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Alabaster City named as a District of Distinction

magazine cover Press Release

District Administration names 24 more ‘Districts of Distinction’

Innovative districts nationwide honored in DA’s biannual award program

Trumbull, Conn. – [July 1, 2016] — In its July edition, District Administration magazine has honored 24 more school districts as Districts of Distinction. This is the sixth round of honorees in this national recognition program, which began in November 2014.

Districts of Distinction was created by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work. Honorees were selected based on the quantifiable results and replicability of their initiatives. The July 2016 Districts of Distinction honorees were selected by the magazine’s editors from numerous nominations.

The 24 school systems honored in this round of Districts of Distinction, from 16 states, have launched programs that range from partnering with outside organizations for career training to providing healthy breakfasts in classrooms to facilitate learning.

Alabaster City Schools was one of the 24 school systems nationwide chosen to receive this honor.

In 2013, Alabaster City Schools separated from Shelby County Schools to become its own district with 6,000 students—including 9 percent who need special education services, 1,000 who speak English as a second language, and nearly 40 percent who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Prior to separation the graduation rate had been near 89 percent, but in the new district, there was a higher percentage of students at risk of not graduating.

An analysis of transcripts showed that students were most vulnerable at the middle school level, so the district launched initiatives targeting this population. A summer program provides an opportunity for students who have been held back to work on standards they did not master during the school year—so that they can rejoin their grade.

Another program allows students to recover credits at their own pace to graduate on time. Graduation coaches also monitor at-risk students and Warrior, a therapy dog, provides support.

The graduation rate in the district is at 98 percent, with daily attendance over 96 percent at every school.

“What distinguishes these districts is developing exemplary ways to support students in the educational process beyond traditional classroom lessons,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “We hope our readers are inspired by the innovation of these honorees to create successful initiatives in their own districts.”

To view a full list of honorees and to learn how to apply for future rounds of Districts of Distinction, visit


About District Administration

District Administration provides K12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management, through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendent Summits. For more information, visit