PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - Schools in and around our area are gearing up to welcome back students for a brand new school year. Each year brings its own changes for schools, but for Pike Road Schools they’re set to make history.
For Pike Road Schools the 2019-2020 school year is going to mark a huge milestone as this will be the first year PRS will be a full school system.
Jennifer Michaels is a proud parent of a Pike Road High School incoming junior and freshman.
“They have done wonderful,” said Michaels. “We have had teachers who pour their love and support on all of our students; the administration has been phenomenal.”
As President of the Parent Teacher Student Association for the high school, Michaels says what sets this year apart is the excitement surrounding the first ever PRS senior class.
"We have a lot of new traditions with the graduating class. From parking lot spots for seniors to a powder puff game to homecoming activities," said Michaels.
“Right now we are at 105 and that is about what this group has been since they started the eighth grade,” said Dr. Chuck Ledbetter, PRS Superintendent.
Ledbetter says the staff has been working behind the scenes to ensure success as a full system.
"We are continuing to add more AP courses, more career tech and more opportunities for students to be really involved in hands on learning through internships," said Ledbetter.
During the 2018/2019 school year PRS had 125 certified positions. Twenty-two of those positions have been replaced due to turn over and more than 16 new certified positions have been added due to growth.
“We have only had two teachers leave and go to other River Region school systems. While we have had teachers leave and that is part of this business most of them have been because their spouses have moved,” said Ledbetter. “We have new teacher units because we have a growth rate aside from our additional grade growth of about 7 percent a year.”
And with the deepest pool of applicants he has seen while in education Ledbetter says this made the choice difficult.
“The hard part right now is narrowing it down to one quality educator because we have a pool of quality educators of good people we would like to hire them all, but couldn’t,” he said.
As PRS gears up for this historical milestone they thank the community.
“This is a community that is excited and committed to quality education,” Ledbetter said.
Now Ledbetter says another component for PRS success has been 100 percent enrollment of parents in the PTSA for the elementary, middle and high school. He says the school system does have a five year strategic plan in place and are focused on implementing.
As it stands right now the total student enrollment based on projections will be more than 2,000. The first day of school for Pike Road Schools is Aug. 21.