Carbon Hill awarded grant for middle school education


CARBON HILL — A pilot program will be implemented at Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High School in the coming months to benefit sixth- through eighth-graders.

The school has been awarded a grant to participate in the Middle School Training and Incentive Program (MSTIP) Pilot. The Alabama State Department of Education and A+ College Ready selected Carbon Hill to participate in the program.

Principal Jami Rainey said the program will provide free training, equipment and supplies to implement the E3 curriculum, which provides foundational teachings to prepare students to take advanced placement courses in high school.

"It's going to challenge our students, it's going to raise expectations, and it's going to provide resources that we might not have had before," Rainey said.  

Grant resources will be used to teach math, English, science, history and potentially computer courses. Over the summer, Carbon Hill teachers will receive E3 training in preparation for participating in the MSTIP Pilot this fall.  

Once the pilot program begins, student growth will be measured for a period of three years.

A description of the MSTIP from A+ College Ready states, "The goal of the program is to raise the expectations and rigor in classrooms, and to build a pipeline of students prepared for any pathway they choose in high school, including participation in advanced placement coursework."

Rainey applied for the school to participate in the program, with support from the Walker County Board of Education. He received an email on Friday, Dec. 13, to notify the school of its acceptance into the program.

Carbon Hill is one of only seven schools in the state that received a grant to participate in the Middle School Training and Incentive Program.

Rainey said one strength of the program is that its curriculum is designed to benefit all students — not only those on an advanced placement track.  

"This is just a curriculum-based thing that will challenge all of our kids," he said.

Aside from challenging coursework, students are also encouraged to excel for the chance to win a prize. When the program's first year concludes, students who have met or exceeded benchmarks may receive a $50 gift card. Teachers may also receive incentive stipends.

Rainey said he is particularly excited for middle school students to receive this unique opportunity. 

"Middle schools get left out a lot of times, so we're excited to have training and resources provided for our teachers," he said. "We want something for everybody to focus on, and this grant is going to be something that our middle school can really latch on to. Teachers are going to grow from it, and it's going to translate to kids being challenged and raise expectations."  

The news of Carbon Hill's acceptance into the MSTIP comes just after the school realized a 10-point increase on the state report card, moving from a C to a B score. Two of the school's teachers also recently earned the prestigious honor of being National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certified.

Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High School is also working toward becoming a STEM certified school.

"Everybody seems to be excited about the direction we're moving," Rainey said. "We're moving in a great direction."