ELYRIA — Spending 12 hours on the roof of Elyria High School did nothing to dissuade Principal Tom Jama from setting more goals for roughly 2,100 students this school year.
On Tuesday morning, students walked into a building plastered with green signs bearing the number 8,988 and the words “Can we reach it?” The signs serve as visible reminders that the student body is being challenged again.
This time, the goal is to collectively increase the total number of A’s, B’s and C’s by 3 percent by the end of the first grading period, Oct. 26. The number 8,988 represents a 3 percent increase over last school year’s overall average of 8,726 total A’s, B’s and C’s.
“We are going crazy here,” Jama said with a laugh. “I think everybody loves to have a challenge and everybody likes competition. I really believe when the kids and staff are challenged to meet a goal, they will kick it up a notch to meet that goal.”
Any challenge automatically comes with a reward and for the students of Elyria that reward will be up to them to decide.
Last year, Jama challenged students to up their grade point averages, and in exchange he would sleep on the roof of the new $70 million school. On June 21, Jama and Jim Wall, this year’s principal of Northwood Middle School, pitched tents and slept on the roof after 57 percent of the student body attained a 3.0 GPA or higher.
This year, Jama said he will not be sleeping on the roof because with a new challenge comes a new incentive.
“I basically told them that there is not a lot of money, and I am not rich, and whatever we do has to satisfy more than 2,300 people,” Jama said. “This week in homeroom, students and staff members will talk about what they would like the incentive to be. Ultimately, I will let the building decide.”
In the end, Jama said, it’s not about rewards and incentives.
“The atmosphere in the building is about academic success, and the students, staff and parents know together we can get it done.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.