Area superintendents talk ACT scores, graduation rates at luncheon

Published 8:03 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Pelham City Schools Superintendent Scott Coefield speaks at a luncheon hosted by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. (Reporter photo/Keith McCoy)

By Briana Harris / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Shelby County’s three superintendents touted improved graduation rates, ACT scores and technological advances Wednesday, July 27, at the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s July Community Luncheon.

The event, held at the Pelham Civic Complex, featured presentations from Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Wayne Vickers, Pelham City School Superintendent Scott Coefield and Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller.

Vickers and Coefield said their respective schools systems have experienced growth since breaking away from the county school system.

Vickers said Alabaster City Schools, which has 6,168 students in its third year as a city school system, improved its gradation rate from 89 percent in 2013 to 98 percent in 2016. Alabaster’s ACT and ACT Aspire math scores increased by 15 points and reading by 6 points from 2013 to 2016.

“I’m very proud of that,” Vickers said. “That takes a team effort, K-12, and we’re striving to continue to make improvements.”

Coefield said Pelham’s ACT scores are ranked 16th in the state. In the two years since Pelham City Schools was formed, the system’s reading score increased by 7 percent and their math score increased by 27 percent. The system educates 3,033 students.

“We’re working to make coursework more rigorous and challenging for students,” Coefield said. “It’s all to better prepare them for college or a career.”

Pelham’s graduation rate sits at 97 percent. Of that, 84 percent of students are deemed college and career ready according to test score guidelines set forth by the state, Coefield said.

Fuller said Shelby County Schools, which educates 20,226 students, is taking a unified approach to education.

“By focusing on the total child, we’re still working to achieve academic excellence, but we also want to them to develop soft skills, like team work and leadership skills. To help facilitate this growth, Shelby County implemented student led conferences that allow students to showcase what they’re learning.

On the high school level, Shelby County students are participating in a program that calls for them to give a presentation about what their plans are after high school.

Fuller said $346,000 has been spent on equipment upgrades in the classroom for the upcoming school year.

The school systems are also busy constructing new schools and renovating existing ones. Fuller said $80 million has been spent over the past five years on school renovations and to construct Calera Middle, Forest Oaks Elementary and Helena High.

In Pelham, $5 million to $7 million were spent on science lab, gymnasium, special needs and athletic upgrades at Pelham High. Coefield said teachers and students are set to move in to the newly constructed Pelham Ridge Elementary during fall break.

In April the school Pelham broke ground on a new middle school, which is set to open August 2017. The construction of a new Alabaster high school is also expected to be complete by fall 2017.