That hard work has paid off with the school recently earning a “Point of Light” award from the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence program.
“We’re very excited about the Point of Light award,” Principal David Hendon said. “It shows that our school is headed in the right direction.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence program evaluates schools across the nation and provides them with information on how they could improve.
Assistant Principal Tommy Kyzer said Curry Middle has bought into the program and is working to become a “Lighthouse School,” the group’s highest award.
“We already had a good school, but wanted to take it to the next level,” Kyzer said. “Our kids deserve the best, and we want to not just compete to be one of the best Walker County schools. We want to compete at a state and national level as well.”
As a part of the program, Curry Middle asked its students and their parents for ways they could improve the school, Hendon said. An overwhelming response from many was to paint the interior of the school.
“The entire inside of the school was painted mostly white. The kids and the parents suggested we add some color to the school,” said Jainia Durham, a sixth grade teacher. “That’s exactly what we did, and just painting the walls and fixing up the bathrooms has gone a long way to our No. 1 goal of improving the culture of the school.”
Hendon said the school’s pride has increased “tremendously.”
“The energy in the school is just better,” he said. “The students want to be here, and they want to do their best. Even in things like fundraisers, we are seeing more participation.”
Hendon said there were days over the summer when almost every teacher at the school was there painting.
Along with improving the school’s facilities, Curry Middle’s administration have also added more extracurricular activities for students. A student council was organized for the first time and clubs, such as an art club and a photography club, have been established.
The school has also started a Parent Cafe, which invites parents to visit the school for a discussion on issues affecting students.
“We just met and talked about Internet safety and cyber-bullying,” Hendon said.
Hendon said the school now has the blueprint to improve, and he expects to be a Lighthouse School in the future.
“We’re moving forward, and I expect we will get there,” he said. “There are usually only a couple named in the state, but I expect us to be a Lighthouse School.”