The report notes that Winterboro High, historically, has struggled with such issues as high lunch rates, large dropout rates, discipline issues, poor student achievement, low teacher attendance and weak morale. However, the report also states that the school, “through the use of technology and digital learning,” has addressed those issues and has “changed the culture, infrastructure and teaching and learning environment.”
"When Dr. (Suzanne) Lacey contacted me to inform me of the report, I was literally blown away,” Winterboro principal Craig Bates said. “I was excited for the teachers, excited for the parents, and excited for the community, but most of all I was excited for our students. They deserve to graduate from a school that can offer them the very best education possible. Recognition like this also goes a long way in boosting their pride in the school."
According to the report, in only two years, Winterboro has “experienced a 64 percent decrease in dropouts, a 78 percent decrease in alternative school referrals and a 34 percent decrease in disciplinary infractions.” The report also mentions a 40 percent decrease in teacher absences.
The study shows a drastic increase in math scores. Eleventh-graders went from 79 percent to 88 percent, while eighth-graders improved from 69 percent to 78 percent.
"Over the course of the past two years, the faculty has worked diligently to integrate authentic, hands-on learning that is both content-standard focused and engaging,” Bates said. “There has also been a strong emphasis on creating a professional work environment that emphasizes and teaches students the skills they will need in post-secondary environments, whether college or the workforce. Both engaging work and the professional focus on behavior have been tremendous factors in raising our graduation rate, raising test scores, and creating a climate that encourages responsible and respectful behavior."
Listed under the “Increased Equity and Access” portion of the report was Alabama’s ACCESS Program. ACCESS, or Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide, provides many opportunities to students to utilize services such as interactive videoconferencing, difficult-to-offer classes, virtual field trips and remediation courses. Local teachers provide course instruction, and ACCESS provides support for the instructors.
The study also states that, “Achievement results and student outcomes have improved dramatically since the implementation of ACCESS. The number of AP test participants has almost doubled in Alabama public schools since 2004. ACCESS also has had a significant impact on African-American students: the number of African-American test takers has quadrupled, and the qualifying exam scores of African-American students have more than doubled. Five times more low-income students are taking AP exams, and three times more are scoring 3 or higher on an AP exam.”