Alice Coachman Elementary School 2009 NBR School

Dougherty County School District
Albany, Georgia

The approach to the Alice Coachman Elementary school is a sweeping circular driveway that leads to the front of the school. On school mornings, the driveway is crowded with parents delivering their children to school. Each car and every child is met by a member of the school staff who greets the child and the parents and welcomes them to another day of “teaching and learning.”

Principal Pat Victor’s philosophy of education is modeled on teaching and leadership practices she has experienced and drawn from previous assignments in high-performing schools in low poverty areas. Those practices, she feels, are just as applicable to a school in a high poverty area. With all but 5% of its student body eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, Alice Coachman Elementary School displays a fierce commitment to teaching and learning, consistently high expectations and student support, and the kind of outreach that binds parents and community leaders to the school.

The school’s mission is to provide students an opportunity to learn in a safe, orderly, and structured environment, with a strong emphasis on a firm foundation of knowledge, high academic achievement, and a variety of educational experiences that will lead to personal success.

Aspects of School Culture. Students recite the mission statement each morning during student-led morning announcements. Faculty and staff are  hired based on their commitment to this mission and seek to work at Coachman Elementary because of the educational power of this shared vision. Parents choose Alice Coachman for its strong academic climate, emphasis on skills development, and its caring environment, while community members contribute time, funds, and expertise to reinforce this positive, structured environment, and keep the school successful. Read the transcript of “Aspects of School Culture.”
Distributed Leadership. With of experience as a successful administrator and knowledge of the research, Principal Victor has strong opinions about what makes a school good for teaching and learning. Faculty members understand and support her vision, generating very low turnover rates over the years. Principal Victor’s distributed leadership model gives teachers numerous opportunities to contribute to discussions of instruction and classroom and school management. It also permits faculty members to develop their own leadership skills by proposing and implementing new practices. Read the transcript of “Distributed Leadership.”
Parent Involvement. Staff and administrators at Alice Coachman recognize parents as their child’s “first teacher” and have worked from the school’s 1999 opening to “get parents on board.” Principal Victor feels that the school’s  emphasis on involving parents in their children’s school lives has helped students, and Coachman, succeed. Parents take part in school assemblies and performances and attend school-related workshops. The online “I Care” tool lets parents follow their children’s academic and behavioral progress in real time. Parents remark that the program teaches them how to work one-on-one with their children and create home assignments to complement their school work. Read the transcript of “Parent Involvement.”
Community Engagement. Alice Coachman Elementary is fortunate in having a strong group of individual, community-based, and corporate volunteers who see their involvement in “our neighborhood school” as a civic duty.  They live in the same community as the students and parents and feel strongly that “strong schools make strong communities.” Volunteers work in individual classrooms tutoring children, assist in the library, raise funds, and sponsor programs with a strong emphasis on literacy such as Reading Across America and Books Are Fun. Most important, they feel welcome in the school and appreciated for their efforts. Read the transcript of “Community Engagement.”

Contact Information

Alice Coachman Elementary School
1425 West Oakridge Drive
Albany, GA 31707-5306
(229) 431-3488 FAX: (229) 431-3490

Student Demographics
2009-2010 Academic Year

Demographic Feature Data
Number of Students K -5 347
Students eligible for subsidized meals 96%
Limited English proficient students  0%
Students receiving special education services 12%
African American students 95%
White students  4%
Hispanic students  1%
Average teacher turnover rate, last 5 years  2%
Student:Teacher ratio 14:1