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2019 CLAS Schools of Distinctions and Banner Schools

  • Charles R. Drew Middle School

    Recycling in Drew (RID)

    School of Distinction AwardTalladega County Schools

    Principal, Mr. Tim Young

    Superintendent, Dr. Suzanne Lacey

    D3-Charles R. Drew Middle School

    Charles R. Drew Middle School set up a 7th-grade project-based learning (PBL) project designed to challenge students to create solutions to today’s urgent environmental problem: reducing plastic pollution in waterways. Through this cross-curricular PBL project, students learned about the human impact on local and global ecosystems, the history and use of plastic production, the impact of plastic ingestion on animals, and the chemical impact of plastic on plants. Through research, collaboration, and creativity, students developed practical solutions by completing different project components in each content area. This PBL influenced a group of students to implement, Recycling in Drew (RID). These students researched the impact a recycling program could make, gathered information on area recycling companies, and presented their idea to the principal. Impressed, administrators contacted the researched companies, and recycling bins were delivered. Daily, students were seen pushing large, green recycling bins around the cafeteria during lunch and breaks and emptying small, blue classroom recycling bins. Collection efforts resulted in 954 pounds of paper and plastic in one year. RID students also shared the importance of recycling with the mayor and city council members in Lincoln. The mayor responded by adding ten recycling bins to city buildings. As a result, students witnessed how successful collaboration, research, and a thoroughly planned and written proposal can spark a change not only in their school but also in the community.


  • Corley Elementary School

    Be Who You A.R.R.G.H.

    School of Distinction AwardBoaz City Schools

    Principal, Ms. Allison Haygood

    Superintendent, Dr. Todd Haynie

    The Be Who You A.R.R.G.H. program at Corley Elementary School was created by teachers to address the social, emotional, and academic needs of Corley’s little pirates by providing one-on-one mentoring. The program focused on the importance of being Attentive, Responsible, Respectful, Generous, and Honest (A.R.R.G.H.). Corley engaged the community with mentors that included the superintendent, central office staff, community members, parents, and faculty. Mentors began the year reading the book, Be Who You A.R.R.G.H. written and illustrated by a Corley media class. The book explained the importance of exhibiting the program’s traits by sharing the journey of a young pirate. Mentors met with their young pirates multiple times throughout the year. Mental health was addressed in the program through school-based play therapy, small group guidance, and a partnership with Mountain Lakes Behavioral Healthcare. Corley administration and faculty regularly reviewed academic performance and growth of each student and crew members earned points for their crew scoring well on math and reading assessments. This assessment data led academic goal setting discussions for each student and created an individual pathway for success. By opening the school’s doors to parents and community, Corley witnessed a decrease in discipline and improved academic achievement and attendance.

  • Creek View Elementary School

    Jumpstart Summer Enrichment

    School of Distinction AwardAlabaster City Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Charissa Cole

    Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Vickers

    Creek View Elementary School began the Jumpstart Summer Enrichment program to combat the summer reading slide among their most at-risk students. All students served in the Warrior Support Team (WST) process and not at benchmark at the end of the year were invited to get a “Jumpstart” on the upcoming year. Fifty students were invited and forty-five participated. Teachers and administrators attended multisensory phonics training and oral reading development during the summer of 2019 to enhance reading instruction and support for all students. Prior to beginning Jumpstart, ten teachers met in the summer to analyze each student’s reading and math portfolios and plan lessons tailored to each child’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Jumpstart enrichment occurred on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for three weeks prior to the beginning of the 2019 school year. Each session was 2 hours long, providing students with 18 hours of enrichment at no cost to their family. The voluntary program format was designed to be fun and rewarding. Students rotated through stations which provided multisensory Orton-Gillingham phonics instruction, reading strategies with highly engaging topics (Sharks!), and real-life math scenarios. August WST meetings showed Jumpstart students maintained or increased reading levels. Data compiled after the first nine weeks evidenced a sharp increase in benchmarked students.

  • Demopolis High School

    Tiger Trending Marketing Media

    School of Distinction AwardDemopolis City Schools

    Principal, Mr. Blaine Hathcock

    Superintendent, Mr. Kyle Kallhoff

    Located in the Black Belt of West Central Alabama in a rural community of less than 7,000 people, Demopolis High School sought to create a simulated work experience for students. Utilizing the Marketing and Broadcasting programs at the school, students collaborated to create Tiger Trending Marketing Media. Marketing students produced presentations and advertising packages to sell to local industry executives and community businesses. Packages included video commercials, radio ads, and social media packages. Broadcasting students presented their capabilities to produce and edit high-quality video, audio, and social media advertising to area businesses. Once services were agreed upon, broadcasting students created products based on requested specifications. Students experienced the technical skills of creating packages, selling products, recording, editing, and producing multimedia. They also practiced soft skills of collaboration, communication, meeting deadlines, and teamwork. In addition to the for-profit media packages, Tiger Trending Marketing Media students collaborated to create a marketing campaign focused on highlighting the great happenings at Demopolis High School and a tourism campaign for the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce. This program resulted in an increase in work-related opportunities and corporate partnerships for Demopolis High School.

  • Eastwood Middle School

    Kingdom Principles

    School of Distinction AwardTuscaloosa City Schools

    Principal, Mr. Eric Hines

    Superintendent, Dr. Mike Daria

    Kingdom Principles was begun at Eastwood Middle School as a proactive measure to reduce excessive out-of-school suspensions. Eight character principles were introduced and teachers incoporated them into daily instruction. Eastwood implemented an advisory and club system where students discussed personal and academic growth and demonstrated each principle among a supportive, collaborative, family-like team. Motivational speakers reiterated the principles through the lens of successful community liaisons who were once in similar situations. The PTSA exemplified each principle by rewarding students for achievement. Adopt-a-school partners and other community agencies were secured and utilized. Leaders from every job sector in the greater Tuscaloosa area spoke at length with seventh graders about economics, the workforce, and being successful. Sixth graders participated in a stock market challenge that paralleled the concept of economic empowerment. Restorative Justice was implemented as a means of forging unity, integrity, and faith in oneself. Eastwood counselors conducted small group conversations centered around appropriate social interactions. Students who had experienced trauma were afforded an opportunity to meet with a mental health expert on campus to express feelings and learn to cope with personal circumstances. As a result of Kingdom Principles, out-of-school suspensions at Eastwood were reduced by 28%.

  • Florence High School

    Lunch with the Keys

    Banner School Award LogoFlorence City Schools

    Principal, Dr. Roderick Sheppard

    Superintendent, Dr. Jimmy Shaw

    Florence High School’s Lunch With The Keys was proposed by a contract employee, Mr. Pete Key, to modify students’ behavior that resulted in Alternative School. Started at the Alternative School, the program helped students build character, develop conflict resolution skills, identify mentors, improve communication skills, and develop leadership qualities. Students worked to build successful habits prior to the return to the regular school setting. When students transitioned back to Florence High School, they asked to continue the program which led to its beginning at Florence High. Counselors and administration identified students to participate, and Mr. and Mrs. Key worked with students twice a week during lunch. During this non-traditional, lively conversation, students learned to resolve conflict without violence and built healthy relationships. The program equipped Florence High with an intervention to reach struggling students and those with mental health challenges by providing a safe environment free of stigma. High-energy, school-wide assemblies addressing mental health issues were a product of the program with social workers, interns, counselors, life coaches, and motivational speakers as facilitators. Exit survey data showed program participants left the program with increased emotional intelligence, increased attendance, and reduced discipline referrals.

  • Foley High School


    School of Distinction AwardBaldwin County Schools

    Principal, Mr. Russ Moore

    Superintendent, Mr. Eddie Tyler

    In the Fall of 2015, twenty- four freshmen were selected as part of Foley High School’s inaugural #Success program. These students were selected due to tremendous adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that categorized them as being “highly at risk” of not graduating high school. Through the program, students were paired with a faculty mentor, a success coach, who coached them throughout their high school career. Students met with success coaches on alternating days to review grades, discipline, attendance, and most importantly, to discuss other issues the students were experiencing that could be barriers to academic success. Success coaches also built relationships with the students’ families and offered connections to family services in the community.  As success coaches advocated for the students, they taught students to self-advocate appropriately with teachers regarding grades. Twenty #Success students graduated in May 2019 giving the program a 91.6% success rate of graduating high-risk students. After graduation, #Success students pursued post-secondary education, industry-training programs, military, and working with local businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry. Foley High School’s #Success program provided opportunities for the school’s most at-risk students to have intensive guidance and support from caring teachers which resulted in a higher graduation rate.

  • Francis Marion School

    Blast Off Monday

    Banner School Award LogoPerry County Schools

    Principal, Dr. Cathy Trimble

    Superintendent, Mr. John Heard

    Blast Off Monday was started to inspire school-wide excellence at Francis Marion School. Each Monday morning, students met in the auditorium following breakfast. The program began with presentations on successful student dress, acceptable and unacceptable behavior in all areas of the school and students’ day. The school’s vision, mission, expectations, and Rise Up slogan were emphasized, and students recited the student creed at each Blast Off Monday assembly. Data was shared from current and previous benchmark assessments which helped students and staff compare academic performance and make decisions to achieve at higher levels. By second semester, Blast Off Monday saw more student involvement and less administrator focus. Students elected class officers and opted to have meetings once a month after Blast Off Monday. Class officers shared ideas, and concerns during “Lunch with the Principal” sessions. Student organizations began presenting programs on various student needs. Students in the school’s two service organizations volunteered to mediate between younger students and teach them conflict resolution skills, thereby contributing to the decline in office referrals and suspensions. Blast Off Monday resulted in students who became more assertive in a positive way and worked tirelessly to change the perception of Francis Marion School.

  • Glencoe Middle School

    Why Try Resilience

    School of Distinction AwardEtowah County Schools

    Principal, Ms. Tisha Howell

    Superintendent, Dr. Alan Cosby

    Glencoe Middle School’s goal of producing students who recognized bad decisions, learned from mistakes, and recovered from failure led them to the Why Try Resilience for Youth program. This program enhanced the school’s focus on student emotional and mental health. During 2018-2019, three teachers were trained to implement and facilitate the program. Trained teachers integrated Why Try Resilience for Youth educational lessons into their courses to provide students with strategies to assist with life’s difficulties. The lessons reinforced decision-making, peer interactions, and complying with school rules/procedures. Glencoe’s eighth grade English teacher focused her first lesson on labels that students place on themselves or feel have been placed upon them. She asked a brave volunteer to stand in front of the class and write a label she felt had been placed on her on a small whiteboard. The student wrote the word, invisible. The class then wrote on a sticky note a word/label they thought of when the brave student’s name came to mind and placed them over the student’s label. Tears streamed down the student’s face as she realized the label she put on herself was not how her classmates saw her. The program provided the social, emotional, and mental support Glencoe students needed for their middle school adventures.

  • Good Hope High School

    Tribe Time

    School of Distinction AwardCullman County Schools

    Principal, Dr. John Hood     

    Superintendent, Dr. Shane Barnette

    Good Hope High School’s Tribe Time provided a strong, student-centered mentoring program where Tribe Leaders (mentors) followed mentees throughout his/her high school career. During Tribe Time, mentors worked with students individually to analyze transcripts. By applying the students’ future expectations, the mentee established college/career paths. Utilizing checklists, students navigated decisions for courses lacked and courses instrumental or required in preparing for post-secondary education and career planning. Each student utilized a Transcript Evaluation and Credit Review handout to evaluate transcripts with earned course credit and courses needed to graduate. This process also looked closely at CTE requirements. Tribe Time Mondays were earmarked as reading days designed to improve comprehension and fluency with each tribe reading from a common selection. The remainder of the week, students were given Tribe Time to complete Tribe lessons focused on character building, work on other assignments or missed tests, or receive extra help. Tribe Time was also used to encourage and strengthen school pride and create unity among tribes. Before an important football game, the student section was given time to collaborate and work on signs, banners, and chants. Through Tribe Time, students made life-long friendships with other students they would not otherwise have met.

  • Gulf Shores High School

    Culinary Arts: Visiting Chef Series

    School of Distinction AwardGulf Shores City Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Cindy Veazey

    Superintendent, Dr. Matt Akin

    The Visiting Chef Series at Gulf Shores High School was developed to create and improve community stakeholder relations while providing students the opportunity to learn from and work with world-class chefs in the local area. Bi-monthly during Focus hour, interested students attended demonstrations by visiting chefs, asked questions, and tasted the prepared dishes. During scheduled class time, chefs also taught students skills involved in preparing the demo dish or worked collaboratively with students to prepare another dish. Chefs shared experiences in competitive food, food-related travel, changing career paths, education, and time management with students. All chefs stressed the importance of finding one’s passion in determining a career path. Many of the chefs involved in the Series partnered with Gulf Shores High School to serve on the Advisory Board and provided job shadowing opportunities to students. Through the Visiting Chef Series, student participation in the Apprenticeship Signing Day via the Gateway Initiative, South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, and Coastal Business Chamber increased significantly. As a culminating product of the program, the students and Chef Madsen collaborated with a few visiting chefs to plan and prepare an end-of-the-year multi-course tasting at a local venue.

  • Horseshoe Bend School


    School of Distinction AwardTallapoosa County Schools

    Principal, Mr. James Aulner

    Superintendent, Mr. Joe Windle

    Horseshoe Bend School’s PowerUP! program began with the goal to advance the academic growth of its elementary students. Horseshoe Bend looked at student data from the first collection period and grouped students by ability to strategically target how to improve each group. All staff at the school from the P.E. coach to the Assistant Principals were given a small group of students to work with throughout the year. Dedicated time for PowerUP! was set each morning from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. The tone for the day was set by playing different songs to “call” students to PowerUP! and students responded happily by singing and dancing as they moved to their groups. The key to the program’s success was evidenced in the fluidity of the groups. When students improved, they moved to a more advanced group. Teachers and students became protective of this time and scheduled appointments around PowerUP! which increased student growth and reduced the school’s chronic attendance rate. This program allowed Horseshoe Bend School to address every student’s strength and/or academic weakness in Math and/or Reading through targeted instruction based on specific need. Summative test data indicated substantial growth from the beginning to the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

  • Howell Graves Preschool

    STEM and Fun Day

    School of Distinction AwardMuscle Shoals City Schools

    Principal, Ms. Sheneta Smith

    Superintendent, Dr. Brian Lindsey

    Howell Graves Preschool engaged family interaction through STEM and physical education activities during STEM and Fun Day. This student-led event devoted the first half of the day to STEM activities and the second half to physical education. STEM activities are a part of the daily routine at Howell, and ones in which students are fluent. However, many of their families are not. The STEM portion of the day bridged this gap by encouraging students to share with families in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Families and students rotated through classrooms and completed various activities. In science, students shared observational journals of plants and insects and showed families the plants they grew. In technology, students shared how to navigate Kodable on their Chromebooks and encouraged family members to complete a coding activity. During the engineering rotation, students and families reviewed the story of The Three Little Pigs, then worked to build a house out of toothpicks and marshmallows that would withstand a gust of wind. In mathematics, students taught families how to play math games from AMSTI kits. During Fun Day, students rotated among physical education activity stations and discussed key points with their families.

  • Katherine Hankins Middle School


    Banner School Award LogoMobile County Schools

    Principal, Mr. David Diaz

    Superintendent, Mr. Chresal Threadgill

    Industry collaboration and financial backing allowed Katherine Hankins Middle School to create its Robotics program which includes a state-of-the-art classroom consisting of Vex Robotics, 3D printers, computer science technology, computer-aided drafting software, an engineering area, and a challenge arena. Through industry partnerships, Hankins also added drone purchases and a construction room which safely houses a drill press, band saws, drills, and hand tools. During daily robotics class rotations, students used design software to plan and construct robots, create video games complete with 3D images of game pieces and characters, and fly drones. With this enhanced technology, students were given two real-world problems to solve. Tasked with investigating the numerous types of plastic pollutants located within the five ocean gyres, students created a robot that could remove the debris and sort plastics for recycling. Robots were required to travel a suspended board located five foot off the floor without falling off, collect debris from a circle-shaped basket resembling an ocean gyre, and sort the plastics for recycling. Secondly, students programmed robots to construct an airplane. The robot had to assemble and align four pre-constructed plane pieces, take it to the runway, lift it five feet, and attach it to a suspended magnet. Robots were advertised using student-created HTML web pages and showcased at the Jubilee Best Robotics competition.

  • Liberty Middle School

    World Language

    School of Distinction AwardMadison City Schools

    Principal, Mr. Shannon Brown

    Superintendent, Mr. Eric Terrell

    The World Language program at Liberty Middle School offered students Survey of Mandarin Chinese, Survey of Latin, Survey of German, Survey of French, French I and Spanish I. Liberty Middle hired a full-time French and Latin teacher and worked with community partners to recruit part-time German and Mandarin teachers. The world language teachers built curriculum for the new survey courses by researching Comprehensible Input Based Language Learning and by collaborating with secondary world language teachers on content and vertical skills alignment as well as expectations for learning. At the end of each nine weeks, teachers evaluated the progress of each survey class and made adjustments to curriculum. The didactic approach of the survey classes included activities from interpreting and producing sounds to conducting science experiments and building literacy through novel study and storytelling. World language classrooms at Liberty Middle focused on storyboarding, the enviornment, levelized novel studies, family and consumer science, and cultural celebrations. Cross-curricular experiences such as field trips to local art museums infused the culture in the classes. Liberty’s World Language program ensured student success in the school’s increasingly global community.

  • Lincoln Elementary School


    School of Distinction AwardTalladega County Schools

    Principal, Mr. Jesse Hooks

    Superintendent, Dr. Suzanne Lacey

    At Lincoln Elementary School (LES), RockStar PE was developed to enhance social and physical development for special education students. Four rotations of leadership team students joined special education students for RockStar PE classes. Prior to each rotation of student leaders, an orientation was held by the special and physical education departments where students learned about the variety of challenges of the special education students. As RockStar students progressed through the course, they gained real-world skills to eventually lead to a larger setting of organized sports. Rather than competitive games, the class focused on creative games that succeed only when a team works together. Leaving a team member behind is never an option. Community partnerships and grants increased opportunities for Lincoln students, improved the school culture, and led to a student-led campaign to raise money for a hand-pedaled bike to provide equal opportunity for a disabled student. RockStar PE fueled teachers to provide quality instruction and find creative ways to inspire LES students. The program also challenged students to think critically, collaborate with peers, and hone skills physically and emotionally. The small class size of RockStar PE allowed special education students to be engaged with responsible students without feeling different or singled out.

  • Lincoln High School

    Tiny House - Big Dreams

    Banner School Award LogoTalladega County Schools

    Principal, Mr. Michael Bynum

    Superintendent, Dr. Suzanne Lacey

    Tiny House-Big Dreams at Lincoln High School was created with the goal of allowing students to learn key employability skills such as time management, construction site management, leadership, and collaboration in a real-world setting. Students were introduced to building and construction through field trips to top-quality tiny home manufacturers in the state. Students took part in an embedded Engineering Design Process by brainstorming, planning, and developing drafts for the construction of a tiny home. Classes held Skype sessions with the architect who drew the house plans, allowing them to participate in the design process, and review blueprints. To develop the skills necessary for construction, students went through NCCER Core Certification and passed safety assessments. Once certified for safety, students engaged in smaller projects designed to acquire skills needed to complete the tiny house. These projects included designing and building shooting houses and storage sheds with completed projects sold and proceeds put towards tiny house materials and supplies. From this, students gained experience in sales and customer relations. Blueprints were amended and passed inspection. A production manual was produced and approved, and a new technical career pathway was developed with a tiny house well underway! The tiny house will be marketed by the Sales and Promotional planning class and sold with all proceeds being used to build a second tiny house.


  • Mill Creek Elementary School

    Building Bridges at the Creek for our EL Students

    Banner School Award LogoMadison City Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Carmen Taylor Buchanan

    Interim Superintendent, Mr. Eric Terrell

    With the largest population of English Learners in the district and over twenty-six languages spoken on campus, Mill Creek Elementary School saw the need to build a BRIDGE for their EL students. Building Awareness and Understanding with Faculty and Staff, the school procured interpreters and traveled to homes to assist EL families with online registration. Additionally, EL teachers guided faculty to form learning communities centered on the needs of EL students. The platform Ellevations was utilized to access student profiles, interpret data and find resources and tools for EL lessons. Reflecting on Needs and Data to Determine Instructon, EL teachers built trusting relationships with classroom teachers and collaborated weekly on the growth of each child. Through Ellevations, student growth was tracked by subject and standard. EL teachers met with classroom teachers quarterly and discussed student needs, celebrated successes, and planned for areas of growth. Mill Creek Integrated Culture with an International Night where families shared their culture with food, language, traditions, and celebration. Faculty and staff Developed Relationships by travelling to neighborhoods during the summer of 2018 for Read Around the Block. Students were given snacks and chose a book to read for the summer. To Get Students Ready for Academic Rigor, EL teachers developed a class focused on basic conversation, language acquistion skills, and beginning reading skills. Finally, Mill Creek Embraced the EL Population as faculty attended extracurricular events of students. From a Navrati Festival to a Japanese Spring Festival tea ceremony, students delighted in sharing their culture with their teachers.

  • New Century Technology High School

    Biomedical Science

    School of Distinction AwardHuntsville City Schools

    Principal, Ms. Sheila Roby

    Superintendent, Mrs. Christie Finley

    Biomedical Science students at New Century Technology High School participated in unique courses such as Biotechnology, Genetics, Bioinformatics, Neuroscience, and Introduction to Pharmacy Technology to prepare them for clinical careers. Partnerships with medical and/or biotechnology companies provided guidance to the program through an advisory board. These partnerships also provided internship opportunities to students. Seniors interned at Huntsville Hospital where they assisted with basic patient care and observed more extensive procedures. HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and CFD Research Corporation provided students internships focused on scientific research. Biomedical students earned multiple certifications as they progressed through the program. Coordinating with BioAlabama, New Century staff educated industry about the types of skills and certifications students possessed upon completion of the program. This gained the attention of local scientists who volunteered their time and gave lectures. A scientist from GeneCapture taught programming and applied bioinformatics to interested seniors. Students also participated in extracurricular activities related to their studies through clubs such as the Neuroscience Club, Biotechnology Club, Health Occupations Students of America, and Science Olympiad. Funded through the grant program, AL200, students worked with HudsonAlpha on a DNA project to collect plant samples from the Huntsville Botanical Gardens for DNA sequencing.


  • Pike Road High School

    Summit Learning

    School of Distinction AwardPike Road City Schools

    Principal, Mr. David Sikes

    Superintendent, Dr. Chuck Ledbetter

    Pike Road High School’s Summit Learning program encompassed project-based learning, self-directed learning, and mentoring to create a program that prioritized students’ needs. Summit Learning utilized a base curriculum but allowed for projects within the curriculum and tailored to student need and interest. Projects made up seventy percent of students’ grades, and students were graded with rubrics on thirty-two cognitive/21st century learning skills. The self-directed learning portion of Summit accounted for thirty percent of grades and occurred while working on content area concepts and skills. Students moved through material outlined by state standards at their own pace, mastering content by year-end. Recognizing that all students do not master material upon first exposure, students could reassess without penalty if they could prove they were ready to take the test again. Lead Learners, teachers, taught power lessons on the material, examined data and created small group lessons, and offered additional workshops for struggling students. Finally, the mentoring component allowed mentors to meet with mentees daily. Within the Summit platform, students and mentors were able to view learning progress from daily, weekly, and yearly perspectives allowing for goal setting and progress monitoring. Students shared that choosing their learning pace and the ability to reassess taught them to recognize strengths and persevere in adversity.

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