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Area schools receive cash for good work

By M.J. Ellington · (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Six Decatur schools received $60,000 in job-well-done awards Thursday during a state school board recognition ceremony for the state’s top-performing schools.

Schools from Athens received $55,000, and Lawrence County schools took home $70,000.

Four of the Decatur schools are Title I schools, with have a high percentage of children from low-income families and many students who do not speak English as their first language, said Decatur Superintendent Sam Houston, who was in Montgomery with the principals of five of the Decatur schools.

“All of these folks have adjusted to the challenge,” Houston said. “They do a great job.”

Datie Priest, principal of West Decatur Elementary, said she hopes to use her school’s $5,000 reward for incentives to motivate students and help teachers with supplies.

Frances Nungester Elementary Principal Cheryl Bowman said it’s nice to have a tangible way to recognize students who do well. Her school also received $5,000.

Rep. Jody Letson, D-Hillsboro, said the extra money provides a big boost to schools in Lawrence County.

“There is no amount of money that could truly give a good teacher what he or she is worth. The very act of educating a child is invaluable,” said state Superintendent of Education Joe Morton. “However, when it is possible to provide an incentive to a school that goes above and beyond what is already a difficult task, we’re delighted to do so.”

Gov. Bob Riley first proposed financial rewards to improving schools two years ago.

“These are not only rewards for schools that are making progress, they are incentives that encourage more schools to demand excellence in the classroom,” Riley said.

Funds for the school rewards came from a $5 million legislative appropriation for the current school year. The amount is double the $2.5 million in incentives that schools received in 2006-07.

The schools were selected using 2006-07 No Child Left Behind assessment data.

Area schools receiving funds

The following schools received monetary awards for the progress their students made on yearly No Child Left Behind assessments. Schools received recognition at the state Board of Education meeting Thursday in Montgomery.

Decatur City Schools

Austinville Elementary, Banks-Caddell Elementary, Frances Nungester Elementary and West Decatur Elementary — $5,000 each

Benjamin Davis Elementary and Leon Sheffield Elementary — $20,000 each

Athens City Schools

  • Athens Elementary — $15,000

    Athens High and Athens Intermediate — $20,000 each

    Lawrence County Schools

    East Lawrence Elementary, East Lawrence Middle and Hatton Elementary — $20,000 each

    Hazlewood Elementary and R.A. Hubbard High — $5,000 each

    M.J. Ellington

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