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Significant progress for Birmingham City Schools, according to state report card

Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times

Birmingham City Schools (BCS) have made significant progress according to a newly released A-F Report Cards published by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).

The report shows a more than 75 percent decrease among the number of schools receiving a grade of F and that the system is heading in the right direction under the leadership of the superintendent and school board.

“Birmingham City Schools is on an upward trajectory,” said Dr. Lisa Herring, BCS Superintendent, in a statement. “Following last year’s results, we committed to own our data. We declared that in a year’s time, we would not be standing in that same space. I am proud to say we honored that commitment.”

BCS went from having 22 schools with a F on their report card to ending the year with five. Overall, they improved from a grade of 66 in 2016-2017 to a 68 in 2017-2018.

School officials were elated by the scores.

“Progress means we’ve seen growth, some of the growth and gains that we’ve seen are in doubles digits for our students and achievement. We celebrate that,” said Herring. “Progress means a continued focus on attendance, we continue to make certain that our scholars are at school every day. Progress also means that there’s more work to do, we accept that there is work ahead but we celebrate that Birmingham Schools is moving in the right direction.”

Adrienne Mitchell, strategy and communications officer for BCS, said the administration and board focused on growth and improvement. She gave a lot of credit to the teachers.

“We can’t thank the teachers enough for what they have done and it’s because of them that we’ve been able to see this level of improvement,” said Mitchell. “It’s what’s happening in the classrooms that is showing up in the improved grades of the district, so we just absolutely have to give credit to our teachers and commend them for the hard work that they’ve put in, and it’s showing up in our increasing scores, our increasing grades.”

According to the Birmingham City Schools website, the number of schools rated A, B, or C, increased by 100 percent, moving from six schools to 12.  One school, Phillips Academy, moved from a grade of B to an A. Four schools, Princeton School, Ramsay High School, Epic School, W.J. Christian K-8 School maintained a B status. Other schools made improvements including Wilkerson Middle School, Oxmoor K-5, Norwood Elementary, Oliver K5 School, Martha Gaskins K-5, Minor Elementary, Wylam K-8.

One of the schools that moved from a F to earning a C was Oxmoor Valley Elementary school.

Melvin Love, principal of Oxmoor Valley, said the staff examined where they were and where they needed to go with instruction. They also examined previous assessments and relied on the data. In addition, they put an attendance plan in place to address chronic absenteeism and tardiness.

“Last year we committed to make the gains and that’s exactly what we did. We individualized education for every student,” said Love. “We are humbled to be in this position. We are proud of our students for moving the needle on achievement. Educators worked very hard to ensure students had the tools to be successful in life.”

Gardner said the recent success is only the beginning.

“We’ve only just begun,” she said. “We will continue working diligently, but we will celebrate every forward step that continues us on the path of success.”