As Roan School Principal Cindy Parrott reflects on her nearly three-decade run at the elementary school, she's particularly proud of several initiatives she helped launch that will continue long into the future even though she's retiring at the end of this month.
For example, there's the school's morning show each Friday, which debuted a handful of years ago.
"I was at a tech conference, and I brought back that (idea)," she said. "I'd been wanting to do more reporting" with the show.
"Back in the day, we had a morning show, but it was just over the intercom," said Parrott, who served as Roan's principal for 11 years. Now, "we have a green screen," which worked so well that now "Brookwood has the same setup we do."
"It's student-led," she added. "Students create the scripts, run the equipment," etc.
Roan also boasts an I-Lab, an innovative Maker Space, that helps prepare students for future careers with coding, robotics, and 3D printing, she said. "We don't know what (types of jobs will be available to them) by the time they graduate, but we have to prepare them for whatever they'll do."
Furthermore, Roan has instituted Balance Literacy curriculum under her watch, which has helped personalize learning for students by making instructional practices "flexible to meet the varying needs of each child," she said. "It focuses on complex strategies and skills of reading, writing, and use of oral language."
In addition, she created Roan Ambassadors, students in grades four and five who "become leaders in our school and the voice of their peers through student panels," said Charlie Tripp, Roan's longtime assistant principal. "Roan Ambassadors have continued to emerge as leaders throughout their educational careers and into adulthood."
The Roan Ambassadors are an example of Parrott prioritizing student voice, said Tripp, who will succeed Parrott as Roan's principal. "She is leaving the legacy of a loving, student-centered educator who always had the best interests of others at heart."
Parrott has improved her school in ways large and small during her tenure, said Tim Scott, superintendent of Dalton Public Schools. She's done "a magnificent job."
Parrott is "very proud of RED Day," and the school hosted its third Roan Exploration and Discovery (RED) Day this fall, said Parrott, who also was an assistant principal and classroom teacher at Roan before taking over as principal. "I hope this is something that will continue, and I'm confident it will."
The first RED Day focused on writing, the second concentrated on sports, and this October's theme was STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Roan continues to be in the vanguard of creatively incorporating technology into curriculum, with everything from Merge Cubes — holographic toys that allow users to physically hold and interact with 3D objects using augmented reality (AR) technology — to Oculus Go virtual reality goggles, Nick Sun, a director of school support for Dalton Public Schools, explained this fall. "Roan, their niche is really technology."
"We're big on innovation here," Parrott seconded. "To me, that's all positive."