DeKalb Eastern Rated State's Safest School District
Article written and published by KPC News - Updated
By JEFF JONES [email protected]
BUTLER — The DeKalb County Eastern Community School District rates as the safest in Indiana, according to a recent survey by niche.com. DeKalb Eastern earned an A-plus in the survey for health and safety, an A for its teachers and a B-plus in the overall Niche grade. The district also earned B grades for academics, clubs and activities and college prep offerings. Its lowest grade was a C-plus for diversity, according to the survey. More than 1,400 students attend the district’s three schools: Butler Elementary and Eastside Junior-Senior High School in Butler and Riverdale Elementary School in St. Joe. “For us, it’s an honor,” Stephens said. “Part of safety and secure schools goes back to my background and original training,” which was in law enforcement and criminal justice. “Quite frankly, if the students, faculty and staff don’t feel safe and secure in the building, then you have a lot of work ahead of you,” he added. “That’s going to take primary focus away from what their job is — which is learning and educating students — to wondering what’s going on. “Everyone in the building needs to be aware and concerned about safety, but they should have the background in knowing that they’re as safe as they can be, and this ranking affirms that,” Stephens said.
Two reviews were included with the Niche rating. “DeKalb County Eastern Community School District has an excellent learning environment for its students. Teachers and educators are hands-on with students, providing them with the best education they possibly can,” wrote one unidentified senior respondent. “The teachers are there to make you succeed and will always help a student outside of the classroom,” another unidentified senior wrote in a 2016 review. “It is a small school, so everyone knows almost everyone, eliminating cliques.”
At DeKalb Eastern, all interior and exterior doors are locked during the day, with electronic door locks at main entrances, Stephens explained. Visitors must be recognized before the main office door is unlocked at any building. Each school has the capability to lock down access to the general student population, he added. Faculty and staff members participate in periodic active-shooter training exercises. All school employees are authorized to call a lockdown, and emergency buttons and hand-held radios have direct contact with the DeKalb County Central Communications emergency dispatch center, Stephens added. Security cameras in each building can be monitored by building administrators, the school resource officer, Central Communications and in the DeKalb County Homeland Security’s command vehicle.
Northwest Allen County Schools, with more than 7,200 students, ranked as the second-safest district in the state. It earned A-plus grades for health and safety, teachers, and clubs and activities. The district also received A grades for academics and college prep offerings. It received a C-plus for diversity, according to the survey. Southwest Allen County Schools ranked as the ninth-safest district. Elsewhere in northeast Indiana, Westview School Corp.rated 48th for health and safety of 293 school districts rated. Lakeland School Corp. was ranked 64th. Smith-Green Community Schools, which includes Churubusco High School, placed 92nd. Hamilton Community Schools ranked 106th, Fremont Community Schools 120th, DeKalb County Central United School District 123rd, Central Noble Community School Corp. 140th, West Noble School Corp. 154th, Metropolitan School District of Steuben County 172nd, Prairie Heights Community School Corp. 179th, and Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School Corp. 209th. East Noble School Corp. — along with many other districts — did not receive a ranking. The niche.com website explained some school districts did not submit as much information as others, which affected ratings based on its formula.