Mobile County Public School System

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[1]

Mobile County Public School System
Mobile County Schools Seal.jpg
Address
1 Magnum Pass
Mobile, Alabama 36618
Information
Founded 1836
Superintendent Martha L. Peek
Enrollment 60,946 (56th-largest in U.S.)
Area Mobile County, Alabama
Teachers 7,951 [2]
Budget $648.92 million[3]
Schools 89
Website

The Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) is the largest school system in Alabama, serving 59,000 students in 90 schools. It is also the largest employer in Mobile County - and the third-largest in Alabama - with 7,600 employees. The school system has 12 Blue Ribbon schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2014, Mobile County had four of Alabama's six Torchbearer schools.

The Blue Ribbon schools are: Anna Booth, Calcedeaver, Council Traditional, Dodge, George Hall, Mary B. Austin and Spencer-Westlawn elementary schools; Clark-Shaw Magnet and Phillips Preparatory middle schools; and Davidson, Murphy and Vigor high schools.

The Torchbearer schools are: Anna Booth, George Hall, St. Elmo and Wilmer elementary schools.

Mobile County Public Schools offers multiple pathways to graduation by providing more ways than ever before for students to earn classroom credits and eventually their high school diplomas. That includes Envision Virtual School, which is Alabama's first entirely online 6-12 grade school; evening school for students at risk of dropping out; credit recovery; Twilight School and other programs.

The school system has Signature Academies in eight of its 12 high schools and will expand into the remaining four high schools in 2015. The Signature Academies are: Aviation and Aerospace at B.C. Rain; Manufacturing, Industry and Technology at Citronelle; Health at Blount; Teaching and Learning at Mary G. Montgomery; Coastal Studies at Bryant; International Studies at Murphy; Industry and Engineering at Theodore; and Maritime, Engineering and Entrepreneurship at Williamson.

The Class of 2014 received $72 million worth of college scholarships. In the spring of 2014, a total of 144 students were named AP Scholars for scoring high enough on at least three AP exams to earn college credit. Students in career-technical education programs earned 7,307 career credentials in 2014.

The school system was the first in Alabama to have all 90 of its schools meet the U.S. Healthier Schools Challenge by serving nutritious lunches and encouraging more physical activity.

Mobile County Public Schools has outstanding programs for students with special needs, including Augusta Evans Special School and the Southwest Alabama Regional School for the Deaf and Blind.

MCPSS has a top-notch infrastructure for technology, with very secure wireless Internet in all of its schools to support students using digital devices daily including laptops and tablets. All classrooms have interactive SMARTboards and students are being encouraged through a district-wide digital literacy program to use technology to research and complete projects and classroom activities.

The school system operates on a $669 million annual budget and has received near-perfect audits from the Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts for the last several years.

Mobile County Public Schools received a national award for its marketing campaign, "It Starts With Us." The district encourages everyone in the community - students, teachers, parents, taxpayers, business owners, community leaders - to be the "Us," to find out what the "It" means to them - academic excellence, workforce development, innovation, healthy living - and get involved.

History[edit]

Early[edit]

The current Mobile County Public School System can trace its beginnings to the Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, created by the Alabama Legislature through an act passed on January 10, 1826.[4] This was the first education board created in Alabama.[5]

Barton Academy in downtown Mobile.

The act to establish the board was introduced by Willoughby Barton, a legislator from Mobile. The first school building built by the board, Barton Academy, was named in his honor. It was built in the block between Government, Cedar, Conti, and Lawrence Streets, which was purchased by this first board for $2750 in 1830.[4] Lack of funding stalled progress on the project until an act was passed in the state legislature that allowed the commissioners to raise funds through a lottery. By early 1836 the board had managed to pull together $50,000 in lottery funds, a $15,000 municipal loan, and additional private donations with which to commence building a school. This included a large private donation from local millionaire Henry Hitchcock, who was also on the building committee. Construction commenced on February 13, 1836 and, after several delays, was finally completed in January 1839.[6]

Following completion of Barton Academy, the Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County then allowed the building to be used for private and denominational schools, with some funding appropriated to them by the commissioners. An act in 1846 allowed for taxes to be collected for the establishment of a free Methodist school by the commission. The commission was behind another act on February 9, 1852 that would have allowed the commission to sell the building, which was now in need of maintenance and repairs, and distribute the proceeds among the existing schools, if approved by the voters. The electorate rejected this and subsequently elected a new board of commissioners.[4]

After the election of the new board, the building was repaired and the system was reorganized. The building reopened as a public school in November 1852. The school was closed for the duration of the American Civil War. The Girls High School reopened in 1865, followed by the Boys High School in 1870. Both would continue at Barton until the opening of Murphy High School in 1926. It continued to serve as a school building until the 1960s when it was converted into the central office for the Mobile County Public School System. The school board relocated to a new central office complex in 2007, leaving the historic building vacant. The Barton Academy building was added to Alabama Historical Commission's "Places in Peril" list in 2009.[7]

In 2013, the Southern Poverty Law Center won a permanent settlement with the school district that prohibits suspending students for violating the school uniform policy.[1]

Desegregation[edit]

In 1963 three African-American students brought a case against the Mobile County School Board for being denied admission to Murphy High School.[8] The court ordered that the three students be admitted to Murphy for the 1964 school year, leading to the desegregation of Mobile County's school system. The Civil Rights Movement led to the end of legal racial segregation with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[8]

Post-desegregation[edit]

In 1983 there were allegations that the Mobile County school board deliberately ignored an injunction against prayer lead by teachers, but that year, Lewis F. Powell, a member of the United States Supreme Court, declined not to bring contempt proceedings against the district's board.[9]

In 1991 MCPSS was the largest school district in Alabama. In 1991 Governor of Alabama Guy Hunt announced that the state education budget would decrease by $145 million. Therefore the MCPSS administration prepared for a possible closure.[10]

In 2001 superintendent Harold W. Dodge proposed removing all extracurricular activities from MCPSS schools in order to save $1.3 million. This money funded supplemental salaries for people who do instruction for extracurricular activities, including American football programs.[11]

Student body[edit]

As of 2011 the county school system had 60,946 students, making it the largest school district in Alabama. This was a decrease of 916 students from the previous school year, with a decrease in 502 students in the traditional county schools. Much of the remaining population loss resulted from the termination of a contract with Alternatives Unlimited Inc., an outside company, to operate Drop Back In Academy. As of 2011 schools east of Interstate 65 usually had more severe decreases in their student bodies than schools west of the interstate.[12]

Schools[edit]

High[edit]

Murphy High School in Midtown Mobile.

There are currently 17 high schools operated by the MCPSS.[13]

Middle[edit]

There are currently 19 middle schools operated by the MCPSS.[13]

  • Alba (Bayou La Batre)
  • Burns (Mobile)
  • Calloway-Smith (Mobile)
  • Causey (Mobile))
  • Chastang (Mobile)
  • Clark-Shaw Magnet School (Mobile)
  • Denton (Mobile)
  • Dunbar Creative and Performing Arts Magnet School (Mobile)
  • Eanes (Mobile)
  • Grand Bay (Grand Bay)
  • Hankins (Theodore)
  • Lott (Citronelle)
  • Mobile County Training School (Prichard)
  • North Mobile County K-8th (Axis)
  • Phillips Preparatory (Mobile)
  • Pillans (Mobile)
  • Scarborough (Mobile)
  • Semmes (Semmes)
  • Washington (Toulminville)

Elementary[edit]

The Leinkauf School in the Leinkauf Historic District.

There are currently 53 elementary schools operated by the MCPSS.[13]

  • Alba (Bayou La Batre)
  • Allentown (Semmes)
  • Augusta Evans School K-12 (Mobile)
  • Belsaw/Mt Vernon School Pre K-8 (Mount Vernon)
  • Brazier (Mobile)
  • Breitling (Grand Bay)
  • Burroughs (Theodore)
  • Calcedeaver (Mount Vernon)
  • Castlen (Grand Bay)
  • Collier (Mobile)
  • Collins-Rhodes (Eight Mile)
  • Council Traditional School (Mobile)
  • Craighead (Mobile)
  • Dauphin Island (Dauphin Island)
  • Davis (Theodore)
  • Dawes 3-5 (Mobile)
  • Dixon (Irvington)
  • Dodge (Mobile)
  • E. R. Dickson (Mobile)
  • Eichold-Mertz Magnet School of Math, Science & Technology School(Mobile)
  • Fonde (Mobile)
  • Forest Hill (Mobile)
  • Gilliard (Mobile)
  • Grant (Prichard)
  • Griggs (Tillman's Corner)
  • Hall (Mobile)
  • Hollinger's Island (Hollinger's Island)
  • Holloway (Mobile)
  • Howard (Mobile)
  • Hutchens (Mobile)
  • Indian Springs (Eight Mile)
  • John Will (Mobile)
  • Just 4 Development Laboratory (Mobile)
  • Leinkauf (Mobile)
  • Mary B. Austin (Mobile)
  • Maryvale (Mobile)
  • McDavid-Jones (Citronelle)
  • Meadowlake (Mobile)
  • Morningside (Mobile)
  • O'Rourke (Mobile)
  • Old Shell Road Magnet (Mobile)
  • Orchard (Mobile)
  • Pearl Haskew (Irvington)
  • Robbins (Prichard)
  • Semmes (Semmes)
  • Shepard (Mobile)
  • Spencer-Westlawn (Mobile)
  • St. Elmo (Irvington)
  • Tanner Williams (Wilmer)
  • Taylor-White (Mobile)
  • Turner (Wilmer)
  • Whitley (Prichard)
  • Wilmer (Wilmer)

School board and administration[edit]

  • District 1: Mr. Douglas L. Harwell, Vice President/Commissioner
  • District 2: Mr. Don Stringfellow, Commissioner
  • District 3: Dr. Reginald Crenshaw, President/Commissioner
  • District 4: Tracie Roberson, Commissioner
  • District 5: Dr. Bill Foster, /Commissioner
  • Martha L. Peek, Superintendent

Former schools[edit]

Saraland Elementary School and Adams Middle School left the district in 2008; they are now operated by the Saraland Board of Education. Satsuma High School, Lee Primary and Lee Intermediate (Satsuma) left the district in 2012 and are a part of the Satsuma City School System. In 2012 Chickasaw voted to separate and now has the Chickasaw City Schools.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mobile County Public School System Office of Communication and Marketing
  2. ^ Profile.pdf - MCPSS information
  3. ^ - 2007-2008 Budget
  4. ^ a b c "Barton Academy, Government Street, Mobile, Mobile County, AL data pages". "Historic American Buildings Survey". Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  6. ^ Sledge, John S. (2009). The pillared city : Greek Revival Mobile. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. pp. 54–59. ISBN 978-0-8203-3020-4. 
  7. ^ "Places in Peril: Alabama’s Most Endangered Sites for 2009". Alabama Historical Commission. Retrieved 2009-11-26. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b Thomason, Michael. Mobile : the new history of Alabama's first city, pages 260–261. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8173-1065-7
  9. ^ Mirga, Tom. "Powell Declines To Declare Mobile Board in Contempt." Education Week. April 6, 1983. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  10. ^ Lawton, Millicent. "Ala.'s Largest District May Close After Budget Cut." Education Week. October 16, 1991. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  11. ^ Sack, Kevin. "Cash Crunch Imperils High School Football." The New York Times. February 27, 2001. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  12. ^ Philips, Rena Havner. "Mobile County school system sees dropping enrollment." Mobile Press-Register. Monday December 12, 2011. Retrieved on November 17, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c "Schools". Mobile County Public Schools. Mobile County Public School System. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ Philips, Rena Havner. "Chickasaw, Satsuma school officials: Today is a day for the history books." Mobile Press-Register. Thursday April 5, 2012. Retrieved on November 17, 2012.