mONTGOMERY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Excellence begins in Montgomery Public Elementary Schools
By David Zaslawsky
When Shana Mosby found out she was pregnant, she and her husband bought a house at the Dalraida subdivision so their child would attend Dalraida Elementary School.
“I had heard really positive things about Dalraida and it being a great neighborhood school,” Mosby said.
Their house is exactly one-half mile away from the school or as Mosby puts it: “Front door to front door.”
Her daughter’s experience at Dalraida Elementary School has been wonderful although wonderful may not adequately describe Mosby’s feelings. She said she loves the school and on this day when she was interviewed, she wore a blue T-shirt with the school’s initials “DES” emblazoned across the front of the shirt.
“It is a very positive learning environment,” said Mosby, an occupational therapist by trade, but who is now teaching three half days at her younger daughter’s child development center. Her 10-year-old daughter, Maggie, who has been at Dalraida since kindergarten, will be a fifth-grader in the fall semester.
“A lot of people want to request teachers, but you can’t go wrong wherever your child is in class,” Mosby said. “The teachers care. The teachers make sure that the kids understand.”
Mosby also said that the school meets its adequate yearly progress. Yet, there is one aspect that Mosby was not happy with. She said she was upset when sixth grade was moved to middle school as part of a district-wide program to have nearly all middle schools be grades six through eight. Mosby was upset “because it meant one less year at Dalraida.”
For Mosby, Dalraida “is the best school in town – elementary-wise,” but there are other elementary schools in the Montgomery Public Schools district that are doing quite well.
A few years ago, Forest Avenue Academic Magnet Elementary School received a prestigious honor by being named a National Blue Ribbon School.
That is a big deal and truly means something. More than 6,500 schools have received the award from the U.S. Department of Education since 1982 – that’s not a lot of schools in about 30 years. The award is given to schools where either students achieve at a high level or where the achievement gap has narrowed.
Forest Avenue features an academically accelerated instructional program in which students work one grade level ahead in reading, English, spelling and math. Social studies and science classes have numerous field trips and the students are taught Spanish, computer technology and participate in science lab projects, including the Living Science Lab in the school’s courtyard.
Forest Avenue and Dalraida are also involved in a friendly, but serious rivalry when it comes to students checking out school library books. Mosby said that through the end of April, nearly 83,000 books were checked out from the school’s library, which keeps Dalraida “neck-and-neck” with Forest Avenue.
T.S. Morris Elementary School, a traditional elementary school, has been named a National Blue Ribbon School two years in a row. T.S. Morris was only one of five Alabama schools to receive the award for 2011, and just one of 304 schools nationwide.
“Excellence is a hallmark of T.S. Morris and they have demonstrated that by consistently performing well,” Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Thompson said in a statement. “The school has been named an Alabama Torchbearer School twice and in recent years, one of their teachers received the prestigious Milken Foundation Teacher Award. This is not only a great accomplishment for T.S. Morris and our school district, but for the entire community.”
Two other district schools – Highland Avenue Elementary School and E.D. Nixon Elementary School – have been named an Alabama Torchbearer School, which is awarded to high-performing schools in high-poverty areas.
Four elementary schools are participating in the city’s garden project; two schools were picked for state’s Way to a Healthier Alabama Campaign and another elementary school was selected to be in a groundbreaking project on obesity in Alabama.
All students at macmillan international academy at mckee will be enrolled in the international baccalaureate program in the fall semester 2012. The school already attracts international students. •