By Kaitlin Fleming
Gadsden City High School is kicking off this school year with a new principal and some new ideas.
Jeff Colegrove graduated from Etowah High School in 1989 and went on to JSU to get his BS and then the University of Alabama for his masters. Colegrove was a baseball coach for the Blue Devils for 17 years.
Colegrove then went to Gadsden City. He was a coach at Gadsden City for three years before heading back to Etowah to be an assistant principal.
“I loved everything about Etowah High,” said Colegrove. “I had great support. I loved that faculty and those students.”
Colegrove moved up to the principal position in 2013-14, with Ryan Barkley as his assistant principal.
“I enjoy being in administration,” said Colegrove when asked whether he liked coaching or being a principal more.
Colegrove was principal at Etowah for two years when he was offered the same position at Gadsden City in 2015. The Etowah faculty was sad to see him go and Gadsden City welcomed him back with open arms.
“I wasn’t looking for a job,” said Colegrove. “I was happy at Etowah, it is where I went to school and it was my hometown. Then this opportunity presented itself and I just had to take it.”
With the 2015-16 school year on its fifth week, the hopes are high that the Titans will succeed in not only academics, but extracurriculars as well.
Last year, the academics were outstanding. Gadsden City offers about 15 Advanced Placement courses and the exams that correspond with that course. Out of those courses, 71 students made qualifying scores on one or more exams, meaning that 71 students made a three or better on the exam.
Along with those remarkable exam scores last year, over 30 students made a 30 or better on the ACT.
“The expectations are high for this year,” said Colegrove. “We have just started to tap into the gold mine we have here.”
Along with AP courses, Gadsden City also offers a wide variety of project based classes such as broadcasting, business marketing, pottery, career tech, JROTC, band, choir and visual arts, just to name a few.
“There is truly something for everyone here, “said Colegrove. “If someone can’t find something they love I would be stunned.”
There is also some talk about a virtual classroom. The virtual learning would be used for students for whom a “typical” classroom environment does not work. The staff at Gadsden City has researched the idea and is now awaiting board approval.
“We want to meet every student’s demands,” said Colegrove.
Not only is Gadsden City hoping to make a virtual learning program, the school also just rolled out a new program, the 1 to 1 Initiative.
The new program allows every student to have a personal laptop, for a small fee. The school provides a laptop and tech support for all 1,525 students, so the students and teachers can have a more technologically advanced and hands-on curriculum.
“The teachers are experimenting with new strategies and are very excited for the possibilities,” Colegrove said.