Birmingham City Schools strengthen partnership with UAB

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham City Schools and UAB are ready to take their relationship to the next level.

Birmingham's superintendent met with UAB leaders on campus Wednesday night to talk about strengthening their partnership in trying to help the troubled system.

Both systems say they want to get more specific and targeted in their approach because they think there's the potential for this cooperation to help the entire birmingham region's economy.

Part of this next step could include redesigning entire schools.

"We plan to continue all of those things, but we hope to do other things as well," said Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, Dean of UAB's College of Arts and Sciences. "Perhaps starting some themed schools such as math and science, perhaps doing other projects that help the students in Birmingham graduate and do better."

"Not just for research sake, but for research that can bring benefit back to the school system," said Birmingham's superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon. We're exploring different areas of need, that we're able to take that information, that data, and bring solutions to the school system."

Dr. Witherspoon is happy to turn his system into a research lab if it brings in free expertise, and UAB students get hands-on learning and the potential for teaching jobs one day. Both partners are hoping working together closely helps not only them, but the entire region's economy by improving a system that economic recruiters often call one of the challenges they have to overcome in bringing new business to town.

"I really think we need to do a better job at finding out what works with kids," Dr. DiLorenzo said. "And partnering the school of education and the school system can only help."

"It's a way to say we're building on our strengths, we're building on the partnership, but we're also aggressively taking a look at areas we can improve, as well," Dr. Witherspoon said.

Dr. Witherspoon says he's hoping to get UAB's help not only in the classroom but in other parts of the school system like human resources, administration, and athletics.

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