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SWHS receives third ‘A’ on school report card

Sweet Water High School faculty and students recently celebrated receiving an ‘A’ on the school report card. This year marks the third year in a row that the state has sent out such rankings, and the school has never fallen below on ‘A’ on the report card since its inception three years ago and has routinely been the highest score in Marengo County.

The school’s highest mark is a 100 on a 100-point scale in the indicator Academic Growth. Academic Achievement, Graduation Rate and College and Career Readiness follow with scores of 85 percent, 88 percent and 86 percent of students respectively. Chronic Absenteeism also improved to just 10 percent of students from the 21 percent the year before.

The only score that actually fell was that for Graduation Rates, from 98 percent to 88 percent of students. As such, Williams said it is an area of concern and would be a focus to improve for the next report card.

The other indicators have been maintained by carefully observing data and by students and teachers routinely meeting the high standards set by the school.

Williams said the groundwork had been laid before her by her predecessors, and the school’s culture for hard work and excellence has existed long before the school report cards.

“At the end of the day – like I tell everybody else – it just goes back to great teaching,” Williams said. She describes the environment at SWHS as family-like, with teachers putting everything they have into their work.

Teachers and students alike are held to high standards of hard work and excellence, be it professionally or academically.

Students are taught with a “bell-to-bell” and engaged learning mentality and are encouraged by teachers, coaches and other extracurricular advisors to be well-rounded students and not let one activity slip in favor of the other.

The teachers themselves are also expected to be continuous learners and are constantly developing and improving their teaching skills. Students Jaland Lewis-Horton and Kayli Walker said that seeing their teachers consistently grow as educators inspires him to have the same drive as a student.

“They put in a lot of time and help us out in school, during school and in the morning,” Jaland said. Kayli added that “They’re great teachers, and it inspires us to be great students.”

The teachers at the school are aware of the impact that their own professional growth has on the students. Social Studies teacher Leigh Griffith noted that “The energy that we give is the energy that they give back to us.”

Third-grade teacher Tanya Williams also said SWHS’ smaller size helps the students connect and build relationships with their teachers, which encourage students to engage and be invested with what they learn in school.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, November 20 issue of the Demopolis Times.)