By Julie Washburn Souza
Rutland Middle School in Macon achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for both the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years. Educators at the Bibb County public school credit their success in part to special programs and learning opportunities available for students that have helped to boost test scores and student achievement.
According to Dr. Jeri A. Hall, Rutland’s principal, student learning is the school’s chief priority. Educators strive to develop positive relationships with students and parents, and encourage students to become actively involved in solving problems and producing quality work. Hall feels that each student is a unique, valued individual whose needs should be met with a variety of approaches to support both intellectual and emotional development.
Teachers at Rutland Middle implement a block schedule for academic and connection classes. Research shows that larger blocks of time allow for a more flexible and productive classroom environment, along with more opportunities for using varied and interactive teaching methods. Other benefits of a block schedule include more effective use of school time, reduced numbers of teachers and assignments with whom students have daily contact, and the ability of teachers to use more process-oriented strategies.
Staff members at Rutland Middle also strive to make time to provide students with extra help or tutoring when needed. Teachers and students have 45 minutes of “excellence time” each day in which students receive enrichment, remediation, and in the areas of reading and math. The extra instruction in these areas is designed to help the students in meeting and exceeding standards on the CRCT test. The school also has an after-school program three days a week in which students receive help with their school work, and are involved in other activities. Two days each week, an after-school math tutoring program is available for students who need extra help in math.
Dr. Hall has been the principal at Rutland since 2003. She has a long history with the Bibb County school system as an educator, and her mission as Rutland principal has always been to provide a safe, orderly, and nurturing learning environment for every child.
“Rutland Middle School is a quality school in which teachers have the opportunity to teach and students have the opportunity to learn,” Hall says. “The staff at Rutland is extremely hard-working and dedicated and has the best interests of the students at heart. At Rutland, we have support from our parents and the community, and working together we do make a difference in the lives of children. It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as the principal of Rutland Middle School.”
Rutland Middle School opened its doors in August 2003 along with Rutland High School. In 2003, the Bibb County School District closed both Ballard-Hudson Middle School and Southeast High School, and opened the Rutland High/Rutland Middle School Complex. The Bibb County School District also went through the re-districting of the school attendance zones, and the Rutland Zone was formed. The schools in the Rutland zone include Rutland High School, Rutland Middle School, Heard Elementary School, Skyview Elementary School, Porter Elementary School, and Bruce Elementary School.
The school was the first middle school in Bibb County to serve 6th grade students. Rutland Middle currently serves 1021 students in grades 6, 7, and 8. The school population is very diverse with 49% Caucasian, 43% African American, and 8% other ethnic groups.
Rutland also serves English Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) students, Program for Exceptional Children (PEC) students, and Gifted Students. Approximately 10% of the student population is in the school’s gifted program.
All students may also participate in a wide variety of school athletics. Sports available for participation include football, cheerleading, softball, basketball, wrestling, baseball, track, and soccer.
Students are afforded many opportunities to participate in clubs and organizations. The school administration encourages students to become actively involved in school activities if they meet the requirements for membership and are academically eligible. All students have the opportunity to be a member of a club, and club meetings are held once a month during “excellence time.” Some of the clubs available for students include 4-H club, math team, academic team, Future Educator’s of America (FEA) Club, transportation club, ballroom dancing, Students Against Violence Everywhere, geography, learning games, Math 24, Fellowship of Christian Athletics, aerobics, Step, Stomp, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Future Business Leader’s of America (FBLA) Club, science fiction & fantasy, Georgia Book Reading Club, poetry, calligraphy, Horse, Strings and Things, and many more.
This year, the school had 12 students place in the Regional History Day competition, eight students place in the Bibb County Technology Fair, and five in the State Technology Fair. Seven students from the school competed in the State Media Festival, and four of those will be competing at the national level soon. The school’s academic team placed first in the Bibb County Academic Team Competition and second in the Bibb County Presidential Trivia Competition.#
Rutland Middle School
6260 Skipper Road
Macon, GA 31216