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Education Corner: RCS offers something for every student

Franklin Living January-February 2023

Since school began in August, we have been able to enjoy cheering on our fall athletic teams; watching great performances from our performing arts department, which includes our band, choral and theater groups; experiencing two great community-involved programs, the Hispanic Heritage Program and Veterans Day Program; and celebrating academic achievements at all of our schools. 

We also celebrated two major accomplishments at RCS: the first being our district receiving an overall “A” on the Alabama State Department of Education Report Card for the very first time and the second being the national recognition our district received because of the amazing English language instruction in our schools. These are two things I have been extremely proud of – and our community can be proud as well. 

With all the recognition in these areas lately, I wanted to make sure our community is aware of the other specialty programs we offer, too.

Our RCS Fine Arts Department doesn’t just encompass our high school students. It starts at the elementary level with Emily Rush, music teacher at West Elementary, and Lauren Ritter, music teacher at Russellville Elementary. These two ladies give our younger students a glimpse of what it’s like to study music, which helps spark their interest in fine arts. This specialized learning continues at the middle and high school levels with Aaron Freeman teaching choral classes; Jeremy Willis, Scott Stephenson and Kyle Clements teaching middle and high school band; and Patrice Smith teaching theater. Additionally, our traditional art classes, taught by Melissa Grissom, offer a way for those interested in drawing, painting, sculpting and other art expressions to hone those talents.

In another area of excellence, Liza Scott is doing great things with our Gifted and Talented program at RES. She creates lessons to challenge these students and nurture their abilities and talents, which leads them to being even more prepared for rigorous coursework and achievement as they get older. 

Our AP and honors teachers continue to prepare our students for higher learning through a wide range of courses and specialized lessons. Our RCS Career and Technical Education classes, as well as our student organizations, offer a way for every student to find training and collaboration opportunities for the career path of their choosing. 

We have something for every student at RCS, from pre-K students all the way through our seniors. It’s one of the things that makes me so proud to be part of this system – the desire to make sure every student is receiving the best education possible.

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Heath Grimes is superintendent of Russellville City Schools. He and his wife Amy have three daughters: Leah, Halle and Erin.

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