Hayes High School will get a visit this October from a group that will determine if Hayes is worthy of the Blue Ribbon of Excellence.
Principal Ric Stranges said he arranged the visit and audit after he and several teachers presented at a Blue Ribbon conference in Florida.
“Blue Ribbon School asked us to speak … we presented on (The House Program) and other things we are doing,” Stranges said, referring to the initiative rolled out in 2015 that divides Hayes students into eight houses. The program was designed by Vice Principal Rex Reeder and was designed to break up cliques and allow students to socialize with more people and compete in events against other houses. “It was overwhelmingly positive. So, we’ve applied for them to come in next October to audit the school.”
Stranges said the audit will focus on the following nine areas: student focus and support; school organization and culture; challenging standards and curriculum; active teaching and learning; technology integration; professional community; leadership and educational vitality; school, family, and community partnerships; and indicators of success.
“We can continue to say, ‘We are doing good things,’ but if you don’t have an outside audit take a look at what you are doing and what your practices are and validate things you are doing well and identify the things we need to strengthen, then I think we are being shortsighted,” Stranges said.
Stranges added he’s excited for the audit because it takes more into account that just test scores.
“Today, when schools are measured on the State Report Card, it never talks about how the school culture is,” Stranges said. “It’s only based on pure numbers and test scores. This organization takes that into account. They come in and survey students, survey staff and survey parents. It’s a great barometer about your school culture.”
Stranges said the feedback gained from the audit will give him an idea of what changes need to be made at Hayes.
“I think it’ll be a good pathway for us for the next five years to determine what we want this high school to be,” Stranges said. “I think for our students, our faculty and our community, having a Blue Ribbon designation is something we can be proud of. Even more than that, I want the feedback. Where are we as a school? That’s the most important.”
Stranges said the community has a lot to gain if the school earns the designation because Realtors and potential families always ask what the schools are like.
“To be able to say we’re national recognized I think will benefit many, many people,” Stranges said.
Stranges added he’s optimistic about the audit but isn’t afraid to try again if Hayes doesn’t receive the Blue Ribbon of Excellence.
“It’s time for us to look,” Stranges said. “If we don’t achieve it, we still get feedback and we’ll work to try to achieve it. You don’t always get it the first time. But I think it gives us some direction and some good formative feedback about what we need to do with the school.”
Stranges said the school will be doing an internal audit before October and said all the students at Hayes were recently surveyed about the school. He added task forces have been formed to prepare for the audit.
Greg White, an American government and economics teacher at Hayes, presented at the conference in Florida and said he’s looking forward to the audit.
“We’ll take as much feedback as we can get to make Hayes better,” White said.
“It’s the right thing to do for students, staff and the community,” Stranges added.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.