New education opportunities for Woodlawn - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

New education opportunities for Woodlawn

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

A new way of education is on the horizon for students and teachers in the Woodlawn area.  It means new opportunities, college level courses and a special one-on-one learning partnership with students who are falling behind in their classes. 

The Woodlawn Foundation and Goodrich Foundation are behind this effort. They've launched a program that is working to improve housing, and businesses in Woodlawn but now their sites are set on the schools. Principals in that area are saying this is more than they could ever imagined.

"It's an opportunity for students in Birmingham to experience something that we never thought was possible," Ann Curry, Principal, Avondale Elementary said.

Ann Curry, the principal at Avondale Elementary said she just couldn't contain her excitement.

"I just had dreams that I thought were possible and the opportunity of implementing one of those is just beyond my expectations," Curry said.

"This whole plan will serve as a model for the city of Birmingham," Stephen Cockrell, Education Director, Woodlawn Foundation said. "Yes we are trying to pilot it in the Woodlawn area, but once that we see that it works and it's successful, this is the sort of thing that could transform the entire face of the Birmingham City Schools."

The plan spans Pre-K through high school. The focus is hands on learning, math, and literacy. High school students can take college level course work. For students who are struggling in academics, they'll be given a personalized learning plan.

"You see where the individual student is and you have a plan to catch them up to the areas they're behind," Cockrell said.

The price tag for the school system is zero. The Woodlawn Foundation agreed to support it.

"This whole plan is about development," Cockrell said. "It's about developing the students, developing the teachers and developing the principals as well."

Some board members had questions but most felt the plan would take Birmingham schools to a higher level.

"This touches every single thing that I think as a board member we should have as a tool," Brian Giattina, school board member said. "It's real community involvement."

"This to me has the most promise of the term I've been using for about two months - is how to sustain continued improvement in a school system," Dr. Ed Richardson, State Appointed Chief Financial Officer said.

The next step is for the board to approve the concept. Next, the state must grant the system an innovative status. Once that happens Dr. Richardson said they shouldn't have any difficulty moving forward.

 

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