BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Students at Charles A. Brown and Hemphill Elementary schools had a special visitor Monday. Governor Kay Ivey stopped by to visit with students and give out books.

Both schools are part of Gov. Ivey’s “Turnaround Schools initiative, and students were able to hear words of encouragement from the governor herself.

“I want each of you to remember that when it comes to learning, you’re not alone. Your teachers, your parents and I, as your governor, are here to support you every step of the way,” Gov. Ivey said.

Gov. Ivey launched the initiative around this time last year to help strengthen 15 low-performing schools across the state.

Charles Brown Elementary Principal Janice Drake said funding from this program allowed them to create smaller class sizes and have teachers’ aides. It’s all an effort to give students more one-on-one learning.

“Having our aides in the classroom to make sure that having one-on-one instruction is really great and not just managing the class. It’s actually doing quality instruction with the class,” Drake said.

Gov. Ivey also made a visit to Hemphill Elementary where she passed out books to second graders. While on her visit, Gov. Ivey encouraged students to develop an appetite for learning and reading, saying first you learn to read and then you read to learn.