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No Chilton County schools listed as ‘failing’ by state

Published 4:01pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

No schools in Chilton County were included on a new list of failing schools the Alabama Department of Education released Thursday morning.

Seventy schools were listed as “failing” schools as defined by the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013.

“We’re all very happy,” Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden said. “Certainly, we want to achieve the best way we can. We’re making progress.”

Last year, no Chilton County schools were included in the list ALSDE released of 72 schools listed as “failing.”

According to an ALSDE document, the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 defines a “failing” school as a public K–12 school (i) that is labeled as persistently low-performing by the State Department of Education, in the then most-recent United States Department of Education School Improvement Grant application; (ii) that is designated as a failing school by the State Superintendent of Education; or (iii) that does not exclusively serve a special population of students and, until June 1, 2017, has been listed three or more times during the then-most recent six years in the lowest 6 percent of public K–12 schools on the state standardized assessment in reading and math or, on or after June 1, 2017, has during the then-most recent three years, earned at least one grade of “F” or, during the then-most recent four years, earned at least three grades of “D” on the school grading system developed pursuant to Section 16-6C-2, Code of Alabama 1975.

Schools are divided into two lists housed under the “failing” classification.

Seventy schools comprise the new list of failing schools listed three or more times during the last six years in the lowest 6 percent of public K–12 schools on reading and math assessments.

Fourteen schools are on the new list of failing schools labeled as persistently low-performing by ALSDE in the most recent U.S. Department of Education School Improvement Grant application.

Before ALSDE released an official list of failing schools in June 2013, three Chilton County schools were included on an unofficial list of potentially “failing” schools that circulated in March; however, neither local nor state education officials could determine who compiled the unofficial list and what data was used to qualify the schools as “failing.”

The Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 defines a failing school as one that has been labeled as low-performing in the state’s most recent federal school improvement grant application or has been in the bottom 6 percent of state standardized reading and math assessments for three or more times in the last six years.

Under this law, parents of children in “failing” schools are eligible for a state income tax credit if they decide to transfer their child to a non-failing public, private or parochial school.

The law expands families’ school choice options to non-public schools and provides tax credits to parents.

Tax credits are estimated to allot nearly $3,500 per year per child to help parents pay for tuition at a private school or a non-failing public school.

The following five schools were added to the list of failing schools: Barbour County Intermediate School, Lafayette High School, Abbeville High School, Jeremiah A. Denton Middle School and Bessemer High School.

The following seven schools were removed from the list: Samson Middle School, Brighton Middle School, Robinson Elementary School, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, Center Street Middle School (closed), Hill Elementary School (closed) and Tarrant Middle School (closed).

The new lists of failing schools released by ALSDE on Thursday can be found here.

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