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Butler County Schools scores D grade in Dept. of Education report

The Butler County school system has received a D in an Alabama Department of Education report, mandated by Alabama Act No. 2012-402, that assigns grades to school districts and specific schools based on academic performance, graduation rates, and a range of other factors.

Much like grades received by students, the letter marks correspond to the number grade received as a result of a series of assessments.

The current report is being called a prototype, with methods expected to change in the future.

Categories that determined the grades were academic achievement, academic growth, college and career readiness, graduation rate and chronic absenteeism.

The academic portions of the survey are based on results from the ACT Aspire test, which the state board of education voted to stop using in 2017.

Butler County as a whole received a 79 in academic growth, which represents a measurement of the improvement in student test scores between school years, and graduation rate.

The lowest score was for academic achievement, which received a 43.3 and fell well below the state average of a 60. Chronic absenteeism in Butler County fell close to the state average, with almost 24 percent of students averaging 15 or more absences in a school year compared to 17 percent for the state.

Individually, Butler County schools varied substantially. Georgiana School received a C (70), as did McKenzie High School (79, the highest in the district). Greenville High School fared the worst in the assessments, coming out with a D (62). Greenville Middle and Elementary schools also received D grades.

Butler County Superintendent Dr. John Strycker addressed the grades by reiterating his plan for improvement for the school system, saying “I am pleased that our school system is showing improvement and feel greater improvement will be achieved looking forward.”

Strycker’s improvement plan for the district, called the Butler County Commitment, involves “ensuring students have their basic needs met, that our buildings are safe and students well-disciplined,” teaching K-6 students “solid leadership skills,” and requiring at least one extracurricular activity as a graduation requirement for high school students.

“I am not focused on a letter grade from the [state], all due respect.  I’m focused on [the Butler County Commitment] … [and] our children as a whole,” said Strycker “I strongly believe that by focusing on the child as a whole, an outcome will be much higher student achievement marks.”