Education

Birmingham-Southern president says he’ll do everything possible to keep the college open

Birmingham-Southern College, a private institution, is asking the state to help bail it out after financial troubles. School President Daniel Coleman shared with WBHM what he sees as the path ahead for the college.

An old school in Birmingham’s Bush Hills is now an urban farm. Residents are thinking bigger

The Bush Hills Community Garden and Urban Farm grows truckloads of produce each year that’s given to area residents free of charge. In addition, the old elementary school on the property will soon be home to a teaching kitchen and community center.

Taliban begins to enforce education ban, leaving Afghan women with tears and anger

Teachers report security forces barging into classrooms and shouting at girls to go home, while the international community swiftly condems the Taliban's move.

Students and faculty nervous about Birmingham-Southern’s financial stress, possible closing

Students, alumni and faculty of Birmingham-Southern College are nervous after school officials revealed the campus could close as early as next year. The private college is now asking for $37 million in public money, most of it from the state, to keep the doors open.

Private Alabama college seeks bailout, warning it may close

State legislators warn that Birmngham-Southern College may close within months without money from the state and county.

Recorded state government meetings available through new League of Women Voters channel

The Alabama Channel will capture and save live video recordings of legislative meetings and make them available to the public online and on demand.

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Birmingham City Council approves violence-reduction effort for city high schools

The program involves community mentors, called “coaches,” meeting with groups of at-risk students twice a week.

City officials want parents to combat gun violence. Community leaders say it’s not that simple

Officials point to parents and the need for strong community networks to stop gun violence in Birmingham. They say it takes a village. But it’s not just the people in charge saying that, it’s also kids, activists, and the parents themselves.

Teens say Birmingham’s gun violence takes a heavy toll

At least 11 students in Birmingham have died due to gun violence since the beginning of the year, and their peers say the ongoing issue causes their mental health to suffer.

Childhood literacy program to expand after Birmingham approves funding

The $1 million will help Birmingham Talks, more than triple its reach to 3,500 students across all 99 neighborhoods over the next three years.

How one small town is teaching English to kids of immigrants

Russellville, with large numbers of Hispanic immigrants, is using federal COVID-19 relief money for an experiment to serve students who are still learning English. They are hiring and certifying more local, Spanish-speaking staff.

New aviation charter school aims to diversify the cockpit

Since the pandemic began, the aviation industry is down two-million workers and those who remain are overwhelmingly white. One new charter school in Bessemer hopes to address both issues by preparing diverse students for jobs in aviation.

School resource officers turn to mental health to make kids safer

Parents’ school safety concerns carry more weight this year after the mass shooting in May at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. School resource officers in Hoover are adjusting by placing a greater emphasis on mental health.

New aviation high school in Bessemer aims to help students soar

At the Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School, students, parents and teachers are excited as they prepare for the school’s take off on Monday.

Some 3rd graders in local schools could be held back under new law 

This is the first school year that third graders who do not read at grade level by the end of the school year must be held back in that grade, rather than passed on to fourth grade. The Alabama Literacy Act was passed several years ago, but its implementation was delayed because of the pandemic.

How one Birmingham custodian preps for the first day of school

When the kids are away, the custodial and maintenance staff in schools work all summer long. One custodian told WBHM about what it takes to keep the kids happy and healthy as they trade sunshine for fluorescent lights.

Food is more than what’s on the plate for this Birmingham urban farmer

Fernando Colunga says it’s important to understand how food is grown and the culture it comes from. He’s a farming and cooking instructor at Jones Valley Teaching Farm in Birmingham and is passionate about teaching the significance of food to young people.

Birmingham awards diplomas to students who died before graduation

Not every student who starts school lives to graduate. It’s estimated nearly 2,000 children and teens die from gun violence every year in the United States. This week Birmingham City Schools awarded diplomas to the families of some of those lost students.

What do Birmingham students think about race, college, even periods? Listen to these podcasts

WBHM’s education reporter Kyra Miles, along with two Report for America colleagues at al.com, worked with students at Birmingham’s Ramsay High School to create podcasts.

How will Avis Williams lead New Orleans Public Schools? Look to her work in Selma

Avis Williams transformed Selma, Alabama’s schools during her five years as superintendent. Now, she’s set to lead New Orleans’ all-charter school system.

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Some teachers and LGBTQ families feel censored by Alabama’s “Don’t Say Gay” law

Alabama passed its own so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law in April following states like Florida. It bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in K-5 classrooms.

Lavender Celebration honors LGBTQ students at UAB

Lavender Graduations, or Lavender Celebrations, are ceremonies that honor LGBTQ college graduates and their accomplishments. UAB has hosted an annual Lavender Celebration since 2017, but this year’s took on new meaning with new laws targeting transgender students.

New report shows math proficiency continues to lag in Alabama

This week, officials released an update to the annual Kids Count Data Book which measures the well-being of kids in Alabama. Advocates are hopeful spending on children's healthcare and education recently approved by state lawmakers will improve indicators.

In New Orleans, students are using Anne Frank’s story to teach each other about injustice

"In Quarantine with Anne Frank,” helps students learn to talk to each other about discrimination.

Educators, psychologists say attending school at home hampers students’ development

Roughly 70% of students at Birmingham City Schools ranked below their grade level in math, and 40% of students ranked below their grade level in reading.

Alabama’s ‘ultimate school choice’ bill gets complicated when considering race and poverty

Parents could get about $5,600 per kid in state money to use for other schooling options. The proposal is currently in a legislative study committee. But experts told WBHM school choice brings up concerns around equity.

Vestavia Hills schools and city face a lawsuit for allegedly withholding public information

The Vestavia Hill City Schools along with the superintendent and the city face a lawsuit alleging they’re improperly withholding public information on COVID-19 masking and safety protocols. The lawsuit was filed by two parents last month.

Mississippi’s plan to stop Alabama from stealing its teachers? Pay them thousands more

As Mississippi lawmakers plot how to keep more teachers in the state, educators warn the state’s bill targeting critical race theory could drive them away.

How a Birmingham art educator makes art feel accessible and inclusive

Angie May wants art to reach everyone who visits the Birmingham Museum of Art. As the associate director in learning and engagement, she heads inclusive and innovative initiatives to open art history to younger generations.

Jewish family faces death threats after complaining about Nazi salute performed in class

A teacher at Mountain Brook High School allegedly led students in a salute that mimics how Nazis raised their arms in World War II. A Jewish student in the class complained and his family says they’re now receiving death and arson threats.

After bomb threats, Southern HBCU leaders discuss how to move forward: ‘We can’t cave’

Historically Black colleges and universities in multiple states, including Alabama, have received bomb threats this month.

Birmingham teachers stage sickout due to COVID frustrations

Some Birmingham City Schools employees staged a sickout this week to bring attention to their concerns with how COVID-19 is being dealt with in their schools.