BY SHELLY GABLE || PHOTOS COURTESY OF BIBB CO. SCHOOL DISTRICT || MAR 2017
Alexander II opened in 1901 and, in 1979, became Georgia’s first magnet school. It comes with no surprise that this pioneering school is award-winning itself and has produced many award-winning students in grades PreK–5. “Dedicated staff and outstanding and highly-qualified teachers combined with families who are highly engaged with their children’s education make Alexander II the excellent school it has become today,” says principal Bertha Caldwell, now in her third year of leading the students of Alexander II Magnet School.
Diversity is a part of the definition of a magnet school, and Alexander II prides itself on a learning environment enriched with students from all over Bibb County and many different backgrounds. It is a school of choice, with a special focus on science and math. In fact, the school is currently going through the process of becoming a fully-certified STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) facility. All of the students participate in weekly, STEM-centered activities, and the school also offers extra-curricular STEM opportunities.
Already on par with excellence, Alexander II is pushing ahead with even more updates and innovation. All classrooms received Clear Touch interactive panels last year, and the school partners with DRIVE, Inc., to build upon the positive climate within and encourage students to seek greater self-directed learning skills. They are a part of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports), a program established by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Special Education Programs to encourage a positive environment socially, emotionally, and academically inside of each school, especially for those students with disabilities.
Improvements to the campus will continue throughout the summer, including many upgrades to the building. Fall 2017 will kick off with a fresh playground, new furniture throughout the school, and renovated restrooms and gym. Ms. Caldwell, who has extensive experience in teaching and administration, is spearheading these and many other projects at Alexander II. She says her mission is, “to help students to be their best selves, to not only prepare them to be college or career ready, but prepare them to meet life’s challenges with confidence and zest.” She adds, “One of my favorite quotes comes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as he reminds us, ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.’”
Accredited by AdVancEd, the curriculum meets the Georgia Standards of Excellence in reading, English language arts, math, science, and social studies and is designed to develop critical thinking skills through the exploration of essential concepts and standards. Advanced learning experiences are provided with an emphasis on STEM. Creative, hands-on projects and scientific investigations are combined to help students master academic goals and problem-solving skills.
Students have competed at the national level for the National History Bee; the Robotics Team has competed as high as the Super Regionals, earning Core Values trophies as well; eight projects completed by nine students placed in Science Fair regionals; one student placed first in the district Math 24 competition in 2016; media festival projects have gone on to state competitions; one fourth grader progressed to state with a written piece entered in the Young Georgia Authors’ competition; and the Quiz Bowl Team placed third last year.
The school has earned the Let’s Move Active Schools Award for the nation’s top physical education and physical activities district for K-12 schools, along with the Activity Works grant to support physical activity.
It also received a grant from Lowe’s, which provided STEM kits, iPods, and computers for teachers.
Alexander II has been twice recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, has received the Silver Award in Excellence in Education through the Georgia Department of Education thrice, and is a four-time Georgia School of Excellence recipient.
Since 2012, the Georgia Department of Education has designated Alexander II Magnet School as a Reward School–Highest Performing School, which identifies the school as a Title I school in the state with the highest absolute performance over three years for all students on the statewide assessments.
Lastly, the school earned a four-star rating on Climate, an overall 96.4 score, an “A” report card from the state of Georgia on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) in 2016. #
Alexander II Magnet School
1156 College Street
Macon, GA 31201