Rocky Mountain High School, or RMHS, is grades 9-12 and has close to 2,000 students. The mascot is a lobo and the colors are cardinal red and yellow gold. 72% of the 126 licensed staff members hold advanced degrees. There is an average of 32 students per class and an average 500 students per grade and 83% of graduating students continue higher learning or other educational programs. The principal this year is new, and thusfar has been very involved around the school in different aspects of student and teacher life. He has been in our art classroom at least twice just to observe for a few minutes in the first couple weeks of school. He also seems to be holding the staff and students to higher standards and to the school moto.
Rocky Mountain high School is located at 1300 W Swallow Road, in Fort Collins Colorado. It is surrounded by apartments, duplexes, and a few other middle-class to lower-class neighborhoods, and it is bordered on the east side by a busy street. It is close to the foothills so the mountains can be seen from various places in and around the school. It is one of eight different High Schools in the Poudre School District. It opened in 1973 and was expanded and renovated during the 1994–1995 school year.
The schools moto is “we are lobo strong!” The below statement is the mission of the school that reflects their motto, and reflects the student and school culture.
-Rocky Mountain High School inspires, guides, and supports our students, faculty and staff to reach their maximum potential in a caring, challenging and safe environment. -In accordance with the tradition of the "Lobo Way," we, the Rocky Mountain High School community, believe:
~ in the value and dignity of each individual ~ in the development of intellectual and creative skills ~ in the importance of self-discovery ~ in equal opportunity for learning ~ in preparation for life's work and lifelong learning ~ in a safe environment ~ in opportunities for service to society ~ that all members are empowered through participation ~ that education thrives in a democratic environment
WE ARE COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE FOR ALL.
All of the beliefs that are included within the school motto are lived out nearly every day at Rocky. The school culture is one of acceptance, respect, responsibility, and ownership. Students are given many roles and responsibilities within the programs and within the classroom, so students respect their school and its inhabitants. There are around 300 students at Rocky that are “school of choice” students. They live in other cities or areas of Fort Collins that do not automatically send them to Rocky, and they choose to come to this school over others. There are five students that I have in my classes that are also transfer students. They were at other high schools in Fort Collins and chose to switch to Rocky, some even after their junior years. The acceptance this school has for its inhabitants is very evident, and that is why there are so many students that choose to attend rocky or switch to rocky over other schools.
RMHS students are allowed to start their own clubs, and are highly encouraged to do so. In our classroom there is an Anime club that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We are not even in the room supervising, because we trust the students in the club to respectfully use our classroom. This is how most clubs are run as well. Individual and group passions like this Anime clubs are highly encouraged, and most of them take place during lunchtime. Rocky is the only high school in the district that has only one shift for lunch. It is an hour long so that students can leave campus to eat at home or elsewhere, and it also allows clubs to meet. Giving this extra time in school for clubs to meet allows students who are already involved in after-school activities to still be involved in the clubs they want to be involved in. some of the clubs and activities students are involved in include an award-winning forensics program, student newspaper, student magazine, yearbook, and drama program.
Support and Structure
“Rocky Mountain High School inspires, guides, and supports our students, faculty, and staff to reach their maximum potential in a caring, challenging, and safe environment.” – Portion of RMHS mission statement
There is a large support structure set in place for RMHS students. Students are each assigned a counselor at the school who is in charge of helping them sign up for classes and for emotional support. They can also help settle conflicts between students. Students are also encouraged to utilize the RMHS Peer Counselors. These “peers” have been in existence for 23 years. The program was developed as a way for young people to provide support and empathy to other students. A training course, taught by a counselor at Rocky, must be completed by the student before she/he is allowed to participate in the Peer Program. The role of the peer is not to counsel, but to listen and help students reach decisions on how to deal with their problems. The RMHS peers are active in many ways in the school and community. Some of the activities and projects that the peers are involved with are listed below.
- Available to lend individual support to students in need. - Orientate new students to Rocky. - Assist with support groups at Rocky. - Make presentations to elementary and junior high schools on a variety of topics related to making good choices and being successful in school. - Sponsor programs and speakers to inform and motivate students. - Sponsor activities and projects which promote a positive atmosphere at Rocky. - Make presentations and lead small groups in the health classes at Rocky addressing topics such as: teen suicide, sexual assault, harassment, drug/alcohol issues and building healthy relationships.
The RMHS peers are a great way to support and empower students, and encourage courage to take control of their learning and help out their peers.
Another support system that is in place is a required class that all freshmen must take. Lobo 101 is a seminar class that helps guide students through their first year as they make the transition to high school. The teachers work closely with their students to check in on their grades and give extra support to their specific Lobo 101 students. This class helps foster the positive and encouraging culture of the school right from the start.
Parents are a large part of the support system for this school as well. Rocky has a School Improvement Team (SIT) and it is made up of parents, community members, teachers and staff, students, and the principal. This allows active communication and actions between all the various parties that are invested in student’s lives. This allows support and changes to happen faster and more effectively because there are various groups of people represented. Parents are also active participants in RMHS within the Athletic Club, Forensics Boosters, Music Boosters, Drama Parents, and other support groups. Parents also volunteer their services in a variety of ways to assist our students and staff in their day-to-day activities at the school and outside of school.
Parents and students are also able to stay connected through many online sources. The school website is constantly being updated to include the latest information on cancelations, meetings, athletics, and activities, and other announcements and newsletters. Parents are kept up-to-date on important announcements through email and through the new attendance and grading system in the district, Synergy.
The following results were found on www.schooldigger.com and are from 2010-2011 but still show an accurate representation of the demographics of the students of the school.
- Total Students (2010 - 2011): 2036 - African American: 46 (2.3%) - American Indian: 17 (0.8%) - Asian: 38 (1.9%) - Hispanic: 291 (14.3%) - Pacific Islander: 3 (0.1%) - Two or more races: 49 (2.4%) - White: 1592 (78.2%) - Not Specified: 0 (0%) - Fulltime teachers: 100.5 - Student/Teacher Ratio: 20.2 - Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 22.8%
As you can see from the various percentages, there are mostly white students at this school, and the second largest population is Hispanic students. There is also a slightly higher percentage of discounted/free lunch students than the other high schools in the area. Although these percentages are from 2010-2011 I have found these to be accurate within the three classes I have. There are mainly white students, but also many Hispanic students. Also, I found that there were many discounted/free lunch students because they had to inform me if they were when students had to pay for or receive supplies from us. I have also found the student to teacher ratio of 20.2 to be accurate as well. Only one of my classes has more than twenty students, and one has only 16 students so the ratio is accurate within my teaching schedule.
School-Wide Policies for Management, Safe Schools, Conflict Resolution and Student with Special Needs:
Management and Conflict Resolution:
Teachers are supposed to deal with conflicts by utilizing a flow chart within the handbook for the school that outlines the discipline management the administration wants teachers to utilize. The chart walks you through choosing deciphering whether or not the problem needs to be handled within the classroom or the office. Classroom problems are smaller problems that can be dealt with once, and the office problems are problems that severely affect others student’s learning. Both types of problems require an office referral. The problem that is to be dealt with in the office must be turned in and the the administrator determines the consequence, and then they give the teacher feedback on what they implemented. If the problem is dealt with in the classroom the paper does not need to be turned in into the office until it has occurred four times. Then it can be turned in and dealt with within the office. Teachers also must count students if they are tardy to their class and students and parents are contacted after more than three unexcused absences or tardies.
Students with Special Needs:
For gifted students Rocky provides college credit, AP, and enrichment activities for students. The curriculum in these programs and classes encourage critical thinking and analysis, and challenge the students daily to grow as learners. The counseling department provides outstanding personal support and college advising for these students as well. The programs that Rocky has for their students will special needs and IEPs are very supportive, and many students with these needs choose to attend Rocky because of them. The special needs department does a lot of job and life-skills preparation in their classes. For example, this department runs a restaurant in the school that serves food every Thursday. The students are in charge of running the restaurant, and so they learn incredible job preparation skills. The rest of the students at the school warmly welcomes these students as well. For example for Homecoming a special needs Senior was nominated for Homecoming queen, which shows the
Lockdown-Lockout – RMHS has a video that teachers and students are encouraged to watch called “Evacuation Advancing School Safety in Poudre School District.” It is designed to teach staff and students school violence response procedures and it’s to be used in conjunction with regularly scheduled crisis response drills. In addition to this particular safety procedure, each school in the Poudre School District has a similar set of security features that creates safe schools within the district, Rocky included. Each school has an on-site Campus Security Officer that works to keep the school safe and respond to emergency situations. All middle schools and high schools have a Security Resource Officer who is a certified police officer. Intruder alarms, access control, and digital video systems are all included within the schools as well. RMHS actually has 40 cameras to help supervise the building and the parking lot. They rely on these cameras to aid in keeping the school safe, but they most of all rely on the students and staff to be aware. All teachers have been trained in what to do in the case of a Code 99 or a fire. The entire school practices these emergency drills throughout the school year so they are prepared in case one occurs.
Classroom Environment and Students
The classroom that I teach in is shared with one other teacher, so the classroom is very sparse, clean, and organized. It has a whole wall of windows, many storage areas for supplies, and a small storage closet. It is large and well-lit. My art office is shared with two other art teachers and is rather small, but has enough space to store student artwork and plan and grade within. Below are pictures of the classroom and art office. The art section of the building is not particularly new, but the students still enjoy the classroom and respect it. 80% of students at the school take an art class, so that really says how much students enjoy and respect the art program and classrooms within their school.
Student one: Student one gets easily frusterated with her work and needs a lof of constant support throughout the class. She needs me to tell her she is on track or not to be successful with her work. She normally needs the requirements for the day reiterated for her after instructions have been given so she can further understand what exactly she needs to do. she works hard, although sometimes she becomes disinterested with her work because of frusteration and so she stops working early on in the project. She seems to have low self-esteem and this seems to effect her confidence in our art classroom. Student Two: Student three is a very creatively driven student. He does well within his art classes as well as his music classes. He has a positive attitude about the class but he has a lot he needs to improve on. His ideas are great, but he need some help putting those ideas into fruition. He also needs to be pushed to add more details and finishing touches to his work, but he has a pretty good work ethic. He challenges himself sometimes but he needs a push often. His desire to learn and his passion for creativity is very evident though!
Student Three: Student two is very artistically driven in class and has a lot of natural talent. She automatically givers herself challenges in class when given the option, and works very hard to finish her work and to create all of her various ideas. She is truly very interested and passionate about art and the projects she does in the class. Her personal artistic style is already evident in her work. She pays attention to detail, color, light, and contrast very carefully so her work really stands out when next to other works in the class.
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