Words and Images by Jenny Lynn Davis
Bankhead Middle School stands as a shining example of educational excellence and innovation. As the district’s sole Cognia STEM-Certified School, Bankhead has committed to providing students with a well-rounded education focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Notably, Bankhead is the first middle school in the state to achieve certification as a Marzano Level 1 High Reliability School, highlighting their dedication to creating a reliable and effective learning environment. The school’s exceptional performance on the state report card further emphasizes their consistently high standards and commitment to academic excellence.
Principal Amber Freeman and Assistant Principal Amber Parsons recently highlighted the following accomplishments.
One of Bankhead Middle School’s recent accomplishments was their participation in the University of Alabama’s Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA). During the May Board of Education Meeting, the school was recognized for its outstanding involvement in this initiative, which brings parents and educators together to collaborate on school improvement goals. Bankhead’s PTLA project, a Parent Information night, successfully engaged parents through informative breakout sessions, empowering them with essential knowledge about the school and fostering a stronger partnership between home and school.
CLAS Banner School
Bankhead Middle School’s commitment to educational excellence has also been acknowledged through the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) Banner School Award. Created to identify and celebrate schools with exceptional academic programs that serve as models across Alabama, this prestigious recognition is a testament to Bankhead’s innovative practices. Out of the numerous outstanding schools in the State Board districts, Bankhead became the first in the Walker County system to receive the CLAS Banner School designation since 2007. Their submission showcased a remarkable robotics program that has garnered numerous accolades over the past 11 years, making Bankhead a beacon of inspiration for other schools seeking to replicate their success.
Bankhead Middle School’s robotics program has made significant strides in the competitive arena. The program’s participation in the VEX Robotics World Championship held in Dallas, Texas, allowed the school’s talented teams to showcase their skills among representatives from the United States and 43 other countries. The Mighty Medusas, an all-girls team from Bankhead, achieved remarkable success by clinching the Design Award, the second-highest judged award at the event. This achievement highlights the talent and dedication of Bankhead’s students, and affirms the school’s commitment to nurturing future innovators and problem solvers.
Bankhead Middle School’s accomplishments extend to athletics, as the archery team excelled in regional, state, and national tournaments. The team’s remarkable performance in the regional tournament secured them the first-place position. Garrison Gross was the top middle school male archer, and Karissa Tittle was the top middle school female archer. Their outstanding performance propelled them to the state tournament, where they secured a commendable 14th place out of 35 teams, ultimately advancing to the national level. At the national tournament, Bankhead Middle School’s archery team ranked 205th, showcasing their dedication, skill, and sportsmanship on a broader stage.
In this year’s Alabama Consortium for Technology in Education (ACTE) competition, the tech team showcased their talent and skills at regional and state levels.
Notable achievements at the regional level include:
- Nathan Roberts: 2nd Place-Individual Digital Game
- Zarionna Richardson: 1st Place- Individual Digital Art
- Zarionna Richardson & Chloe Barnette: 2nd Place – Group Digital Game
- Stone Cain & Westing Colburn 1st Place- Group Digital Game
Notable achievements at the state level include:
- Zarionna Richardson – 3rd Place-Individual Digital Art
- Nathan Roberts – 2nd Place- Individual Digital Game
Parsons says these achievements are, among many others, indicative of the strong work ethic possessed by the students and faculty at Bankhead Middle School.
“We have a culture of continuous learners within our faculty and staff, which is a great model for our students. We are constantly striving to do better and be better in everything we do,” she says. “It’s important to us that we give our students as many opportunities and a wide array of opportunities to experience doing different things before they go on to high school and start focusing on the next steps of their lives.” WL