CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One Lowcountry middle school is gaining the attention of our state leaders. On Wednesday, State Superintendent Dr. Mick Zais paid a visit to Rollings Middle School.
Dr. Zais hasn't been to Dorchester District 2 in quite a while, but after an astounding federal report card came out of this school he said it was time he spoke with the principal.
"I want to know what you're doing to get here great results," said Zais to school principal, Kathy Sobolewski.
The head of education for South Carolina was taking notes from the Lowcountry principal.
Zais said compared to other schools with similar levels of poverty and funding, Rollings middle school is "knocking it out of the ballpark."
"You got 100 on your federal report card and you can't get any better than that," said Zais.
Sobolewski and Zais spoke about several factors to the school's success, one of which was families choice to be there.
"When parents have to chose the school, they assume responsibility for the success of the outcome," said Zais.
Sobolewski echoed this sentiment, adding that when students come to the school with a specific interest, there is a pride that comes with it.
Students audition to attend Rollings Middle School and their classes are adjusted to their interests.
"It's about creative thinking outside the box, what can we do for this child," said Sobolewski.
This is a concept that Zais strongly supports.
"One size fits all...doesn't work," said Zais.
Sobolewski also says the size of school, just 660 students 6th through 8th grade, is a strength that creates strong community atmosphere with high parent involvement. She says the school has what they call a "no surprise guarantee." Their priority is that no parents will be shocked at a report card because the line of communication is already open.
According to Zais, DD2 is one of the highest performing districts in the state, with the lowest funding. Their results are setting an example for everyone else.
"While poverty is a factor and funding makes a difference, neither of those are excuses for failure," said Zais. "We've got too many schools in South Carolina that prove otherwise."
Zais says he hopes to mimic some of the strength of Rollings Middle School in other schools and districts across the state.