School Funding

Turnaround Schools Initiative hopes to help 15 schools across Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Millions of dollars are being poured into at least 15 schools across 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 schools. Five Birmingham schools are on the list.

The initiative will in part bring in outside resources from the Department of Mental Health, Early Childhood Education and others to help inside schools. Gov. Kay Ivey’s office says it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It will be adapted to the particular needs of each of the schools in difficulty.

“There is also a big problem with turnover in many of these schools because they are difficult to staff because they are in difficult communities and so we are tackling turnover. We address what happens in the classroom. I think over time we will see all of these schools recover,” said Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey.

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

Here is a list of schools receiving funding:

  • Barbour County Middle School – Barbour County
  • Charles A Brown Primary School – Birmingham
  • Hayes K-8 – Birmingham
  • Hemphill Primary School – Birmingham
  • Washington K8 – Birmingham
  • West End Academy – Birmingham
  • Faine Primary School – Dothan
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School – Huntsville
  • Chastang-Fournier College – 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
  • JE Hobbs Primary School – Wilcox County

Governor Ivey’s office sent us this statement on the Turnaround Schools initiative:

“This initiative began with Governor Ivey’s vision, then during her State of the State Address, she offered to provide non-universal resources to support elementary schools identified as ‘failing.’ . She said, “We need to work with these schools with a spirit of cooperation and Alabama determination, and we need to find new ways to solve old problems. It starts with making sure every elementary school in Alabama is a high-performing school. She worked with the Alabama Legislature, State Department of Education and others to secure this funding, and now implementation is underway.

When Governor Ivey welcomed the superintendents of these schools into her office last spring, she made a point of dubbing it the “turnaround” schools initiative, which describes exactly what the governor wants to see accomplished. Governor Ivey, first of all, would like no elementary school to rank in the bottom six percent. When Alabama is investing a historic amount of funding in our schools, we shouldn’t be leaving our elementary students behind. The governor feels it’s too critical a moment in a student’s educational journey not to give them the best. Although the Alabama State Department of Education does not report directly to the Governor, she decided to take a bold, whole-of-government approach and tasked a few of her own agencies – the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Department of Early Childhood Education, and DHR — to join this effort, because after all, just throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve the problem. This will be a multi-year, multi-faceted effort, and Governor Ivey wants it to happen for our students. After all, Alabama’s kids are one of the main reasons Governor Ivey is running for a second term.

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