Pickens County Schools Profile

Pickens County School District is a public school system located in West-Central Alabama,  between Columbus, Mississippi and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  It is composed of timbered uplands to the north and rolling plains to the south.  The total population of Pickens County is 19,949.  Our District is comprised of three high schools, one middle school, three elementary schools, and one early childhood learning center.  The total student population is 2,855.  This includes a population of the following ethnicities:  58.7% Black, 39.2% White, and 2.1% other.  All schools are accredited by AdvancED, formerly the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and approved by the Alabama State Department of Education.  Over the last few decades, there has been a decline in local business and industry which contributed to a decrease in student enrollment.  The mobility of students within the District continues to challenge us to find effective ways to deliver instruction consistently to all students in grades pre-K through twelve. 

The District is geographically small, encompassing 890 square miles.  The District’s total 2011-2012 budget is $27,130,194.00 which is used to operate all schools.  The District office, located in Carrollton, Alabama houses our Administrative Services, Federal Programs, Special Services and Support Services including facilities, maintenance and technology.  Our transportation department is located at another site.  The District office has an official boardroom where regular and official meetings of the school board are held.

The Pickens County Board of Education is one of the largest employers in Pickens County. A community leader in the business world as well as education, the District employs over 360 full and part-time people, thus providing the county with one of its largest payrolls. The District also operates the largest transportation fleet and food service program in the area. In order to successfully manage this school district, our leadership is challenged to adopt effective internal structures and processes, to adopt systems thinking, and to focus on quality improvement throughout the organization.

The District’s vision is “to provide a positive, safe environment that produces respectful, resourceful, responsible leaders with strong moral values,” and the mission “inspiring ethical leaders…one child at a time,” reflects the commitment of the District to each and every stakeholder. The District’s vision, mission and belief statements are communicated and disseminated from the school board to the Superintendent, administrators, school staff, students, parents and all other stakeholders. Every school and department develops goals that are ultimately aligned to the District’s goals. These goals, along with the District’s belief statements are communicated through a dashboard, which records and monitors progress toward goals. Currently, the District has developed priority goals that are the central focus of its work. These four goals include stakeholder satisfaction, high academic achievement, providing a safe, productive environment along with operational efficiency. These priority goals are embedded in every planning process at every level.

A strong focus on high academic achievement goals is yielding measurable results. Students in grades three through eight have shown a continued growth of three percent or better for the past two years on the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test (ARMT). The 11th grade students have shown a continued growth of three percent or better in reading and math for the past two years on Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE).

The District’s greatest challenge is the ability to sustain the current status of operations while experiencing decreases in local, state and federal funding. While the percentage of students qualifying for the free/reduced lunch program has increased, the district’s enrollment has decreased. As a result, the state funded teacher units have decreased. This causes an increase in the student to teacher ratio, which is another challenge.

Also presenting itself as a challenge to the District is the dropout rate among high school students. I spite of measurable gains in the reduction of dropouts, the total number of dropouts remains a significant challenge. The District as a whole has maintained the required 90% or above on the high school graduation rate, as required for AYP by the state.  However, two schools within the District have fallen below the required 90%. Particularly troublesome has been the high percentage of 16 and 17 year old students in grades nine and ten who drop out. A significant contributor to this issue is the high number of failures in core subject areas for ninth graders.

One other significant challenge to high schools is the increasing demand for students to be “college and career ready” upon graduation. Beyond the mission to prepare a significant number of students for postsecondary study, high schools must implement an expanding curriculum that prepares students for immediate entry into the work force. While some students opt for an advanced diploma, others choose a regular diploma or an occupational diploma to meet their career goals.  The high school diplomas, while essential for the student’s economic well-being, are no longer “good enough” for work force development in the 21st century.

Mission Statement

Inspiring Ethical Leaders...One Child At A Time

Vision Statement

To provide a positive, safe environment that produces respectful, resourceful, responsible leaders with strong moral values

Belief Statements

·      We believe that all children are equally important.

·      We believe that the family is the child's first and most influential teacher.

·      We believe that effective, motivated, and professional teachers are the key to student success.

·      We believe that the quality of the school environment is critical.

·      We believe that there are many ways to measure student success.

·      We believe that all students can complete high school and be competitive in a global society.

·      We believe that the success of schools is vital to the future of our community.

It is the official policy of the Pickens County Board of Education that no person shall on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, national origin, ethnic group, or disability be denied, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any course, program or activity.