NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's a school struggling with several things including grades, student behavior, and school officials are trying to keep kids from leaving school altogether. Now North Charleston High is going into the upcoming school year with a new leader. Earlier this year Robert Grimm came under harsh criticism by some in the community, including the NAACP Charleston branch, who said he doesn't` have the skills or experience to improve the school.
In just a few weeks Grimm says North Charleston High School students will walk into a school with new leadership, some newly enforced rules, and a place where they will be his top priority.
"Making sure that I've provided them with a safe and secure environment in which to learn and hiring the best classroom teachers that I can possibly find," Grimm said.
Since starting work two and a half weeks ago as NCHS principal, Grimm says he has worked for 12 or more hours a day, familiarizing himself with the school's policies, meeting with administrators, and trying to fill vacant positions.
"I go through the vast amount of emails that I receive. I make myself a checklist of things I need to accomplish," Grimm said.
He says freshman will take part in orientation, where they will get book bags full of supplies, uniforms, and a copy of the rules. Older students will get handbooks telling them new discipline rules, including the enforcement of the no cell phone usage policy.
Another part of Grimm's plan is engaging local businesses and community members to invest in the school and these young people's future. Grimm says the school already has support from The Barbeque Joint restaurant.
"When he first came he introduced himself to all the businesses down the street, seems like a nice guy. Hopefully he can keep it open and keep the kids in the community going to school here and do a good job," The Barbeque Joint manager Jason Lewis said.
Despite past concerns from community members, he will work hard for the students.
"I'm 100% on board. I'm ready to go. Some of the people, I think we share the same vision, the same goal," Grimm said.
For the first time all teachers and administrators at the school will have access to a student`s behavior file containing both good and bad stored in a computer database.
Fewer than 600 students are expected at North Charleston high this year. The principal tells us there are still three teaching positions that are pending or need to be filled at the high school.