High school is a wonderful time where most students make memories and friendships that can last a lifetime. For some students though, it can also be a time of strife as they struggle to master concepts and pave a path towards their future. For these struggling students, encouraging relationships with adults within the school building can be the ticket to turning things around and achieving their goal of graduation. At Winder-Barrow High School, students know Robert Brutz is a teacher who will not only pour into them educationally, but is understanding, supportive, and helpful no matter what their situation.
A sixteen-year veteran to the teaching profession, Mr. Brutz comes to Winder-Barrow High School with a background in middle and high school education. When asked why he teaches he stated, “I want to connect students in meaningful ways and help them think about their economic futures. My favorite part of teaching is the ‘teachable moments’ I get to have with my students.” He takes every opportunity to relate content to student lives, forcing students to think beyond the four walls of WBHS. This real-world connection has been the thing that has drawn in many at-risk students, allowing them to see the value of the content and how it directly relates to their lives.
Mr. Brutz analyzes data and determines the students most at risk for falling behind at multiple points throughout the semester. Upon identifying these at-risk students, he works not only with them to create a plan to get them back on track, but he seeks out a team of individuals including parents, counselors, the graduation specialist, and the academic interventionist to intervene and ensure student success. Mr. Brutz goes above and beyond teaching economic concepts and pours into the entire student. He teaches -- to achieve their goals, students must refuse to accept failure.
By helping students understand they can learn from each of their mistakes, students within his classroom are willing to fail and try again. Current grad-track student Sebastian Lee believes, "Mr. Brutz is one of those teachers who gives tough love, jokes around with you, and you just know he cares.” This caring attitude and refusal to allow students to give up is changing the lives of many students that might otherwise continue to struggle and give up when things get tough.
For the past five years WBHS has been blessed to have such a dedicated teacher working with its students. The life lessons Mr. Brutz helps instill will be one of the many valuable things students remember as they leave WBHS.
We are proud of our students who are on the “Grad Track.” A Grad Track student has either failed one or more academic classes and/or is behind in credits needed for graduation with their cohort class. Graduation Specialists at all three Barrow County School System (BCSS) high schools support students who meet these qualifications.