December 11, 2013 

Winter break is just around the corner, but the schools aren't slowing down and neither are we! This month, we take you around the City of Birmingham to highlight all the ways our students are involved in local businesses and, likewise, some of the ways that local businesses are involved in our schools.  Now that's some good holiday cheer!

Area Partnerships



The Birmingham Education Foundation and the Birmingham City Schools is excited  to announce a new partnership with YouthServe, a local non-profit committed to exposing youth to leadership through service. 


As a result of the partnership, students participating in the inaugural year of the Birmingham Education Foundation's College Prep Institute will have the opportunity to volunteer at a variety of local service sites such as Toys for Tots, Greater Birmingham Humane Society, and Ronald McDonald House, during a cross-academy service day, tomorrow December 12th.  


The College Prep Institute (CPI) is a three-year program for Career Academy students that focuses on themes of career exploration and academic planning, college preparation and professionalism, and college choice and admissions.  Other organizations partnering with BEF on CPI include College Admissions Made Possible (CAMP), Alabama Possible's Blueprints College Access Initiative, the Birmingham Business Alliance, and the Birmingham Rotary Club.  


"We are excited to work with Youthserve to give the great young leaders in Birmingham schools the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and heart by volunteering throughout the city," said J.W. Carpenter, executive director, Birmingham Education Foundation. 


The College Prep Institute is designed to align with the work-based learning plans being developed by the Career Academies.  "Students benefit most from programs that combine academic study with real-world work experience," said Dr. Spencer Horn, Coordinator of BCS Career Academies. "That is what the Academies are all about, and programs like this help make that idea a reality." 


Together, Ed, YouthServe, and Birmingham City Schools will bring an army of more than a hundred youth volunteers Thursday to further the work of local non-profits throughout the city of Birmingham.


"Leadership is about giving back and making a difference," said Jennifer Hatchett, executive director, YouthServe Birmingham. "Thanks to BEF we are exposing students at an early age to the power of service."


BCS Career Academies Partner with UAB to Provide Students with Insight, Exposure
Starting a day of tours at UAB Hospital on Nursing and Care Management. #A
BCS students stand outside of Children's Hospital before their tour of UAB Hospital's Women's and Infants Unit. 

The Birmingham City Schools' Career Academies are built on thefoundation of relevance in the classroom, using community resources to show students the impact that can be made when they apply the skills they learned in school.


This fall, students from the Academies of Health Sciences at Carver and Jackson-Olin High Schools participated in a series of visits to University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)hospital - one of the leading research hospitals in the nation -to observe how some of the best medical professionals in the field work together to save lives.  


"Exposure is the key to bringing Career Academies' mission to life for our students," said Spencer Horn, Career Academies director, Birmingham City Schools. "Having UAB as our partner allows our students to learn from some of the best in the healthcare profession," said Horn.


During the visit, 10th grade students from Carver and Jackson-Olin High Schools were given tours of the hospital, and were given a rare inside look at the daily operations of the medical center.


Students also participated in lectures given by medical professionals, managers, and construction administrators. The lectures allowed the students to learn about the variety of professionals that contribute to the operations of a hospital- from exploring why buildings are constructed the way they are, to demonstrating the technology used to ensure the circulation of clean air throughout the hospital.


The experience was so comprehensive that students were even taken to the roof of the hospital to learn about the role of the helipad in rapidly getting critical patients the care they need.


"I believe this is a great program that gives students an opportunity to see which career path in health sciences is most interesting to them," said Kristie Williams, Academy of Health Sciences coordinator at Carver High School.


The partnership with UAB extends to March 2014. By that time students will not only have gained exposure to the multiple operational needs of running a hospital, but will also have explored the many health sciences careers that contribute to its functions - including nursing, coding and bioinformatics.


"Programs like this help students realize their career dreams, and it helps educators better guide students to achieving their goals," said Williams. 

Educator Spotlight with Mr. Ezra Shine

For this month's Educator Spotlight, we talked to Mr. Ezra Shine, Interim Director of the Drop-Out Recovery Program, about his history with BCS, Ed, and his plans for the future.


Ezra Shine is more than up for the job of directing Birmingham City's Drop-Out Recovery Program, a position recently vacated by inaugural director Dr. Maxine Pijeaux.  A graduate of the Human Resources program at Southern University, Shine has spent many years in the system, most recently as an Assistant Principal at Huffman High School, where he coordinated district-wide ACT Prep efforts, and led the popular student leadership group PALS.  


Once enrolled in the Drop Out Recovery Program, students are able to earn their diplomas online from three different fully-staffed learning centers in the greater-Birmingham area. But for an innovator like Shine, there is a lot of potential for growth with this program, one that has already seen a great many student success stories: so far, Drop-Out Recovery has helped over 200 BCS students earn their high-school diplomas.  Additionally, students who graduate through the Drop-Out Recovery Program are encouraged to participate in spring or summer graduation ceremonies, a feature that gives students the chance to participate in a very important and meaningful rite of passage.   


Shine is also hoping to change the name of the program to the BCS Alternative Learning Center to help reduce the stigma associated with dropping out. 


In the future, Shine is planning events for students in the program that will help them get access to wrap-around services, such as health screenings; meet industry professionals; and get help applying for college.  He also hopes to organize a fundraising campaign to provide more quality computers at the learning centers.


Shine's relationship with Birmingham Education Foundation (BEF) began two years ago with the start of the Academy of Architecture and Construction at Huffman High School. With BEF's support, Shine and his team of teachers and administrators developed the Academy from the ground up, building the new program on the strong legs of the wildly popular Construction classes at the school.  The training the students receive in the Academy gives them the credentials necessary to begin their careers in a level two-construction job upon graduation. Shine has also been a vital contact at Huffman for BEF, helping schedule programming for other Ed initiatives, such as College 101 and the College Prep Institute.  


Shine says, "I like BEF, because they are making a difference in the communities and the BCS Programs." 


At Ed, we are so pleased to have energetic relationships with educators such as Ezra Shine.  Mr. Shine, we wish you luck in your new position and look forward to working with you on your future programs!


Until next time...
Thanks for taking the time to browse our newsletter and learn about some of the happenings here at Ed. Please pass along the good news to your friends and neighbors and we look forward to talking to you again next time.  We have a feeling there are great things ahead for Ed and Birmingham City Schools - stay tuned!



As always, the mission of the Birmingham Education Foundation (BEF) is to bring the voice of the community to Birmingham City Schools' leadership and to work with that leadership to provide a range of support to allow the system to fulfill its mission and vision. We do this with a vision that the children of Birmingham will be fully prepared for success in the work and life. We believe unequivocally that current circumstances should not be a barrier to future success.
In This Issue
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Birmingham City Schools
Upcoming Events
CPI Service Day
Thursday, December 12 10-1 (various locations)
Ed About Town
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