Russellville Elementary Principal Kristie Ezzell and teacher Carol Raney accept the Bicentennial School award for RES.

Governor names RES, RBHS as Bicentennial Schools

Aug. 3 Russellville Elementary School and Red Bay High School received good news when Gov. Kay Ivey declared them two of the 200 Alabama Bicentennial Schools.

“It is an honor to recognize these outstanding schools and their projects as we head into Alabama’s bicentennial year,” Ivey said.

RES and RBHS made the 200-school cut out of nearly 400 proposals. Schools were selected based on their project proposals to engages in outreach and improvement projects to connect their classrooms with their local communities.

Alabama Bicentennial Schools receive $2,000 grants to support the implementation of their projects. Ivey said schools were chosen through a review process involving committees of local educators, community leaders and private citizens.

According to RES Principal Kristie Ezzell, the school’s proposal that is now being put into action is “project-based learning and student led.”

RES teacher Carole Raney is one of 12 Alabama Bicentennial Teachers and is leading the project for RES.

“We are very blessed to have one of the bicentennial teachers here at our school,” Ezzell said.

To develop the proposal, Raney worked with members of the fifth-grade student council, who voiced their concerns that the school and city don’t have a recycling program.

“Part of the fifth-grade curriculum is about the effects of landfills, and they wanted to know what they could do in school to help alleviate that problem,” Raney said.

Together they came up with ideas, made sure they fit the committee’s guidelines and submitted their proposal in April.

Raney said RES will use the money to schedule Steve Trash to speak at the school, and students are also considering placing an ad in the football program, creating ads to go on the field and putting a billboard up on Highway 43 to advocate for recycling.

Within the school there are small recycling bins in each classroom and six large bins for the campus.

The student council will also have student leaders and a team for the project. Raney said her plan is to have the students fill out applications and have interviews for the leadership roles.

“They’ll learn communication skills and grow their leadership. This hits all areas of the curriculum, and it’s a civic service,” Raney said.

It is starting in the school, but Ezzell said their goal is to spread the education and practice of recycling into the rest of the community as well – a crucial element of being an official Bicentennial School.

“The Alabama Bicentennial celebration is about bringing communities together and getting all of our citizens involved,” said Ivey. “The schools being honored are a great representation of that goal.”

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