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Path to success

Rock Hill schools continue work toward perfect state scores

With summer vacation over, the Rock Hill schools are looking to continue to improve their academic programs.

At Rock Hill Middle School, they are creating a curriculum making sure the students have the skills need in order to compete in the 21st century.

“We are proud of our students and their performances in our core academic classes and on state achievement tests,” said RHMS principal Jason Owens. “We have had several students during the past few years who have achieved perfect scores on subject areas of the state tests.”

Owens said the school offers the students a variety of electives including chorus, career exploration, an award-winning marching band and a thorough series of technology courses. Through STEM Project Lead the Way, qualifying students are provided challenging instruction in engineering and biomedical science, courses which incorporate the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math.

In addition to academic courses, RHMS also offers several extra-curricular options, including multiple sports and memberships in organizations like the Teen Leadership Conference and National Junior Honor Society.

“Our honor society works throughout the year in providing vital community services for those in need,” Owens said. “These students also work with handicapped students and participate in cooperative projects arranged by their advisor and the intervention specialists.”

There is a new administrator, Brian Kidd, a Rock Hill graduate who is the new assistant principal.

Owens said he is looking forward to a new year with his faculty, staff, and students.

“I am very proud to continue building upon our academic endeavors,” he said. “And I will strive to promote best practices in order to prepare our students for the future.”

At Rock Hill Elementary, they have a couple new staff members to help students. Haylia Robey is the school’s new intervention specialist and assists students who need help with their studies or their individual education plans.

The other new staff member is Haley Sias Smith who is a speech pathologists who assists students with pronunciation of words and works closely with reading teachers.

Another new staff is Laura Hankins who is a school secretary.

“I had one lady who retired, so people that come in here are going to see a new friendly face this year,” said RHES principal Fred Smith

He said the school doesn’t have any new programs this year, rather they are going to continue to work on the programs they have in place.

“We are continuing with what we are doing,” he said. “We take STAR Math and STAR Reading tests on computers. We have a Project MORE that we are very proud of.”

He explained that high school students come to the elementary school to help the younger students with subjects they are having trouble with.

“They serve as tutors,” Smith said. “It’s a great way for all our Rock Hill students to interact.”

The school is also continuing with the Backpack Buddy program.

“That has been very beneficial to our students who have food insecurity,” Smith said. “It provides students with non-perishable food items to eat over the weekend, so they have something nutritious to eat at home.”

There is also a clothing closet to help students in need.

Smith said they have seen an increase of students this year.

“In this particular building, we’re up this year, I don’t have the exact number, but I know we have enrolled a whole lot more than that have withdrawn,” he said. “All in all, we are off to a great start this year.”

Rock Hill High School principal David Hopper wasn’t available for comment for this story.