2022 Inaugural State of Education Address

The Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the Inaugural State of Education Address for Scottsboro City Schools, Jackson County Schools and Northeast Alabama Community College on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at the Goose Pond Civic Center in Scottsboro.
Mr. Ryan Hankins, Executive Director of Public Affairs Research of Alabama (PARCA) provided an extensive presentation into the state of the schools in Jackson County and Scottsboro City as compared to past numbers and to the rest of the state. He also discussed the improvements that were clearly demonstrated in the numbers.

The outcomes showed that Jackson County and Scottsboro schools had a deficiency in math and reading compared with the rest of the state; however, in comparison to further back, the most current results showed a steady uptick in these numbers, meaning the number of students who are improving/excelling in math and reading is on a steady climb.

Of these numbers the most affected are those falling into the Black, Hispanic, non-English speaking (ESL) demographics, but all groups are also included in the uptick/improvement.

According to parcalabama.org, PARCA assess infrastructure, education outcomes and government non profit performance measures to help counties, cities and schools improve budgeting. They also make recommendations to improve process and performance and to educate citizens about good policy and decision making. Their work supports and informs policy makers at all levels, from statewide elected officials to legislators to city and county officials to public school administrators to nonprofit leaders.

Recently appointed Jackson County Schools Superintendent Jason Davidson was also present to discuss Jackson County Schools. According to Davidson, many improvements have been made for better security for students, as well as noting that many of the buildings in the school system are older will require more work to be done to improve them and secure them.

As far as test scores, Davidson stated that in cases of low scores, they do encourage students to retake the exams whenever possible.

As with Jackson County and Scottsboro schools, dual enrollment has been on the uptick with their students, with many graduating with an associates degree in their field of study along with receiving their high school diploma. Davidson stated that many of the county’s students are graduating high school and receiving an associates at the same time, with one student earning their associates before graduation. With the construction of the new Innovation Academy, these numbers will no doubt increase upon its completion.

Scottsboro City Schools Superintendent Amy Childress later discussed the Scottsboro school system and highlighted their recent accomplishments and what they offer.

According to Chidlress, there are intervention teachers at every school, after-school tutoring, summer reading camp, STEM camp, PBS training for faculty and staff, Parent Project, multi-sensory rooms, alternate behavior program, ThriveWay Mentoring Program, security resource officers on every campus, Camp Wildcat after-school program, one fulltime social worker, two mental health therapists, a partnership with Mountain Lakes Behavioral Healthcare, a Rhithm Wellness screener and mental health first aid training.

Childress also mentioned continuous improvements such as the MTSS Pilot Program, dual enrollment with Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC), University of Alabama early college courses, Jackson Launch Success, Chamber of Commerce YouScience grant program, successful CTE programs, athletic accomplishments, Fine Arts program achievements, successful school clubs and organizations and outstanding community partnerships.

To follow, Dr. David Campbell, President of Northeast Alabama Community College was present to talk about NACC and its recent accomplishments such as the development of a new workforce building that will bring more opportunities to the community and to Jackson and DeKalb counties. The college also boasts substantial ratings and scored in the top 10 of community colleges once again. NACC is nationally recognized and offers a myriad of courses and studies in both academia and workforce development, and maintains a stellar transfer program with many universities in Alabama.

By Martha Smith

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