Students of Birmingham City Schools return to class

Students at Putnam Middle School prepare to go to cafeteria to get breakfast before the first day of school begins.

Students of Birmingham City Schools returned to class today. Bus rolled, for the first time, through the city's 99 neighborhoods to pick-up students for the 2016-2017 school year. Four of the neighborhoods are in the Woodlawn community.

Supporters of the Woodlawm community make up the Woodlawn Foundation, The foundation focuses on students and educators at Avondale Elementary, Oliver Elementary, Putnam Middle School, Hayes P8 and Woodlawn High School

More than 3,000 students go to those five schools in the Woodlawn cluster. The foundation depends on a complex collaboration to get students motivated. Its executive director told ABC 33/40 the students make up 13 percent of the student population for Birmingham City Schools.

The foundation works to revitalize the community and emphasizes a different style of teaching. The executive director says her team at the foundation does more than visit schools and wave at students.

"So, we are moving away from worksheets, textbooks and lectures. We are really engaging students through hands on learning, problem-based and project-based learning to show them what they are learning is applicable to a future career," said Mackin.

The Woodlawn Foundation has been around about six years. The thought process for people in the foundation is education starts at birth. People in the Woodlawn community will soon see the foundation open an early learning center and build mixed income housing to help promote community wellness in Woodlawn.

The day was not only the first for students. Students at Putnam Middle welcome a new principal. Dr. Sameka Porterfield joined the school from Jefferson County Schools. She's focused this year on raising reading and math scores. The principal plans to motivate staff to do intervention, small groups and other engaging ways of teaching.

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