Paul W. Bryant High School named CLAS Banner School
January 18, 2017
COTTONDALE, Ala. — Paul W. Bryant High School has been selected as a 2016 Banner School by the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).
The award is given each year to ten schools or programs that serve as outstanding educational models for other schools in Alabama. For this year’s awards, over 150 schools applied for this prestigious honor.
Bryant High was named a CLAS Banner School for the implementation of its College and Career Ready program which includes Bryant’s Commitment Ceremony. The program encourages members of the senior class to make post-graduation confirmed commitments before they finish high school, and culminates in a ceremony, which honors students who have met the requirements to attend by having been officially accepted to a college, the military, workforce or an internship after high school.
“This distinction is possible because of the hard work and commitment of our teachers and students,” said Dr. Linda Harper, principal at Paul W. Bryant High School.
“We set out to ensure that every senior class left our campus with a post-secondary plan,” Harper said. “We believe that our students are entitled to this. Our program is rooted in the principle that improved graduation rates is not enough. College and career options for students from every community and demographic must also improve.”
This steady focus on students’ success and students’ futures has achieved great results in just a short time. Paul W. Bryant has seen its graduation rate increase to 91 percent for the 2014-2015 school year. Furthermore, in the first year of the program, 97 percent of the 2015 graduating class received an official commitment to post-graduation plans. In 2016, 100 percent of students who graduated from the school had post-graduation commitments.
Kayla Hamlett served as senior class president in 2015 at Bryant High. Her class was the first to take part in the Commitment Ceremony.
“The Commitment Ceremony was a powerful program,” Hamlett said. “It challenged my peers and me to reach for academic excellence and go above the expectations that our teachers required.”
“I am glad our school was the first in the state to have it. I wish I could relive that moment.”
“I am very proud of the Stampede family,” Harper said, referring to the school by their mascot.
“The tradition continues to improve because our teachers and leaders have so much compassion for our students. They truly care about our students’ futures.”
The CLAS Banner School program was created in 2001 to recognize schools in Alabama that showcase outstanding programs and service to students.
Harper has received the distinction for three programs that she has overseen: Oak Hill School’s Special Education (STARS Academy) programs, Success Prep Academy and Bryant’s Commitment Ceremony.
Bryant High and the other award recipients will be recognized at an awards luncheon on March 8 in Prattville.