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FIVE QUESTIONS WITH PRINCIPAL SUMATRA DRAYTON

July 23, 2018

 

By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT

Rutherford County Schools

 

Holloway High School will be holding its annual open house for July 26 from 6–7:30 p.m.

 

In addition to experiencing a “friendly environment,” Holloway Principal Sumatra Drayton said visitors Thursday evening will notice “a lot of technology.” Holloway is the lone high school in Rutherford County that will be implementing the two-to-one program in which the school provides one laptop for every two students enrolled in the school.

 

Unlike other high schools in the county, Holloway is not a zoned school. It’s a choice school.

 

Drayton and her staff will be accepting applications from prospective students.

 

Drayton recently recorded an episode of the award-winning Podcast “Beyond the Classroom.” Her entire interview can be HERE.

 

The following is an excerpt of that conversation.

 

Talk about what makes Holloway High School unique.

 

Holloway is an alternative to a comprehensive high school. Riverdale, Oakland, Blackman, (Siegel, Stewarts Creek, LaVergne and Smyrna), those are your comprehensive high schools. What we do here – same rules, same requirements, but we do it at an accelerated pace.

 

Holloway is a school of choice. Every student that attends Holloway filled out an application, submitted an essay and did an interview. They all want to be here because they want to graduate on time, which is our main purpose, … we do a full year in a semester. It’s similar to the pace they will find when they get to college.

 

You said alternative, but it is not an alternative school.

 

It is not. A lot of people think we might be an alternative school – that kids are remanded here or sent here – and that is definitely the farthest thing from the truth. The alternative schools in Rutherford County are Smyrna West and Daniel McKee. We’re an alternative to Blackman (and the other large comprehensive schools).

 

One of the alternatives to coming to Holloway, in addition to the accelerated pace, which is the ability to take eight classes in a school year as opposed to seven, are the small class sizes.

 

Because we don’t have as many kids in the classroom, they’re able to get more one-on-one instruction, more hands-on attention from the teachers. … I tell people, if you don’t want to be noticed — if you’re struggling with math or with your reading or writing — then Holloway is not the school for you because we’re small and we see everybody and everything. And we are able to address it immediately.

 

What’s it like implementing the new two-to-one computer program?

 

We’re excited. This year Rutherford County is going to do one computer for every two students in all the middle schools. We were fortunate that we’re the only high school that is also going to be included in this trial or this project. Right now, we have enough new computers in the building — laptops — for every two students to have access to a laptop. Every teacher has a new laptop. We have new upgraded WiFi in the building.

 

What should parents and students expect from the opening house on July 26?

 

It is our annual open house. It’s Thursday, July 26. It will start at 6 p.m. We do speed dating almost, where I will actually be interviewing students, so if you are interested you need to write an essay before you come. Or you can write it here. We’ll have places set up where you can write an essay and fill out an application.

 

I want people to come in and just get a feel. It’s one of those things that you don’t know what this is until you can actually come in and experience it. Talk to teachers and you will know just by talking to them, you’ll get to see where the heart of the school is. The heart of this building is the teacher.