Sheffield school system identifies challenges for new year

SHEFFIELD, Ala. –  Students in Sheffield headed back to class refreshed from summer break. School system leaders said students seemed ready to learn Tuesday morning as the bar continues to go up.

“We’re using the #BestYearEver,” stated Sheffield Schools Superintendent Keith Lankford.

Superintendent Lankford said 100% of his faculty and staff are on-board. For two years Lankford has been leading the Sheffield school system – upward.

“High expectations. Expectations for everyone; from the superintendents to the central office and all the way down to our students. And that is what we are trying to build upon,” Lankford explained.

In what might seem like a short time, Lankford has added AP-classes, dual college enrollment and brought up the graduation rate. Lankford said they can’t rest on the successes.

Keith Lankford - Sheffield Schools Superintendent

Each school year they identify problem areas which need addressing.

Superintendent Lankford said one of the biggest challenges the school system faces this year doesn’t necessarily have to do with what is going on on-campus.

Truancy has been a constant struggle in the Sheffield City Schools. Lankford said if kids are not in class it affects their ability to learn.

“Our attendance and our literacy. Both of those things we struggle with and we think both of them are related to high levels of poverty. And so we are going to try overcome that situation this year by raising literacy rates and raising attendance rates.”

And by getting parents to buy-in, Lankford said both issues can be resolved.