Alabama No Child Left Behind Act Workshop

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Wiregrass school officials gathered in Ozark Monday night to discuss ways to better understand the No Child Left Behind Act. They also learned about how it will continue to affect their school systems in the years to come.

Monday night’s meeting was hosted by the Alabama Association of School Boards and state education officials say there must be a partnership between local school officials and their communities in order to be successful with the No Child Left Behind Act.

Communication and cooperation are two key elements necessary for no child to be left behind in school.

"Inviting the community into dialogue, to talk about the specific challenges they face and how parents can be helpful in that,” said Denise Birchalter.

Challenges like helping students stay focused on their school work, and making sure that highly qualified teachers are in the classroom, teaching the youth of tomorrow.

"We have teachers, a few, maybe 3,000 around the state that are not deemed qualified," said Dr. Sandra Sims-Degrafferide.

Those teachers have until the beginning of the next school year to complete the course work and tests they need to become highly qualified.

Closing the learning gap between every student in Alabama regardless of race, color, or financial background is the number one goal of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Members of Alabama’s Association of School Boards are going around the state hosting workshops for school board members from the state's nine school districts, to teach how to reach that goal.

Dr. Sandra Sims-Degrafferide said, "It's very important that school board members understand, that probably one of the most important tasks is making sure that our children are achieving and achieving well."

School officials here in Dothan, say it is their responsibility to make student success their top priority.

“We’re going to have a summer program for all of our first graders. If they fall behind, they're going to go to summer school this summer so that when they enter the second grade, they're back up to speed," said Dr. Steve Stokes

School officials also plan to begin a technical training program, to prepare high school kids for specific jobs when they graduate.

The summer reading program and the technical training program will both be outlined in a five-year plan that Dothan city school officials plan to unveil next Monday.

Monday’s workshop was one of nine that the Alabama Association of School Board is hosting across the state, over the next month.