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Bob Jones, Horizon earn CLAS Banner status

(CONTRIBUTED)
(CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – If there were any doubt, Bob Jones high and Horizon elementary schools have CLAS.

Both are CLAS Banner Schools, recognized by the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools.

For the 2011-2012 school year, the council required recipient schools to document success in programs and activities and to demonstrate unique, student-centered curricula. CLAS schools serve as an exceptional model for other schools.

Bob Jones Principal Robby Parker said the CLAS Banner honor is special among the “many awards we try to win. CLAS looks at how innovative you are with programs. Bob Jones was one of only four (high) schools in Alabama.”

CLAS criteria are more comprehensive compared to another recent honor for Bob Jones: ranking in “Best High Schools” by “U.S. News & World Report.” The magazine solely considers advance placement classes.

“We’re giving the kids lots of opportunities,” Parker said. Parker acknowledged Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler and the Madison Board of Education’s support in “offering classes that are cutting edge. They allow us to go out and explore. They’re not afraid to take chances.”

“Dr. Julie Finley does a tremendous job at researching what students need as 21st-century learners,” Parker said. “We’ve got the best kids, best superintendent and best board. That’s how we can win awards.”

Horizon Principal Rodney Richardson said time is the most valuable educational resource yet the most limited. “This reality championed Horizon’s quest to use every minute of time and every resource available.”

Richardson believes Horizon’s “Soaring Eagles” after-school tutoring program, started in 2010, was important to CLAS recognition. Other Madison schools have followed Horizon’s example. “Data from the program clearly suggested that embedding tutoring during the school day was effective and worth pursuing,” he said.

Horizon’s program requires teachers to refer students needing assistance in reading and math to small-group tutoring. “All students K-6 were eligible for referral,” Richardson said.

Horizon’s faculty and staff “truly work hard to make sure all students achieve … and empower students to take flight and soar like eagles (Horizon’s mascot),” Richardson said.

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