Principal Ric Stranges aims to tell the story of Hayes with new books


Grace Metz

Hayes Principal Ric Stranges stands holding two of his newly released books.

Grace Metz, Editor-In-Chief

Hayes principal Ric Stranges recently published two books through Amazon, one titled “Transforming the New American High School: Making ‘House’ Feel Like A Home,” and the other “Raising The ‘Standard’ Of Excellence.”
The books detail both newly-unveiled and well-established policies at Hayes, such as the mastery scale system and the titular House system.
“I put our journey into a document as a reference for other schools to get better, or for us to get better too,” Stranges said. “But this is documenting our journey and gives [the readers] a lot of resources that they can use as well.”
Systems like House, which divided Hayes into eight student-led factions with individual personalities, activities, and identities, have been sought after by high schools across the country as they seek better methods of involving students in their school communities.
Hayes Assistant Principal Rex Reeder co-wrote the books discussing House and mastery scales with Stranges.
“I think most people gravitate to the idea of having options,” Reeder said. “I mean, I respect the type of people that can come in and make you think differently rather than just the norm because the norm is boring. Really, the schedule is boring. We’ve got to change our game a little bit for students and keep them engaged.”
Stranges hopes that the books will help students and community members better understand the changes made by administrators in order to create an adaptable learning environment.
“Sometimes when you’re in it, you’re a little myopic because we don’t see everything in the world. We are better than what people think. The perception of Delaware Hayes throughout the country now is innovation, creativity and success,” Stranges said. “This isn’t about me writing books. It’s honestly about sharing the stories and starting those conversations.”
For example, Hayes became a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse school, a designation marking Hayes as a leader in educational practices, near the beginning of the 2022 school year as the mastery scale system was implemented in most freshmen classes.
“We weren’t doing real well on [standardized] tests, so we tried to figure out why,” Stranges said. “Why are kids failing? Why aren’t we doing well on the test? Part of it was that we needed to align the standards that [students are] tested on.”
Reeder said he envisions Hayes as a leader in reforming an aging education system.
“I think just as educators we’re trying to get the word out that education has to change,” he said. “I think we’re still in the 1950 model. I think students are different, and I think needs are different. The world is different.”
Hayes might not have always been a leader in high school education, but students and staff alike are striving towards something greater on the horizon, and Stranges will be documenting that journey.
However, the publishing process was not as straightforward as it could be, so the administrators decided to seek help from a published student author.
“I think, just like me, it was him sort of expressing himself. Sometimes it’s not the need to share it, it’s just that you want to share it,” author and sophomore Coral Stewart said. “I think that he’s really proud of the systems that he has here, and he wants to share that with other schools to better the education system, which I think is important.”
More books are on the way. Some further Hayes’ story, and others discuss Delaware as a whole.
“But I’m enjoying [writing], as you can tell,” Stranges said. “I’m enjoying that aspect of being a school leader: to be able to put out two books about what makes our school different.”