Again, LNLC is not a failing school

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

I penned a column similar to this several months ago, and I feel just as strongly about it now as I did then.

If you’ve ever spent any time at Pelham’s Linda Nolen Learning Center, I think you’d be hard-pressed to consider it a “failing school.”

Earlier this week, LNLC was, for the second straight year, the only school in Shelby County to be included on an Alabama Department of Education list of “failing schools” as determined by the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013.

LNLC serves students from across Shelby County who have significant special needs. Every time I have ever been to Linda Nolen, I have seen a dedicated group of teachers and administrators giving each child the individualized attention they deserve.

The school is specifically designed to cater to and serve students who otherwise would be unable to function properly in a traditional school environment.

“This school provides an excellent, nurturing learning environment for these students, and it is one where the majority of parents have chosen it as the best option for their student,” Fuller added, noting many students at Linda Nolen face “medical issues that require round-the-clock care and students with emotional and behavioral disorders.”

Fuller didn’t hesitate to call LNLC an “excellent school” both last year and this year, and I agree with him whole-heartedly.

I can’t think of many school systems with a separate school campus designed specifically for special-needs students. Because of the individualized attention each student receives, I believe LNLC a major benefit for Shelby County residents and their children.

For purposes of the Alabama Accountability Act “failing schools” criteria, all schools in the state are judged on an equal level. Because the LNLC student population is composed almost exclusively of students with special needs, it appears on paper that the school’s educational offerings are not up to par.

For the second time in as many years, nothing could be farther from the truth.

 

Neal Wagner is the City Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 11 or by email at neal.wagner@shelbycountyre- porter.com.