Board salutes success of 180 Program
by Briana Webster
Nov 16, 2013 | 1566 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Board of Education met Thursday night for its regular/annual board meeting.

Senior members from Parrish High School’s band led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Parrish High assistant principal Butch Sargeant briefly mentioned positive things coming out of Parrish High School and how proud he was of the band.

The majority of the meeting consisted of recognizing the success of the district’s 180 Program and the success of the Advanced Placement program at Cordova High School.

Superintendent Jason Adkins spoke about the beginnings of the program before turning it over to Mary Slaughter, who is the coordinator of assessment and accountability, guidance counseling, Title IV and community education. She presented interesting information and data about the program.

“We had to take a look at content, subject area, core courses, which we felt like in the past were a little overlooked,” Slaughter said. “We looked at the issues at the schools we were having, that students were coming back not on task, without work, behind in their course work, missing grades, couldn’t keep up with attendance. So, we took all of that into consideration and tried to, again, make this program what it is today.” 

In comparing two school years, the number of total referrals for the county’s high schools to the 180 Program dropped from 486 for fiscal year 2011-2012 to 103 for fiscal year 2012-2013; elementary/middle schools total from 297 to 49; and special education/504 referrals from 236 down to 59.

Reasons for placement from the 2011-2012 school year to the 2012-2013 were different as well. The program’s numbers for fighting dropped from 151 to 22. The number of repeat offenders to the program also decreased from 222 in 2011-2012 to 21 in 2012-2013.

“I think the program is working. I think the way that it’s designed and the way that it’s set up is really cutting down on a lot of issues for us,” Slaughter said.

She added that she and others involved with the 180 program will be watching is out of school suspensions, corporal punishment and special education placements. Issues that may need to be addressed include repeat offenders, year-long placements and early release approval.

Adkins also praised the efforts that have been made by Cordova High School and its principal Kathy Vintson for its success in the AP Program. According to an article on al.com, three districts in Alabama were named to AP District Honor Roll by the College Board — two of the three were the Saraland City and Walker County school districts.

“Next year we’re going to mandate that every other school takes part in this as well. ... That’s a pretty big deal,” Adkins said. “There were only 477 [districts] across the United States and Canada that receive that award. So, that’s a pretty big deal.” 

He then asked Vintson to introduce part of her staff that participates in teaching the AP courses and to further elaborate on the number of students involved.

“Our grand total is 270. I think there are 125 in AP and then ... way more than that in pre-AP, because we’re more involvement now from younger students as they’re seeing what’s happening,” Vintson said. “Over half the school is involved in AP courses.” 

Adkins appreciated those teachers in attendance who took on AP teaching positions. He said, “Ahead of the curve is where we want to stay and we appreciate it.” 

The board’s next meeting will be Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m.