Curry Middle again receives prestigious 'Lighthouse' status

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 12/15/19

CURRY — For the second time in four years, Curry Middle School has been named a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School.

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Curry Middle again receives prestigious 'Lighthouse' status

Posted

CURRY — For the second time in four years, Curry Middle School has been named a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School.

The school first earned the distinction in 2015 through the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence program, a nonprofit that serves to improve school culture and provide long-term resources for success.

After an intensive review process that included surveys, interviews and data, Curry Middle was notified on Nov. 11 of receiving Lighthouse status for a second time. The school will be honored today in Orlando, Florida, for being named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

Only 13 middle schools in Alabama have earned Lighthouse status, and only three have received the award two or more times. Curry Middle School is one of those schools.

"The Blue Ribbon Schools recognition signifies to me the sincere work and what the education means here to the teachers, as well as the students," Principal Dr. Barry Wilson said. "It's not just about books, it's about the experience."

To be eligible for renewal, Blue Ribbon Schools looks at student focus and support; school organization and culture; challenging standards and curriculum; active teaching and learning; technology integration; professional community; leadership and vitality; school, family and community partnerships; and indicators of success.

Wilson said the school's club involvement was one of the most complimented efforts recognized by Blue Ribbon Schools.

Of Curry Middle's 364 students, 279 participate in a club — nearly 80 percent of the student body. 

"Our clubs here are very active. One of our strongest indicators on the survey result was student involvement," Wilson said.

The school's Beta Club is one of the most active school groups and is comprised of 130 members. Beta Club sponsor Lisa Hammack said the Blue Ribbon Schools program was impressed with the club's many service-learning opportunities.

"One of the things that we did was become more active in the community with service," Hammack said.

The club has worked closely with an area facility for senior citizens and has hosted a number of charitable drives.

Curry Middle's JACKETS (Joining Academics, Character and Kindness for Excellence) groups is a new effort that was highly commended by Blue Ribbon Schools as well.

Wilson said JACKETS serves to put students into small groups where they can discuss anything that's on their mind. It also serves to hold students accountable and provide a supportive atmosphere.

"It seems to be going very well for us," Wilson said. "The kids look forward to it." 

Students Jacob Britton and Addi Aaron said they have enjoyed taking part in JACKETS.

"There's such a little group, and we can talk about whatever we want and feel comfortable. It's like a little family," Aaron said.

Britton added, "If you have any problems, home life or getting bullied, you can get more comfortable with your teachers and trust them more."

Schools are reassessed every five years to determine the renewal of Lighthouse status.

Curry Middle School started participating in the Blue Ribbon Schools program in October 2011 and was named a Points of Light School in 2012. Two years later in 2014, Curry Middle was named a Beacon School.

Since August 2015, Curry Middle has had the Lighthouse status — the highest achievement bestowed by Blue Ribbon Schools.