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FRIDAY, MAY 12, 2006
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3 Valley school systems earn national recognition

By Bayne Hughes
DAILY Education Writer

hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

A national school selection firm chose Decatur, Athens and Hartselle school systems for its "What Parents Want" award.

SchoolMatch, the nation's largest school selection consulting firm, helps corporate employee families find schools that match the needs of their children.

SchoolMatch recognized the three school systems in THE DAILY's coverage area and 21 other Alabama schools in its 15th annual presentation of the award. The organization gives the award to only 2,504 of America's 15,573 public school districts.

The award measures the school systems on seven criteria:

  • Competitive test scores.
  • Accreditation.
  • National foundation or U.S. Department of Education recognition for excellence.
  • Competitive teacher salaries.
  • Above national average instructional expenditures.
  • Above national average expenditures for library/media services.
  • Small class sizes.

    This is the 12th straight year for Decatur to receive the award, while Athens and Hartselle are getting the honor for the 11th straight year. Only Homewood, Huntsville, Vestavia and Mountain Brook received the honor for a longer string for years.

    SchoolMatch judged the school systems using audible information gathered annually state by state from sources including county assessors, county auditors, state taxing authorities and state departments of education.

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