Daphne High School, located in suburban Baldwin County, Alabama, the largest and southern-most county in the state, bordering the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, is one of seven large high schools servicing a district-wide student population of approximately 30,000. Daphne High School is a four-year comprehensive 6A public high school with an enrollment of just over 1200 students in a city with a population of approximately 23,000. In addition to the high school, the Daphne feeder pattern includes a K-3 school (Daphne Elementary), a K-6 school (Daphne Elementary East), a 4-6 school (WJ Carroll Intermediate), and a 7-8 grade school (Daphne Middle School). Over the past three years demographics have remained constant and include the following statistics: 25% of Daphne High School's students are eligible for free/reduced lunch, 9% receive special education services, 73% of students are white/Caucasion, 23% are African American, and 3% are of other ethnic origin. The student mobility rate is 9%, and 4% of students are ELL. Student attendance rates are 95%, and the graduation rate has ranged between 84% and 88%.
Over the past three years the school has established a jointly-owned vision in commitment to build community and academic press as well as to promote entrepreneurship, civic-mindedness, and international consciousness. Important work among school leaders, educational foundation leadership, the Daphne school board representative, Daphne Mayor, and city council members has resulted in the development of seven characteristics that all Daphne High School graduates are expected to possess. We as a community have taken ownership for our part in cultivating these qualities in our students. Creating a highly personalized school culture undergirds the school vision, and it is because of this community-centered atmosphere that Daphne High earned a National Blue Ribbon School award in 2012.
In academics, Daphne High has made great strides recently. Since Daphne High became an International Baccalaureate High School in 2008, IB diploma rates have increased significantly, improving 20% or more per year over the past 2-3 years. The trademarks of this program include promoting inquiry, extension of knowledge that has global significance, the development of critical thinking skills that lead to creative yet reasoned, ethical decision-making, communicating effectively in more than one language and in multiple modes, acting with integrity and the ability to understand issues from multiple perspectives while showing empathy and compassion for others and being reflective about learning experiences. While these notions have been initiated via the IB curriculum, they carry over and extend into the general school philosophy where all students are expected to follow a parallel creed. The entire feeder pattern has taken on a theme of internationalism, embracing multiculturalism. The high school has incorporated a new college and career center over the past couple of years, has instituted new classes such as Global Perspectives and AP Human Geography, has re-invigorated Model United Nations, and has initiated a school-wide cultural literacy campaign.
With the majority of the student body enrolled in pre-AP and AP courses, Advanced Placement (AP) enrollment has increased over 1000% with pass rates improving significantly as well. There are currently 13 AP courses offered on site. ACCESS and Compass online learning has opened opportunities for students as an alternative to traditional classes. Online course enrollment now includes over 300 students each quarter. Baldwin County Schools' Digital Renaissance has transformed Daphne High's classrooms as instruction is expected to be project-based and collaborative, and students are technologically savvy.
Daphne High's strong athletic heritage has contributed powerfully to the competitive school spirit that continues to push students through life challenges. Nine male and nine female sports are offered. Football has been instilled as a tradition of excellence at Daphne with consistent winning seasons and participation in five division 6A state championship games (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2010), and winning the state title in 2001 and 2010 with a 15-0 record. Girls and boys basketball, soccer, baseball, and softball teams are frequent participants in state championship tournaments as well.
Daphne, Alabama rests within a wonderfully artistic community, and the high school prides itself on the quality of its fine arts programs. Fine arts, career tech, and ROTC programs have always been strong features of Daphne High School. The band, Sound of the Eastern Shore, competes and wins first place in many competitions. A large and highly skilled group of committed students comprise the marching and symphonic band that is accentuated by a talented color guard and winter guard. Daphne High also has a percussion and jazz band that perform regularly, along with students who take guitar class. Visual arts classes are in such high demand that additional sections were added. Agriscience, drafting, business, Information technology, and culinary arts programs also enrich the school as students are able to individualize their experience by taking courses of great personal interest. Daphne High's award winning Air Force JROTC continues to be another source of pride for the community as cadets strive for excellence and remain active in their course of study.