Birmingham City Schools

W.E. Putnam Middle School

Putnam Middle School (Source: Julianna Hunter)

Students: 327

Teachers: 22

Education Report Card 2017-2018: F (58)

Failing Schools List: 2019; 2016; 2015; 2014; 2013


W.E. Putnam Middle School is situated in Eastwood, in eastern Birmingham. The school began in the early 1960s as an elementary school but was converted to a middle school for grades six through eight in 1980.

According the state Department of Education reports, enrollment for the 2000-2001 school year at Putnam was 415 and hasn’t fluctuated significantly over the past 19 years. In 2006-07 the enrollment was 334. In 2014-2015, according to Education Report Card data, student headcount was 329. The current enrollment is 327 with 127 students the sixth grade; 97 students in seventh grade; and 103 students in eighth grade.

Private schools within three miles of Putnam Middle include Cornerstone Schools of Alabama, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, The Altamont School, Highlands School, Alabama Waldorf School, Higdon Hill School, St. Francis Xavier School, Maranathan  Academy, and Trinity School. N.E. Miles, Alabama Waldorf School and St. Francis Xavier are all K-8 schools. Altamont accepts students from grades five through 12. Cornerstone is a K-12 school.

Cornerstone, Altamont, Highlands, and St. Francis are on the list of participating non-public schools for the Alabama Educational Scholarship Program under the Alabama Accountability Act.*

Academic performance for W.E. Putnam was poor based on the Education Report Card data for 2017-2018 school year. Eighty-four percent of the students did not meet proficiency levels for reading and only 8.5 percent of the students tested proficient in math.

Terrell Brown took over as principal in the 2018-2019 school year. Sakema Porterfield served as the principal the year before Brown. Before Brown, Brenda Dial was the principal at Putnam for five years.

Neighborhood Demographics: In the ZIP code where W.E. Putnam Middle School is located, 88.5 percent of the population has earned a high school degree or higher. There are 2,506 people — 18.5% of the population — between the ages of 5 and 19. The overall median age is 42.   The median income is $44,975 and 15.7% of the people dwelling in the ZIP code are living below the poverty level. The racial make-up is 55% white, 34% black or African American, and 8.8% Hispanic or Latino.

Coming Sunday: An interview with Principal Terrell Brown.

*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.