Blount County School System
"Providing the Keys to Lifelong Learning” is the motto of Blount County Schools. With this motto, Superintendent James E. Carr and the system staff are keeping an eye to the future while addressing the needs of the present as they focus on equipping students to be lifelong learners and full participants in society.
The Blount County system currently has over 8,300 students enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade. A variety of school settings are present in the system: one unit school (K-12), seven elementary schools (one each of K–2, 3-4, and K-8; four of K-6), one middle school, and five high schools (7-12). The system also has a Multi-Needs Center (special services) and Career Technical Center (technical and vocational training). All of the schools in the system are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The system’s staff of 964 includes 585 professionals and 379 support personnel. The professional staff consists of 36 percent with Bachelors degrees, 54 percent with Masters Degrees, 9 percent with six-year status and 1percent with a Doctorate.
System wide pupil/teacher ratios reflect a commitment to a high quality of learning environment. These ratios are: kindergarten through third grade, 1 to 17; fourth through sixth grades, 1 to 23; and seventh through twelfth grades, 1 to 23.
Computer labs in each elementary and high school setting as well as computers in every classroom provide access to technology for seamless integration of technology into learning opportunities. High speed Internet access is available in all Blount County Schools through a partnership with the Alabama Supercomputer Authority. Networked software programs are available to enhance and extend instruction in all curriculum areas.
Curriculum is guided by Alabama Courses of Study in each curriculum area. Elementary students receive instruction in reading, language arts, science, social studies, health, and P. E. Art and music are integrated into the curriculum areas by the classroom teacher in some schools while others have music and art instructors.
High school students participate in the state approved course of study that includes four years of English, Math, Science, and Social Studies plus eight additional credits to graduate with a Standard Diploma. Students may choose to seek an Advanced Academic Endorsement on the diploma by participating in the advanced program. Many students are also taking advantage of the new dual enrollment option that allows students to enroll in college level classes to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. There are several diploma options available for students which provide many career options for students.
The system also addresses the needs of exceptional children through various programs and services including a pre-school handicapped program, special education, gifted program, speech therapy, remedial programs, and English as a second language. Tutoring programs are available in all schools to assist students who need additional help. The volunteer manned Reading Buddy Program provides struggling students with an opportunity to practice reading with a caring adult.
The school system places great emphasis on quality instruction in all classrooms! All elementary schools have successfully implemented the Alabama Reading Initiative, providing daily small group instruction targeting students’ specific reading needs and utilizing the best research based strategies for teaching reading. The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative is currently underway to enhance instruction in those critical content areas.
Blount County students also participate in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities from the traditional sports opportunities for both males and females, to honor organizations, FHA, FFA, scholars bowl teams, and literary organizations.
One partnering organization is the Blount County Education Foundation. The mission of the Education Foundation is to promote academic excellence in Blount County Schools. Since it was created in 1998, the Education Foundation has awarded over $1,000,000 to academic projects in Blount County Schools!
The primary project of the Foundation is the annual grant awards which provides resources and materials for innovative instructional projects that for classroom teachers. The Education Foundation has also established an endowment to fund the grant program for the future.
All schools are faced with the challenge of preparing students for the future. The Blount County School System is committed to providing its students with the tools and knowledge needed in order to become successful and productive citizens.
Oneonta City School System
The Oneonta City School System was organized in 1953 and since then has grown to nearly 1,400 students and 150 faculty and staff members. It is located on one 84-acre site which adjoins the city and park recreation facilities. The present school was constructed in 1977 and added to in 1992, 1998, and 2007.
It serves students in K-12 with two schools, one for K-6, and one for 7-12. The school’s physical plant includes over 125 classrooms and offices, two media centers, three gyms, a separate band room, and an auditorium which seats 804. In addition to the plant, the complex includes a stadium, track, ball fields, and three practice fields. There are plans under way to update the older portions of the facility to increase the quality of the learning environment.
Excellence is the hallmark of the Oneonta City School System. Its students enjoy challenging opportunities afforded students in big cities amid small town setting of their school. In addition to courses leading to the state’s academic diploma, the school system offers electives such as computer studies, music and drama, foreign languages, vocational courses, and more. The needs of individual students are met through classes for advanced, remedial, and special education services. Oneonta students consistently rank among the state’s highest scores on standardized achievement tests. Both schools are fully accredited by the state and by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, and is one of the only twenty-two Alabama school districts from the total 131 to achieve District Accreditation. In 2008 the accreditation review team cited the following as school district strengths:
High expectations for all students
Trained, dedicated Board of Education
Superintendent, central office staff, and school administrators provide active, visible leadership with clear vision to foster positive change
Focused and talented teachers and dedicated support staff
Recognition of diversity
Commitment to improving student achievement
Oneonta City School is committed to providing its students and teachers with the best of technology. There are five computer labs in the school in addition to two mobile ones. The complete school can access the internet from labs or from computers in each classroom. Media centers employ up-to-date technology in every aspect of their programs.
The system’s teaching and support staff reflects a commitment to excellence. Seventy-two percent hold advanced degrees and many serve as leaders in their respective fields and in the community. Community support for the system is evidenced by the active role parents and community leaders play in the school programs and activities. By focusing on its children, Oneonta is facing a future filled with promise and growth.