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Back to School 2011

Table of Contents

Introduction.................................................................................................3 Adamsville Jr./Sr. High School............................................................4 McNairy Central High School.............................................................6 Selmer Middle School.............................................................................8 Bethel Springs Elementary School.................................................10 School Closure Protocol........................................................................11 Tax Free Holiday................................................................................12-13 Michie Elementary School...................................................................14 Ramer Elementary School..................................................................15 Adamsville Elementary School..........................................................16 Selmer Elementary School.................................................................18 Faith Baptist School...............................................................................19 School Calendar.......................................................................................20 Gateway Christian Academy.............................................................22 Rose Creek.................................................................................................23

Wishing all a safe and successful school year. Andrew G. Searcy Field Representative 1460 Pickwick St. Savannah, TN 38372 Phone: 731-925-3456 Fax: 731-9025-6899

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back to School 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Independent-Appeal / Page 3C

Welcome Back! It’s back to school time again. We at the Independent Appeal would like to welcome McNairy County students, their parents, and all staff and faculty members back to school and wish them the best in the upcoming school year. Inside you will find in-depth interviews with school principals, helpful information on each of our schools, interesting features on some of our homeschooling students, as well as a complete school calendar. We understand the importance of getting things started on the right foot, and in hopes of making this transition a bit easier, we are offering our first ever back to school section, enjoy.


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Back to School 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Staff Photo by Andrew Alexander

Adamsville Jr./Sr. High School gets ready for new year By Andrew Alexander Staff Writer

Greg Martin is entering his third year as the principal at Adamsville Junior-Senior High School while several changes loom on the horizon. New Tennessee graduation standards are coming into play next year, evaluation standards for testing have gone up, the state has cut funding for dual-credit course opportunities, and AHS will introduce eight new faculty members this fall. Despite the changes, Martin is confident in his staff, and applies his coaching methods to his current position as principal. “Being a principal is very, very similar to coaching. You find good people, you put them in the right place, and let them do their job,” said Martin. “Our faculty and staff do a great job.” The Tennessee Diploma Project, according to Martin, is a new state requirement for graduates that will begin for the graduating class of 2013. The project will concentrate the focus of each individual’s graduation path much like university process of “majoring” in a certain area of study. According to Martin, one of the biggest challenges with students today is being certain they are prepared for the next level of their education. “There’s a big challenge in getting students to understand that there’s a huge difference in being college eligible as opposed to being college ready,” said Martin. The biggest goal for Martin in 2011 is to keep the stress of the new evaluation process from weighing on his faculty. “I don’t want our teachers burdened with worrying over the evaluation process,” said Martin “I would say our goal is to handle

this evaluation process with no problem whatsoever.” The newest faculty member at AHS, Matt Wood, will take over the duties of Assistant Principal Suzanne Henson, who has recently taken the principal position at Michie School, and will go a long way in helping the high school transition through challenges like the new evaluation procedures. “As of last Wednesday Matt Wood is the new assistant principal at Adamsville High School,” said Martin. “It’s something he’s excited about. It’s something my staff is excited about, and Matt was a great choice for us.” Wood has been the Attendance Supervisor for McNairy County and was in charge of truancy, student management systems, and state reporting, and has also served on the Adamsville City Commission for the last two years. Wood taught Physics, Chemistry, Algebra and Principles of Technology at AHS for seven years beginning in 2003, and earned his undergraduate degree at Louisiana State University in 2001, and his masters degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2005. Other new educators at AHS include Dustin Ruth (eighth Grade Social Studies), Rachael Reid (eighth Grade Reading), Carol Lunsford (seventh Grade English), Shane Stults (eighth Grade Science), Jana Moore (Health Occupations), Nathaniel Root (Media Concepts, and Head Basketball Coach), and Dr. Amanda VanHoose (Biology, and Principles of Technology). Martin had plans of bringing in two additional dual-credit courses for students to take advantage of, but due budget cuts for the University of Tennessee those courses will not be available, and the courses that are still being offered will cost nearly ten times the previous amount.

“We were offering dual-credit English and History courses to our students that only cost them $49 each,” said Martin. “With these cuts from UT students will now have to pay $400 for the same classes.” AHS will continue its after school program despite the departure of Henson who had previously run the after-school activities. The program will run Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. And will offer a wide array of choices for students looking to extend their education past the the limits of the average school day. “We’ve offered a wide range of programs in the past,” said Martin. “Everything from cooking classes, tutoring, scarp-booking, the Bigger, Faster, Stronger Program.” Martin feels he runs a tight ship at AHS and the student handbook will remain the same, but noted that new challenges with social media are being weighed by the school board. “They are letting us work under the premise that anything that happens on a social media page that disrupts the school we’re able to discipline them.,” said Martin. For example, if a student threatens to start a fight with another student at school the next day the school will be able to step in and take action. AHS will take advantage of One to One funding from the county by providing every seventh and eighth grade science students access to a computer on top of the junior and senior English classrooms and the Algebra II classrooms that are already equipped by One to One funding. “We’re very appreciative of Mr. Terry Burns and what his staff does in getting us what we need,” said Martin, “and also by helping us maintain what we have... You can have as many computers as you want, but if

they don’t work, it doesn’t matter.” There are no major renovations planned for AHS at this time, but that is not to say that Martin does not feel like there are things that could be done to improve the school. “We’re constantly growing and we have to really look at every available nook and cranny that we have to hopefully put a class in,” said Martin. “We have to really utilize our space efficiently to best serve our student body.” According to Martin, AHS is expecting over 700 students this fall, and over 150 of those students will be incoming freshmen. With 10 to 12 teachers without classrooms of their own and a growing student population Martin is in favor of the county building new schools. “We’ve done a good job of remodeling,” said Martin. “We’ve added on and put bandaids on things as much as we can.” Martin feels the schools in the county have done a good job “maintaining what we have,” but finds it troubling that, “the newest schools in the county are 30 years-old” referring to AHS and Selmer Middle School. Trying to focus on the positive side of things Martin said the situation could be viewed positively because the reason schools in the county are so cramped is that the quality of education in McNairy County is great, and it brings people to the community. “It’s not like we have new industry coming into town each week, and yet we have more students coming into our schools every year. The reputation of our school system is the reason our schools are so populated,” said Martin. “If you’ve got one diamond in the rough, you’ve got to do everything you can to polish it and keep it as shiny as you can.”

Back to School 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Back to School 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Staff Photo by Megan Smith

McNairy Central looks ahead to another year By Megan Smith Staff writer As Cecil Stroup begins his 11th year as a principal of McNairy Central High, he plans boldly. “The number one goal is to provide a safe, clean, disciplined environment where students can come and obtain an education they want and deserve and where the instructors can provide that,” he said. Stroup is hopeful that the discussions on new schools will be fruitful. “Public education is what made this country what it is. I think sometimes people forget that. Anything that you can do to better serve the people who are going to be running this country in the future, I don’t think you can lose doing that,” Stroup stated. At McNairy Central, drugs and alcohol have not been huge obstacles. Stroup stated, “We have not had a whole lot of problems. We don’t tolerate that. They won’t be going to school at McNairy Central for too long if they try to do things like that. We expect people to do what’s right.” Stroup and his faculty are working diligently to prepare interested students for college following graduation. Stroup said, “We have a career day here. We have a guidance department that provides students with any information they want about any different college, and we have information on our website. “We have AP Classes and classes that we teach with UT Martin,” Stroup said. However, Stroup stresses that he does not believe that higher education is the path for all students. “Probably 12 to 15 percent of your people are going to go to college to begin with. We probably put too much

“My opinion is that they are going to get what they want to emphasis on that. I’m a big vocational person,” Stroup eat anyway. I hope they end up eating what the governstated. This heavy emphasis on academics, Stroup believes, is ment tries to feed them.” According to Stroup, the main problem facing Mcmaking it increasingly difficult for the school to lower their Nairy Central has been cell phones. He believes that their drop-out rate. usage has greatly detracted from the educational process. Currently, McNairy Central graduates around 90 to “I wish the state government would allow us to block 92 percent of their students according to Stroup. Howthe cell phones,” he claimed. ever, state mandates are making this number difficult Other problems facing Stroup have included tardies to increase, despite efforts including the A plus learning and dress code violations. However, there are rules for program. each of these issues, and Stroup Stroup stated, “It’s getting believes they are solvable. tougher because the state of “You outline what you except Tennessee is requiring that every of the students, and if they want to student pass four years of math try to do it their way, you have to starting with Algebra 1, four years discipline them and make them unof science, four years of English, derstand it’s not going to happen,” and four years of history. I’ve For more information on McNairy Stroup stated. always stated that I didn’t believe Central, visit or Stroup currently is frustrated that every student should be on an call (731) 645-3226. by the increasing federal intervenacademic path, but it seems to be tion in public education. that some people think they need “More and more federal and all that.” state mandates have come down A number of new vocational over the last few years that I really don’t think are doing programs have been started at McNairy Central, including education too much good. Schools are judged on what the Science Technology Engineering and Math program you can make on a test. Schools are much deeper than and forensics. that,” he claimed. “The STEM program is our newest program. It is a Stroup is proud of his faculty and fellow administrakickoff to engineering. It’s in our vocational department. We had it the first time last year. The students seem to love tion at MCHS. “I can tell you by listening to kids whether a teacher is the class,” said Stroup. teaching or not, and we have some of the most dedicated Stroup also spoke on the recent debates concernand most professional people in the field of education that ing meal plans taking place in Washington D.C. He does I’ve ever seen. They work extremely hard to try not only to believe that this issue will affect MCHS. meet testing guidelines, but to help all kids,” said Stroup. Stroup gave his opinion on the meal plan revisions:

v McNairy Central High School

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Selmer Middle School makes big plans for school year By Janet Rail Publisher

Becoming an academic leader has been true music to Doctor Brenda Armstrong’s ears. Since she was tapped a the new principal of Selmer Middle School’s 489 students and 32 teachers last year, Armstrong has persented a strong vision for the school’s future. In fact, just this week, she is attending a conference on “Making Middle Schools Work” which focuses on best practices for each grade level. She plans to implement new ideas upon her return. Her primary focus is to assure the school is not targeted again in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act passed by President Bush. The school was targeted in math and the school has implemented a lot of interventions and one-toone training with students. The schools has initiated Think Link a program developed by Vanderbilt University focused on the use of formative assessment to improve K-12 students learning and performance while measuring their progress toward meeting state standards. These assessments are completed three times a year at SMS. “This assessment allows each teacher to see skills each child needs to work on. It is both diagnostic and prescriptive and I believe it is truly helping,” stated Armstrong. Think Link has Probes where a teacher looks at an objective and builds an individualized test for the skills a student needs so they can practice.

According to Armstrong, the school teaches accelerated also has an online gray book designed to keep parents math exclusively. Accelerated reading promotes an interest informed and up to date. in reading but research does not prove an increase in test The fifth grade got one-to-one laptops last year and this scores from the program. year sixth grade will get them. “We are living in a world of “My main concern is assuring our students test well as a technology and we have to keep up,” she continued. result of the efforts of our gifted facThere are plans to have a schoolulty. It never ceases to amaze me the wide writing book where every talents of my teachers. I am still learnstudent makes a contribution to ing about them and the new teachers For more information on Selmer Middle School a journal we plan to have printed. on our team are ready to set the world visit and click on the Selmer This journal will include poetry, on fire,” said Armstrong. limericks, short stories, etc. Writing Middle School link, or call (731) 645-7977. Armstrong grew up in McNairy skills impact several areas on the County, moving here at the age of TCAP scores positively so writing five when her father Dr. Harry Peeler started his practice. is important in Armstrong’s opinion. She graduated from the first graduating class at McNairy Armstrong ended in saying; “Our student population is Central, received a bachelor’s degree in music education very diverse so we have a lot of the same problems you from Union University, a master’s in education leadership see in inner city schools but we try to address the needs of from the University of Memphis and a PhD in education all children as we are servants to the community and take leadership from the University of MS in 2007. pride in our work. I believe schools in McNairy County Early in her career, she taught music and piano pri- are better than many other counties and we look forward vately in Las Cruces, New Mexico; Glendale, Arizona, to a great year at Selmer Middle Alamogardo, New Mexico, Tampa and Key West, School.” Florida before returning to McNairy County. “I am happier now than I have ever been and feel I am doing what the Lord wanted me to do,” said Armstrong. With over 25 years in education, Armstrong has great plans for SMS this year. She plans to video each student individually with the help of Tim Hurst and put on their website. The school

vSelmer Middle School

Back to School 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Bethel Springs Elementary plans for new school year By Amanda Lowrance Sports Writer

Principal Terry Moore has been with Bethel Springs Elementary for 35 years. Beginning as a teacher and working his way up to assistant principal, he is now going on his 15th year as principal. “Former Principal Wilson made the remark, ‘When I retire I’m going to leave it with Mr. Moore.’ I hadn’t really even thought about it until then,” said Moore. “He retired several years later and I was fortunate enough to get the job.” “I had always thought I would like to but wasn’t quite sure. It’s a good job, and I enjoy doing it. It’s like any other job; you have good days and some days you don’t have good days.” The No Child Left Behind Act passed by President Bush in 2002 has dramatically improved test scores of the elementary and secondary schools over the last nine years. While the students are improving, it’s not without a cost, according to Principal Moore. “It has good points and bad points. Nobody is against accountability. I think the way that they have gone about doing it is not totally beneficial to teachers. “I don’t think a lot of the people that make these decisions are totally aware of everyday happenings in schools; what teachers are responsible for, what principles are responsible for. I think they would have a better feel for it if they would come down and do it for a few days, and then they would get an idea of what it’s really like. Moore stresses that there is nothing wrong with accountability: “We all have to be accountable for what we do. The government has left some pretty big questions and problems.” Every spring grades three-eight take the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program test, which is a customized version of the previously used McGraw Hill Terra Nova examination. “State standards in the Terra Nova/TCAP are a big challenge,” said Moore. “We have certain goals that we have to meet, certain percentages that we have to meet, and average yearly progress. Those are all challenges and the teachers have

Staff Photo by Amanda Lowrance

v Bethel Springs elementary For more about Bethel Springs, visit, click on the Schools link, and click on Bethel Springs Elementary, or call 731-934-7288. to make sure daily that they are doing as much as they can to reinforce those standards of skills that are going to be tested.” The teachers and students need to meet these standards to be prepared in ample time to ensure that everyone is ready when the tests come in April. “A lot of people think that we are teaching to the test, but we are not,” said Moore. Bethel Springs Elementary has gone through some changes, inside and out. Several have occurred over Moore’s time there,

but the last cosmetic building change was just a few years ago. “You always need space. I can look right now and think I could use two or three more rooms, but we are fortunate to have our space. As far as these other schools, if they need it and that’s what the people will then I have no problem with it. I know what it’s like to be in a cramped up space.” The small, smiling faces will greet Principal Moore in August ready to start a new school year and learn to the best of their ability. “The whole time I have been in administration, the kids have been my number one priority. They are what we are here for, to help them and to do for them as much as we can. I would like to make sure the teachers have everything that they need to make their job better and that everyone has a safe environment.”

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Miskelly speaks on school closure protocol By Andrew Alexander Staff Writer

While inclement weather in McNairy County means good news for students who get to have an unscheduled day off, it is not always an easy thing to decide, according to Superintendent of McNairy County School Charlie Miskelly. “There are typically 10 days built into the school calendar for bad weather, poor road conditions, and other variables that would cause a school closure, ” said Miskelly. McNairy County in the past few years has seen schools close for icy roads, snowy conditions, flooding,

and various other natural obstacles which make it difficult for children to make it to school in a safe manner. While Miskelly has the ultimate say in whether or not school will be closed for inclement weather, he does rely on several sources to aid him. “I can’t just wake up in the morning, look out my window, and decide if we’re going to have school or not,” said Miskelly. “It does not work that way.” Miskelly’s aid comes from weather forecasts, bus driver input, assistance from other transporters in the community, and from the county’s Transportation Supervisor Willie Austin.

These individuals pool their resources to make a calculated decision about whether or not the weather and road conditions are safe enough for students to be traveling. “Obviously, we have a large county and the weather can vary from the northern portion of the county to the southern portion,” said Miskelly, so at times the decision can be a difficult one to make. When inclement weather strikes in the McNairy County area be sure to check local television, and radio stations for school closures, and www., or follow the Independent Appeal on Facebook.

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Tennessee’s Tax Holiday set to begin Aug. 5 Back to school items tax-free for three days By Christen Coulon Editor

Tennessee will hold its annual back to school Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 5-7. During this time, most back to school items will be exempt from sales tax at local retailers. Tax-free items include clothing with a priced less than $100 per item, school and school art supplies priced less than $100 per item and computers priced less than $1,500. “It’s a great opportunity for merchants to sell products that fall under the items covered,” said Russell Ingle, Director of Chamber Programs for the McNairy Regional Alliance. “They should be

aggressively marketing those items during the tax holiday.” Many people may have the misconception that the tax holiday is just for parents and students, Ingle said, but it’s not just for them; anyone may purchase covered items tax free during this time. McNairy County’s location as a Mississippi border county puts it in a unique position to benefit from the holiday. Even though Mississippi plans its own holiday this year, Tennessee offers a much wider variety of tax free items than its southern neighbor. “For those (Mississippi residents) close to the state line, the tax holiday is a great opportunity,” Ingle said. Many McNairy County businesses are poised to take advantage of the holiday, but those that stand to gain the most are computer stores. Consumers can save up to $149.99 in tax discounts on individual computer purchases during the weekend. “We have been doing the Tax Free Holiday

for years,” said Joe Vaughn, owner of Cyber Tech Systems in Adamsville. “In the past it has helped out a lot. When you are selling big ticket items, the tax is a big part of the price.” Vaughn said that he plans to offer additional discounts during the holiday to entice shoppers who may be on the fence about buying a computer. He said that many people will come in beforehand to see what kind of deals will be offered. This year, Cyber Tech will be offering high-end ASUS brand laptop computers for an additional $200 off. “During the holiday, we may sell up to 10 additional computers verses normal,” Vaughn said. For more additional information on this year’s Tax Free Holiday call (800) 342-1003, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit salestaxholiday/ for restrictions and a full list of the items being offered.

Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday

Sales Tax Holidays begin on the first Friday in August each year at 12:01 a.m. and end at 11:59 p.m. the following Sunday.

Clothing ($100 or less) Tax-Free Items Include: • • • • • •

Belts Caps Coats Dresses Gloves Hats

Hosiery Jackets Jeans Neckties Pants Scarves

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

School Uniforms Shirts Shoes Socks Sneakers Underwear

Items Subject to Sales Tax Include Clothing Accessories: Belt Buckles (sold separately), Briefcases, Cosmetics, Hair Notions, Handbags, Jewelry, Patches and Emblems (sold separately), Sewing Equipment and Supplies, Sewing Materials, Sunglasses, Umbrellas, Wallets, and Watches. Protective Equipment: Breathing Masks, Face Shields, Hard Hats, Hearing Protectors, Helmets, Paint or Dust Respirators, Protective Gloves and Welder’s Gloves, Safety Glasses and Goggles, and Tool Belts. Sports or Recreational Equipment: Ballet or Tap Shoes, Cleated or Spiked Athletic Shoes, Gloves (Baseball, Boxing, Golf), Goggles, Hand and Elbow Guards, Life Preservers and Vests, Mouth Guards, Roller and Ice Skates, Shin Guards, Shoulder Pads, Ski Boots, and Wet Suits and Fins.

School & Art Supplies ($100 or less) Tax-Free Items Include:

Frequently asked questions (Provided by -- When is the sales tax holiday? Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-6-393 establishes annual sales tax holidays in Tennessee. The holiday starts each year at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August and ends at 11:59 p.m. on the following Sunday. What items qualify for the sales tax holiday? During the holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax: 1) clothing with a price of $100 or less per item; 2) school and school art supplies with a price of $100 or less per item; and 3) computers with a price of $1,500 or less per item. How do I claim the exemption? The exemption is based on the purchase of items that qualify for the holiday. No identification or exemption certificate is required. As long as you purchase an item that qualifies to be sold tax exempt, you should not pay sales tax on the item sold. What merchants are participating in the sales tax holiday? Merchants who sell the items listed above must participate in the sales tax holiday. If a merchant sells only to other businesses (purchases for a business do not qualify for the holiday), or does not sell items that qualify for the holiday (example: a car dealer) then the merchant is NOT required to participate in the holiday. What items of clothing qualify? Clothing is defined as human wearing apparel suitable for general use. This includes shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens, hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms whether athletic or non-athletic, and scarves. Clothing DOES NOT include belt buckles sold separately, patches and emblems sold separately, sewing equipment and supplies or sewing materials that become part of

“clothing” such as thread, fabric, yarns and zippers. What qualifies as a computer? A computer is defined as a central processing unit (CPU), along with various other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect components, and preloaded software. While the CPU may be purchased separately, other items must be part of a bundled computer package in order to be eligible. Excluded from the holiday are individual computer parts, such as monitors, keyboards, speakers, and scanners when not sold in conjunction with a CPU; individually purchases software or other software not part of a preloaded software package on the initial purchase of a computer; storage media, such as diskettes and compact disks; handheld electronic schedulers; personal digital assistants (PDAs); video game consoles; and computer printers and supplies for printers, such as paper and ink. Do school textbooks or workbooks qualify for the holiday? School textbooks and workbooks are exempt from sales tax. They do not qualify for the holiday because they fall within the school instructional material exception. However, because they are already exempt from tax, no holiday is necessary on these items. Does computer software qualify for the holiday? No. While computers with a price of $1,500 or less may be purchased exempt from tax during the holiday, purchases of computer software are excluded from the holiday and are subject to tax. Is there a limit to the number of items that may be purchased? There is no limit to the quantity of items that may be purchased as long as the purchase price of each of those items is below the threshold provided in the law.

School Art Supplies • Binders • Book Bags/Backpacks • Calculators • Chalk • Crayons • Erasers • Folders • Glue

• • • • • • • •

Lunch Boxes Notebooks Paper Pens Pencils Rulers Scissors Tape

School Art Supplies • Clay and Glazes • Paints • Paintbrushes • Sketch and Drawing Pads • Watercolors

Items Subject to Sales Tax Include School Computer Supplies: Compact Disks, Computer Printers, Computer Storage Media, Diskettes, Handheld Electronic Schedulers, Personal Digital Assistants, and Printer Supplies including Paper and Ink. Note: Textbooks and Workbooks are always exempt from sales tax.

Computers ($1,500 or less) Tax-Free Items Include: • •

Computers with a purchase price of $1,500 or less, not for use in a trade or business, are exempt from sales tax. A computer is a central processing unit (CPU) that includes a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, cables to connect components, and preloaded software.

Items Subject to Sales Tax Include Computer parts: Monitors, Keyboards, Speakers, and Scanners when not sold in conjunction with a CPU. Individually purchased Software, or other software not part of a preloaded software package on the initial purchase of a computer. Storage Media: such as Diskettes and Compact disks. Handheld Electronic Schedulers, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Video Game Consoles, Computer Printers, and Printer Supplies including Paper and Ink.

For more information, please contact the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Online: or E-mail: Telephone: (800) 342-1003, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m., Central Time

Page 14C / Independent-Appeal

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Michie Elementary welcomes new principal By Emily Pitts Staff Writer

As Lynda Walters, former principal at Michie Elementary School, moves into her new job, Suzanne Henson is preparing to take her place as new principal. Henson comes from a family where education was very important: both of her parents were educators in Hardin County. “My father retired as the Superintendent of Schools and my mother as a teacher,” said Henson. Henson taught various grades for 11 years in Hardin County and was then employed as a fifth grade teacher at Selmer Middle School. She became an assistant principal the following year and held that position for 11 years. Her last position was at Adamsville Jr. Sr. High School, where she has been assistant principal for seven years. There are several old as well as new programs being used this year at the school. “Michie currently has math and reading interventionists that pull out students that are in need of extra help,” said Henson. “Think Link is a diagnostic tool be possible because of a grant that will be paid for through that will continue to be used. Response to state funds. This year each fifth and sixth Intervention will help to identify students grade student will have a laptop at school that qualify for other services. The STEM which is paid for through the Race to the program is being taught which supplements Top funds. and emphasizes science, technology, engi“I will continue to work with the proneering, and math state standards.” grams that are currently in place and Among new programs being implementFor more on Michie Elementary, hopefully build upon them,” said Henson. ed at Michie is Making Middle Grades Work, visit, then click Of the challenges that Henson is expectwhich will aid middle grades during their ing to face in the upcoming year, she staton Michie Elementary, or call transition into high school. ed, “We are always challenged to meet the (731) 632-3602. Technology is also playing a large role at state and government regulations that the school this year. “Netbooks for Pre-K are implemented. Meeting AYP (average will be introduced to students which will yearly progress) is always demanding. enable them to become familiar with technology from the Administrators have just been trained on Tennessee’s newly beginning of their enrollment in school,” said Henson. “This adopted teacher evaluation model that will be in place this program will also be available for parents to look at online school year. Teachers will have to be trained and the process resources that they might use at home. This opportunity will requires a tremendous amount of time.”

v Michie Elementary

Staff Photo by Emily Pitts

Henson has big plans for the school. “We will continue to provide a safe environment that serves the needs of the students and the community. We will also challenge students to be the best that they can be in order to become ready for the transition to high school. I will initially become familiar with the faculty, students, and the facility. Because I have been focused on the curriculum of grades 7-12, I will have to become acquainted with the strategies and standards of the early grades.” Henson is also excited about continuing to do the job that she loves: “The best thing about my job is I that I get to do what I love, which is working with people. I love children, and I love to be a part of preparing them for jobs that haven’t even been thought of. I enjoy helping coworkers, students, parents, and interested stakeholders become involved in the community school. I am constantly learning from the students and in addition getting to be involved with them making decisions and maturing into productive young adults.”

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Independent-Appeal / Page 15C

Ramer anticipating successful year By Jeff Whitten Staff Writer

Ramer Principal Rusty Petty has been in education for 25 years. He started in Fayette County where he taught for six years and then moved to Hardeman County where he taught for four years. He moved to Ramer 15 years ago and has been there ever since. Petty was a teacher until six years ago when he became assistant principal. He has been principal for three years. Petty taught all grades at Ramer and all subjects. “My love is math,” he explained. Petty received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Union University. Petty’s wife Laurie and he have two daughters. Ashley is a sophomore at Blue Mountain College, and Morgan is a senior at McNairy Central High School. Ramer is the smallest school in the county at 389 students. Students from prekindergarten to the eighth grade attend the school. “Of course, I think we’re the best in the county,” he joked. “We’re very family-oriented. We believe we are a family. We work together. We struggle together. We celebrate together,” he said. Petty said that Ramer Elementary is very child-oriented. “We want the best for our children,” he said. The main challenge for Ramer Elementary is its size, according to Petty. “There’s lots of funding that we may miss because we are the smallest,” he said. Academics are the strongest selling point of the school, Petty said. “Academically, I think we are very strong all the way up and down the spectrum. I think our students, when they leave Ramer, are ready for high school. We do our best to prepare them for that and ultimately for jobs

Staff Photo by Jeff Whitten

v Ramer elementary school For more about Ramer, visit, click on the Schools link, and click on Ramer Elementary, or call (731) 645-3996. outside of high school, college, the work force,” he said. The size of the school does not limit its expectations for its students, according to Petty.

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“We have high expectations for them. We want the very best for them,” he said. Ramer Elementary had four classrooms added over the past couple of years. They house a kindergarten, a first grade and two second grade classes. At one time, Ramer had an overcrowding problem. “These classrooms have definitely helped us out,” he said. “We are right where we need to be. We have a little bit of room to grow. “We’re looking forward to a great school year.”

Page 16C / Independent-Appeal

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adamsville Elementary needs space for new school year By Andrew Alexander Staff Writer

Adamsville Elementary School’s Principal Danny Combs has been an educator here since 1989. After 13 years of teaching and coaching at the high school level Combs applied for assistant principal position at AES and was awarded the position. “When I was teaching and coaching at the same time, I realized that winning in the classroom is just as important as winning on the field.” Combs recognizes the most difficult part of educating students today. “It’s important that you meet all the physical needs of a child before you can even begin to make progress with their academic needs.” AES plans to educate an estimated 675 students in the 2011-2012 school year and has made several changes in approach while hiring three new faculty members. Amber Enzor will be teaching the fifth grade, Hannah Simms will be teaching the first grade, and the new music instructor is Rebeka Rice. AES is taking a new approach at scheduling classes for their older students. Third through sixth

grade students will rotate to five Combs, “and also to offer tutoring for students that need help in different classrooms per day. “We’re trying to let our teachers certain academic areas.” The goals Combs has for the specialize in an area of study so they can fine-tune their skills,” said upcoming school year are to Combs. “We’re hoping we can give improve math and reading scores a better quality of instruction by throughout the school. According to Combs, there are allowing our teachers to become specialists in one academic area a lot of state level changes of the instead of trying to teach five dif- Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. ferent areas.” “We met the AYP goals for this AES will also take advantage of the One to One funding by pro- year, but every year those step up about 20 percentviding all fifth age points,” said and sixth gradCombs. “There’s ers with access still a lot of work to technology to be done.” in their classAnother goal rooms, accordFor more on Adamsville Elementary, for AES this year ing to Combs. visit, then click is to keep the stuThe afteron Adamsville Elementary, or call dents fed with school pro(731) 632-0934. healthy meals. gram will be The school will overseen by no longer serve Tina Mullis and Combs and will continue this any fried foods to students. “We offer a nutritious breakfast, year beginning the first day of school. It will run from 3-5 p.m. lunch, and an afternoon snack for Monday through Thursday, but children that stay after school,” due to cuts in state funding, Friday said Combs. AES also wants to see their stuafter-school activities will cost $5 and will not be as academically dents arrive and disembark from school in a safe manner. based like the other days. According to Combs, AES has “We’re trying to provide enrichment opportunities that they qualified for the Safe Routes to wouldn’t normally have,” said School Grant funded by the

v Adamsville Elementary

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Tennessee Department of Transportation. “It will provide sidewalks around the school and some of the adjacent streets for students to safely walk to and from school, whereas now, they have to walk in the street,” said Combs. Combs, like a lot of others in McNairy County, sees the need for new schools to be built to educate children. “I think Adamsville has grown to the point where that needs to be

seriously looked at,” said Combs. “If you did the renovations necessary to give us some room for growth, and you did the renovations necessary to solve the high school’s issues, you really spend two thirds of what it would cost to build a new school to start with.” Combs likened the scenario to trying to keep an old car running, “You can keep spending money on this car, but at some point in time you’re financially better of to invest in a new one.”

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Selmer Elementary faces changes as school year begins By Emily Pitts

Under the new state-approved teacher evaluation model, each Staff Writer teacher or principal will undergo Many changes are taking place in a mandatory evaluation. Fifty perschools across the state and county cent of the evaluation for teachers as this school year begins. Carolyn is based on student achievement, Giesler, who has been principal with the remaining percentage of at Selmer Elementary School for the score being based on a mini25 years stated, “I feel like Selmer mum of four classrooms observaElementary is my second home, tions using new state evaluation but a lot has changed in the time models. “It’s going to be a learning year that I have been for the teachers here.” and administraSchools everytion, as well as where are facing the students,” new state regulasaid Giesler. tions, and Selmer For more on Selmer Elementary, Also changElementary is visit, then click ing this year is no exception. on Selmer Elementary, or call the way that the The school will (731) 645-3131. fourth grade continue to parclasses will operticipate with the ate. Instead of state in the federal government’s Race to the Top having self-contained classes, competition, which focuses on fourth grade students will be movimproving student achievement ing from class to class, with one and brings many changes to the instructor teaching math, one teaching science, one teaching lanschool. “The biggest thing,” stated guage arts, etc. Despite the many changes, there Giesler, “is going to be the teacher evaluations. Each teacher is going are some successful programs that to have to look at their styles and are remaining, for the most part, strategies and try to fit that into the the same. The popular afterschool program will continue to offer state rubric.”

v Selmer Elementary

Staff Photo by Emily Pitts

homework and tutoring classes to every student. “Our afterschool program has been extremely successful,” said Giesler. “When parents get off work at five, they can come home and enjoy their children and not have to worry about homework.” Giesler expects an enrollment of about 600 this year as in years past


and also confirmed that Selmer Elementary, like many other schools in the county, is facing a space crunch. “We are maxed out in the classrooms, and the traffic flow problem is just not fixable,” she stated. “We have outgrown the school and the campus.” Giesler also expressed a desire

to have an enclosed school, rather than the open, outside design of their current building. Goals for the new school year will include implementing the new course standards for kindergarten, first and second grades, as well as moving to a constructive response type of teaching for all grades.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Faith Baptist School offers ‘Christ-centered ministry’ By Jeff Whitten Staff Writer

Faith Baptist School is a very different kind of school. “A Christ-centered ministry is what this is, and it is a ministry out of Faith Baptist Church,” said Pastor Dr. S. Freed Ware. The school, which was established in 1976, usually has only 30 students from Kindergarten to12th grade and six teachers. The largest classes only have eight-ten students. “We have a lot of interaction with our teachers because our classrooms are small,” Ware said. It uses the same standards as the public schools; “Our education is usually better than one that students get in other schools. “(They) go a little bit further and push a little bit harder.” At Faith Baptist, they teach Bible lessons in every grade. “We have no problem with bullying; we have no problems with drugs. We have no problems with foul language. We believe that a Christian education pairs up with a Christian family and a good Bible preaching church. We believe that will produce a very functional Christian for society,” Ware said. In history, Ware says they “go all the way back to our Founding Fathers and bring out the Christian heritage of our country.” In sports, the school offers basketball, girls’ volleyball and is starting an eight-player football team. The teams play teams from other Christian schools. Ware describes the school as “a place where you can

Staff Photo by Jeff Whitten

bring your child, leave them and they will be all right.” The school tries to offer a Christian environment, Ware says. “We’re still taking enrollment,” joked Ware. He was a missionary in Haiti and Costa Rica for 31 years. Ware was the field director for Central America and Mexico for Macedonia World Baptist Missions. He was the representative for this mission on the international mission board before coming to Faith Baptist

Church almost five years ago. Ware speaks Spanish and French Creole. “I speak great North Georgian,” he jokes. He has a theological graduate degree from Tennessee Temple University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in religious education from Midwestern Baptist Bible Seminary. Ware has a doctoral degree from Sharon Baptist College in missions. Ware has four children, and he and his wife Betty will be married for 41 years on Oct. 4.

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McNairy County Board of Education

2011-2012 School Calendar

FALL TERM July 28, 29 August 1 August 2 August 3 August 4

Administrative Days (optional) School In-Service School In-Service Staff Development Orientation for AHS gr 7-90, MCHS gr. 9, SMS gr. 5 First Day of School (excluding students who attended on 8/3) August 5 School Begins for all students August 30 End of 1st Month September 5 LABOR DAY HOLIDAY* September 6 School Dismissed 11:15; Parent Teacher Contact 11:153:15 September 28 End of 2nd Month October 5 End of 1st Quarter (45 days) October 17-19 FALL BREAK* October 20 PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCE* 12-6 p.m. 1st Quarter Report Cards October 21 STAFF DEVELOPMENT* November 1 End of 3rd Month Nov. 23-25 THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY* December 2 End of 4th Month Decem ber 16 End of 2nd Quarter (45 days), Fall Term (90 days) School Dismissed 9:30 Dec. 19-Jan. 2 CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS*

SPRING TERM January 3 January 11 January 16 January 17 February 14 February 20 March 7 March 14 March 16 March 20 March 26-30 April 6 April 17 May 17 May 18

Classes Resume 2nd Quarter Report Cards MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. HOLIDAY* End of 5th Month End of 6th Month PRESIDENTS’ DAY HOLIDAY* End of 3rd Quarter (45 days) End of 7th Month 3rd Quarter Report Cards STAFF DEVELOPMENTS* / 11th Grade ACT (11th grade students attend) SPRING BREAK* GOOD FRIDAY HOLIDAY* End of 8th Month RECORDS AND REPORTS* (teachers only) End of 4th Quarter (45 days), Spring Term (90 days) End of 9th Month 4th Quarter Report Cards

*School Dismissed

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Rose Creek Village shares home school methods By Andrew Alexander Staff Writer

Rose Creek Village has been educating children at home, in some form or fashion, since the village moved to McNairy County more than 10 years ago. According to one Rose Creek Village educator Jeremiah Briggs, the village has tried corporate school but has recently switched from that method of educating back to their traditional form of home schooling students. Briggs, who is currently enrolled at the University of Memphis pursuing his Masters Degree in Special Education, says that Rose Creek residents each possessed unique travel schedules, and time constraints that made it difficult for parents and students to maintain the corporate school structure. The main reason for the change was the community’s feeling that parents need to be accountable for their children’s education. “Parental involvement in student life is essential,” said Briggs. The community ran an education program based on phases, meaning students were not placed in grades like kindergarten through 12th grade, but instead students were placed in blocks based on the amount of education they had already attained. Education at Rose Creek is unique, according to Briggs. Each family is responsible for educating their children, but the curriculum is state accredited and still run by the same principles their corporate school used. The first phase being “foundation education,” which is much like preschool

and kindergarten on the public school level. The second phase teaches basic English, mathematics, and reading foundations like lower grades in public school would, and the phases continue along that path until reaching the fifth phase. Phase five focuses the majority of the education process on the specialized interest of the student. For example, “If you like agriculture, that’s what you would learn about,” said Briggs. Of course, students first need to be recommended by teachers and parents and also have to write a composition of their future career field before being accepted into the fifth phase of their education. After being accepted the students are self-regulated but have to meet curriculum standards and are often monitored, much like teachers on the public school level go through evaluations. “What we discovered was what you love is what you’re going to do,” said Briggs, “and most excel.” Though Rose Creek has switched from corporate schooling, they are still using this form of structure to educate their children. Education at Rose Creek is overseen by Home Life Academy, which is a state recognized and accredited group that evaluates student progress, curriculum, and graduation for the community. Apart from Home Life Academy oversight, Rose Creek Village also presents their students with standardized achievement tests much like public schools do to keep up with the progress of their students to ensure requirements are met.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011