Birmingham City Schools awarded highest-ever accreditation score

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 11:40 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Leaders with Birmingham City Schools say they got their highest-ever score from an international accrediting agency this week.

Cognia, an education improvement organization, completed a review of the school district and scored them a 335 out of 400. Leaders say five years ago, BCS received a 219. The district experienced a 116-point improvement.

The organization looks for a culture of learning, leadership, engagement and growth to help determine a score.

“This is the highest score we’ve ever made and I think it’s a testament to the hard work of our teachers, our administrators, our custodians, our lunchroom workers,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan.

He’s crediting leaders throughout the district for their accreditation score.

“We’ve also made a tremendous investment in technology,” said Dr. Sullivan. “That’s been one of our areas of weakness in the past and so we’ve trained our teachers around technology. They use it in the classrooms. We are a 1-to-1 school district so our students have devices and they use those devices on a daily basis.”

The superintendent says the school system still has room to improve, though.

“We still have some academic challenges,” he explained. “When I took over Birmingham City Schools in 2020, we had 20 schools on the Failing Schools List. That was the most in the state. We’ve cut that to 13 schools.”

One of those schools off the list is Charles A. Brown Elementary. Dr. Sullivan says, again, it all comes down to leadership.

“We have a principal over there,” said Dr. Sullivan. “She has really gone in and done some amazing professional development with the teachers. She sits in the PLCs (Professional Learning Community) and she provides structure. She monitors instruction. She has been recruiting great teachers. She’s recruiting teachers out of retirement. So I think her leadership has really made a difference.”

Dr. Sullivan says schools coming off the failing schools list and a higher accreditation score tangibly shows the improvements happening within the district.

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