Sweet Home Alabama

By Mark Gura, convergemag.com

Alabama Students Have Open Access to a New World of Learning

Head south to Ozark City, Ala. — population 15,119. This "City for All Seasons" boasts a Wal-Mart Supercenter, two Dairy Queens and a Goodrich Tire dealer. Mayor Bob Bunting calls Ozark "the best kept secret in the South, for that matter, the best small city in the United States."

Hometown hyperbole? Not when it comes to education. True, Ozark only has one high school, one middle school, two elementary schools and an early childhood education center. But it does offer its students world-class opportunities to learn. This is something its residents couldn’t have dreamed of a few years back. Now, however, as part of Alabama’s Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide (ACCESS) program, Ozark’s Carroll High School distinguishes itself as more than the home of the Eagles football team. Students at this school experience material and challenges that some of the best schools in our nation’s largest cities would be hard-pressed to set before their students.