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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey visits 'Turnaround School' Chastang-Fournier

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday visited Chastang-Fournier K-8 School to congratulate the faculty and students for their success as a Turnaround School.

As one of 15 Turnaround Schools in Alabama, Chastang-Fournier has used extra resources from the state to implement programs to enhance teaching and learning at the school. As a result, scores at Chastang-Fournier have risen 15 points.

“We’re gradually making sustainable growth,” said Principal Veronica Coleman.

During the Fall of 2022, Governor Ivey launched the Governor’s Turnaround Schools Initiative, a program designed to transform low-performing schools and the surrounding communities. Schools were chosen from all areas of the state to participate in the program to receive additional funding and targeted support from the Office of School Improvement, as well as community and state partners such as the Department of Human Resources, Department of Mental Health, Alabama Arts Alliance and others.

At Chastang-Fournier, funding was used for targeted intervention, teacher training, and academic and arts programs. It was also used to hire specialized instructional coaches, to retain teachers with sign-on bonuses, and to provide students with social supports, including food to take home over the weekend.

This initiative uses the four domains of rapid school improvement, school leadership, teacher growth and development, improved classroom practices, and strong school climate to transform student achievement, community engagement, teacher retention and recruitment, and the overall culture of the surrounding area. This initiative was established to serve as a template for future school turnaround programs, informing every school in the state how to handle community engagement and school climate.

Superintendent Chresal D. Threadgill, members of his leadership team and members of the Mobile County Board of School Commissioners were joined by Alabama legislators Rep. Napoleon Bracy, Rep. Adeline Clark, Rep. Shane Stringer, Rep. Barbara Drummond, and Rep. Sam Jones at Chastang-Fournier for the occasion. Former Mobile County school board member Hazel Fournier, one of the school’s namesakes, was also in attendance, along with several of Chastang-Fournier’s partners in education -- Mt. Hebron, El Bethel, Mobile Metropolitan Medical Society and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority -- who were there to show their support.

Coleman said she and her students were honored by the governor visit. “They were not expecting anyone of her magnitude to come and just to be there to celebrate with us,” Coleman said. “The students were honored and grateful and awe-struck. To have someone that we see on TV, someone that we read about in our building, that’s what they were talking about.”


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