State of Education
Athens City Schools State of Education Address, Fall 2019
Superintendent Dr. Trey Holladay recently shared an update on Athens City Schools at the annual Chamber of Commerce State of Education address. His update included a snapshot of district data, projects, awards and a look into what's next for ACS.
The following article is courtesy of Adam Smith, Editor at the Athens News-Courier:
Limestone County's top school chiefs on Thursday gave the business community a look at where their school systems have been, where they are and where they're going.
Presentations by Athens City Schools Superintendent Dr. Trey Holladay and Limestone County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk were part of State of Education luncheon presented by the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. The event was held on the Athens State University campus in the Sandridge Student Center.
“These are exciting times for our public school system,” Chamber President Jennifer Williamson said prior to introducing the school leaders. “Schools are working to provide the best educational opportunities and experiences for our students.”
Holladay and Sisk made growth a big part of their presentations. Both men will fly this month to Quantico, Virginia, to meet with representatives with the FBI, which will be relocating about 4,000 workers to Redstone Arsenal. Sisk and Holladay will be part of a group that will explain school options and available programs.
Athens High School
In looking back, Holladay spoke highly of the new Athens High School, which opened in January. He also praised the facility's new 760-seat theater, which is now being used by the Athena Performing Arts Series for concerts.
In talking numbers, Holladay said enrollment is now at 4,495 students. He added the system would have total revenues of $43,477,233 and expenditures of $43,474,806 in the current fiscal year.
The system has a 91% graduation rate and an average ACT score of 20.4, which is above the state average of 19.1.
“We test everybody on the ACT, so it's a misnomer when you (compare) us to other states,” he said. “Fifty-five percent of our kids go to college, and 45% don't. This is a college entrance exam, but the (kids who don't go to college) take it, too.”
The system recently switched its model of report cards away from the traditional letter-grade model to using a 1, 2, 3 or 4 to mark a student's mastery of certain educational standards.
Athens City Schools is comprised of eight schools, some of which Holladay said are bursting at the seams. A new Athens Elementary School has been approved, and Holladay said site work was already underway. He anticipated demolition of the old school to begin after the first of the year.
Holladay said Athens Intermediate School would need to expand or move students to the old Clinton Street campus, which is now being used by Athens Elementary and Athens Renaissance schools. Athens Renaissance has outgrown its campus in the old public library on South Street.
“Within 12 months, we hope to break ground on a new addition to expand Athens Renaissance School,” he said. “We'll need it at the rate we're growing.”
Holladay said the system's academy approach at its elementary schools has been a success. He added it was popular with parents because they can enroll their child in any school within the system.
“That helps real estate, because now you don't have people trying to buy houses in certain elementary school zones, because you can go to any zone you want,” he said.
In closing, Holladay gave a brief overview of the system's strategic plan, dubbed “Portrait of a Graduate.” He said the plan has six areas of focus in terms of educating students: character, citizenship, collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity.
“We want to prepare students for all that is coming up in the Tennessee Valley,” he said.
He also shared the school's theme is “Growing better together: Eight schools, one heartbeat, one Athens.”
“We're excited about the vision going on in the school system, and we hope you are, too,” he said.
Article courtesy of Adam Smith, Editor of the Athens News-Courier