BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Barrett Elementary has made major improvements to their state report card score the last two years and school leaders aren’t afraid to show that off.
A large poster adorns one wall along the school’s main hallway with a big ’73’ in the middle. That’s the school’s score on the latest state report card from the Alabama Department of Education. Two years ago, the school scored just a 47 – an ‘F’ on the grade scale. The most recent score marks an improvement of two letter grades since then.
Principal Tikki Hines attributes the success to data analysis and implementation of new strategies based on that data. One strategy is collaboration among teachers.
“Our English teachers plan together. Our math teachers plan together,” she said. “And so we’re always looking at data, looking at where we need to meet the needs of the students and to make sure we’re showing that growth.”
Hines and her staff also decided to group students based on their performance, which allows for the right kind of instruction for each student. It’s a flexible grouping, meaning students can move from one group to another based on how they perform.
“So we’re able to individualize instruction to meet the needs of the students who excel and to push those students who are right there in the middle,” she said. “And then we’re giving extra support to those students who need a little extra love and support.”
They’ve also worked on changing the culture and climate of the school, including facility upgrades. No renovation has been more significant than the library, where they replaced the floors, added more books, Accelerated Reader, and a periodical section. It’s a major improvement on a room that Hines says was basically just a storage space and wasn’t usable as a library.
“It’s a beautiful place, it’s an inviting place where students can come check out books and read and take accelerated tests and they can get reading instruction in there,” she said. “And so I wanted that to be a hub of learning.”
But Hines says she and her staff aren’t satisfied with a ‘C,’ on the report card. Over the next few years, they hope to have an ‘A.’
Barrett is one of 29 schools in the Birmingham City Schools district that improved its score from 2018 to 2019. Ten of those schools improved by a full letter grade.