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2020 CLAS Schools of Distinctions and Banner Schools

  • Millbrook Middle School

    Spanish 1 Access

    School of Distinction AwardElmore County Schools

    Principal, Mr. Sean Kreauter

    Superintendent, Mr. Richard Dennis

    The Spanish I program at Millbrook Middle School provided a unique model of virtual learning blended with traditional learning that brought much success during the 2019-2020 school year. The class was set up using a competitive mind frame where students competed in groups called “tribes” and received points which accumulated a chance at gaining access to a “Treasure Chest” at month’s end. Students were challenged daily to read the day and date in Spanish, recite the class motto in Spanish, and lead a Spanish lesson. Data indicated that student success in this self-paced program was directly correlated to the amount of work completed. “Culture days” were incorporated at the end of each module to reward students for completing assignments. Students prepared Latin dishes, watched a Spanish film, and Salsa danced in the library with their classmates and Salsa instructor! Millbrook Middle School’s Spanish I class received two noteworthy awards during the 2019-2020 school year: Mrs. Veronica Montgomery was awarded the ACCESS Facilitator of the Year by the Alabama State Department of Education and the class was featured as the first “Spotlight Story” in the ACCESS Express Newsletter for the Alabama State Board of Education in April 2020.
  • Berry Middle School

    Diversity Student Leadership Councils

    School of Distinction AwardHoover City Schools

    Principal, Dr. Chris Robbins

    Interim Superintendent, Dr. Tera Simmons

    In 2019 Berry Middle School (BMS) created Student-Centered Diversity Councils to increase appreciation for school diversity and create leadership opportunities for students. Fifty-four students were selected to serve on three grade level student diversity leadership teams that met monthly with teachers and administrators. Council members participated in diversity and equity training, had conversations about race and equity, provided input into decisions and programs, and partnered with local minority leaders. The Diversity Council met with Mr. Charles Woods, the Education Coordinator for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), who led the group in conversations about race and equity. BMS also hosted two prominent minority leaders from the school system, Dr. Terry Lamar (Director of Equity and Educational Initiatives) and Dr. Kerry Pate (Human Resources Specialist), to discuss the topic of stereotypes. For Black History Month, the Diversity Council had the opportunity to plan, organize, and promote two school-wide assemblies. The first assembly featured Mr. Woods from BCRI, who shared the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham and demonstrated how students and adults peacefully created positive change. The second assembly featured authors Irene Latham and Charles Waters who discussed their book, Dictionary for a Better World, and the importance of diversity and inclusivity in making the world a better place.
  • Chelsea High School

    Healthcare Academy

    School of Distinction AwardShelby County Schools

    Principal, Dr. Brandon Turner

    Superintendent, Dr. Lewis Brooks

    The Healthcare Academy at Chelsea High School and its “surgical” focus began after consulting various hospitals in the area, analyzing the data of student career interests, and examining regional workforce job demands. As a result, the school system submitted Operating Room Foundations as part of a new Career and Technical Education Course of Study that was adopted by the Alabama State Department of Education. Operating Room Foundations introduced students to the exciting and dynamic world of the Operating Room and exposed students to an array of multidisciplinary specialties and concepts within perioperative medicine. Course content focused on knowledge and skills needed to promote patient safety and optimize surgical outcomes. The learning lab at Chelsea High is a state-of-the-art simulated surgical suite that includes a surgery admissions station, sterile processing department, pre-op holding area, operating room, and recovery room bay complete with patient care simulators, surgical scrub sink, operating room lights, surgical table, electric hospital beds, and an authentic “red line” denoting restricted and semi-restricted perioperative patient care areas. The exposure to various healthcare related fields and topics through the program allowed students to experience future job training and preparation for post-secondary school endeavors in the medical field.
  • Chickasaw Elementary School

    Safe and Civil Schools

    School of Distinction AwardChickasaw City Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Christy Amick

    Superintendent, Mr. David Wofford

    Chickasaw Elementary School’s (CES) Safe and Civil Schools program focused on changing adult behavior to provide positive culture and climate changes. Because of consistent implementation, the creation of and adherence to Guidelines for Success, and the use of data to guide practices, Chickasaw Elementary was selected as a Model Site for Safe and Civil Schools for Region 10. CES faculty and staff consistently focused on learning foundational practices which consisted of making school a safe place for students and adults; implementing practices that built a strong sense of community for students/parents, faculty/staff, and stakeholders; increasing daily attendance for students and faculty/staff; increasing student achievement; reducing disciplinary infractions; and retaining teachers. The school’s Guidelines for Success was labeled PRIDE - Prepared, Respect, Integrity, Determination, Excellence. Through implementation of these core values of the Safe and Civil Program, Chickasaw Elementary witnessed many successes. During the 2019-2020 school year student daily attendance increased from 92.76% to 96.39%, chronic absenteeism decreased from 134 to 9 students, number of days missed decreased by 379, tardies decreased by 474, and office referrals decreased by 33%. Additionally, the school saw an increase in its scores on the ALSDE's Report Card and on reading and math Universal Screeners.
  • Clark-Shaw Magnet Middle School

    STEM-Science Technology
    Engineering and Math

    School of Distinction AwardMobile County Schools

    Principal, Ms. Mary DiVincenzo

    Superintendent, Mr. Chresal Threadgill

    Clark-Shaw Magnet Middle School’s STEM program provided students with authentic learning experiences through problem identification, investigation, and analysis. Advanced aspects of computer literacy classes included coding, programming, and digital creations. In technology exploration, the creation of digital productions taught editing, storyboarding, and video recording, as well as critical presentation skills. STEM experiences in Computer Essentials and Technology Explorations classes allowed for individualization. In Forensics classes, students enjoyed the lure of crime scene investigation through problem solving techniques, hands-on discovery, and middle-school appropriate education about criminals, and the science behind apprehending them. In GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science), female students enjoyed “girl time” with engineering design challenges, such as designing Wellness Centers specifically for Clark-Shaw’s campus. The pinnacle of STEM learning at Clark-Shaw Magnet Middle was Project Lead The Way (PLTW). Additional PLTW classes exemplified the STEM experience for students. In these classes, students used a variety of tools and strategies to accomplish design challenges which incorporated real-world constraints and an authentic focus. Daily, students collaborated at tables to document, plan, execute, and redesign ideas. The PLTW lab is equipped with 3D printers and features its own dedicated computer lab for explorations into applications like CAD designs.
  • Collins Intermediate School

    Fine Arts

    School of Distinction AwardScottsboro City Schools

    Principal, Mr. Jason Hass

    Superintendent, Dr. Jose Reyes, Jr.

    The Art, Music, and Drama Departments at Collins Intermediate School sought to build confidence and community through performance, creation, and exploration. In music, students demonstrated their ability to read music rhythms while participating in activities like the KidStix student-led percussion ensemble. Collins Band students built on knowledge gained as fourth graders to select their band instrument. They subsequently learned basic assembly, maintenance, and music theory specific to their instrument while attending band five days a week. In art, students in all grades built a portfolio of work based on guided lessons that focused on the elements and a central theme, “Art Through the Ages.” Throughout the year students performed for peers, families, and stakeholders in a variety of settings, including a school-wide musical combining movement and drama in multiple genres. Audiences were greeted by a seasonal display of student artwork in the auditorium lobby, while other school visitors viewed artwork year-round in the hallway gallery. In drama, students worked to learn the fundamental elements of acting, directing, and producing a play for the community. Each year, the drama class produces a fantastic performance for the community that draws on student talent and creativity.
  • E. R. Dickson Elementary School

    L.E.A.D.ers of Technology (Leadership, Engagement, Achievement, Diversity)

    Banner School Award LogoMobile County Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Katryna Kinn

    Superintendent, Mr. Chresal Threadgill

    L.E.A.D.ers of Technology was created to unify a myriad of technological and STEM initiatives at E.R. Dickson Elementary School through a centralized focus. As L.E.A.D.ers of Technology, students were fully engaged in emerging technologies, technological discoveries, and inquiry-based learning. The acronym "L.E.A.D." befittingly described the focus on Leadership, Engagement, Achievement, and Diversity. Student leadership was observed daily through student use of tech tools, student facilitation of collaborative technological projects, and student-led Tiger TV news production. As part of the L.E.A.D.ers program, students worked collaboratively on research topics of Robotics and Automation to problem-solve and deploy robots. Students led the way in technology by building toys and robots, programming the robots using Vex IQ Kits, and creating 3-D figures using a digital design tool called Tinkercad. The tech savvy student leaders were tasked with the final creation of a robot to address the world issue of pollution. Students also developed their own codes to manipulate several types of robots and drones. Students were provided numerous creative coding experiences through games, stories, and simulations. Computer apps and video games were also created by Dickson techies. Students created technology, applied learning, and analyzed and evaluated electronic methods of learning and presenting through videocasting, video editing, animating, interviewing and mind mapping.
  • Gilliard Elementary School

    Bucket Filler

    School of Distinction AwardMobile County Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Faith-Belle Lucy

    Superintendent, Mr. Chresal Threadgill

    Every morning, as the principal ended the morning announcements at Gilliard Elementary, she said the following phrase: “Will you be a bucket filler or a bucket dipper? Remember, make it a great day or not; the choice is yours.” This was a daily reminder for the students to focus on making each day a great day for someone else through the Bucket Filler program. This school-wide initiative, which focused on character development and building a positive school culture, involved all members of the Gilliard school community. Students were taught that everyone has an invisible bucket that is filled with kind words, service, and positive attitudes, or dipped from with negative attitudes and unkindness. As the school transitioned to remote learning due to Covid-19, the Bucket Filler program remained in effect as teachers and students found new ways to be bucket fillers. Students who acted as bucket fillers were recognized through daily announcements and social media shout-outs. Being recognized as a bucket filler was not contingent on academic ability, previous behavior, or prior recognition. The objective of the Bucket Filler program was to witness a decrease in office referrals and suspensions and an increase in school morale, both of which were met and exceeded!
  • Haleyville Center of Technology

    Project Discovery: Job Ready, Life Ready

    School of Distinction AwardHaleyville City Schools

    Principal, Mr. John McCullar

    Superintendent, Dr. Holly Sutherland

    The Haleyville Center of Technology (HCT) Agriscience program was instrumental in the expansion of Haleyville High School’s Transition Program, Project Discovery: Job Ready, Life Ready. The HCT Agriscience instructor and a Haleyville High School special education teacher teamed to implement classes which enabled transition students to have a simulated workplace learning experience. Students learned life skills and job skills in the transition class. Students then developed life application skills as employees in the HCT greenhouse. Through Project Discovery, students learned personal information such as address, phone number, and completed job applications for the position of their choice in the greenhouse. Next, students were instructed in the interview process and participated in an actual interview. After being interviewed and chosen for specific jobs, they learned the process of managing a greenhouse, growing a variety of plants, how to follow work orders, self-advocate when they need help, learn appropriate versus inappropriate behaviors/attitudes, customer service skills, and managing money. Students clocked in and out of their job duties with an actual time clock. The goal of combining the transition classes with the Agriscience program was to utilize the existing Agriscience program’s greenhouse to form a simulated workplace learning experience which helped students gain employability and life skills to better prepare them for life outside of high school.
  • Harlan Elementary School

    Goodnight Harlan

    Banner School Award LogoFlorence City Schools

    Principal, Dr. Thomas Casteel

    Superintendent, Dr. Jimmy Shaw

    Harlan Elementary School’s staff desired another approach for read aloud opportunities beyond the school walls. From this desire, Goodnight Harlan was created as an idea of taking literacy into the homes of Harlan students. Previous years had witnessed Harlan’s encouragement to parents and guardians to read at least 20 minutes each night to improve their children's vocabulary and love for reading. During 2019-2020 the staff all reached for their favorite children’s books, recorded themselves, and shared the videos on various social media platforms. The staff modeled for parents how powerful oral reading can be for a child's growth. The school continued to build the digital library of read alouds so students had every opportunity to listen to and read along with the school staff. These videos were available continuously at students’ fingertips. Stories were heard of students watching the videos to and from school, and on the weekends. The staff was also informed that the read alouds were being viewed by children who did not attend Harlan. The program expanded to allow the support staff, central office personnel, and Alabama’s state superintendent to read for Harlan students. Additionally, Goodnight Harlan expanded to include student recordings in the digital offerings. This program allowed Harlan Elementary to extend instruction beyond the school day and continue to grow readers.
  • Hillcrest High School

    Character Education

    Banner School Award LogoTuscaloosa County Schools

    Principal, Mr. Jeff Hinton

    Superintendent, Dr. Keri Johnson

    In the summer of 2015, a group of dedicated students, parents, teachers, and administrators created the Hillcrest High School Code of Academic Honor and Integrity which laid the cornerstone of Hillcrest’s Character Education Program. When students became the leaders of the program during the 2019-2020 school year, the program experienced a shift resulting in positive school culture worthy of recognition. The Character Education program was largely responsible for improvement in school behavior, school culture, and academic excellence. Two areas of improvement which showed remarkable declines were disruptive behavior and peer conflict. During 2019-2020, teacher referrals for disruptive behavior decreased by 27% from the previous school year, with a decline of 58% in referrals for peer conflict. Hillcrest Report Card data reflected the connection between behavior and academics with gains experienced in the past three years from 74, to 81, to 86 in the fall of 2019. The students’ authorship of the lessons was unique, daring, and frequently personal. The authors trusted the lessons were presented by their peers with a spirit and belief that character can be developed. Within a 25-minute time period every Wednesday, all 1300+ students received the same presentation created by students for students.
  • James Clemens High School

    Mastery Approach to Algebra

    Banner School Award LogoMadison City Schools

    Principal, Dr. Brian Clayton

    Superintendent, Dr. Ed Nichols

    “Learning for Mastery” was first introduced by Benjamin Bloom in 1968. Bloom stated, “Almost all persons can learn if provided with appropriate prior and current conditions of learning.” James Clemens High School changed the conditions of learning when it came to the foundational math course, Algebra. Implementation of the Mastery Approach to Algebra program required a team of teachers dedicated not only to the success of the program, but to the success of all students. Teachers began with common instruction in which broad concepts were broken down into indicators for mastery. After assessing, correctives were used to close gaps in student learning providing a more thorough understanding of the course objectives. Demonstration of student understanding through formative and summative assessments allowed adjustments in the pacing of the course based upon individualized needs allowing students to accelerate or remediate when necessary. Conversations regarding math achievement shifted from grades students had earned to indicators that students had mastered. Both teachers and students understood that instruction was not one-size-fits-all and that individually tailored correctives significantly impacted student success not only in the Algebra course, but in the math courses to follow.
  • Jerry Lee Faine Elementary School

    Bulldog Positive Behavior Supports

    School of Distinction AwardDothan City Schools

    Principal, Mr. Jeff Torrence

    Superintendent, Dr. Dennis Coe

    Jerry Lee Faine’s Bulldog Positive Behavior program was created with the goal of decreasing discipline referrals through the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. Teachers received training for the PBIS and PAWS system and then decided to create an incentive system called the Bulldog Buck. The PAWS acronym helped students with daily behaviors and expectations: Practice Respect, Act Responsibly, Work Together, and have Safety Always. Bulldog Bucks could be earned at any time students followed the PAWS system. Teachers, custodial staff, and support staff helped drive the success of the Bulldog Supports. The program’s goal was to decrease the extremely high number of discipline referrals by following the PAWS and Positive Behavior Supports to fidelity. In just one year, discipline referrals decreased by 82%, which was the direct result of consistency, structure, and positive relationships. Students saw the value of the positive interventions and were driven to succeed. The Bulldog Store was the monthly culmination of Positive Interventions. There was great joy among staff watching the students “spend” their positive earned Bucks. Students were able to see the benefits of their hard work and the atmosphere at Faine began to grow in positivity and accountability.

  • KDS DAR Elementary School

    Steadfast, Loyal, Ever True

    School of Distinction AwardMarshall County Schools

    Principal, Dr. Tenna Anderton

    Superintendent, Dr. Cindy Wigley

    Steadfast, Loyal, Ever True fundraising program was created to assist and meet the needs of KDS DAR students. The program provided students with a school rich in patriotic history, tradition, and duty to excel and successfully succeed. Steadfast to its mission, children were infused with a sense of patriotism and an understanding of American ideals through the teaching of the nation's history, promotion of responsible citizenship, and participation in a variety of DAR contests and programs. Loyal commitment was evident in the maintenance and upkeep of the picturesque 240-acre campus with forty buildings. Ever True to the Alabama Society DAR and National Society DAR’s unique history, traditions, and bolstering heritage, education initiatives were designed to strengthen a connection to community roots. The implementation of the Steadfast, Loyal, Ever True program instilled a commitment to successfully achieve and a duty to show kindness toward others in KDS DAR students. Students performed patriotic music at the annual Dedication Day event and displayed patriotic art projects honoring KDS DAR ladies throughout the school. Participation in patriotic activities and events was published in the school Patriot E-News. The generosity of KDS donors and donations demonstrated devotion to KDS DAR students and significantly impacted the lives of KDS DAR students.
  • Kilby Laboratory School

    Kilby Kindergarten Buddies

    School of Distinction AwardFlorence City Schools

    Principal, Dr. Eric Kirkman

    Superintendent, Dr. Jimmy Shaw

    Kilby Kindergarten Buddies has been a successful program at Kilby Laboratory School as 6th graders helped kindergarten students acclimate to school and structured learning. From learning to tie shoes, to carrying a lunch tray properly, the 6th graders worked to make their kindergarten buddies feel more confident and successful. Kilby’s 6th grade students also learned about peer mentoring and how to assist their younger peers with reading and math skills. Kilby students interacted through constructive play, STEAM-related activities, and character development through guided conversations and "bucket-filling" sessions. The 6th grade students advanced to the middle and high school levels but continued to visit their Kindergarten Buddies through the years. The mentoring process repeated with the high school seniors acclimating their former Kindergarten Buddies to middle school and high school. This process proved to be effective in inspiring the 6th graders with more confidence to transition to the middle and high school settings with less anxiety. The Kindergarten Buddies program was designed to create student success, while promoting peer mentorship and the mindset of "giving back". Proof of this mindset came in the form of three former Kilby students, all seniors in high school, who completed Eagle Scout projects at Kilby which are now permanent fixtures of the school.
  • Lakewood Elementary School

    Growing with Greenville

    School of Distinction AwardPhenix City Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Lanette Holmes

    Superintendent, Mr. Randy Wilkes

    Growing with Greenville was created as a unique student-centered greenhouse program which exposed students to everything from basic plant life cycles to outdoor wildlife connections and conservation. During weekly greenhouse classes, students engaged in a variety of activities related to one of the program’s three focus areas. First, students interacted with numerous phases of growing plants such as seed germination, identifying plant parts, watching a plant’s life cycle, and the actual caring for and pruning of plants. This learning phase culminated with community outreach through the selling of plants to the public. Gardening was another program focus where students learned to grow, harvest, and eat fruits and vegetables grown in the raised beds beside the greenhouse. Students also learned about health and nutrition in an outside setting. The third component focused on the school nature trail where students had the opportunity to use plant taxonomy in a natural setting. Fifth grade students were provided the opportunity to become wildlife certified as part of The Alabama Extension Office’s Junior Master Gardener Program. These learning experiences helped students develop leadership skills by utilizing environmental science as a vehicle to develop academic skills, character education, and community service. Growing with Greenville shaped young minds by sparking a passion for learning through gardening.

  • Lakewood Primary School

    I.N.S.P.I.R.E./SmartLab (STEM)

    Banner School Award LogoPhenix City Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Sarah Kimmel

    Superintendent, Mr. Randy Wilkes

    Lakewood Primary School students experienced STEM and Project-Based Learning through the SmartLab and I.N.S.P.I.R.E. program. SmartLab provided basic skills such as engineering, coding, robotics, and circuitry to all students weekly. Lakewood’s accelerated I.N.S.P.I.R.E. students programmed drones; developed algorithms for coding video games; designed devices to display holographic images; and built brain models, circuits to power LED light bulbs, and solar rovers and rockets. These experiences provided students with many opportunities to become troubleshooting experts. During remote learning, students were featured in the local newspaper for building virtual reality goggles and 3D Earth models from items found at home. I.N.S.P.I.R.E. students helped facilitate the “Human Body Lab” project, “SmartLab Algorithm” project, “Electricity” project and the “Virtual STEAM Leader Museum” which celebrated a diverse group of leaders who led the way for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Parents have raved about the program’s success and teachers have proclaimed the difference in the school’s learning environment. Both I.N.S.P.I.R.E. and SmartLab have no doubt prepared Lakewood Primary students for future success in pursuing STEM careers.

  • Mae C. Jemison High School

    College Academy Magnet Program

    School of Distinction AwardHuntsville City Schools

    Principal, Dr. Demetris Harris-Leverette

    Superintendent, Mrs. Christy Finley

    The College Academy at Jemison High School (JHS) is a dual enrollment program in which high school students from across the Huntsville City School District have an opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit with the partner institution, The University of Alabama at Huntsville. Students were selected in 7th grade through a rigorous application process which determined entry based on numerous factors. Students were organized into a cohort model while also engaging in all aspects of Jemison High School life. During the Freshman and Sophomore years, UAH professors traveled to the JHS campus and taught college courses to students in the designated College Academy wing of the building. The UAH professors were available for office hours and student conferences. For the junior and senior years, students traveled to the University of Alabama at Huntsville campus to take classes. The students had full access to student activities relative to college students. With the ability to earn up to 60 hours in college credit, Jemison High students drastically reduced the amount of time to complete a bachelor's degree.

  • Mill Creek Elementary School

    Read Around the Block

    School of Distinction AwardMadison City Schools

    Principal, Ms. Carmen Buchanan

    Superintendent, Dr. Ed Nichols

    It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Mill Creek teachers and staff wanted to show neighborhood families that they can be a part of their village. Mill Creek experienced a growth in students through rezoning the year prior. "Read Around the Block" gave Mill Creek teachers and staff members the opportunity to reach their students, foster a love for reading, and make personal connections with students and parents. Teachers posted fliers throughout neighborhoods to advertise the event to students and the excitement spread quickly. Community partners donated snacks and books. For the event, teachers and staff members boarded a school bus to travel to the neighborhoods which needed them the most. Music played as teachers strolled through the neighborhoods pulling wagons filled with brand new books and snacks. Over 200 students and their younger siblings enjoyed a book and snack while connecting with teachers and staff members. As a result, trust was established with these families. Mill Creek became a part of their village - the village that will help their child reach personal and academic goals. "Read Around the Block” gave Mill Creek teachers and staff members the amazing opportunity to meet many families and form lasting relationships.
  • Nora Mae Hutchens Elementary School

    Leader in Me: Grades K-2nd Grade

    School of Distinction AwardMobile County Schools

    Principal, Mrs. Katherine Gallop

    Superintendent, Mr. Chresal Threadgill

    The Leader in Me Program at Hutchens Elementary School was implemented to integrate the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into academics, culture, and leadership. Each day, students were engaged in direct instruction on a Leader in Me Habit or a highly effective practice. Teachers followed a school designed Leader in Me scope and sequence which provided focus on the same habit and highly effective practice. Hutchens Elementary also engaged students through leadership roles created by each classroom. This allowed students to apply for the job that best suited his or her talents and expertise. One hundred percent of Hutchens students belonged to a club of their choice. Additionally, students were encouraged to apply for school-wide leadership roles which allowed their leadership potential to flourish. The Leader in Me program at Hutchens also engaged teachers and families in leadership practices. Teachers participated in Action Teams and facilitated clubs and fulfilled school-wide leadership roles. Families were encouraged to integrate leadership principles at home where students were given monthly activities to complete which reflected upon their leadership growth within the family. Hutchens students were engaged in meaningful experiences daily, and this all happened with preschool through second grade students!


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