Bay District Schools to Follow Alignment Nashville

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PANAMA CITY -- Bay District schools are taking some tips from a program called Alignment Nashville to help improve student achievement.

The non-profit's approach considers not only a child’s educational needs but also their health and home lives. School officials say the approach will be beneficial.

More than 800 homeless students are served by Bay County District schools. And 57% of all students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch.

Superintendent Bill Husfelt said, "Poverty is such a big issue for so many children today. And the question is how do you get around the poverty issue and help them reach their potential and it’s something that schools can't do by themselves. It has to be a community effort."

In an effort help children from impoverished backgrounds succeed, a handful of local education stakeholders visited a unique program called Alignment Nashville.

The Alignment Nashville model focuses on a number of factors influencing a child's ability to learn.

They include a combination of health and wellness, college and career readiness, parent-family engagement and social services.
Alignment Nashville founder Sydney Rogers says the community works collectively to improve a child's entire life, not just their education.

Alignment Nashville Founder Sydney Rogers said, "There are so many people and good will and things that are happening that are good but when you bring them all together you get there real power. And it’s about bringing all of those good things in a community together and not doing away with any of them but bringing them together work together collectively.”

Local leaders think the collaborative community approach makes sense.

"We just know education is bigger than, than just the teachers and the schools and the district office. Education is a community effort as is children's health and social issues. And so this is a community issue,” said Husfelt.

Husfelt says Bay District schools will start implementing the Alignment Nashville approach immediately.