School success is phenomenal

Published 3:19 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The good news that arrived in the Butler County School District on Monday morning was punctuated by some hefty bonuses delivered to teachers and support workers as part of PayPlus, the district’s teacher-initiative incentive program.

According to Superintendent Mike Looney, school officials disbursed nearly $1 million with faculty and support personnel receiving checks ranging from $2,800 to $150 as part of the two-year program. The school district was awarded over $2 million in state funds two years ago as a pilot district to explore an incentive pay program for teachers. Monday, the last of that funding was handed out.

While the money itself was rewarding, the real news of the day was the school system’s excellent performance in reading and mathematics as required by the federal government’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Six of the seven schools in Butler County made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

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An appeal will be made to the state department that could push Greenville High School into that same category as well. That would give county schools a well-deserved “clean sweep.” It also proves that last year – with four county schools failing to make AYP – was something of an anomaly. Other than last year, at least six schools have made AYP every year since 2006.

Among the highlights:

Greenville Middle School made AYP for the first time in three years, which puts the school in delay status as far as school improvement goes. Schools not making AYP for two consecutive years enter school improvement and receive specific training and assistance from the Alabama Department of Education. If GMS makes AYP next year it will be granted all-clear status.

The school system achieved proficiency in reading and mathematics with its special education students in all schools, something that hurt the district last year.

“We did a lot of things and re-visited how we worked with our special educations students,” said Looney. “And obviously those things paid off.”

Looney said he was particularly pleased with the mathematics scores across the board for all schools.

It’s clear that our teachers, support personnel and school administrators worked hard this year to improve upon last year’s report. While No Child Left Behind remains a controversial issue across the United States, Butler County has proven it can readily meet its challenges.

Let us all here in the community give our teachers a universal: “Good job.”