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Baldwin County readies for new school year

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Confident and ready kids in Baldwin County will head into a new school year. Monday morning, bright and early teachers and staff will walk through those same doors too.

School Superintendent Eddie Tyler says the school system has sets its sights on a number of changes including an aggressive building program with no new taxes.

Teachers never stop. For the past several weeks, on their own time, most have been busy getting classrooms ready. All Summer they've attended workshops required by the state to keep up with new ways of teaching. Even today teachers and staff came together for the county's' Teacher Institute a pep rally of sorts on the Friday before school starts.

"I mean we're super excited, super exited to go back, excited to see the kids again and bringing us all together her is just icing on cake just can’t wait for it all to start happening again," Tiara Kouaeio - Bailey a teachers at Daphne High School.

Happening this year is a new emphasis on reading, in all grades, at all levels. The goal is to bring back the "love of reading" and to train students on the value of comprehending, understanding what they read. "Through this guided reading program student get to choose books of their choice and then you take small segments and gradually build your stamina in reading and eventually they get excited about reading and hopefully begin adapting to read material that might be necessary," said Tyler.

With ribbon cutting after ribbon cutting the Superintendent says the county will continue to build without an increase in taxes. This school year five schools get new classrooms, new wings. Additions at three of those schools have already added 38 new classrooms and eliminated portables. All part of the system's pay-as-you-go capital improvement plan.

Elberta Elementary, Elsanor School and Central Baldwin Middle school will start the new school year with a huge facelift. Later this year Fairhope High School will get 20 classrooms and Perdido an additional 16 classrooms.

Daphne East Elementary should also get 14 new classroom by the end of the school year.

"Fairhope High School should be done sometime in the next two months and Perdido should be done right near Christmas time. So those five projects are coming in on time and under budget so that was a 16 million dollar project," said Tyler.

Baldwin County will also borrow $60 million based on future penny sales tax revenue to build two new schools and at least three new additions over the next 4 years.

Tyler speaks of how teacher and staff morale is high and how all are ready for a new school year. Trained over the Summer and motivated. ...And don’t forget high school athletics. Some say its beginning to look a lot like football season.

"Everybody is looking forward to football season we play next Thursday at Ladd against Davidson one of our rivals and then we come home and play our big rival Spanish Fort," said

Rodney Guthery a teacher and coach at Daphne High School.

"There seems to be a lot of smiling faces and I think it's in part because we have turned back over to them the job of instructing our Children. It’s not through a Macbook or a Chromebook - the Chromebook is a resource. It's putting the teachers back in front and leading the charge in classroom instruction," said Tyler.

Tyler says it’s all about accountability for the people of Baldwin County, the taxpayers, he says that every day he hopes it shows.

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