Cleveland High Principal Autumn O’Bryan and Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff were hosts for the association’s monthly meeting. Association members also ate in the school’s cafeteria, and were pleased with the meal.
O’Bryan brought the visitors up to date on CHS enrollment, and shared information on a prospectus that has been completed through 2016. “Our graduating class is usually around 300, but it looks like we have some very big freshmen classes coming our way,” she said.
She said her students are very service minded and they come up with many project ideas. “Our faculty can’t direct them to specific projects, but they can become involved,” O’Bryan said.
The Cleveland principal told the visitors she has been in Cleveland for more than 20 years. She attended Lee University, and later taught school in the Chattanooga area, at Red Bank High School.
Asked about the possibility of having an ROTC program at Cleveland High, like the one recently resurrected at Bradley Central, O’Bryan said she is very familiar with it, but added her school currently has no plans for ROTC.
Asked if Cleveland High is getting any German students from the influx of newcomers working at Volkswagen in Ooltewah and at Wacker near Charleston, O’Bryan said it hasn’t happened yet.
Ringstaff said he has been informed that there probably won’t be that many German families here after the first year. He said Wacker wants to hire from the local labor force. “We’re trying to take a common-sense approach for a lot that’s coming down the road,” he said.
“We’re trying to prepare every student, even special education students, to be successful in the future,” Ringstaff said.
“The minority population we’re most concerned with is not the Germans, but the Hispanic,” Ringstaff said. “This population will continue to get larger. We have to have the tools in place and we will not turn anyone away. This is the beauty of public education.”
O’Bryan said her students are excited about their school, emphasizing CHS school is very diverse. She and Ringstaff pointed out the many national flags displayed along the ceiling in the cafeteria, representing the school’s many nationalities.
“Our teens (who are often hard to understand as most teens are) want to keep their personal world separate from the school world,” O’Bryan said. “(Right now) we’re trying to reach out to our Hispanic community, which is something the Ministerial Association can help us with.”
Asked about the school’s response to teen pregnancies, O’Bryan said the issue is quite important to her. “I, personally, make it a point to work with them,” she said. “We also have a lot of resource agencies we work with.”
Ringstaff was asked why the community’s two school systems don’t always have the same breaks in the spring and fall. He said he and Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel have been working closely to sort out many of these types of difficulties. “We get together two or three times a week,” he said.
Association president Ed Robinson thanked the school officials for hosting Wednesday’s association meeting.
Following the luncheon meeting, Ringstaff conducted a tour of the school’s new science wing.