Out of only five schools recognized nationally, two of Intel Corporation’s Schools of Distinction for 2012 are in Alabama; George Hall Elementary School in Mobile County and Legacy Elementary School in Madison City.
For its innovation in teaching mathematics, George Hall stood out to Intel as a leader in helping students “make real-world connections and engage in authentic problem solving.”
“The results of George Hall’s transformation are staggering: Whereas only 30 percent of students reached proficiency in math eight years ago, 96 percent of fourth graders achieved proficiency in 2011,” as stated in the Intel announcement.
Legacy Elementary is in the Madison City system. Intel selected it because of its innovation in science, citing the “inquiry-based, student-centered, and technology-infused” work around its outdoor learning laboratory. Its unique hands-on approach to its science curriculum has resulted in over 90 percent of its 5th graders achieving science proficiency for three consecutive years.
George Hall has been held up many times recently for its demonstration of beating the odds. With demographics that often present the greatest challenges for schools, George Hall is located in an urban, low-income and crime-plagued neighborhood. Out of its approximate 500-student body of pre-k to 5th graders, 99 percent are classified minority and 98 percent qualify for free-reduced lunch.
Its lead math teacher, Meghan Everett, states in her bio on her own Scholastic blog, “I strive to find different, engaging ways to use technology all the time. We record plays and perform them as puppet shows, write and edit mock newscasts from the past, and learn about geometry through Kandinsky paintings. … Math and science come alive through hands-on experiments.”
With a “strong love for art and technology,” Everett began her teaching career at George Hall after receiving a Master’s in Elementary Education, and has been dedicated to the school and its phenomenal learning culture ever since. She was mentored by one of Alabama’s Teachers of the Year, became the 4th grade-level chair, and is the Youth in Engineering coordinator.
Regarding her class of 9 and 10 year olds, she said, “We have fun but we also know how to work hard.”
George Hall, Legacy and the three other Schools of Distinction were honored in September at the Intel Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. The other schools are: Ossining High School, Ossining, New York received Intel’s Star Innovator Award, and was recognized for innovation in science; Technology Access Foundation Academy, Kent, WA, was recognized in the middle school mathematics category; School of Science/Engineering Magnet, Dallas, TX, was recognized in the high school mathematics category; and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School, Philadelphia, PA, was recognized in the middle school science category.