Dale County schools earn "A"

Dale County Schools Superintendent Ben Baker

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

The annual accountability report on the 138-school systems released Oct. 18 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 Dale County Schools Superintendent Ben Baker credits “great great teachers, school administrators and the supportive board members.”

The score three years ago was 82 which jumped to 89 last year and now is at 93. “This is evidence that teachers and students accept the challenge each year to be better and to never get complacent,” Baker said after the report card was released.

The Academic Report Cards are the result of the Legislative School Performance Recognition Program Act, created by the state legislature, which legally requires a letter grade assessment to be assigned to each public school. The state law passed in 2012 but was never implemented until three years ago in conjunction with federal law.

Forty-four states use a rating system to evaluate the schools’ performance and the A-F grading system is the most commonly used method.

The report card score is based on factors which include chronic absenteeism, student achievement, student academic growth, graduation rates and college or career readiness. The results are published annually and a “failing schools” list is created based on school rankings.

The letter grade is a snapshot of how the school performed during previous years. The test scores and attendance information is gathered from the last academic year, the graduation rate and college and career readiness grade is from two years back.

With a system-wide grade of “A”, each of the seven schools in the system were also issued an individual grade.

Ariton School earned an “A” with a score of 95; Long High School earned an “A” with a score of 95; Newton School earned an “A” with a score of 92; Long Elementary School earned an “A” with a score of 91, Midland City Elementary earned an “A” with a score of 90; South Dale Middle School earned a “B” with a score of 87; and Dale County High School earned a “B” with a score of 82.

“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.”

Baker credits the “hard work and dedication” of the teachers and students in each school for the achievement. “I am especially proud of the gains made at Midland City Elementary School and South Dale Middle School,” he said, noting that MCES improved nine points and a letter grade and SDMS improved 14 points and a letter grade over last year. “Both schools showed tremendous growth in the area of academic growth.

“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.

“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.”

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