EHS holds town hall meet­ing

School aims to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter with par­ents, com­mu­nity

The Covington News - - EDUCATION - By Jenny Thompson

The ad­min­is­tra­tors of East­side High School hosted the school’s first in­for­mal, “town hall” style meet­ing for par­ents and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity Wed­nes­day night.

Prin­ci­pal Robert Daria, en­ter­ing his third year as East­side’s prin­ci­pal, wel­comed those who at­tended and ex­plained he and his as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals de­signed the meet­ing to in­form them about East­side ad­min­is­tra­tors’ roles and out­line their ba­sic goals.

“We wanted to do a bet­ter job of shar­ing in­for­ma­tion with our par­ents and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with our com­mu­nity,” Daria said.

Let­ters were sent home with all of East­side’s stu­dents and mailed to 35 area churches and civic or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“Even though we only have 20 to 25 par­ents here,” Daria said, “it’s a start.”

Daria said he en­cour­ages teach­ers to pro­vide in­struc­tional time from bell to bell, be on time and treat the stu­dents as they would want their chil­dren treated.

He also promised vig­i­lance in the school — men­tion­ing since he has been prin­ci­pal, only one stu­dent has been re­ferred to the of­fice for smok­ing in the bath­room.

The as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal who han­dles of­fice re­fer­rals and all dis­ci­plinary mea­sures is Bruce McColum.

McColum re­minded par­ents that three of East­side’s ad­min­is­tra­tors are par­ents and will al­ways treat stu­dents with re­spect and fair­ness.

“We want to as­sure you this will be a safe, nur­tur­ing learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for your chil­dren,” McColum said.

He said he has been in other schools where all teach­ers did not watch for and cor­rect in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior as they do at East­side and, there­fore, had seen food fights, fist fights and other “raunchy” acts com­mit­ted by teenagers.

“I be­friend a lot of stu­dents — I give a lot of high-fives in the hall — but they know if they get sent to the of­fice with a re­fer­ral, that I have to flip the switch,” McColum said.

As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Glo­ria Grif­fith han­dles cur­ricu­lum im­ple­men­ta­tion and test­ing.

“We’ve made AYP for the last three years and we’re very proud of that,” Grif­fith said.

She said mak­ing AYP (ad­e­quate yearly progress based on the No Child Left Be­hind Act) con­sec­u­tively has marked East­side as a “school of dis­tinc­tion.”

Grif­fith also men­tioned East­side stu­dents con­sis­tently record SAT scores higher than the na­tional av­er­age and last year’s se­niors earned more than $2 mil­lion dol­lars in schol­ar­ship of­fers.

She also ex­plained that stu­dents need 28 course cred­its and must pass all five sec­tions of the Ge­or­gia High School Grad­u­a­tion Test to par­tic­i­pate in com­mence­ment ex­er­cises.

“What that means is, your child will not be able to march across that stage if they don’t pass those tests,” Grif­fith said.

She re­as­sured par­ents that stu­dents who fail have five op­por­tu­ni­ties to re-take any sec­tion and can re­ceived com­put­er­based tu­tor­ing ev­ery day af­ter school if needed.

Den­nis Rod­den­berry, as­sists McColum as a dis­ci­plinary as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal and acts as the school’s ath­letic di­rec­tor. He said East­side of­fers 12 dif­fer­ent sports — eight for males and nine for girls, with this year’s ad­di­tion of com­pet­i­tive cheer­lead­ing.

“That num­ber seems strange be­cause in the old days it was the other way around,” Rod­den­berry said.

He said East­side ad­min­is­tra­tors strive for gen­der eq­uity in all facets of ed­u­ca­tion in­clud­ing ath­let­ics. Rod­den­berry added East­side coaches will not al­low stu­dents with strug­gling grades to miss a tu­tor­ing ses­sion for sports prac­tice.

“Our coaches stress that they have to be a stu­dent first,” Rod­den­berry said, “and an ath­lete sec­ond.”

Rod­den­berry promised par­ents of out­stand­ing ath­letes that his coaches would help par­ents in ac­com­plish­ing any col­le­giate goals their chil­dren held.

Daria con­cluded by stat­ing he and all his em­ploy­ees wanted the best for all East­side’s stu­dents ask­ing ev­ery­one to help.

“If we don’t have the com­mu­nity sup­port­ing East­side High School,” Daria said, “then it will just be­come an­other school out there in the dust.”

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