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2017 CLAS Schools of Distinctions and Banner Schools

State School Board District 1 Schools of Distinction

  • Baker High School

    Mobile County Schools

    Mr. Clem Richardson, Principal

    Mrs. Martha Peek, Superintendent

    Baker High School’s AP Capstone program provides an opportunity for students to develop core academic skills and to gain research, collaboration, and communication skills essential to college success. Two courses are offered in the AP Capstone program: AP Seminar and AP Research. Students apply and are accepted into the AP Capstone program agreeing to a two year commitment in order to be eligible for the AP Seminar and Research Certificate which must be earned by scoring a 3 or higher on each exam. Students seeking eligibility for the AP Capstone diploma, must earn a 3 or higher in both AP Capstone courses as well as in four additional AP courses. In AP Seminar, students work toward producing two class assessments and sit for an end-of-course assessment, all three of which become part of the final AP score. Students choose the topic of inquiry and conduct research to complete essays and multimedia presentations. AP Research, taken the following year, allows for research of a topic using knowledge from AP Seminar and affords students the opportunity to reach out to experts in the field of study. Baker High is graduating students who are college and career ready, prepared to compete in a global society and committed to be community contributors.


  • Citronelle High School

    Mobile County Schools

    Mr. Randy Campbell, Principal

    Mrs. Martha Peek, Superintendent

    With academies in Manufacturing, Agriculture, Business Management, Health Science, Hospitality & Tourism, and Leadership, the distinguishing aspect of Citronelle High School’s Signature Academies is its internship program, which has led Mobile County in the number of opportunities for students’ summer experiences. Citronelle is the heartbeat of more than 10 small rural communities, resulting in the largest attendance zone in Mobile County with a 66% poverty rate. The summer internship program offers students the opportunity to experience the adult workforce before graduation. Students who complete internships become leaders in the classroom by sharing their workplace experiences. Interns continue to build leadership skills as they speak to classes, assist in resume development, present interview etiquette workshops, and bridge the gap between content learned in the classroom and real-world workplace situations. The internship program transforms students from timid teenagers to confident young adults who fully engage an audience while sharing knowledge. The number of internships has grown from 15 to 35 students per year with seven businesses participating including chemical plants, valve manufacturing, and city governments. The program impact is visible throughout the community as local industries have hired 30 students, averaging $60,000/year since the inception of the internship program, yielding an economic impact of $1,740,000/year. To date, all interns live in the community. 


  • Mary B. Austin Elementary School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Mobile County Schools

    Dr. Amanda Jones, Principal

    Mrs. Martha Peek, Superintendent

    Mary B. Austin Elementary School is meeting the needs of students and preparing them for life choices by shifting to student-centered programs offering a variety of experiences focused on the “Four Cs” essential to the 21st century learning skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. The school’s mission is to engage all students in relevant, individualized instruction that will empower students to take ownership of their learning and gain the skills necessary to think creatively, critically and independently in a safe and encouraging learning environment.  With the theme, “Holding Firm to our Roots as We Branch into the Future”, the school applies the Talents Unlimited teaching model to encourage student metacognition and uses project-based learning units for the integration of subject area standards to provide real-world application.  Entrepreneurial skills are embedded in third quarter project-based units for students to work in collaborative teams creating business models and products at every grade level, kindergarten through fifth.  Austin’s overwhelming parental involvement, community support, and partnerships with local universities and other entities produce successful student outcomes. Austin students have shown a steady increase in academic achievement in reading, math and science.

State School Board District 2 Schools of Distinction

  • Eufaula Primary School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Eufaula City Schools

    Mrs. Emily Jackson, Principal

    Dr. Elisabeth Davis, Superintendent

    Eufaula Primary School provides a daily enrichment and intervention experience that increases student success by providing instruction to meet individual needs. The program is called Extension because it is truly an extension of each student’s individual needs. Teachers gather multiple data points on all areas of student learning and behavior, then collaborate within grade levels to place students in the appropriate extension.  Extension opportunities include Chess, Gardening, Multi-Disciplinary Media, and targeted intervention.  For 50 minutes each day, students are provided either enrichment or intervention opportunities that meet the child where they are in the learning continuum. By utilizing targeted intervention, teachers are able to close the learning gaps that exist for some students while enrichment opportunities allow teachers to challenge all learners. Because these extension groups are fluid, students are able to participate in a variety of experiences throughout the year thus teaching the whole child and extending learning opportunities. As a result of the Extension program, students have seen an academic increase in test scores on a variety of summative assessments. Students have shown a 34% in first grade and 15% in second grade increase on the Classworks Universal Screener. Students also showed a 79% increase in scores on the Developmental Reading Assessment. 


  • Kinston School

    Coffee County Schools

    Ms. Jennifer Lee, Principal

    Mr. Terry Weeks, Superintendent

    Kinston School is a rural school in Coffee County serving students in PreK through 12th Grade. A unique student-centered program at Kinston is the Bulldog Buddy Program that started with the Senior Class of 2016. This mentoring program pairs a high school senior with a kindergarten student and they become buddies for the school year. It begins in August with seniors applying to become a Bulldog Buddy. The kickoff activity, Meet Your Bulldog Buddy, is in September where buddies are introduced to each other a breakfast celebration. Each time the kindergarten has a class party, special activity, luncheon, Field Day, etc., the senior Buddy attends. The seniors plan monthly activities on campus and within the community and design t-shirts which are worn by both buddies for all Bulldog Buddy activities. The Kindergarten Buddy is able to make a lasting connection with the Senior Buddy, and quickly becomes a part of Kinston School while the Senior Buddy enhances leadership skills and genuine concern for others through this mentoring program. Both Kindergarten and High School students are able to gain positive self-esteem and confidence, and always remember that,” It’s a Great Day to Be A Kinston Bulldog.”


  • W.O. Lance Elementary School

    Lanett City Schools

    Mr. Jamie Heard, Principal

    Mr. Phillip Johnson, Superintendent

    W.O. Lance Elementary School has experienced many benefits from its creation of an on-site wellness clinic staffed by two nurses, a speech therapist, and a mental health therapist. The Wellness Clinic is a way to provide wrap around services needed to support the physical, mental and emotional well-being of students in the community. It is also a valuable service to many parents who lack transportation and the ability to secure medical attention quickly for their children while at school. A central component of the clinic is a sick room for children to lie down when they do not feel well. Keeping children in a comfortable and isolated place when they are sick prevents the exposure of other students to contagious illnesses.  On-staff nurses and specialists make sure students get appropriate referrals to primary health providers when necessary which has increased communication between school personnel, parents and health care professionals. A mental health therapist works with students who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and similar issues school-age children cope with. The staff teaches the long-term benefits of learning and practicing healthy habits. The additional personnel has increased the amount of education provided to Lanett students on health and mental health related topics. 

State School Board District 3 Schools of Distinction

  • Childersburg Middle School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Talladega County Schools

    Ms. Jena Jones, Principal

    Dr. Suzanne Lacey, Superintendent

    In an effort to Engineer Brighter Futures, Childersburg Middle School (CMS) has transformed instruction to encompass a focus on enhancing the curriculum through the incorporation of cross-curricular project-based learning married with STEAM components. For the first time in CMS history, teachers not only incorporate engineering and science across content, but also engage in cross curricular PBL with a heavy focus on solving real world problems through the engineering and design process. Students are passionate learners and understand explicitly how math concepts relate to science and how the fundamentals of reading are essential for success in every subject. With the mindset shift of teachers, administrators, and students, it was a natural progression for Childersburg Middle to desire a STEAM learning lab. The outdated media center was transformed into a creative, innovational space where students are encouraged to explore interests in engineering, coding, robotics, 3-D printing, and medical forensics. A full time STEAM teacher offers classes in STEAM BASICS, Project Lead the Way: Medical Detectives, and Project Lead the Way: Design and Modeling. The STEAM lab, better known as “The Grid,” houses instructional resources such as Spheros, Ozobots, Hummingbird Kits, Makey Makey’s, Vex Robotics kits, 3D printers, and more to assist in the facilitation of the STEAM curriculum. This transformation has resulted in CMS becoming a leader to learn from within the district and state.


  • Meadow View Elementary School

    Alabaster City Schools

    Ms. Rachea Simms, Principal

    Dr. Wayne Vickers, Superintendent

    Meadow View Elementary School (MVES) believes parent and community engagement enhances student achievement with the school’s mission to partner with families and the community to inspire and prepare graduates to be responsible and productive champions of their future. Through unique programs, Meadow View successfully provides a well-rounded foundation for students and parents, promoting family engagement and extending learning beyond the school. Meadow View is dedicated to ensuring the involvement of parents by supporting a partnership among school, parents, and community to improve student academic achievement. Leadership and staff of MVES believe strongly in the importance of parental involvement and provide correspondence and information in English and Spanish. On-site interpreters provide communication support throughout the school day and beyond. The critical relationship between school, community and parents is facilitated through flexible scheduling of parent meetings, active parent volunteers, weekly student progress folders, newsletters, and social media. Through active participation of all stakeholders, the school culture at Meadow View is an inclusive environment where everyone belongs and contributes to the educational process. Meadow View Elementary students and parents participate in activities such as Learning English and Parent Skills (LEAPS), Grandparents’ Group, Parents Involved in Education (PIIE), Let’s Have a Ball with Learning, and Warrior Enrichment.


  • Montevallo Elementary School

    Shelby County Schools

    Dr. Allison Campbell, Principal

    Mr. Randy Fuller, Superintendent

    As a Leader in Me school, Montevallo Elementary students are becoming leaders of their own learning as they place value on personal data and accept responsibility for learning through leadership notebooks and student-led conferences. Leadership notebooks provide students an opportunity to track academic achievement and personal goals; thus allowing students to drive their own learning. Students track personal progress and gain a clear picture of where they are and where they need to go. Every student is provided multiple opportunities to serve in leadership roles within the classroom and can also apply to serve on the Student Lighthouse Team, a student leadership group working to affect positive change inside and outside the school. Through community collaborations such as the Montevallo Connection, opportunities to support students’ vast social, emotional, and physical needs are met along with academic ones. The implementation of the Leader in Me transformation process has increased academic proficiency and character development at Montevallo Elementary, contributing significantly to academic progress and a decline in discipline issues. The school’s most at-risk students who have consistently struggled in the past have been able to experience progress, and most importantly, take ownership of their achievements.

State School Board District 4 Schools of Distinction

  • Central Elementary School

    Tuscaloosa City Schools

    Dr. Monte Linebarger, Principal

    Dr. Mike Daria, Superintendent

    The Champion Summit Model has changed the culture and academic success of the Champion Learning Community at Central Elementary School. The model combines positive behavior supports with healthy living, financial literacy, community partnerships, mentoring, and leadership. Students are recognized as champions as they achieve the school’s principles: attendance, discipline, leadership, character, and academic achievement. Teachers are trained to communicate using positive words and actions and encourage students to do their best. The Champion Summit hosts community guest speakers who speak to the students about what it means to be a champion. In partnership with the University of Alabama, Al’s Pals Mentor and Enrichment program includes 100 college students who mentor and tutor Central students. Health Rocks is another extension of the program and teaches parents, teachers, and students the importance of eating healthy, taking care of oneself, and not abusing substances. Additionally, a garden curriculum has been implemented that has given students an opportunity to apply academic content as they grow, cook and market vegetables. Students learn financial literacy as they operate the produce stand. The Champion Summit has caused a cultural shift at Central as evidenced by increased student and faculty attendance, increased reading proficiency, and a significant decrease in discipline referrals.


  • Paul W. Bryant High School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Tuscaloosa City Schools

    Dr. Linda Harper, Principal

    Dr. Mike Daria, Superintendent

    Paul W. Bryant High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) is an academic course of instruction combining the advantages of military style leadership training within a secondary education environment with the purpose to instill the value of citizenship and service through personal responsibility, knowledge acquisition and leadership accountability. The program’s uniqueness lies in the individual attention each cadet receives. In the student-led program cadets are assigned leadership roles based on level of experience.  First year cadets are assigned to small groups led by the most exemplary second and third year cadets, who in turn are guided by the most experienced fourth year cadets. This peer leadership and mentorship is integral in creating a sense of belonging, as well as providing a support network. Answering to leaders and peers for performance and behavior is a powerful motivator. Healthy competition between small groups further motivates students to excel. Cadet leaders benefit by gaining real experience in managing people and personalities, organization, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork. The program teaches community service as a civic duty, and students are presented with a myriad of choices in which to serve both school and local organizations. Whether students plan to join the military, attend college or technical school, or start a vocation, they have an advantage over peers and truly are college and career ready. 


  • Westlawn Middle School

    Tuscaloosa City Schools

    Dr. Tiffany Davis, Principal

    Dr. Mike Daria, Superintendent

    Westlawn Middle School’s Restorative Justice Program, a student-centered approach to discipline, focuses on replacing fear, uncertainty, and punishment with belonging, connectedness, and the willingness to change. The Restorative Justice Program fosters alternatives to suspension through conflict resolution, progress monitoring and evaluative practices, think sheets, and contracts. Additional alternatives to suspension include reverse suspensions, counseling, behavioral monitoring, behavioral contracts, after school detention, loss of privileges, cool off passes, referral to community health services, time outs, in school interventions, lunch detention, and work detail. The In-School Intervention classroom has transformed into one where the ISI instructor conducts small groups similar to the general education classroom, implementing strategies to address the root of student behavior and diverting students’ mindset to alternative ways of handling situations. College banners and positive affirmations are now a part of the décor. Administrators, school counselors, and social workers conduct lessons on conflict resolution. Restorative dialogue groups allow students to talk with one another, listen without judgment, develop problem solving skills, and develop a sense of trust and belonging. Faculty and staff greet each student with a smile and handshake daily and focus on positive affirmations. This program serves as a community-based approach transforming school culture focused on developing relationships and changing the mindset of the entire community.

State School Board District 5 Schools of Distinction

  • Booker T. Washington High School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Macon County Schools

    Ms. Brelinda Copeland Sullen, Principal

    Dr. Jacqueline A. Brooks, Superintendent

    The W.O.W….B.T.W. is L.O.L (Watch Out World) (Booker T. Washinton) (Leaving Our Legacy) program has transformed the school’s culture and climate. With the everyday struggles of servicing students in an impoverished and economically disadvantaged area, this student-led program cultivates and transforms hearts and minds every morning. Each day, teachers and students meet in the gymnasium and are enthusiastically greeted by the principals. Students lead the morning assembly highlighting the monthly character education word allowing them the opportunity to showcase public speaking, presentation skills, and collaboration among peers while demonstrating their own unique talents. Classes present the monthly character trait that embodies school pride, establishes independence and self-reliance, maintains discipline, promotes academic excellence and competition, and fosters a sense of community. Students are encouraged to be vocal, praise positive interactions, and acknowledge accomplishments within the school. At the assemblies, students are afforded the opportunity to listen to guest speakers such as former students, humanitarians, industry representatives, and other stakeholders and organizations who seek to enhance the school’s atmosphere and culture. The impact of the W.O.W….B.T.W. is L.O.L. program is vividly depicted in the student body’s conduct which has seen a notable decrease in behavioural issues since its inception. 


  • Pike County High School

    Pike County Schools

    Mr. Willie Wright, Principal

    Dr. Mark Bazzell, Superintendent

    At Pike County High School the Middle Matters program focuses on a holistic approach to support seventh and eighth-grade students through social, emotional, physical, behavioral, and academic growth. Teachers, administrators and counselors work together to implement a variety of programs and strategies transforming the atmosphere of the school to make middle school students feel they truly matter. A back to school pep rally welcomes students while explaining expectations for the year in a fun atmosphere. Teachers help students take ownership of data by understanding and interpreting standardized test scores, determining strengths, weaknesses and goal setting. Determinations are made for students in need of intervention, which is available during Discovery Block. Students not in need of intervention attend enrichment classes. PCHS administration provides a common planning for seventh and eighth-grade teachers during the final class block of the day. Teachers are able to plan collaboratively, while students benefit from receiving all core courses early in the day. The end of day elective block enables teachers to pull students for extra assistance and students are able to get counseling or advising without missing core coursework and instruction. This schedule also allows appropriate time for guest speakers and special programs geared exclusively for this age.


  • U.S. Jones Elementary School

    Demopolis City Schools

    Mr. Leon Clark, Principal

    Mr. Kyle Kallhoff, Superintendent

    Imagine walking into a classroom where the students are working together in small groups, using math formulas, performing scientific experiments, constructing with Legos, paper and other recyclable items. All students are actively engaged, writing commands to create an algorithm for a robot named Dash and Dot or a program to control a Parrot minidrone. The implementation of the Coding with Robots and Minidrones curriculum at U.S. Jones Elementary makes it possible for students to work through problems visually and experiment with concepts by applying real world applications. STEM standards are implemented balancing the curriculum with opportunities to problem solve and ask questions. Students explore connections among science, technology, engineering and math through robotic challenges. Every class is given fifty minutes of instruction weekly. Third and fourth graders work through a series of coding lessons applying concepts using robots Dash and Dot while fifth grade students design and create capstone projects. Fifth graders also complete a Drones 101 course, a combination of interactive lessons resulting in programs to control drones. Once certified in flying the drones, students work in pairs to imagine and create scenarios where they will need to use their drones to solve a problem or use the cameras to film.

State School Board District 6 Schools of Distinction

  • Boaz High School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Boaz City Schools

    Mr. Gary Minnick, Principal

    Dr. Shannon Stanley, Superintendent

    At Boaz High School, all students are required to select a career pathway. The pathways available fall into three academies: BELLA, H3, and E-STEM. Within BELLA are pathways in Business, Education, Law, and the Liberal Arts. H3 or Health, Hospitality, and Human Services offers pathways in Culinary Arts, Sports Medicine, and Therapeutic Services. E-STEM pathways include Environmental/Natural Resources, Computer Information Science, and Engineering. Through partnerships with Marshall County Technical School and Snead State Community College students have many additional pathways. All Boaz High pathways emphasize authentic projects and work experiences, especially those serving the community. Business students operate the school store, act as tellers in the on-campus, fully functional branch of First Bank of Boaz, and produce “The Hook”, the monthly newsletter of the Chamber of Commerce. Students in Sports Medicine work with professional trainers to support athletic teams, and intern at local medical offices, therapy centers, and athletic training facilities while Health Science students work clinical rotations as interns in medical offices. Culinary students operate a restaurant, which is open to the public by reservation and contract to cater local events. Pathway courses have also made a positive impact on instruction in core classes as teachers now connect core learning to real world tasks with greater frequency.


  • Cullman City Primary School

    Cullman City Schools

    Mrs. Tricia Culpepper, Principal

    Dr. Susan Patterson, Superintendent

    The problem solving team at Cullman City Primary has implemented a Board Game Day as a creative approach to the growing trend of its preschoolers’ difficulty with verbal communication and socialization skills. Board Game Day is embedded into the school’s monthly calendar and classrooms participate one hour each month. The emphasis of Board Game Day is to help students communicate with peers and develop social confidence interacting with a group. Parent education is vital to the iniative’s success as parents are encouraged to incorporate board games at home to further develop students’ communication skills. At the annual parent picnic, teachers share a presentation to explain why the activity is being implemented. Parents and community members volunteer for the monthly activity. The success of the Board Game initiative meets the language needs of the learners and helps build community partnerships and better relationships with students’ families. This unconventional tool has proven to increase communication and socialization skills among Cullman City’s young learners. An action research project reveals three emergent themes regarding students’ communication: questioning, turn taking, and cooperation. Classroom teachers confirm students needing language and communication skills the most actually made the biggest gains.


  • Hartselle Intermediate School

    Hartselle City Schools

    Mr. Gaylon Parker, Principal

    Dr. DeeDee Jones, Superintendent

    Hartselle Intermediate’s character initiative ecompasses the faculty and staff agreed upon internal traits of Honesty, Integrity, and Success (HIS). Student introduction to the initiative began by gradually asking students, “Do you have IT?” The question is posed all around the school and faculty responses incite more curiosity. At an assembly, students are asked the question again before IT is explained as being the “Internal Traits” of Honesty Integrity, and Success. Students who demonstrate HIS Internal Traits show respect for self and others, demonstrate responsibility for academics and behavior, work hard, and do their best. Celebrations of desired behavior are rewarded with incentives throughout the year. Teachers integrate core values in academic content and instruction. Student discipline referrals result in a value reflection form focusing on modified behavior based on better choices. The counselor delivers lessons on personal responsibility, the media specialist on digital citizenship, and the school resource officers on problem solving, making smart healthy decisions, peer pressure, and empathy. All students participate in student-led conferences to explain standardized test scores, performance scores, grades, and goals for improvement as well as service learning projects to build awareness and empathy. Success of the program has seen a decrease in disciplinary referrals, increase in student led conference attendance, and increased student writing performance.

State School Board District 7 Schools of Distinction

  • Florence High School

    Florence City Schools

    Dr. Roderick Sheppard, Principal

    Dr. Jimmy Shaw, Superintendent

    Florence High School’s Launch program is a career focused experience providing students with internship-apprenticeship opportunities related to specific career paths. Student employees are required to complete Skill Elevation and Ready to Work classes daily. This learning experience involves students in a three-tiered instructional model which incorporates knowledge related to employee characteristics, marketing portfolio, and instilling an understanding of the business-employee partnership. The “Ready to Work” component is delivered by Northwest Shoals Community College staff and results in student employees earning the Alabama Certified Worker credential. Through a partnership with First Metro Bank, a three-week course focusing solely on financial planning is offered. In this curriculum, students complete assignments in the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) where they learn to effectively budget, save for emergencies, and gain an understanding of the four C`s of credit which consist of collateral, capital, capacity, and character. As a culmination of this process, students develop their own budget, problem solve various financial scenarios, and participate in mock interviews with loan officers to determine credit worthiness. Self-confidence, a critical component of a successful career, is addressed and cultivated through activities including interview role-play scenarios, research followed by speaking presentations, and negotiation exercises promoting verbal and non-verbal qualities.


  • Howell Graves Preschool

    Muscle Shoals City Schools

    Ms. Sheneta Smith, Principal

    Dr. Brian Lindsey, Superintendent

    The kindergartners at Howell Graves Preschool are leading their own learning through student-led conferences. At conferences twice a year, students discuss achievement in designated skill areas with their parents while teachers act as facilitators. Before conferences, teachers make students comfortable discussing academic and behavioral progress with adults by spending one-on-one time with each student. During this time, students participate in mock conferences where the teacher assumes the role of the parent. Teachers also instruct students how to maneuver the Seesaw program, a computer program allowing students to independently document their learning in the classroom. Students click on video clips and explain what is happening during the conference. Finally, teachers provide students with instruction on how to read assessment results in ESGI, a computer assessment program. Each assessment’s grade is reflected by a pie chart. Students are taught to read the pie chart and distinguish if skills are mastered. Students are also given ideas to work on this skill at home in order to successfully relay information to parents during the conference. Positive effects of student-led conferences include high attendance rates and positive comments from parents at conferences and student excitement about learning.


  • Russellville High School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Russellville City Schools

    Mr. Jason Goodwin, Principal

    Mr. Heath Grimes, Superintendent

    Russellville High School’s College & Career Ready program connects students to success through Career Academies, Career Ready Indicators, and Advanced Placement Courses. Academies create a supportive and personalized learning environment for students to take classes together, remain with the same group of teachers over time, follow a curriculum that includes rigorous academic courses as well as career-oriented courses, and participate in work-based learning activities. Academies include Engineering, Pre-Med, Agribusiness, Automotive, Business, Fine Arts, Healthcare, Human Services, Leadership, and Manufacturing. In addition to Career Academies, Russellville High has increased the number of students obtaining Career Readiness Indicators (CRI), credentials/certifications which are available to all students enrolled in a program in which career and technical skill proficiencies are aligned with industry-recognized standards. Lastly, by partnering with A+ College Ready, AP courses enable students to acquire skills and habits demanded for success in college through rigorous coursework and a standardized curriculum. The implementation of the College & Career Ready Program results in students more prepared for postsecondary learning and workforce opportunities. The program is the foundation of Russellville High School’s future helping to fulfill its mission to pursue excellence….impacting the lives of students, the community, the world.

State School Board District 8 Schools of Distinction

  • James Clemens High School

    Madison City Schools

    Dr. Brian Clayton, Principal

    Mr. Robby Parker, Superintendent

    James Clemens High School challenges the confines of a traditional school day by implementing a new schedule, establishing time for students to “refuel” bodies and minds via an hour-long alternative learning environment in the middle of the school day. Refuel allows students the freedom to choose how they will utilize their “downtime” and seize opportunities to “refuel” body and mind. Students are encouraged to “refuel” their bodies with lunch from the state-of-the-art cafeteria, snack bars, or vending machines. Students may eat in the cafeteria, outdoor courtyard areas, throughout the building or take lunches “to-go” as they participate in clubs, receive academic assistance, create or collaborate. Teachers hold office hours each week in which students discuss academic progress or receive additional assistance. As student deficits are identified, monitored intervention, study group participation or opportunities to complete assignments and tests are provided during Refuel. This alternative schedule provides teachers time to collaborate, plan both within and beyond content area, look at student work, align horizontally and vertically, and examine best practices. James Clemens’ innovative approach to the traditional lunch hour addresses concern for student social-emotional well-being and provision of academic supports.


  • Mill Creek Elementary School

    Madison City Schools

    Ms. Carmen Taylor Buchanan, Principal

    Mr. Robby Parker, Superintendent

    Mill Creek Elementary School has revived its culture through a House System character education program. The House System ensures the large school has a small feel by promoting positive relationships and mentoring among students and faculty, instills a sense of pride in being a Mill Creek student and member of a House, and boosts character education. Students and staff are assigned to character trait-named Houses through random drawings occuring at excitement-filled assemblies. A House cheer encompassing the Six Pillars of Character is performed each morning reminding students of daily expectations. House shirts are made available to all by the PTA for use at events like the House Olympics. On the broadcast show, “Morning at the Mill”, students share attributes of each House along with practical ways of living out that pillar of character. Within each house are small groups, or families. Each certified faculty member is a House Mom or Dad. During House Family time, students participate in team building activities, practice proper etiquette, discuss goal setting, explore character education, and share in mentoring activities. Quarterly House Leadership Team meetings address current student’s needs and situations. With the creation of the House System, Mill Creek has experienced a culture shift evidenced by decreased discipline referrals, high-fives, and fist bumps.


  • Riverton Elementary School

    Banner School Award Logo

    Madison County Schools

    Mr. Jeffery Malone, Principal

    Mr. Matthew Massey, Superintendent

    In response to a need for increased family and community involvement, Riverton Elementary School has created a Walking Club. Each morning students arrive between 6:55 and 7:10.  Students walk around the track, socialize, and create friendships for a 35 minutes during which, each student averages one mile per morning. Once volunteers and/or teachers inform students it is time to go inside, students use iPads to scan their card necklace barcode and log mileage using the EZ Scan application. Inside, students are served breakfast to ensure they are energized for the day. Students are very competitive and anxious to get back on the track the next day. The club has sparked much conversation between teachers and students fostering positive teacher-student relationships and better classroom behavior, resulting in less disciplinary referrals. Students are also more engaged, wanting to please teachers who are considered friends since beginning The Walking Club. During the 2016-2017 school year, participation averaged 200 students daily with over 3,000 miles logged. The club teaches its P-3 students four fundamental skills necessary for everyday life: arrive prepared, be active, stay focused, and depart strong, healthy, and ready to learn. The success of the Walking Club has improved Riverton’s culture producing increased attendance among students and faculty, increased student achievement, and increased parental involvement.

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