Childersburg High School
Childersburg High School is a rural public high school located in the small rural town of Childersburg, Alabama, directly off Highway 280 and thirty miles south of Birmingham. CHS serves the communities of Childersburg, Bon Air, and sections of Alpine and Sylacauga. Childersburg High was established in 1923; the original building is no longer standing, and the current building was finished in 2000. In 2022, CHS underwent yet another form of construction including physical, instructional, and cultural redesigns. The city has suffered numerous economic downturns over the past 20 years, including the closing of its second-largest employer, Avondale Mills, and a severe decrease in the workforce at its largest employer, Resolute Industries. The population has lost 800 people from the 2000 census to our current population of 4,689. Childersburg High School is one of seventeen schools in the Talladega County School System and serves approximately 350 students in grades 9-12.
Childersburg High School Vision:
Our vision is to prepare and motivate our students for a rapidly changing world that is ready for a career or for college when they graduate. We use a global perspective that is rooted in character and core values of honesty, loyalty, perseverance, and compassion. The student's perspective is reinforced through project-based learning and facilitated through a 1-1 technology initiative. Students will have success for today and be prepared for tomorrow.
Childersburg Motto: Inspire, Serve, Lead
Implement standards-based instruction and maintain a professional collaborative culture to enhance achievement in a student-centered environment.
Utilize technology in impactful and authentic ways.
Increase school/home communication to support student learning and achievement.
In 2019, Childersburg High School began the work to obtain STEM certification. The staff completed a self-assessment through the STEM standards and indicators. After the self-assessment of Childersburg High School, we developed a plan to maintain our strengths and correct our areas of weakness.
Every CHS school year, we begin our journey with TigerFest. This event welcomes parents and students to the Childersburg High School football field. At this event, CHS partners with all the local schools, local businesses, and the Childersburg Parks and Recreation Department to provide a unique opportunity for parents and students. They are given the opportunity to participate in STEM activities with the teachers, students, and upcoming students. This positive environment provides an excellent transition into the school year at CHS. Our goal is to create an environment where educators are continuously learning. In response to that goal, we created the Childersburg High School Xplore T.E.A.M. to serve as our PLC. We divided our staff into two teams; one team consisted of veteran teachers and one team consisted of inexperienced teachers. The PLC served as a gateway to integrating STEM into our daily instruction and project-based learning initiatives. Xplore allows our teachers to become teacher leaders through leading PD for their peers and establishing collaborative expectations throughout the school. The leadership of Talladega County in providing STEM-specific PD for their educators via STEAM By Design is also a gateway to rigorous and deeper exploration through Xplore. Our school is provided a Google-certified digital learning specialist (DLP) to lead the STEM-specific PD, co-teach lessons, and work with teachers on cycles of 4 weeks. The Google certification allows the entire faculty to benefit from that knowledge. This school year our DLP has led the faculty into deeper integration of STEM through our “Working On Our Growl” level-up program. The DLP for Childersburg also leads our club Girls Who Code and take home STEM challenges. The extension from the classroom to the club provides an opportunity for deeper understanding with students specifically interested in a STEM career.
Talladega County and Childersburg High School have integrated project-based learning as a core principle for the past decade. Professional Development from the district level and in Childersburg High School focuses on STEM, 1-1 personalized learning, project-based learning, blended learning, and digital tools. Each school year teachers create, at a minimum, four project-based learning lessons with the requirement that one should be a community-based PBL and one a cross-curricular PBL. Childersburg High School serves as the career tech hub for the southern portion of Talladega County Schools and that affords us the opportunity to provide college and career readiness to every student. Through various partnerships, CHS is able to extend the PD and offer in-class instructional partnerships. AMSTI is a major partner for CHS. They provide tools and lessons for our science and math departments and co-teach lessons. The partnership provides hands-on lab equipment and inquiry-based explorations for the use of the equipment.
Childersburg High School not only begins the year with TigerFest but we have also created a program to increase parental and community involvement called Journey Forward Together. CHS invites parents and local businesses to visit our classes and see lessons. This program is an eye-opening experience for every parent that participates. So many parents do not understand the changes that have taken place in education over the past decade. The program is also proactive in building a trusting relationship with our families. At the end of each visit, we sit down with parents and business partners to discuss ways to improve and strengthen our partnership. Childersburg has unique problems with a high poverty rate and a large portion of single-parent homes. In addition, in the aftermath of COVID-19, CHS saw a huge uptick in apathy within our school. We created a program called CHS Families to help address these issues in a proactive method. The 6th period has been set aside for “family time” on specified days of the month. Teachers volunteer to create school-wide lessons that focus on STEM and character education. Once per 9 weeks, we have a “family celebration” in which teachers utilize their 6th period for students to participate in games, fun activities, and STEM competitions within the family group. CHS also uses the 6th period to create and utilize a digital student portfolio. A digital portfolio is useful for students to showcase their learning and growth. The digital portfolio encourages students to document their work, reflections, and learning progress. This allows them to see their growth over time and share their work with others. The digital portfolio also helps students build technology skills and become more familiar with digital tools. The students will track their progress over a four-year period and culminating in a student-led conference their senior year in the presence of their family and faculty.
Childersburg created a comprehensive curriculum plan, mapped out the key learning objectives for each STEM subject, and determined how to integrate them into the existing curriculum. Childersburg established hands-on learning and the concept that STEM subjects are best taught through hands-on experiences and real-world applications. Through the incorporation of projects, labs, and simulations students are able to engage with STEM concepts in an interactive and meaningful way. In order to foster collaboration and teamwork, classes often involve group work and create opportunities for students to work together in pairs or small groups. CHS emphasizes real-world connections and students understand the real-world relevance of STEM subjects to their daily lives and future careers. Through collaborative efforts, CHS works to connect classwork to real-world problems and encourages students to consider how they can use STEM to make a positive impact on their communities. CHS students and teachers use technology, integrate technology into STEM lessons and make use of online resources and digital tools to enhance learning and provide students with new ways to explore and understand STEM concepts. CHS students are self-directed learners that evaluate and adjust. Teachers also continuously assess the effectiveness of the STEM curriculum and make changes and improvements as necessary to ensure students are engaged and making progress.