On Wednesday, the Annual State of the Schools address was held. Superintendents from Huntsville City Schools, Madison City Schools and Madison County Schools came together for the superintendent panel.
The three superintendents talked about a variety of topics ranging from poverty levels in their districts, to some proud accomplishments and challenges.
Ryan Hankins, with the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama opened the address with some of the research behind the state-wide report card.
Last week, the report cards came out for the state and school districts in Alabama.
PARCA is responsible for the research data from the state-wide education report card.
Statewide, the education system was graded a C. That means the grade was around a 60 out of 120 total. However, our area also has three of the highest performing school districts in the state. That success is attributed to rapid growth, enrollment numbers and a low poverty rate overall.
The superintendent panel was moderated by a representative from PARCA.
The Superintendents answered a number of questions about their districts, giving insight to their missions and goals for a successful future.
"One challenge that we are working on every day is recruiting and retaining teachers, I think the path to greatness, that path is built on high quality teachers, we have those in place but we need more and we need to stop our teacher turn over," said Dr. Matt Akin, Superintendent from Huntsville City Schools.
"We grow about 300 students a year in Madison City, and we have for the last 20 years, and so our biggest challenge is where are we going to put them all? Even though we are doing a 10 million dollar addition at Liberty Middle, we're going to run out of space again within a few years," said Robby Parker, Superintendent from Madison City Schools.
"One of the challenges is we want to expand Pre-K to offer it to 100%, right now we're offering it to about 60% of eligible students, we dont have local funding to be able to provide those programs so we're kind of requiring on grants," said Superintendent Matt Massey, with Madison County Schools.
One topic all three superintendents agreed on was the grading system of the state-wide report cards. They believe it isn't a fair representation of a district, based on a letter grade, but that it was more of a grading on the students than the district.