Administrators and teachers respond positively to newly organize - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Administrators, teachers pleased with newly-organized Alabaster City Schools district

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Since the reorganization of Alabaster City Schools, teachers and school officials have seen a positive response from students.

"I've seen a real sense of pride," said Sandra Swindall, a third grade teacher at Meadow View Elementary.

Swindall has been teaching children how to read, write and compute equations for 24 years, and when ABC 33/40's Larry Miller observed class Friday morning, she was helping students improve their reading skills. Swindall says after nine weeks in the newly-organized school district, she's now able to be more creative and effective in the classroom. 

"To be encouraged from the beginning to pay attention to the needs of our students has been in someway freeing especially because I've taught for so long," said Swindall. "But I don't need to worry so much about strict guidelines and doing things a certain way."    

Meadow View Elementary Principal Rachea Simms says the changes have added much-need support for the school's pertinent programs.

"We have resources and support. We have our central office that comes out on a daily basis to visit with us in some capacity. Our central office supports us through resources for the programs that we need," said Simms.
The City of Alabaster decided to break away from the Shelby County School system in order to provide its students with a more hands-on approach to learning. 

Pelham took a similar course of action in September and the city is currently working to put its first school board together. 

In Jefferson County, Gardendale is contemplating a separation from the school system. 

Alabaster Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers says he's encouraged by the support he's received from people in the city and the performance of students in the classroom. 

"We want our teachers to have the freedom to teach and we want them to be innovative and do things a little bit different if their students need that," said Vickers. "I think our athletic programs have gone well. Our band and all of our extra curricular activities have been moving right along. Our transportation has gone very well. I think we did a lot of things this summer that made possible." 

In preparation for the academic year, schools in the newly-formed district underwent extensive cleaning and had critical repair work various facilities, as well as preventive maintenance. 

In leading a new school system, Dr. Vickers said he has learned a lot and passed along this advice to other cities looking to start their own school district:

"In our business, the effort that goes into the preparation is a direct impact on the end result. There's no shortcuts. You can't hurry up something."


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