For those moving to a new location, it’s important to know what educational options are available. This chapter outlines the public schools systems in Madison and Morgan counties, along with information about local libraries and higher education. There are private schools, charter schools and home schooling available to children in both counties as well.
To be enrolled in an Alabama school, a child must be at least 5 years old by Sept. 1 of the school year. Those wishing to register their child in school should bring the following to the school office: a birth certificate or other proof of the child’s age, the child’s previous school records and immunizations records. Check with the school for additional requirements. For more information on Alabama’s minimum vaccine requirements for students in grades K-12, visit the Alabama State Department of Education’s website at www.alsde.edu.
In 2010, Alabama, along with most other states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Department of Defense Education Activity adopted Common Core State Standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students, regardless of ZIP code. When a family moves, a student’s education is often disrupted because the student may be forced to repeat material or learn at a different level at the new school. With common standards across states, this disruption will be reduced — of particular interest to military families. At present, national Common Core State Standards exist only for English language arts and mathematics, with science and social studies in development, though Alabama has state standards across the full curriculum. For more information, visit www.corestandards.org.
Charter schools are public schools of choice that are tuition-free, serve all students and have open enrollment. Alabama recently passed legislation to allow charter schools in the state. New Schools for Alabama lists information at its website at www.newschoolsforalabama.org.
For more information about local charter schools, visit the Alabama State Department of Education’s website at www.alsde.edu/ofc/cs.
A law enacted in 2014 clarified that private, nonpublic and church schools offering instruction in grades K-12 are not subject to licensure or regulation by the State Department of Education, thereby authorizing much broader private home-schooling in Alabama. For information on the legal requirements of home-schooling in Alabama, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website at www.hslda.org/hs/state/AL.
To search for local private schools in Alabama, visit the National Center for Education Statistics website and use the private school search tool at www.nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/privateschoolsearch. Users may search by location, religious affiliation, school type or other categories.
Choosing a School
Choosing the right school is very important, so be sure to research each one before deciding. Contact the school by phone or by visiting its website, which is a valuable source to learn about school district statistics and curriculum. Talk to people in the area, especially friends and colleagues who already live there.
If the school shows promise, schedule a visit and bring a list of written questions about student-teacher ratios, computer availability, extracurricular activities, sports programs, music programs, gifted programs and grading standards.
Discuss the potential school with your child: what they liked and what they didn’t like. Your family’s ability to readily adapt to a move and to find happiness in your new home may depend, in part, on how happy your children are in their new school.
Huntsville City Schools
200 White St.
Huntsville, AL 35801 256-428-6800
Huntsville City Schools includes: seven high schools, two magnet schools, six middle or junior high schools and 21 pre-K through elementary facilities. Each elementary school includes a pre-K program with the mission of preparing students to begin school. The district has an enrollment of approximately 24,000 students.
Madison County School District
1275 Jordan Road
Huntsville, AL 35811 256-852-2557
The Madison County district has 27 schools, including 17 elementary schools, four middle schools and six high schools. The district has an enrollment of approximately 20,000.
Morgan County Schools
235 Highway 67
Decatur, AL 35603 256-309-2100
The Morgan County school system has five high schools, five junior high schools (K-8), three middle schools and four elementary schools. The district has an enrollment that fluctuates between 7,800 and 8,000.