Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year and Sumter School District. The 2016 graduates of Crestwood, Lakewood, and Sumter high schools earned over $21 million in scholarships, and they are off to new chapters in their lives. We are so proud of their accomplishments and wish them well. Meanwhile, we have spent the summer preparing for our new and returning students in order to make this school year the best one yet.
Our district level administrative team, our principals, and our assistant principals spent a few hot days in July at a leadership retreat held at one of our high schools, sharing our goals and receiving updates from all the various departments in preparation for the new school year. Following a summer of conscientious preparation, our fall sports teams, cheerleaders, and bands are eager to begin a new year. Our summer REACH program enriched the lives of many artistically talented and gifted students, and our food services department worked diligently with the summer feed program throughout the county. We are ready to begin the new year.
Sumter is a growing community, and the school district is working with all its stakeholders to make this area a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Shaw Air Force Base and USARCENT personnel are an integral part of our system. We serve many children of active duty and retired military personnel and employ military dependents and retirees. We also have an influx of new families who have moved to the area through Continental Tire, Apex Tools, and other new or existing businesses and industries. The varied backgrounds and diversity of all these new families greatly enrich the lives of our current students. We are acutely aware of the challenges students face when moving to a new school, and we strive to meet the needs of these students and to deal with any unique challenges they may face regarding schedules, the transfer of grades, making new friends, or involvement in a new school.
Sumter School District is making great strides in all areas, including instruction, technology, recruitment and retention of high quality teachers, extracurricular opportunities, and maintenance and renovation of our physical plant. We work tirelessly to ensure that every student graduates on time and is career and college ready with the foundation necessary to become a productive citizen. Student safety and security is a top priority, and we have forged relationships with all the helping agencies in our community.
I invite you all to visit our schools and see the amazing things our students and teachers are doing. Please examine all portions of our new website for information on our Sumter School District Board of Trustees, instruction, district information and departments, links to our schools, and many other pertinent topics.
For our new families, welcome to Sumter School District. For our returning ones, welcome back. If I can be of assistance to you in answering questions or helping with a school related issue, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a wonderful 2016-2017 school year.
Dr. J. Frank Baker