Baker reflects on school system's success

Dale County Schools Superintendent Ben Baker

“A year of unprecedented success for Dale County Schools,” is the assessment of Dale County Schools Superintendent Ben Baker as 2019 ends and the new year begins.

The Dale County School System earned an “A” grade on the Alabama State Department of Education Report Card with a numerical score of 93 in 2019.

The annual accountability report on the 138-school systems released in October showed the Dale County School System as the highest scoring county school system in the state.

The Dale County Schools’ report card score has increased each of the past three years and Baker credits “great teachers, school administrators and the supportive board members.”

With a system-wide grade of “A”, each of the seven schools in the system were also issued an individual grade. “Long High School was the third highest performing high school in the state,” Baker said. “Ariton School was the highest performing kindergarten-12th grade school in the state.”

The score three years ago was 82 which jumped to 89 last year and in 2019 was 93. “This is evidence that teachers and students accept the challenge each year to be better and to never get complacent,” Baker said, crediting the “hard work and dedication” of the teachers and students in each school for the achievement.

“The school system’s overall success is a result of the climate and culture that has been created in Dale County Schools,” Baker said. “The communities, school staff and students take pride in their schools and have high expectations.”

The Dale County Board of Education has invested nearly $11 million in construction and renovation projects that have impacted every school across Dale County, Baker said. A Student Resource Officer program is in place, a PreK program is in each community school and a One-to-One device initiative started.

“Everyone works together to create a great atmosphere for life-long learning,” he added. “Safe and clean schools, discipline and great extracurricular opportunities play a huge role in the success of the school system.”

The Dale County native has been an educator and administrator for over two decades in the Dale County School system serving as a coach, bus driver, teacher, assistant principal, athletic director, principal and currently as superintendent. He visits at least one of the seven schools in the system each day. “I am honored to work with such great and caring people each day,” he said

The Dale County School system has operated under four consecutive balanced budgets, Baker said. “The school system has the highest cash reserve in the history of the school system.”

Baker said he plans on building on the successful foundation as he enters his second term as superintendent. “We will continue preparing students for a career or college, molding students to become a productive asset to our communities,” he said. “We want to mold students to have traits of honesty, patriotism, high morals and compassion. We want to develop students ready for college and the workforce; and develop men and women of integrity.”

Baker said he will continue with his “ongoing commitments to do what’s best for students, be an advocate for the citizens of Dale County, to hire and retain men and women of integrity and to support all Dale County Schools in a fair and equitable way.

“I will continue to do this with integrity and covered in prayer,” he said, looking to the new year. “I will continue to work hard, be available, be visible and to serve with passion.”

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