Superintendent Vickers provides update on the state of ACS

Published 7:53 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers provided an update on the state of the school system during a recent community luncheon.

The Shelby County Chamber hosted a “State of our Schools” Community Luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at the Pelham Civic Complex. During the luncheon, the superintendents of each school system provided an update on the state of their schools, including ACS, Pelham City Schools, Shelby County Schools and Hoover City Schools.

“We are blessed as a community to have wonderful public schools,” Vickers said. “When people are talking about the state of public education in Alabama, they need to make sure they understand that the state of public education in Shelby County, in the city districts that are represented here, is at the top of any place you want to be in America.”

Alabaster City Schools has five schools, including Creek View Elementary, Meadow View Elementary, Thompson Intermediate School, Thompson Middle School and Thompson High School. ACS has a student population of more than 6,000 with 876 total employees.

“I’m very passionate about what we do as a school system,” Vickers said. “When you look back (at) 10 years of work, 10 years of reflection and you look at the three pillars that we built our school system on, which was academics, the arts and athletics, and look at the accomplishments that have been made.”

Vickers emphasized the importance of the arts as a pillar of the ACS school system. He shared that, when the school system began in 2013, ACS had 18 teachers working in the fine arts, and the school system now has almost 30.

“We believe that having more opportunities for our students in the fine arts only makes us better,” Vickers said. “It is an area that we’ve worked at, and it has certainly made a difference.”

Vickers shared that ACS has been recognized the past four years as one of the best communities for music education.

“We’re very proud of that work, and we’re proud of the work that’s done in all of the areas,” Vickers said. “We have national and state winners in all of our different areas of music, dance, drama. It is amazing what is offered in those areas.”

Vickers said ACS has also built a pillar upon athletics with more than 37 state championships and runner ups in the past 10 years.

“I’m very proud of our coaches and our parents and the buy-in to make things happen,” he said. “I will tell you, if students are engaged athletically or in the arts, they are going to be better students. They are going to make better decisions, they are going to have great role models and they’re going to work closely together.”

ACS boasts a 99 percent graduation rate with a 98 percent college readiness rate.

“Those are facts of hard work and the dedication of our teachers and our community,” Vickers said. “We have made commitments to our students, and I will tell you that we will not rest until we are at 100 percent. We are not there until every child has a pathway.”

Vickers said that ACS has also made a commitment to investing in the schools through renovating its campuses and by providing technology. ACS has more than 8,000 Chromebooks for their students to access.

“That is a difference maker for our students—opening opportunities, eliminating reasons why kids can’t get things done, helping parents,” Vickers said.

ACS also has 1,090 students enrolled in dual enrollment for college credit with a 98 percent pass rate.

Vickers discussed the importance of safety in schools and shared that ACS has a positive relationship with the Alabaster Police Department. Thanks to that relationship, ACS has three school resource officers at THS, two at TMS and one at each of the other schools.

“I want to thank them for that commitment and helping us and partnering with our board of education,” Vickers said. “School safety is a challenge for all of us, but we live in a great community and a great county. We are very fortunate that a lot of ours is preventative. We are just trying to make sure that we’re safe. I’d rather have everything in place and never have to use it than have something I should have gotten.”

Vickers said that one the things he is committed to is making sure each student has a plan.

“There’s nothing that gets me more excited than to talk to someone at the high school and no one has talked to them about what their plan is, what they’re going to do when they leave, how they’re going to get there, how they are going to pay for college,” he said. “Those things are valuable and important conversations and just remember that they may not have anyone else that knows a pathway for them. That’s why we’re there, it’s an opportunity. We’re going to open doors, we’re going to have that conversation, we’re going to find a way.”

Vickers said that one that one thing we need to change is declaring victory too soon.

“If we’re not at 100 percent then someone is left out,” he said. “So, to me, there’s a drive for all of us to be at 100 percent, to make a difference. That’s why in Alabaster, the past 10 years and the next ten, we’re going to be building champions every day.”