“Turnaround Schools Initiative” hoping to help 15 schools across Alabama

"Turnaround Schools Initiative"
Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 8:51 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Millions of dollars are heading into at least 15 schools around the state in hopes of turning them around.

The “Turnaround Schools Initiative” is a new effort to improve elementary schools identified as failing. $15 million will be allocated to the schools. Five Birmingham schools are on the list.

The initiative in part will bring in outside resources from the Departmental of Mental Health, Early Childhood Education and others to help inside schools. Governor Kay Ivey’s office says this is not a one size fits all approach. It will be customized to the particular needs of each of the struggling schools.

“There’s also a big turnover issue in many of those schools because they are difficult to staff because they are in difficult communities and so we’re addressing turnover. We’re addressing what happens in the classroom. I think in time we’ll see all of those schools turnaround,” Dr. Eric Mackey, Alabama State Superintendent said.

Mackey says the schools were selected based on need, taking into account academic scores and poverty levels.

Here’s a list of schools receiving funds:

  • Barbour County Intermediate School - Barbour County
  • Charles A Brown Elementary School - Birmingham
  • Hayes K-8 - Birmingham
  • Hemphill Elementary School -Birmingham
  • Washington K8 - Birmingham
  • West End Academy - Birmingham
  • Faine Elementary School - Dothan
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School - Huntsville
  • Chastang-Fournier Middle School - Mobile County
  • J F Shields High School - Monroe County
  • Chisholm Elementary School - Montgomery County
  • Dozier Elementary School - Montgomery County
  • Highland Gardens Elementary School - Montgomery County
  • ABC Elementary - Wilcox County
  • J E Hobbs Elementary School - Wilcox County

Governor Ivey’s office sent us this statement about the Turnaround Schools Initiative:

“This initiative began with Governor Ivey’s vision, and then, during the governor’s state of the state address, she proposed providing resources that would not be one-size-fits-all to support the elementary schools identified as “failing.” She said, “We need to work with these schools with an Alabama spirit of cooperation and determination, and we need to find new ways to address old problems. That begins with making sure that every elementary school in Alabama is a successful school.” She worked with the Alabama Legislature, the State Department of Education and others to secure this funding, and now the implementation is ongoing.

When Governor Ivey hosted the superintendents of these schools in her office this past spring, she made it a point to dub this the “turnaround” schools initiative, which depicts exactly what the governor wants to see accomplished. Governor Ivey, first, would like to see no elementary school ranked in the bottom six percent. When Alabama is investing a historic amount of funding for our schools, we should not have our elementary students left behind. The governor believes that is too critical of a time in a student’s educational journey to not be giving it our best. While the Alabama State Department of Education is not directly under the governor’s authority, she decided to take a bold, whole-of-government approach and tasked a few of her own agencies – the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Department of Early Childhood Education and DHR – to join this effort, because after all, solely throwing money at an issue does not resolve the problem. This will be a multi-year, multifaceted effort, and Governor Ivey wants to see this accomplished for our students. After all, Alabama’s children are a major reason Governor Ivey is running for a second-term.”


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