Category: Birmingham City Schools

Birmingham Council Approves $1M for Mental Health Services in Schools

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved $1 million to create a mental health program for students at Birmingham City Schools. The money is part of a yearlong agreement with the Birmingham Board of Education, under which the board will increase the number of school-based licensed counselors and provide students with school-based consulting services. Read more.

Birmingham Mounts Full Court Press to Get Third Graders Up to Reading Level

Birmingham City officials are beginning a full court press to get all third graders reading on grade level or proficiency by the end of the year. “This is it everybody,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in an interview last week. “The test is less than 90 days away, and every third grader in the state of Alabama, including the 1,300-plus third graders in Birmingham City Schools will take this test.” Read more.

How Birmingham City School Students Recovered Pandemic Learning Loss

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Mark Sullivan expected to see reading scores decline after the pandemic. When he saw the first results in coming out of the pandemic, he was relieved to see student reading did not fall as much as he expected.

“But the math scores plummeted,” he said.

The next steps Birmingham officials took may have helped turn them around. Read more.

Phillips Academy Teacher Wins Milken Award, Known as the ‘Oscar of Teaching’

A Birmingham teacher was given an award nicknamed the “Oscar of Teaching” during a surprise assembly at John Herbert Phillips Academy on Wednesday.

Korri Cunningham, IB coordinator for the school, was surrounded by cheering students, colleagues and dignitaries when she was surprised with the Milken Educator Award.

She said the award was “beyond anything I could ever imagine.”

“In teaching, the rewards aren’t always seen,” she said. “So to receive something of this magnitude, I can’t even begin to describe it. And it feels so good to really feel appreciated for all the hard work I put into the classroom.” Read more.

JVTF Gets $805K From City to Teach Students About Farming and Food

The Birmingham City Council has allocated $805,000 toward increasing the Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s presence in Birmingham City Schools.

The money will go toward the nonprofit’s wide-reaching Good School Food educational program, which is intended to foster skills in and appreciation for farming and the culinary arts in BCS students. The new funding will expand the JVTF’s capacity to host field trips and weeklong camps and will expand JVTF’s internship and apprenticeship programs. Read more.

City Relinquishes Power Over Old Powell School, Raising Concerns About Historic Preservation

After a contentious discussion, the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to relinquish its interest in the historic Powell School building, which has been vacant for more than two decades.

Though developers of the property told councilors that historic preservation is their priority, they expressed doubts that they’d be able to save most of the 134-year-old structure. Now, with the city stepping out of the way, they won’t be compelled to.

Councilors split over the discussion. District 3 Councilor Valerie Abbott said she was “aghast” at the idea of “giving the property away” to a developer with no guarantee of historical preservation.

Mayor Randall Woodfin retorted that it made less sense to leave the dilapidated school building standing. “It is clear blight,” he said. Read more.

Birmingham School Budget Includes Raises, New Psychologists and More Pre-K Classes

The Birmingham Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $506,988,421 budget that includes pay increases for all employees and establishes a $15 minimum hourly pay rate. The 2023 budget also includes additional pre-kindergarten classes, six new school psychologists and adjustments in the teacher salary schedule to make pay more competitive with surrounding school districts, according to a news release from the board. Read more.

Birmingham Council Sets April 19 Hearing and Vote on New Districts Despite Disenfranchisement Concerns

The Birmingham City Council has set an April 19 public hearing on its proposed redistricting plan, which will likely culminate in a vote despite concerns from some councilors that the timing of the redistricting’s implementation could be interpreted as voter disenfranchisement.

Municipal law requires the city to draw new district lines after each federal census, which happens every 10 years, to make sure that population is roughly balanced among the nine districts, which each elect representatives to the City Council and the school board.

Due to delays caused by COVID, the council didn’t receive the 2020 census results until earlier this year, even though there was an election in fall 2021. Some councilors, such as Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, expressed concerns over the timing of the new map’s implementation. For the changes to be made so early in a four-year term, O’Quinn said, “would essentially nullify (voters’) participation” in the 2021 election. Read more.