SPARK Academy at Cowart Elementary selected as CLAS School of Distinction

CLAS Award ATHENS, Alabama, January 9, 2019 --- SPARK Academy at Cowart Elementary has been selected as a 2018 School of Distinction by the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS). This award recognizes schools that serve as outstanding educational models for other schools in Alabama.


SPARK Academy is one of three schools in State School Board District 8 to receive this year’s award. Bob Jones High School in Madison City Schools and John S. Jones Elementary School in Etowah County Schools were also selected. One hundred and sixty schools were nominated for this prestigious recognition.

These exemplary schools will be recognized at a luncheon February 25 in Prattville, and the District 8 CLAS Banner School will be announced.  


“We [SPARK Academy] have worked so hard as a school team and as a community to Beth McKinney transition into a discovery driven instructional model that encourages student curiosity and questioning. This recognition is acknowledgement of all of our hard work,” said SPARK Academy Principal Dr. Beth McKinney. 


The CLAS Banner School program was created in 2001 to recognize schools in Alabama that showcase
outstanding programs and service to students.


2018-19 SPARK Staff Athens City Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay is proud of the recognition as well, saying, “The team at SPARK has fully embraced the idea of implementing a new way to approach to teach traditional standards while integrating project-based learning in our elementary schools with their STEM focus. This shift in approach changes not what we teach, but how we teach it, and is the beginning of what innovative schools will look like in the future. It is fitting that they be awarded for serving as an outstanding educational model for other schools, because they truly are.”

“Congratulations to these wonderful Alabama public schools. The CLAS Schools of Distinction provide
excellent examples of the significant learning opportunities taking place in public education in Alabama. Further, the stakeholders at every School of Distinction are to be commended for striving for excellence daily,” comments Vic Wilson, Ed.D., executive director of CLAS.


SPARK Students