Rome City Schools

Rome City Schools is looking at ways to keep their teachers and faculty in the district after discussing their staffing and retention rate at a school board work session Tuesday.

Superintendent Lou Byars talked about how RCS didn’t have much staff turnover, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We didn’t lose any administrators at any of the schools and most of the teachers came back as well, which is a very low turnover year for us,” Byars said.

He went on to cite leadership as one of the biggest retention factors in the school system.

Board member Alvin Jackson talked about a case several years ago where a teacher left because he felt like he didn’t have a chance to advance in the RCS system.

While Byars said they try to promote teachers from within the system, they struggle with people enrolling in the leadership program at the schools and staying in the system.

They currently have about four people enrolled in the program, however, they haven’t been able to do much with the program over the past several months because of the pandemic.

“I think we have great candidates across the board to be able to fill assistant principal positions internally, if we need them” he said. “We are growing our own.”

Board members also talked about how using the teaching career pathway at the high school’s college and career academy is another great tool in hiring and recruiting teachers.

“We’re not only looking at growing administrators, but also growing our teachers,” Byars said.

However, all of the board members cited local housing as a big factor in hiring and retaining teachers.

Board member Will Byington cited housing as a major problem for all employers in the Rome-Floyd County area. Byars agreed, saying they have a lot of teachers and faculty who have been in RCS for several years and commute to Rome.

The superintendent and board members discussed possibly creating a role for a person in the school system to help new teachers find housing in the community.

While it wouldn’t be a whole new staffing position, it would create a new role within the school system that could benefit the hiring and retention process.

Byars also talked about partnering with the local housing industry about possibly creating a housing community for teachers. However, he said he hasn’t really been able to move forward with the idea since fall of last year.

Since it would take a while to get something like that off the ground, the board agreed to focus on creating the housing role for a staff member.

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