FOLEY – A Foley High School program that improves student academics, attendance and behavior has received regional recognition and is being considered for additional honors..

Foley High has been named a School of Distinction by the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools. The award recognizes school programs that serve as an outstanding educational model for other schools in Alabama.

 Foley is one of 32 schools statewide to receive the award out of 208 nominated and the only program in the Baldwin County School System named as a CLAS School of Distinction.

The Foley City Council recognized the high school during its meeting Monday, April 3. Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the program has been a big benefit for the school.

“It’s a very unique program that all the teachers and all the students are involved in,” Hellmich said. “It’s a motivational thing that involves the students and each of the students are broken up into teacher groups with 200 students and they earn points and it’s something that helps behavior, attendance and community and it is going gangbusters.”

Stephanie Cody, education and training teacher at Foley High, said the Lion Pride Conference program began last year. Baldwin County Superintendent of Education Eddie Tyler nominated the program for the award in December.

“The three main areas that we want to focus on are academics, attendance and behavior,” she said. “ And we’re doing that through this program.”

The students are divided into eight teams that are named after well-known Foley streets. Cody is a faculty leader for Team Magnolia.

The teams receive points throughout the year for students’ improvements in grades and attendance as well as participation in school activities, such as athletic events, theater productions and ACT preparation.

Stan Shotts, an assistant principal at FHS, said homeroom teachers work with students to go over changes in grades or attendance.

“We use our homeroom advisory, which takes place once every three weeks, for students to check up on their academics and know where they stand there, their attendance, as well as any kind of behavioral stuff that might be going on. They meet regularly with those teachers and they’re able to use that time to do a self check and keep themselves accountable for the points that are contributing to their team.”

Teams can also earn points when teachers and other staff members recognize individual students who do something positive during the year.

“The reality is 95% of our students are doing exactly what we need them to do every single day,” Cody said. “They’re awesome, and they’re not always getting recognized for that. That was part of what made us bring this in is that we wanted to really pat our kids on the back just for the good things that they’re doing every day.”

Four schools in each of the eight Alabama Board of Education districts are named as Schools of Distinction, Cody said. The three other schools in District 1 are Gulf Shores High School, Gulf Shores Middle School and Brewton Elementary Schools. One of the four schools will be selected for a regional award on May 8.