ECHS, WSN placed on failing schools list

Published 3:12 pm Friday, November 11, 2022

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to include Escambia County Schools Superintendent Michele McClung’s comments.

Two Escambia County high schools are on the failing schools list, according to reports.

According to Alabama Achieves’ website, Escambia County High School and W.S. Neal High School were placed on the November list. This is the fifth time ECHS has been placed on the failing schools list, according to reports.

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The Alabama State Department of Education’s failing schools list is based on 2021 test results in math and reading from the ACT Aspire test. The list includes the bottom 6 percent of all schools in the state.

ECHS and WSN are on a list of 79 schools that didn’t meet the testing criteria.

“As I sat at Neal’s game Friday night (Nov. 11) their students were smiling, the band performed exceptionally, the players went from 0-9 last year to the second round of playoffs,” Superintendent Michele McClung said. “That’s not a failing school. That report is a snapshot of four hours in one grade level of students’ lives on their performance on the ACT. It’s not indicative of the culture of the school as a whole. We didn’t give up on Neal’s football team when they didn’t win a game last year. We’re not giving up on our students, and we’re working hard to make it to the academic playoffs as well.”

McClung added that COVID did have an impact and contributed to WSN and ECHS being on the list.

“We’ve struggled to keep students in school and our schools staffed all year long while being held to CDC guidelines for quarantining,” she said. “We have recruited teachers, filled vacancies from last year and our teachers are working together now with a committed plan to continuously improve. ACT practice is embedded in daily instruction with intentionality to expose students to priority standards and skills aligned to the state test.”

McClung said both schools have had a change in administration since the last list was published by the state.

“Our teachers have collaborated with each other from last spring through this week to create high quality pacing guides, common assessments and have attended professional development geared towards teaching and learning,” she said. “All of our schools have created school improvement plans aligned to our vision of performance excellence for every student every single day. We look forward to continuous improvement in all of our schools in Escambia County.”

To see the full list, visit