PLAS gets AISA Blue Ribbon School award

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 6, 2002

News Editor

The Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) has bestowed its highest honor on Pike Liberal Arts School (PLAS).

The school was notified last Wednesday, Jan. 30, that it had attained the AISA Blue Ribbon School designation for the 2001-02 school year. According to the AISA, a Blue Ribbon School "exemplifies excellence in teaching, student performance, school life and school and community interaction, and is involved in an ongoing process of school improvement."

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"I feel this is a positive step forward for us in promoting our academic programs," said PLAS Administrator Larry Pickett, Tuesday. "This (the award) is a reflection on the past years here at Pike Liberal Arts."

Pickett said to qualify, the school must show evidence of improvement over a period of time through test scores. He said the school must then apply for the award, and part of that application is sending a video with a short history about the school and its programs.

Pickett is in his first year as administrator of PLAS. Previously he was the administrator at Edgewood Academy in Wetumpka. That school achieved Blue Ribbon status last year.

Founded in 1970, PLAS draws students from all areas of Pike County. Pickett said all elementary level teachers at the school are state certified as required by law and all upper level teachers have degrees and are teaching in their major field.

Pickett said the school teaches students the basic curriculum, while offering an advanced diploma in addition to the basic one. He said students must earn 24 credits to receive the regular diploma upon graduation, while those seeking to earn the advanced diploma must earn 25 credits.

The extra credit needed for the advanced diploma includes one-half unit of research and writing, and one-half unit of community service. "We are currently considering adding more advanced programs," said Pickett.

He added that some students are already participating in the dual enrollment program, which allows students who qualify to spend part of their school day attending classes at Troy State University. "Two of our students are taking calculus at TSU now,’ said Pickett.

One area Pickett said the school tries to keep up with is the ever-changing world of technology. He said the school’s computer lab is updated when needed, with the older computers being sent to the elementary classes for children to start learning how to use them at an early age.

"We also offer a keyboarding class to ninth graders," said Pickett. "We have kept some of the old electronic typewriters for that purpose, because if they don’t know the keyboard they have to hunt and peck."

Pickett explained the school has a technology fund, which is used to purchase the new computers when they are needed. He said the school purchased six this school year.