Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday afternoon that public school students will not return to the classrooms this school year.
Beginning April 6, the state will offer alternative learning methods of instruction. The state education superintendent is to complete that plan of instruction, Ivey said during a press conference.
“Local school districts will make staffing decisions and determinations related to access to school buildings” based on state health directives, Ivey said.
“We want to prevent a slide in students’ learning and achievement, and we are doing the best we can,” she said. Read more.
Schoolhouse doors will be closed in Alabama through the end of the term to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Kay Ivey and state school Superintendent Eric Mackey began a press conference to announce the decision at 4 p.m. Going forward, schools are directed to use alternative methods of instruction. A full story will be published after the press conference.
At several Morgan County Schools today, administrators will be handing out grab-and-go lunches and breakfasts for what was supposed to be the rest of the school week to nearly 2,000 students who requested them. On Monday, staff will do it again, handing out 10 meals for students to eat during the week.
At Russellville City Schools, there’s one pick-up point available Monday through Friday for any student in the system to get a lunch for that day and breakfast for the next day.
Across the state, public K-12 school systems are figuring out how to feed the students who often rely on school meals while they’re closed at least through early April in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Alabamians on Tuesday said they want to keep their ability to vote for the state’s K-12 leaders.
Amendment One was defeated soundly, with more than 1.1 million votes cast. About 75% were “no” votes, according to unofficial results from the Alabama Secretary of State. The amendment would have done away with the current elected Alabama State Board of Education that oversees K-12 education, replacing it with a governor-appointed commission.
“I’m proud of the people of the state,” current board member Jeff Newman, a Republican who represents the Shoals and a portion of the Tennessee Valley, said Tuesday night. “I like to work for the people, the schools belong to the people.”
“… There’s no doubt we have work to do in education, we do; but we need the means to do it.”
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.
Two Birmingham-area school systems scored better than last year on the 2018-2019 annual Education Report Card issued by the Alabama State Department of Education.
Jefferson County Schools and Birmingham City Schools each improved overall by one letter grade. Jefferson County received a B and Birmingham City Schools scored a C. The statewide grade was a B, with 84 points.
The department has revamped presentation of the report card on its website to make viewing and searching for information easier. The enhanced site allows side-by-side comparison of up to four schools and uses colorful graphs and illustrations to make detailed information on student demographics, teacher credentials and school performance easier to read and understand. Read more.
Raisa Eady never saw it coming — which was by design.
The biology teacher at Pinson Valley High School knew something big was happening when officials from the Alabama State Department of Education, Jefferson County Schools, local governments and the Milken Family Foundation showed up for an assembly in the school auditorium. Some teacher was about to receive a big award.
But when her name was announced as the winner of the Milken Educator Award, she sat in disbelief.
“When it (the announcement) happened, everyone looked around and I said, ‘Oh, it is me?’ They said yes and I said, ‘No way!’” Eady told reporters afterward. “I’m so honored and overwhelmed today. I definitely had no idea this was happening. … I have not even grasped what’s happened yet. I feel extremely blessed, grateful — and overwhelmed.”
She did have a literal grasp on a big check, though. The award, given by the Milken Family Foundation, comes with a prize of $25,000, and no restrictions on how it may be used. Read more.
It was a history-making moment for the Jefferson County Board of Education.
The board on Wednesday unanimously selected Dr. Walter Gonsoulin Jr. as interim superintendent, making him the first African American to head the system in its 200 years of existence. Gonsoulin is temporarily replacing the departing Dr. Craig Pouncey.
“I feel humbled and honored to be chosen by the board,” Gonsoulin said after the meeting.
Gonsoulin joined JefCoEd as a deputy superintendent of school and community support in 2017. One of six deputies currently on the JefCoEd staff, he has had oversight over half of the system’s schools. Before that, Gonsoulin served as superintendent of Fairfield City Schools, a job he took in 2012 after moving from an assistant superintendent’s post in Starkville, Mississippi’s city school system. Read more.
The U.S. Department of Education announced a $25 million grant today to support charter schools in Alabama. The money will go to New Schools for Alabama, an organization that encourages the growth of charter schools. Tyler Barnett, executive director of New Schools for Alabama, told WBHM in an earlier interview the money will help fund 15 schools. He said the group will focus on serving educationally disadvantaged students. Read more.