Three DeKalb County Schools were named among the top 50 schools in the state after having the most improvement in third grade reading test scores last year. The state will give each school a $20,000 check to recognize their growth in reading proficiency.
Fyffe Elementary School was just one of three schools in DeKalb County to receive the state award that they never even knew existed.
"I knew our scores had increased but we had no idea that they were giving out an award like this," Kathy Butts, a third grade teacher, said.
The Alabama State Department of Education only is giving the award surrounding the third grade, Butts has an idea of why.
"When they enter third grade, our big top thing is comprehension, and that's probably why I think the focus is more on third grade," Butts said.
Last year, third graders across the state took a reading assessment at the beginning of the school year and one at the end as a way to gauge the growth throughout the year. Fyffe Assistant Principal Tim McCollum wants to put that money back into the third grade classrooms.
"On technology and equipment, most likely some more Chromebooks for our third graders to be able to use," McCollum said.
With the start of the new school year just getting underway, the third grade teachers have their eyes on repeating.
"It's kind of a challenge now, we want to look at what the kids are doing right now and continue where left off last year," Kristi Underwood said.
Alongside Fyffe, both Henagar and Sylvania also received the award. An award ceremony will be held on September 13, where Governor Kay Ivey will congratulate all of the schools.