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      Avondale Elementary school generating buzz

      Many parents are no longer trying to get their children out of Birmingham City Schools. In fact, more are looking to get them in.

      And schools, like Avondale Elementary, are seeing higher enrollment.{}These families aren't the only community members getting involved.{}Avondale is one of five schools that is part of the Woodlawn Innovation Network. This new initiative offers a hands on, personalized approach to teaching and learning. It gets more Birmingham business leaders invested and into the classrooms. Administrators hope this will lead to better education that will keep students in Birmingham through high school graduation. "We're starting to see increases in student population," says{}Birmingham City Schools superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon.{} Witherspoon believes Avondale Elementary School is a shining example of a 'neighborhood school'."We want to do things across the district, that includes Avondale, in terms of what we can do to get our neighborhood parents to come in. And we're starting to see some growth in student enrollment in that area." Just four days into the school year, there's buzz around Avondale. School leaders believe it makes parents eager to send their child to the school.{} "There is a viable elementary school that's there. And we want folks to take advantage of it."

      Much of the buzz is about the Woodlawn Innovation Network. Birmingham school board president Randall Woodfin explains, it gets local businesses and organizations involved in the five schools that eventually feed into Woodlawn High School.

      "What we have is parents that are excited about their 'zoned' school. Their neighborhood school," says Woodfin. "With the Birmingham Museum of Art, Jones Valley Teaching Farm, and The McWane Center.Both men see the positives. In addition to keeping students enrolled, it also diversifies the population.{}"Avondale (Elementary){}school as a zoned school is over 80 percent Caucasian. However, the attendance is well over 80 percent African American," says Woodfin. Timing is everything, and Woodfin believes now is the right time at Avondale Elementary.{} "I believe with this new principal, with the program of the Woodlawn Innovation Network, with the partnerships and the parental involvement, that Avondale Elementary will be one of our best neighborhood zoned schools that we have."

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