State’s failing schools list includes three Lowndes County pubic schools

Published 5:17 pm Thursday, January 12, 2017

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

According to an Alabama Department of Education report released Thursday, Jan. 12, the Lowndes County District has three schools on a list of 75 failing schools as defined by the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) of 2015.

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The Lowndes County School District previously had two schools on the list that made it off. And Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Board said the school district is going to work hard to get the current three off the list and never get on it again.

The list released Jan. 12 by the State Department of Education includes Lowndes County School District schools The Calhoun High School, Central High School and Fort Deposit Elementary School. And a majority of schools on the list statewide were high schools.

The State Department of Education reports, “Per the Alabama Accountability Act, ‘Failing Schools’ are the bottom 6 percent of public Alabama schools for the 2015-16 school year based on the state’s standardized assessment (ACT Aspire and Alabama Alternate Assessment) in reading and math.

“Students are tested in reading and math in grades three-eight with Aspire Assessment and in reading and math in the 10th grade with Aspire Assessment and the Alabama Alternate Assessment.”

Also in accordance with the AAA law, a revised report is posted annually.

Boyd announced the failing school report to the Lowndes County Board of Education at its Jan. 12 regular meeting held at Lowndes County Middle School in Fort Deposit.

He said last year the Lowndes County School District felt really good about the failing schools report, “because we didn’t have a single school on that list.”

He said, “Unfortunately, today when the announcement was made, we have three schools on that list, Central High School, The Calhoun School and Fort Deposit Elementary.”

Boyd said three years ago the school district had two schools on the list (Hayneville Middle School and Lowndes County Middle School). He said principals Keith Scissum at HMS and Archie Curtis at LCMS worked really hard and were able to get off that particular list.

Boyd said with the current schools on the list his plan is to work with Darryl Washington, Lowndes County Schools director of curriculum and instruction, and the central office staff to make visits to the schools and provide as much assistance as they can to those three schools.

In professional development activities, Boyd said, “We will try our best to focus on the areas of concern… provide information to bolster our teachers’ skills and remediate the deficits… so that we can get off this failing schools list.”

Boyd said he met with the school principals and there will be more meetings. He told the Lowndes county Board of Education, “Hopefully, at this time next year, I’ll be able to proudly say to all of you that we do not have a single school on that list.”

Boyd told the Signal that the failing schools report “is a way to tarnish public schools with the eventual goal of privatizing education. It is totally unfair the way they do that. They don’t account for problems certain school systems face. Never the less we’re on the failing list, and it’s our responsibility to get off of it. We’re going to provide professional development on the 20thof February to all of our employees. We are going to work really, really hard and we’re going to try our best not to be on it again.”

The State Department of Education reports that notification to parents of children enrolled in an Alabama public school designated as a failing school or scheduled to enroll in a failing school as defined above will be provided such notification in January that will outline the options those parents may pursue related to School Choice as follows.

  1. Option 1 – The student may remain or enroll in the assigned school.
  2. Option 2 – The student may transfer to a comparable school that is not included on the annual list of “failing schools” within the same local school system that has available space and is willing to accept the student.
  3. Option 3 – If the local system has not made Option 2 available, the student may transfer to a comparable school that is not included on the annual list of “failing schools” within another Alabama local school system that has available space and is willing to accept the student.
  4. Option 4 – The student may transfer to a qualifying non-public Alabama school that is willing to accept the student.