogers, both D-Birmingham, set the town hall, called “Where Do We Go From Here.” Moore said a number of local and state Board of Education members as well as local and state elected officials have been invited to speak.

Birmingham School Superintendent Receives 3.55 out of 5 in Evaluation

Birmingham’s school superintendent has “met expectations and goals for improvement” according to an evaluation presented at Tuesday’s board meeting.

On a 1 to 5 scale, Superintendent Lisa Herring received a 3.55 rating.

Two metrics were used in the evaluation: a rating based on benchmarks set out by the district’s strategic plan (3.36) and a cumulative score from board members (3.75). Those two scores were averaged to produce the final number. Read more.

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

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.

Although Birmingham City Schools had 16 schools on the list, 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.” Read more.

Birmingham Promise Approved by City Council

The Birmingham City Council today took a big step toward fulfilling the promise of Birmingham Promise by funding apprenticeships and scholarships for students of Birmingham city high schools.

By unanimous consent, council members authorized the mayor to execute a project agreement between the city and Birmingham Promise in which Birmingham Promise will administer a program to, among other things, increase postsecondary opportunities and economic prosperity of graduates of Birmingham schools.

The city will provide $10 million during the next five years – $2 million per year – subject to extension in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Students must be enrolled in city schools now in order to qualify for the apprenticeships.
Read more.

One Birmingham City Council Seat Goes to a Runoff; Two Incumbents Returned to the Council

One Birmingham City Council seat will be up for a runoff after none of the candidates won more than 50 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s balloting. See full results here.

Wardine Towers Alexander will face Ray Brooks on Nov. 19 in a runoff for the council District 7 seat. Alexander won 42.41% of the vote to challenger Ray Brooks’ 30.88%.

Two other races were decided Tuesday. Crystal Smitherman will return as council District 6 councilor, having garnered 51.50% of the vote in a seven-candidate field. In the District 1 race, Clifton Woods will return to the council, with 71.27% of the vote in his district.

The three propositions to renew separate ad valorem taxes all passed by wide margins, with those voting yes in each race amounting to about 90%.

Reporting of full results was delayed until Wednesday because of an error in the handling of electronic machine memory cards at three different precincts.

The cards from the Martha Gaskins School, Robinson Elementary School and Five Points West precincts were sealed inside boxes that contained the paper ballots filled out by voters. Officials with the Birmingham City Clerk’s office had to get a court order Wednesday morning to allow them to open the box and add those votes to the total. Read more.

Megachurch Presence in Birmingham Schools Sparks Tension

WBHM

Church of the Highlands, Alabama’s biggest megachurch, has expanded into the inner city, leasing space at two Birmingham schools. But there’s been pushback in the community, some of it highlighting a racial divide.

The Birmingham Board of Education recently renewed the church’s lease for three more years at Parker High School and another campus at Woodlawn High for about $1 million combined. Read more.

Birmingham Board of Education Approves $313 Million School Budget

The Birmingham Board of Education has approved a $313 million budget that will fund salary increases, security enhancements and maintenance projects.

The board voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of the budget for the fiscal year that beings Oct. 1. Daagye Hendricks, who represents District 4, cast the lone vote against the spending plan. She said she felt there were too many unanswered questions and not enough information.

The budget includes several salary increases: a state-mandated 4 percent raise to all BCS staff, including teachers, that the Alabama Legislature approvedin May; step salary increases; a 5% raise for custodians, bus drivers, child-nutrition workers and managers; and a raise from $8.25 an hour to $9 an hour for substitute teachers.
Read more.

Woodfin Discusses Plan for Free College Tuition to City Graduates

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Wednesday discussed his plan to offer Birmingham City Schools graduates the chance to go to a public two-year or four-year school in Alabama tuition-free. He tweeted a reminder Tuesday of the program announced in May.

Even Presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders took notice. Read more.

Harvard Training Leads to Action Plans for BCS

Birmingham City Schools administrators who participated in Harvard University’s Public Leadership Project presented the school board with actions they’ve implemented as a result of attending the program.

In the Aug. 13 board meeting, the team cited the district’s troubled history of superintendent turnover, inconsistent instructional guidelines and poorly defined roles for principals as instructional leaders as the reason 72% of the schools currently score “D” and “F” on the state Educational Report Card. The team identified five strategies for improving schools to a “C” grade or higher by 2023. Read more.

Woodfin Brags on Birmingham Promise, Entreats Business Leaders to Work With the Internship Program

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced Tuesday that the pilot program of his Birmingham Promise Education Initiative had been successfully completed, though he entreated members of the city’s business community to partner with the internship program as it expands. Read more.