HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville Schools as a whole performed well on Alabama's latest statewide report card earning just shy of an "A," but one school deserves an extra pat on the back.
After two years of "F's," Lakewood Elementary pulled their marks up to a "C."
"I went into teaching to teach," said third-grade teacher Angela Smith. "It's hard for students that that are lower to move a full year."
Lakewood is no longer sitting at the bottom of academic success.
In 2017, the Alabama State Department of Education gave Lakewood Elementary School an "F" overall on its report card. In 2018, the school received the same grade. Within a year, academic growth jumped to 89 percent, giving Lakewood an overall score of a "C."
"We put the time in," said Lakewood principal Fred Barnes.
The school put in a lot of time. "I'm the one [Barnes is] talking about," said Smith. "I get here early and leave late."
Smith said the work was hard and sometimes stressful. Ten out of 18 kids in her third-grade class went to Lakewood last year, but out of all 268 students at Lakewood, only 20 have been there since kindergarten.
"We are a very transient school, very transient," said Principal Barnes. "So a lot of kids that were here at Lakewood last year, we have almost a totally different group this year."
A group that teachers have to spend time getting to know so they can inspire them to succeed, and success takes planning.
"I work with a great team," said Smith. "We knew that we needed to meet up one day a week on the weekends so we could collaborate."
Lakewood Elementary School earned a 71-percent overall. By the end of this current school year, teachers hope that score will rise above average.