“I’m ecstatic!” said Skyline High School Principal Drew McNutt about the middle school (grades 4-8) being ranked 18th among the 415 middle schools in Alabama. He was quick to credit his predecessors, teachers, students, and the community for providing the foundation that has led to this ranking.
This ranking came from the U.S. News which published rankings of public elementary and middle schools for the first time. Scoring was almost entirely rooted in students’ reading and math proficiency. Each state administers these assessments to determine whether learning in core subjects is achieved and to review how well schools are educating their students.
Many things have been put in place at the school to improve the performance of all students. They have instituted a WIN (What I Need) period where the teachers work with students on their weaknesses. The goal of this is to help move the students up and enable them to be successful. There are regular data meetings to analyze student performance.
Grading has taken a different look for the students as it is now standard based. This shows the proficiency in the standards so parents and students can see where they are doing well and where work is needed. McNutt and his faculty have been working to help the parents understand the importance of this type grading.
“We are all in this together,” said McNutt. One of the advantages Skyline has is that it is a small school and houses grades from Pre K through 12th grade. This helps in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the students and watching them grow each year.
The A+ College Ready Curriculum is in place for grades six and up. High school students are offered AP courses in U. S. History and Computer Science. This helps increase higher level thinking. They also have dual enrollment through Northeast Alabama Community College in English and Biology and hope to expand that to include math.
“I am proud of our academic success, Our average ACT score has jumped two full points,” stated McNutt. “Our average ACT score is 19.”
“We can accomplish more when we all work together. This involves all stakeholders including students, parents, teachers, and the community.”
“We have a phenomenal faculty here at Skyline,” added McNutt. “They are professional, caring, and know their subject areas. They are always trying to get better.”
If you walk through the school and take a look in the classrooms, you will witness a lot of hands-on activities and students working with each other in small groups. McNutt said parents are seeing that learning takes place differently with today’s students.
McNutt is excited about what’s happening at Skyline. “We’re getting there,” he said. “We are trying to get better every day.”
McNutt is in his second year as principal at Skyline High School.