By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Escambia County Middle School students, who have taken to the Imagine Learning curriculum like ducks to water since it was introduced here less than four years ago, quickly earned the designation as one of the digital learning program’s Schools of Excellence. Now the school has, in a sense, graduated.
In a congratulatory letter to ECMS Principal Debbie Bolden, Imagine Learning Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Cowdrey revealed that the Atmore school was nominated for inclusion among the 97 schools from around the country to be designated an Imagine Nation Beacon School for the 2019-20 school year.
Bolden agreed that the entire school should be proud of the accomplishment, since the success shown by ECMS students, as well as their almost immediate grasp of the program’s material, has been the result of a team effort.
“It is quite an honor to be named a Beacon School by Imagine Learning,” she said. “Everyone — our students, teachers and administrators — have worked really hard to make it happen. Our students took to the Imagine Learning curriculum right off and have done a really great job.”
One of the criteria for becoming a Beacon School Award winner is a nomination by “Imagine Learning representatives exemplifying the spirit of the Imagine Learning partnership, consistent program usage and best practices in program implementation.”
Cowdrey said ECMS’s company rep lobbied for the school’s inclusion in the Beacon category.
“Christy Sanders, your Imagine Learning representative, nominated your school for (its) above-and-beyond enthusiasm and innovative use of Imagine Learning with your staff and student body,” Cowdrey wrote. “Please accept our heartfelt congratulations for achieving this honor.”
As tangible proof of the schoolwide achievement, the local middle school will receive an Imagine Learning banner recognizing the school as an Imagine Nation Beacon School, as well as a commemorative certificate.
“We recognize that this achievement would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of many administrators, teachers, staff, students, and parents,” Cowdrey added. “We congratulate you on your high level of commitment, enthusiasm, and educational innovation. Likewise, we thank you for your dedication to giving students the very best in language, literacy and math instruction.”
More than 16,000 schools nationwide were eligible for the Imagine Nation School of Excellence and Beacon School awards. ECMS was one of only five Alabama schools to “graduate” into the Beacon School category.