“You can’t teach any kid a standard if you don’t know when his birthday is, if you don’t know his first name is, if you don’t know where he comes from. The standard isn’t important to them,” Principal Eric Holland told the Rome City Schools board during a recent meeting.
Holland gave an update on Rome High School’s performance during the April board meeting, beginning his presentation by recognizing the school staff who have worked to build relationships with students.
This is Holland’s second full year as principal and he said when he first arrived the school had a discipline problem. He sought to make an impact, he said, on a large amount students who had been suspended from RHS in the 2017-2018 school year by encouraging teachers to build relationships with them.
“If they aren’t in class we can’t teach them,” he said. “If you can’t connect you can’t correct.”
Holland announced his goals to bring up improve scores by subject, however his main goal is to improve teaching and learning. If that happens everything else falls into place he said.
Rome High School has been implementing a co-teaching structure in their classrooms where students work in groups while the teacher facilitates. Holland says this strategy is helping kids have “ah-ha” moments, where their discovery leads to better learning.
“This co-teaching model will be the best in the state next year,” he told the board.
Rome High has also been pushing to provide students with extra help if they need it Holland said. The school provides students an opportunity to come to school early, grab breakfast and go get an extra 30-minutes of help before the day starts.
Teacher volunteers also stay after school to help students with ACT and SAT prep.
The school’s SAT scores are consistently above state levels with average ACT scores being higher than most college requirements in the state of Georgia require he said. The school has been preparing students for college through its AP courses as well he said. Rome High currently has 700 students enrolled to take AP exams this year he told the board, with some taking more than one and as many as five.
Holland also touched on the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education pathways the school offers. RHS currently offers 17 job related pathways that will either put kids on the track for college or give them the experience to enter the job force right out of high school. Holland said the school will have 22 next year and hopes to have as many as 30.
The school is constantly changing he said, however the staff still find the way to meet the needs of every student in the building.
Holland closed out with explaining the symbolism of the Rome High School crest which was designed by one of the students. The crest touches on academics, athletics and arts, which are all focuses of the high school. The crest also depicts two arms reaching out and holding a torch with an RHS in the flames, the arms represent East Rome High School and West Rome High School coming together to make one Rome High.