Linda Nolen Learning center included on ‘failing schools’ list

Pelham's Linda Nolen Learning Center, which serves students with significant special needs, was included on a list of "failing schools" released on June 18. (File)

Pelham’s Linda Nolen Learning Center, which serves students with significant special needs, was included on a list of “failing schools” released on June 18. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham’s Linda Nolen Learning Center, which serves Shelby County students with significant special needs, was included on a list of “failing schools” released on June 18 by the Alabama Department of Education.

In a statement released June 18, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller called LNLC an “excellent school,” and said teachers there develop individualized education plans for each student at the school.

LNLC was the only school in Shelby County included on the state failing school list.

“We provide a quality education to students who are on an individualized education plan,” Fuller wrote, noting many students at Linda Nolen face “medical issues that require round-the-clock care and students with emotional and behavioral disorders.”

Fuller said LNLC teachers are focused on helping the special-needs students at the school to make steady progress in their education.

“Our goal is to help them make progress, to help them move from point A to point B, not holding them accountable to the same standards as all other students,” Fuller wrote. “We felt like the Linda Nolen Learning Center is an excellent school, and it is one that the majority of parents have willingly chosen as the best learning environment for their child.”

Fuller said LNLC “meets the criteria as a persistently low-performing school” according to the definition of a “failing school” outlined in the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013.

Because of its standing, LNLC was eligible for a United States Department of Education School Improvement School Improvement Grant based on fiscal year 2011 data, but did not apply for the grant.