Business and community leaders recently gathered for the Lake Martin Deadville Area Chamber of Commerce quarter luncheon.
During the meeting, the Chamber discussed the achievements of the organization over the past several months. The theme of the gathering focused on the benefits of community participation, and thus Chambers invited Talaposa County School Superintendent Ray Porter.
During his address, Porter provided updated information on areas related to academics, school culture and capital improvement projects.
Inside the classroom, Porter reported that all Talapoosa County schools continue to make progress toward academic excellence.
At the elementary level, the Alabama Reading Initiative this year recognized Deadville Elementary School for the school’s science and reading programs. According to Porter, students had significantly increased test scores, so much so that the school was among 21 other schools with the highest increases in the state.
Porter also noted that state teachers praised the school for cultivating a more positive student culture this year, which Porter attributed to the school’s leadership.
“That’s because stakeholder engagement is part of a new administrative staff and principal Diane Miller,” Porter said. “It is also because they had new faculty. PTO is engaged, parents are engaged. There’s just a zest about school that I encourage you to see and feel that excitement.”
Deadville High School also recently made headlines as U.S. News and World Report voted the school 91st among Alabama high schools.
Porter considered this to be particularly noteworthy because all Tallapoosa County schools over the years have now been recognized by the publication.
In terms of career growth, Porter pointed out that the Edward Bell Career Tech Center has seen enrollments increase by 25 percent this year, their highest enrollment ever.
Porter again recognized the faculty and their dedication in achieving record enrollment.
“Therefore, we are providing opportunities for students to build a better tomorrow for their community, their state, and their nation,” Porter said.
The School of Business and Technology offers five programs including welding, health science programs, software development, law enforcement, and business administrative services.
The school district has also seen an increase in double enrollment over the years. In 2020, 134 students attended dual enrollment classes, but this year the number is 441.
Student health and safety also remains a top priority of the school district as additional investment has been devoted to reducing disciplinary instances. For example, Reeltown Elementary has reduced disciplinary referrals by 38 percent this year.
“So, they’re engaging with students, they’re building relationships and that’s what we’re trying to do in Talaposa County,” Porter said.
The school district has also invested in additional mental health resources for students.
In terms of building maintenance, almost all schools have recently received improvements or renovations.
Deadville Elementary School was completely renovated and is undergoing renovations at Horseshoe Bend.
Improvements include new air conditioning in both gymnasiums, new flooring and LED lighting in the media center, a cost-saving measure that is expected to reduce the school’s electricity expenses by 30 percent annually.
According to Porter, the Horseshoe Bend Auditorium has also undergone a major overhaul and is almost ready for public viewing. The final inspection is this week and a ribbon cutting is expected shortly thereafter.
Finally, the school is in the process of building new gyms at Deadville High School and Reeltown High School.
Porter concluded his speech by thanking the Chamber and emphasizing the importance of community participation in education.
“With just one partnership, we can achieve what we need, and there is no partnership more important than this partnership between Tallapoosa County Schools and the Chamber of Commerce,” Porter said.