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Covington County Schools ranked top 30 in the state by Niche

By: Donnamy Steele

Niche, a website that ranks academic institutions and more, released their 2021 rankings for the best school systems in the state of Alabama, with Covington County Schools ranking at number 30.

The ranking factors are based on state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and other factors.

Andalusia City Schools was ranked at number 52 and Opp City Schools at number 63.

CCS were just short of being named in the top 25 school districts in the state, but that doesn’t stop superintendent Shannon Driver from being proud of the hard work CCS has put in this past year. Driver said he is pleased to see CCS recognized for where they are now, but he wants to strive to improve continuously.

“We’re very pleased to have our efforts recognized by niche and it’s a validation of the work that our teachers, administrators, and staff are doing in our schools,” Driver said. “We work hard every day to try to provide the best education and experience we can for our students and we are always striving to improve in all areas. We’re glad to see our academic achievement scores are good and we will continue to work in those areas and try to improve in our instructions to have the best programs that we can. It’s a nice honor to have and we’re proud that Niche has recognized some of our achievements. We’ve got good schools and we are very proud of the job that they do.”

Andalusia City Schools superintendent Ted Watson said he is proud of his staff and students.

“With the current challenges we have been faced with, our family has worked hard so as not to be denied a quality education for all students,” Watson said. “I can’t brag on all ACS employees and students enough for going above and beyond.”

Although the Opp City Schools were ranked at number 63 on the list, superintendent Michael Smithart said OCS is constantly improving and providing a great education for their students. Smithart said his focus is on making Opp Schools the best they can be.

“I have never really understood the ranking of schools and I’m not sure what Niche actually is,” Smithart said. “I looked at the data points they utilize, but I don’t understand how one can rank a school based upon four reviews over a three year period. Ranking achievement is simple if you use raw scores, but there is no accounting for variables outside control of the school. How do you rank teachers if you don’t step foot in their classroom? How do you rank safety and security if you have never walked the halls of the school? I say that to say our focus is on making Opp Schools the best they can be. Our teachers, administrators, support staff, students, and parents work tirelessly and that effort is so greatly appreciated. To be ranked in the top half of schools in Alabama is nice, but I’m not sure what it actually accomplishes.”