Birmingham City Schools

Jones Valley Middle School

Students: 372

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

Teachers: 21

Education Report Card 2017-2018: D (62)

Failing Schools List: 2019


In 2011, Birmingham City Schools shuttered A.G. Gaston and Wenonah elementary schools and channeled those students to a newly constructed school building at what had been Jones Valley K-8 in southwest Birmingham’s Powderly neighborhood. The schools, a distance of three miles and 1.3 miles, respectively, from Jones Valley K-8, were closed as part of the district’s school consolidation and closing plan. In 2013, the Birmingham city school board voted to convert Jones Valley K-8 to a middle school serving students in grades six through eight, and the name was changed to Jones Valley Middle School.

Eight private schools are located within three miles of Jones Valley Middle School, and six of those schools include middle school-aged students.

Milton Hopkins is the current principal at Jones Valley Middle School. He began his tenure at the school in 2017 after having spent three years as principal at Phillips Academy, a school that follows an international baccalaureate curriculum and the only BCS school to receive an A grade on the 2017-2018 Education Report Card. Carolyn Denson headed up Jones Valley Middle  from 2013 to 2015 and Evelyn Nettles was interim principal during the 2015-2016 school year.

Based on education report card data, enrollment at Jones Valley Middle School has stayed relatively even since the 2014-15 school year but did increase by 38 students over the past 4 years. Enrollment numbers for the years before that included students in lower grades that in 2013 were transferred to the then-new Oxmoor Valley Elementary School. For the 2017 -2018 school year, the enrollment was 372 with 132 students in ninth grade, 114 students in seventh grade, and 126 students in eighth grade.

According to the 2017-2018 Education Report Card for Jones Valley Middle School, more than half of the students, 52% of them, were chronically absent. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 15 or more days in a school year. Just less than 80% of the student body is economically disadvantaged. Only one-fourth of the student body tested proficient academically: 15% percent are proficient in reading, 8% are proficient in math and 12% scored at or above the standard for science. Overall, all students showed growth in English and math.

This is the first year Jones Valley Middle School was placed on the failing schools list.

Neighborhood Demographics: Wenonah High School and Jones Valley Middle School are located in the same ZIP code. According to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey Estimates for 2013-17, the neighborhood is 98.9 percent black or African American. The median income is $32,627 and the median age is 41. Eighteen percent of the population — about 856 people — are school-aged, falling between 5 and 19 years old. Eighty-seven  percent of the population has attained a high school diploma or higher in terms of education. Twenty-six percent of the population in the ZIP code live below the poverty level.

*That scholarship program allows tax credit for donations given to pay for scholarships to students from failing schools. The students must also meet low-income requirements to qualify for the scholarships.

The demographic section of this story has been corrected to indicate that Jones Valley is a middle school.