Core Notes

Moving The Needle of Excellence

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Blue Ribbon Status!

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Rock Quarry Elementary School as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School, one of 349 recognized through a video message today. The school's recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance and is one of five from the State of Alabama.

RQES's status as an "exemplary high performing school" is noted because of the school's commitment unwavering to high-quality teaching and learning and to students. Principal Laura Jockisch said she is proud of the RQES staff.

"I'm excited for my teachers. They have worked really hard. They have tried new ideas. They have put a lot of work in and it feels really really good to know that they are going to be recognized for the hard work that they've done," said Jockisch. "I am extremely proud to be a part of the Tuscaloosa City Schools and it's nice to be recognized in a positive way for our community, for our teachers and students."

Superintendent Mike Daria applauded the school's emphasis on meeting the core mission through attention to detail. It's also an expectation of implementing the TCS Strategic Plan.

"Everyday is focused on student learning and high expectations for teaching and learning," he said.

Representatives from Rock Quarry Elementary School will travel to Washington D.C. November 7 and 8 for the recognition event.

NHS Students Named Commended Scholars

Two Northridge High School students are being lauded for their scholastic achievement through the National Merit by National Merit Scholarship Program. Hannah Irby and Samantha Savage have been named Commended Scholars. The two are part of a distinguished group in the more than two-thirds (about 34,000) of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT® who received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise.

Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit® Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

Restorative Practices

Weslawn Middle School leaders are sharing the results of their efforts with a statewide audience. Principal Dr. Tiffany Davis, instructional coach Tracie Latham, and teacher Latonya Binion-McCoy presented "Restorative Justice: A Student-Centered Approach to Discipline" at the Alabama Association of School Boards' Fall Conference today. Restorative practices allow students to work through their problems in an appropriate setting. This process has been effective in significantly reducing the number of documented discipline infractions at WMS and was recognized by the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools as a CLAS School of Distinction in 2018.

Latham said the approach is part of the school's implementation of the TCS Strategic Plan to increase attendance and engagement by removing barriers and creating opportunities for school success.

"Our story is still being written every chapter at a time, one teacher at a time, one student at a time! We’ re not there yet...but there is power in the “yet”!" Latham told the audience.

Since the 2015-2016 school year, the school has noted a 78 percent decrease in out-of-school suspensions and an increase in student attendance.

Follow the conversation on Twitter about Westlawn's presentation on Restorative Practices.

Mark Your Calendar

Tuscaloosa City Schools' employees and students will enjoy a long weekend as the system will close for Fall Break holiday on October 8. Tuesday, October 9 is a professional development day for employees without students. Classes resume for students on October 10.

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