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Dear Knoxville Parent: January, 2012 Volume I • Issue 1 Michael Kull and Eva Nations, Publishers Advisory Board


Mike Bailey Community Volunteer, Bailey

Michael Kull Managing Editor

Wendy Hames East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Tracey Matthews Knox County Department of Education Liz Pooley Community Volunteer Lee Tramel Knox County Sheriff ’s Department Contributing Photographers David Andrews David Armstrong Kennedy Bullock Gary Johnson

Jennifer Crutchfield Editor Evan Faires Design & Production Eva Nations Business Manager Michael Kull Advertising Sales Contributing Writers Mohsin Ali, M.D. Liza Blair Kelly Bullock Tracey Carisch Lise Christensen M.D. Jennifer Crutchfield Shelley Headrick Gary Johnson Alison Lebovitz Lu Lewis Dave Loftin Tracey Matthews Paul Nations, D.D.S. Thornton Parsons Lee Tramel Edna Varner

Parent publications are GREAT places to advertise! For more information, please call: (866) 247-7769, Ext. 1. Contact Info: Phone: 866.247.7769, ext. 1 Fax: 888.457.9602 E-mail: Knoxville Parent is published monthly and is distributed throughout the city of Knoxville and surrounding communities. Knoxville Parent is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. No person without written permission from the publishers may take more than one copy per monthly issue. Knoxville Parent may be distributed only by authorized distributors.

Knoxville Parent 1059 N. Cedar Bluff Rd., #16 Knoxville, TN 37923, phone 866.247.7769 fax 888.457.9602 The entire contents of this publication are copyrighted and property of Knoxville Parent. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the publishers. Knoxville Parent utilize freelance writers, and the views expressed within this publication are not necessarily the views of the publishers or editors. Knoxville Parent takes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or other materials. Letters to the editor must include name, address and daytime phone number for verification. Knoxville Parent reserve the right to edit letters for space and clarity. Please keep letters within 500 words in length.

I have family in Chattanooga who have loved the Chattanooga Parent and I just heard that we are getting one in Knoxville! Where can I find copies in the Knoxville area? - Barbara Thanks for your email! We are thrilled to be serving Knoxville families and you can find us in the backpacks of elementary and middle school children in area schools as well as in retail businesses that cater to families. Please email us at to share events and story ideas that you would like to see in Knoxville Parent. I am a mom with three girls and we are so excited to hear that the Knoxville Parent is going to be coming home with my kids. I work at a summer camp and we can’t wait for your summer camp issue! How can we share stories with you and promote our summer camp programs? - Brenda We love our summer camp issue and being able to provide a comprehensive list of camps and summer programs has been a great way to serve families in Chattanooga and in the North Georgia area since 2006. Please email us at so that we can include your summer camp program in Knoxville Parent’s March issue. We welcome your letters! If you have a question or comment for Knoxville Parent, please e-mail it to Letters may be edited to meet space requirements.


12 Understanding STEM


Live and Learn: Smile - you’re at the parent/ teacher conference


Kid’s Plate: Why eating a rainbow is so important.


House Calls: Hospital or doctor’s office?

18 Family Fitness: Small change can equal big


Childwise: Smart advice for Chattanooga Parents

21 Child safety starts with you


Servings from the Cereal Bowl

22 Parent University helps your child succeed


The List: Ten terrific books about trains

23 Healthy teeth for a lifetime

History Mystery: The mystery, myth and marvel of the Melungeons of East Tennessee

24 PTA: Help the Teacher Supply Depot

10 11

14 Terrific teachers in the news 15 Choosing the right school


25 Because I said so: The acne of defeat

Family language lessons are enriching and fun

26 The Dad Dispatch: Teach. Don’t tell.

on the cover:

Spencer Baxter (foreground) and Charles Johnson are both tenth graders at the Knox County School’s L&N STEM Academy. Photo Courtesy of David Armstrong, Knox County Schools.

Knoxville Parent welcomes your comments, story ideas and advertising inquiries. Contact Michael Kull at 3

Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012


Smile, you’re at the parent/teacher conference!

ometimes a little humor is the only thing that • Take a baby or toddler to the conference. On will get you through a parent-teacher conferoccasion, you may get a teacher who loves to talk. If ence—unless you are the parent (or teacher) of the you are having trouble ending the conference, you student who makes all As, has 100 percent attencan always say you have to change the baby. (Start dance, and has done every homework assignment walking away as you say it.) If you know who these since daycare. That describes fewer than 1 percent teachers are in advance, identify the nearest exits as of American students. So relax—you’re not alone if you enter the building. you are on your way to a conference about a fairly • If you have a crier, take him to your middlenormal American child who is the joy of your life or high-schooler’s conference and teach the at home, but who’s not without a few challenges child several signal words before the meeting. you anticipate you’ll hear about in graphic detail at We recommend “failing and lazy,” for sure, but also school. “incorrigible”—just in case. When the child hears You’re familiar with the routine. Teachers will say any of these words, that’s the signal for uncontrolsomething nice at first, but that is just to numb the lable crying, which will guarantee a speedy end to pain for the reports to follow: missing assignments, the meeting. gym pranks, and locker discoveries during unanWe found on the Web a 2006 article by Amy nounced inspections. Horn: “Parent-Teacher Conferences: Simple Steps The two of us have a combined 50 years’ expeto Help Make Conferences in the Middle School rience with parent-teacher conferences, and we a Success.” Horn’s article shares “talking points” have fail-proof strategies for navigating your way teachers and parents can prepare in advance to through a crowded school cafeteria or three floors These parents were smiling as they volunteered at Battle make the conference a powerful and positive expeof classrooms. The goal is to exit with your dignity Academy for a special day of reading and magic! Volunteering rience. Here is one example: intact and a smile on your face. in your child’s school is a great way to get to know teachers, Decide what to discuss. An outline, script, Teachers want to avoid bad parent-teacher constaff and your child’s friends. agenda, or any other talking points that are preferences as much as parents do, but sometimes pared before the parent-teacher conference will ensure that you don’t forget a bad conference may develop despite your best efforts. That’s why it is important to anything that needs to be said and that you say everything in an organized way. take your child to the conference—so if the news is not good, you and the teacher have Starting off with positive comments about the student is always a great way to someone underage to glare at instead of each other. begin the dialogue and might just diffuse some tense situations before they even Taking your child to the parent-teacher conference is actually a research-based stratstart.* Asking the parents to prepare questions, comments, or concerns they have egy for improving the quality of conferences, says Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot in her book, before the conference allows them to feel empowered in the conference, as well, and enables important issues to be addressed. *Told you!—Edna

“The two of us have a combined 50 years’ experience with parent-teacher conferences, and we have fail-proof strategies for navigating your way through a crowded school cafeteria or three floors of classrooms.”

The Essential Conversation. It’s a strategy also supported in “A Twist on the Parent-Teacher Conference,” written by Barbara Meltz for The Boston Globe, Oct. 7, 2004. The Globe article cites these as benefits when students are present at a conference: • • • •

Students learn to look at their work objectively and see their progress. “This is how I wrote the alphabet in September. This is how I write it now.” Students learn to speak to an audience of powerful people. This builds their self-confidence and a belief that adults will listen. Students learn to accept responsibility. This is especially important in the middle grades, where some students are less interested in school. Having to evaluate their own work in front of a teacher and a parent helps the student refocus. The student’s presence reduces parents’ stress. Many parents dread the traditional parent-teacher conference. Three-way conferences validate the parents as authorities on their child and make it more likely that parents will show up.

We haven’t been published in The Boston Globe, but we have done our own experiencebased research, and we can think of at least two other reasons to take children to the parent-teacher conference:

If Horn’s advice doesn’t help, we offer some ideas for children of any age from, in the article “The Imperfect Parent’s Guide to Parent-Teacher Conferences.” These responses, for example, may come in handy if discussion of your child’s progress takes a downward spiral: “Her doctor says she has a microhectaglobin deficiency that makes it difficult to learn state capitals.” “Television has given her the impression she can coast on her charm and good looks.” “We think he is unable to focus in second grade because he’s been very troubled by the ongoing postponement of the release of prisoners at Guantanamo.” “I don’t think the drawing looks that much like you. And ‘Mrs. Poopface’ might be a term of endearment.” If those responses don’t work, the Imperfect Parent’s Guide suggests these: “What if I made some sort of ‘gift’ to the PTA?” “Did I mention my husband is an attorney?” Seriously, the two of us had many years of very pleasant parent-teacher conferences, even when the news was not so good. Frequent communication between home and school and collaboration between parent and teacher are what make conferences productive. A little humor will make everyone look forward to them. Veteran Chattanooga educators Lu Lewis and Edna Varner collaborate each month to address a topic of particular concern to area parents. If you have a concern you’d like them to discuss in print, send it to Lu and Edna care of Chattanooga Parent at


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Nutrition, food, and fun

Why eating a rainbow is so important



o s o

By Liza Blair


ating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables diverse in color is a tremendous health benefit for children’s developing bodies. The Creative Discovery Museum supports this ideology through educational programs focused on healthy meal choices and physical activity. Eating the recommended full rainbow servings gives the body the vitamins, fiber and nutrients it needs.

How many servings does my child need? Everyone needs different amounts of fruits and vegetables depending on their age. Suggestions for children 2 to 6 years old are three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit; children older than 6 will need four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit. Of course, the amount of physical activity a child does can determine the number of recommended servings needed to maintain a healthy diet. To learn your daily recommendation, visit What are the benefits of eating a full rainbow of fruits and vegetables? Fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigments. Each natural pigment provides vitamins and antioxidants to the body. For instance, red fruits and vegetables are colred by lycopene or anthocyanins and act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage and help reduce risk of several types of cancer. Tips for serving your child more fruits and vegetables: • Keep cleaned fruit and vegetables available as healthy snack alternatives to junk food. • Make smoothies using fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. • Have fruit for dessert. • Choose a side salad made with a variety of leafy greens. Add fruit for an extra nutrition boost. • Involve children in the menu planning and shopping.

e? s. ving siz r e s to cup a d s i e t t r a e onv Wh ften c o e r a : sizes equals g n p i v u r c e S One ll apple • 1 sma anana b • 1 large ell pepper b • 1 large weet potato s • 1 large carrots y • 12 bab range o • 1 large

Liza Blair is arts manager for the Creative Discovery Museum.

What makes one kid learn easily and another struggle? show you :

• How to identify exactly why your child struggles •

Buying fruits and vegetables doesn’t need to be a financial burden. Canned, frozen and dried foods are just as good and contain a good amount of nutritional value. Just be sure to avoid fruits packaged in added sugar and syrup and vegetables packaged in butter or cream sauces.

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Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Hospital or doctor’s office?

What to do when your child is sick By Lise Christensen, M.D.


othing is more frightening to parents than thinking something might be wrong with their child’s health. Parents are sometimes overly cautious about their child’s health, calling the pediatrician every time they hear a cough. How does a parent know whether a child’s illness is minor or if the child needs to go to the pediatrician or even to the hospital? Certain signs and symptoms in children are definitely a reason to call a pediatrician. Without question, come to the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department if your child has trouble breathing, is dehydrated or has a fever that can’t be controlled with over-the-counter drugs (such as Tylenol or Motrin). In general, you should contact your pediatrician’s office immediately if a child has any of the following symptoms listed in his or her age category: Birth to 3 Months • A temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher • “Pink eye” • Redness or tenderness around the navel area • Vomiting that continues for more than six hours • Diarrhea that occurs more than eight times a day • Not nursing or bottle-feeding normally • Uncontrollable crying for an abnormally long time

3 Months to 1 Year • Temperature of 101 degrees in infants 3 to 6 months, or 104 degrees in children 6 months or older • Child refuses to eat and misses several feedings • Unusual crankiness and irritability or unusual sleepiness • Any blood in the stool Infant to Adolescent • High fever • Chills and full-body shaking • Extreme sleepiness or unexplained lethargy • Unusual excitement or hysterical crying • Sudden weakness or paralysis of any part of the body • Seizures or severe headache • Earache, fluid discharge from the ear or sudden hearing loss • Severe sore throat, especially with trouble swallowing or speaking • Vomiting for 12 hours or more or vomiting of blood • Intense or unusual abdominal pain or a swollen or abnormally large abdomen • A sudden rash or crop of blotches or blisters, especially over a large area of the body Whenever your child has a symptom that concerns you, don’t hesitate to call the pediatrician, even if the symptom does not appear on this list. Your doctor’s office should have a phone nurse or an on-call center staffed by someone who will ask you a lot of questions and then make a recommendation for how to care for the child, whether it is basic home care, an appointment with the pediatrician or a trip to the ER. Any of the above circumstances would merit a trip to the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department if you were not able to reach your child’s pediatrician or on-call center. However, keep in mind that emergency departments are equipped to care for everything from minor illnesses to life-threatening injuries, so patients with a less severe problem usually will have to wait while more critically ill patients are treated. The emergency department should be your first choice for sudden, serious situations such as these: • A head injury that has caused loss of consciousness, vomiting or problems with balance or coordination • An injury that has caused numbness and tingling or paleness in an extremity • An injury that will likely need an X-ray and casting • Complications related to a chronic medical condition such as diabetes or asthma • Difficulty breathing or gasping for breath • In infants from birth to three months, any change in skin color, especially paleness or bluish color around the mouth and in the face Although a trip to a hospital’s emergency room is usually unexpected, there are a few things parents can do to prepare for a visit. Always have your child’s Social Security number, current medication (dosage and schedule) and insurance information handy because you will need to provide this information in Admitting. One way to make sure you have this information nearby in such emergencies is to download Children’s Hospital’s app for iPhone or Droid phones and complete the child profile section. Dr. Christensen is Chief of the Medical Staff and a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. For more information, visit the hospital’s website at


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Sister squabbles frustrate mom Dear Childwise: I have two daughters, five years apart, who fight every single day. They talk horribly to each other, and each one has announced that she hates the other one, although I have told them that I will not tolerate that language. It depresses and upsets me to think that these two sisters will never get along, and it has turned a pleasant home into a place I sometimes want to run away from! Do you have any suggestions for getting these two to like each other? Or is this just normal? They are ages 8 and 13. Thanks for your help, Christie Dear Christie, I can see why you are so upset about this. It really hurts to think that your daughters will never get along. However, I don’t think you should be too afraid of that just yet. Siblings who fight a lot as children can often become close as adults. It is not at all unusual for siblings to fight frequently, but your daughters sound like they are going overboard. Here are some ideas you can try to improve their relationship. First, make sure that they have enough time apart to do what they enjoy. Given the age difference, they must have varying interests. But also find a couple of things they do like to do together, and set up an occasional fixed time for your family to enjoy that activity together. Let them know the rules for that time, and make sure neither of them spoils the family fun by arguing or misbehaving with each other. Please make sure that they are exposed to respectful adult behavior— it is one thing for parents to fight, and quite another for them to demean each other. Also, address the girls themselves with respect, and point out to them what you are doing. Ask them if they like that, and remind them that you expect them to treat each other the same way. Finally, please make sure that you provide appropriate consequences when they break your rules. When you say you will not tolerate certain language or behavior, make sure you don’t tolerate it. Try some of these ideas, and hopefully your home will feel less like a battleground soon!

Conquering a fear of new things Dear Childwise: My daughter is going into second grade. I’ve been trying to encourage her to take some kind of lessons, like music or dance, but she absolutely refuses to try anything new. She says she doesn’t want to take gymnastics because she “can’t do a cartwheel.” She won’t try piano because she “doesn’t know how.” I’ve explained to her repeatedly that nobody knows how until they take the lessons, but

she seems to be embarrassed at the thought of being “new” at something. My husband says we should just sign her up for something and force her to go, figuring she’ll be OK once she’s used to it. I’m afraid that will backfire. What would you do if this was your kid? New kid’s mom Dear New kid’s mom, It’s tough when you know something is good for your child, but she just won’t do it! All parents face this, in different ways. It helps to remember that the child is developing a personality of her own and must be respected and loved, regardless. Of course, you shouldn’t give up trying to get her to be more confident or flexible. I’ve got a few ideas for what I might do in your situation. I might try to add humor into the situation. One day she is going to ask you to do something trivial but new, maybe get a new flavor of ice cream. I might say, “No, I’ve never tried that before, so I’m not going to.” After having some fun with that, I’d get the new flavor and point out how boring things could be if we never did anything new. On a day that she was feeling good, I’d ask her to do me a favor and choose just

“It’s tough when you know something is good for your child, but she just won’t do it!” one thing new she would like to do from a few choices, and promise to help her get started with it. Or, if there were a class I thought my daughter would enjoy I might talk to the teacher and request extra coaxing and encouragement to get my daughter started. However, if joking, encouraging and pleading don’t work, I’d make sure she felt OK about it anyway. She will become more confident as she learns that she is loved just as much anyway, and she will definitely try new things when she feels up to it.

The advice in “Childwise” is provided this month by Mohsin Ali, MD. Dr. Ali is director of psychiatry services at Fortwood Center, Inc. He is trained in the evaluation and treatment of psychiatric problems in children, adolescents and adults. The responses provided by Dr. Ali are formulated from general theoretical principles and are for general information only. The suggestions offered are not intended to represent or replace professional consultation or intervention specific to a particular child or family. Parenting question? Send it to Childwise c/o Chattanooga Parent via e-mail: info@, or send a letter to Childwise c/o Chattanooga Parent, P.O. Box 4070, Chattanooga, TN 37405.


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Servings from the Cereal Bowl

By Dave Loftin

Sample the Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl

Grab you kid and a cup of coffee and tune in to the “Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl,” hosted by Dave Loftin Saturdays from 8 to 10 a.m. on the Web at He posts his weekly playlists on And now you can take your cereal bowl with you�in podcast form! Go to, or simply search the iTunes store. Don’t worry, parents, it’s free!

Dan Zanes & Friends

Little Nut Tree © 2011 Festival Five Records, LLC Godfather of kindie music Dan Zanes is back with a host of friends on his latest release Little Nut Tree. We’re offered up a true gem right out of the gate with “Down in the Basement” featuring Sharon Jones. And make sure you listen to “Wake Up Baby!” featuring the amazing Shine of Shine & the Moonbeams. One track you’ll want to remember when the weather warms up is “I Don’t Need Sunny Skies” which features the perfectly paired Zanes and Andrew Bird. Little Nut Tree continues Zanes’ amazing gift of creating (and recreating) some of the best Americana around. And producing a piece of art the entire family can enjoy together. I’ll wrap by suggesting my favorite from the album; a lovely rendition of a centuries-old nursery rhyme. The title track, with The Sierra Leon Refugee All Stars, evokes the 1968 version from The Melodians. Little Nut Tree is the official follow-up to 2006’s Catch That Train and once again Zanes does not disappoint.

Mike Park

Smile © 2011 Asian Man Records

The world of kindie music continues to attract some pretty hefty talent. And it also keeps drawing in artists and bands from the “grown-up” musical world. Add to that list Mike Park. If you’ve never heard of Mike Park let me give a brief introduction: Park is a Korean-American who performed with the band Skankin’ Pickle during the third wave of ska in the ‘90s. He also was with the groups The Bruce Lee Band and The Chinkees. Oh, and he started his own label: Asian Man Records. After a handful of solo releases during the first decade of 2000, his first album for the little gherkins is here. Smile is everything you’d expect from a ska legend: up-beat, pogo jumping tunes that’ll have the kids going nuts… in a good way. The exercise class starts with “Wiggly Wiggly Worm”. The dancing continues with “Everybody Loves to Jump”. Learn about drums, what to do at a red light, saving energy and even a bus driver, all from (who I assume) is one of the coolest dads around.


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Ten Terrific Books About Trains Compiled this month by Shelley Headrick Children’s Department, Chattanooga Public Library

Train Trip By Deanna Caswell Reading level: PreK – 1st Traveling to visit grandma, a young boy rides on a train for the first time.

Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains By P.I. Maltbie Reading level: 2nd – 5th After his son becomes fascinated by The Rain Train trains, Claude By Elena De Roo Monet begins Reading level: PreK – 1st painting them. A train travels through a rainy night.

Thomas and the Jet Engine By Richard Courtney (illustrator) Reading level: PreK – 2nd While taking a jet plane to the airport, the plane’s engine is turned on and Thomas becomes a very fast train.

Railroad John and the Red Rock Run By Tony Crunk Reading level: K – 3rd Railroad John faces many obstacles on his way to Lonesome Bob’s wedding.

On the Blue Comet By Rosemary Wells Reading level: 4th – 7th During the Depression, eleven-year-old Oscar’s love for model trains takes him on a mystical journey.

Rodzina By Karen Cushman Reading level: 5th – 9th A twelve-year-old is sent West on an orphan train to find a new home.

Legendary Journeys: Trains By Philip Steele Reading level: 3rd As Easy as Falling Off the – 6th Face of the Earth Learn about trains By Lynne Rae Perkins throughout history Reading level: 8th – 12th in this interactive A teen has the adventure book. of a lifetime when he disembarks from a train and is left in the middle of nowhere. It Happened on a Train By Mac Barnett Reading level: 4th – 6th The Brixton Brothers are at it again when they solve another mystery aboard a train.

For libary information in your area visit: and


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

The mystery, myth and marvel of the Melungeons of East Tennessee By Jennifer Crutchfield


olumbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. Even the youngest of us knows that rhyme but there is more to the story of the conquest of the New World and it was a man’s search for clues to his mysterious illness that may have answered centuries old questions. Answering those riddles about people and places make history and its mysteries so exciting. Elvis Presley, Pocahontas, Abe Lincoln and Sequoyah may share a bloodline that still exists with many Melungeon brothers who don’t even know it. As early as 1673 English explorer James Needham wrote about people who lived with Native American tribes, Mediterraneanlooking people speaking a broken 16th century Elizabethan English in the forests of the New World. Dedicated research, advanced genetic typing, testing and a disease or two combined in one man as he battled a mysterious ailment. Brent Kennedy had always been told that his family was of Irish, Scottish and German heritage. Imagine his surprise when the source of his pain was diagnosed as Erythema nodosum sarcoidosis, a disease that only strikes Mediterranean men? That diagnosis would lead him to trace his roots and weave together strange strands of history that tell a tale of “cursed souls” stranded on a foreign land, sailors, explorers and people escaping the Inquisition. They touched the Elvis Presley, Pocahontas, Abe future of the New World beginning as early as the Lincoln and Sequoyah may 1500’s with their language, musical instruments, share a bloodline that still exists metallurgical talents, genetics and cultural with many Melungeon brothers complexities as they became “absorbed into who don’t even know it. Indian tribes”. In the book, Spanish Frontier in North America, author Weber describes the explorer Juan Pardo and his planted settlements in North Carolina and East Tennessee where hundreds of Spanish, Iberian and Portuguese men disappeared, possibly absorbing into the neighboring tribes and adding their Western European, Turkish, Moorish and Portuguese characteristics and customs to the Appalachian valley with hills and mountains that resemble the terrain of Turkey and the Croatian lands of Western Europe.

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“The Native American word that became Tennessee bears a striking resemblance to the Turkish word for ‘place where souls move about’ pronounced ‘tenasuh’.”

The legendary Sir Frances Drake is documented as having had a shipload of over 500 captured Iberian, South American Indian, Berbers, Moors, Turks and Muslims who he planned to use as a collective weapon against his Spanish rivals. His plans to leave the captured warriors in the Caribbean were thwarted by a storm that blew him off course, headed to the New World and the Roanoke colony where members of the English explorer Ralph Lane’s expedition begged him to allow them passage to their homeland. Documents report that only 100 of the captured soldiers were returned to the Moors, leaving hundreds who must have fled inland to the safety of friendly tribes and native wives. The Native American word that became Tennessee bears a striking resemblance to the Turkish word for ‘place where souls move about’ pronounced “tenasuh”. The names Kentucky and Alabama also seem to mirror Turkish and Croatian words as do many given and family names that would grace generations of Melungeon families. The dark hair, easily tanned olive skin, and strong features add to the strong work ethic, artistic silversmith abilities and communal/clannish family living that are reflected in Appalachian forests and their Croatian cousins a world away. Men in these same villages carry diseases and genetic markers for Sarcoidosis, Thalassemia, Behcet’s syndrome and Azorean (MachadoJoseph) disease, physical links between the Melungeons of East Tennessee and the Mediterranean/Middle European ancestors who settled into the New World well before the 1607 Jamestown colony. Those hidden similarities are contrasted to the vibrant and beautiful designs in art, fabric and dancing that appear in quilts, art and celebrations in both the Ottoman Empire and the Appalachian mountain communities. The dulcimer is an Appalachian instrument whose soulful sounds are the same as in its brother, the fretted zither of Croatia, alpine Europe and east Asia. Sequoyah, the noted Cherokee scholar, wore a costume in the 1800’s that was just like that of the Ottoman levant, a 16th century Turkish seaman. The census of 1790 showed a substantial regional population with self-identifications of Portuguese, Portuguese-Indian, Black Dutch, French and Spanish. The Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924 spawned antimiscenegation laws and many families lost property to encroaching pioneers when race classifications prompted legal disenfranchisement. The tri-racial isolate that likely began with a few thousand strong men being “absorbed into tribes” became a thing to hide instead of heritage to celebrate. Now, in a more accepting world, maybe the descendants of the Roanoke colony, the red-haired Barbarossa brothers and their Berber pirates and the Moors, Croatians, Sephardic Jews, Iberians and Portuguese may find the truth in family pride, physical traits, and the mirrored beauty of the hills and valleys of Middle Europe and the Appalachian valley in East Tennessee. Jennifer Crutchfield, managing editor of Chattanooga Parent, chases mysteries along with her boys George, Will and Max. Contact Jennifer at


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Learn something new together

Family language classes are enriching and fun By CP Photo Courtesy Chattanooga Chinese Association


earning a new language can be rewarding stronger bonds through shared goals. In the for adults and for children but learning Southeast Tennessee region opportunities as a family can build memories and expand abound for language instruction and the experiences, providing a unifying activity for following resources can direct your search for everyone in the family. the perfect language for your family. Children are natural linguists and research Chattanooga Chinese School indicates that learning languages at an early age boosts brain activity, stimulating neural (423) 855-8554 connections and creating a more dense Chattanooga School of Language “grey matter” in their brains. The College Laurie Stevens Bound Seniors Report, issued by the Board (423) 802-2040 which administers the SAT tests, shows that students with 4 or more years of foreign language score an average of 140-150 points A variety of programs are offered that can higher on the Critical Reading, Math and prepare you for travel, business or workplace Writing sections of the standardized test. training as well as kids culture camps and The fun and family bonding of learning language learning. The Chattanooga School about a new culture together can present of Language offers instruction during the learning opportunities in all kinds of family Winter term in Spanish, German, Italian, interactions from cooking and grocery Mandarin Chinese and French. They also shopping to trips and ethnic adventures. host monthly social meet-ups for those with Exploring a new culture with your children enough base in a language who need more can add sights, sounds, flavors and opportunities for practical speaking. confidence that can help children bridge Foreign Language Academy boundaries while creating a bigger view of the world and their place in it. (865) 694-8880 In the ever-changing global market East The Chattanooga Chinese Association hosts holiday celebrations, All instruction is provided by native Tennessee businesses, schools and families dances and cultural events that support sharing Mandarin speakers for children and adults. Instruction are becoming more culturally diverse, increasing language and cultural in Chattanooga. and translations are available in French, the number of languages spoken in our region Spanish, Italian, Portoguese, German, Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. and expanding the number of opportunities for students with languages on their educational resume. German Saturday School - Knoxville Whether your family learns online, with a computer program or at a bricks and mortar site with personal instruction the memories you create will build a base for (Held at Sacred Heart Cathedral School - your children and for shared experiences that cross the parent/child gap, forming

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Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Understanding STEM

What it means for your child By Tracey Carisch Photos Courtesy of David Armstrong, Knox County Schools


his four-letter acronym has been quite the buzz lately. Everyone seems to be talking about STEM as it relates to education, the economy and our nation’s competiveness in the global marketplace. But the meaning behind the letters isn’t obvious. What impact does it really have on our economic future? What does it mean for my child’s education? Why does it matter so much? Let’s take a look at STEM and its impact on our region.

level, fewer students than ever before are graduating with science and math degrees. Our students are falling behind in STEM, but our economy is quickly becoming dependent on STEM fields. When our workforce is unable to provide industry with the advanced STEM skill sets it needs, companies will begin looking for more capable workforces elsewhere.

STEM in Our Region National and local leaders are What is STEM? making significant investments STEM stands for Science, into STEM education programs Technology, Engineering and in an effort to cultivate scientific Math. Any job related to one minds and draw more young of these areas is considered a Americans toward high-tech STEM occupation. If you work in careers. In the Chattanooga Governor Bill Haslam recently paid a visit to the students of the L&N STEM medicine, information technology, region, teachers are bringing Academy, a Knox County school open to students from all districts through a lottery admission process. manufacturing, agriculture, product science and technology to life by design, biotechnology or one of incorporating hands-on learning hundreds of other fields, then you are a part of our country’s STEM workforce. and computer-based tools into their instruction. At Red Bank High School, From an educational standpoint, STEM refers to using exploratory, projectstudents learn to use advanced geomapping technology to develop maps of based learning as a means to building scientific curiosity, math skills and cities around the world and even the moon’s surface. Ooltewah High School’s technological capabilities. People often hear the term STEM education and Engineering Academy exposes students to a broad spectrum of concepts think of vocational training, such as a high school shop class. While vocational related to engineering careers. The Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy and trade courses are certainly one component of it, STEM education is much utilizes a full STEM curriculum and requires advanced courses such as robotics broader. A STEM curriculum is driven by problem-solving, hands-on learning for graduation. Throughout our region, educators recognize the importance of and real-world application of the subject matter. All students need the critical developing students’ STEM skills and preparing them to become the workforce thinking skills that a STEM education develops. of the future. Why is STEM Such a Hot Topic? Across the United States, leaders in government, education and business are talking about STEM because they are very concerned. The demand for STEM skills is growing rapidly, but the supply of workers proficient in these areas is shrinking. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of STEM jobs will have increased 22% between 2004 and 2014. Today, 15 of the 20 fastest growing occupations all require significant mathematics or science preparation to successfully compete for a job. Yet, our students may not be coming out of school with the skills needed to fill these jobs. According to the Program for International Student Assessment, American 15-year-olds rank 23rd in math and 35th in science among industrialized nations. At the college

STEM in Knoxville Becky Ashe, the principal of the new L&N Knox County STEM academy was the executive director of curriculum and instruction for Knox County Schools. “The students will do a lot of self-identified inquiry. They’re motivated and we can put them out in the field with scientists and with professionals,” she said. The magnet concept means every student will be there by choice. “Whether it’s the one who comes in who wants to be a licensed pipe fitter at a nuclear plant or the one who wants to be the computer scientist programming what’s going to go on in the nuclear reactor, we hope every student leaves prepared to do what they want to do after high school,” Ashe said.

“The STEM curriculum is driven by problemsolving, hands-on learning and real-world application of the subject matter. All students need the critical thinking skills that a STEM education develops.”


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

“As parents we can support STEM education every day by engaging our children in activities which nurture their scientific curiosity.”

them research the answers. Read books together featuring scientific concepts and technological discoveries. Cooking, gardening, art projects, small home repairs…. If we take the time to slow down and look at things a little differently, even changing a light bulb can become a STEM-enriched learning experience for our kids.

Expanding Our STEM Education Many community leaders believe much more needs to be done to expand STEM education in all schools throughout our region. The Southeast Tennessee STEM Initiative was developed with the mission to connect, share and expand educational STEM assets throughout this area of the state. This group is comprised of more than 40 partners, including regional K-12 school districts, large and small businesses, institutions of higher education, and community organizations. All of them are committed to spearheading our region’s drive toward STEM education. They hope to build a network of services allowing expertise from higher education and industry to continuously support the needs of K-12 education.

STEM Science at Home These are a few great resources for science experiments and activities that you can do with children of a wide variety of ages. It can be as easy as an ice cube or as hi-tech as you want it to be but learning to love science at home can inspire your children to make the most out of the lessons that they experience in school.

Changing the Equation In the United States, Change the Equation is a program that mobilizes corporations to improve STEM education for all American students. Championing the policies and programs to improve STEM education at all grade levels and L&N STEM Academy 9th grader inspire student excitement for STEM Shelby Hall explains the technology careers corporate partners hope to behind the a virtual image on her achieve a sustained commitment from iPad during Governor Bill Haslam’s public and private sector leaders and recent visit in December. representatives. Alcoa is a visible partner in the Southeast Tennessee region supporting STEM initiatives. A STEM Vision for the Future With a number of STEM education programs already in place and a strong movement of community support behind this STEM effort, our region is on track to take great leaps forward in the coming years. Students will have more opportunities to learn through hands-on, exploratory projects. Schools could begin partnering in the use of distance learning technology to expand the courses offered to their students. Teachers could collaborate with business and industry professionals to develop authentic, real-world learning experiences for their classrooms. These and other STEM programs will open doors for our children and potentially lead them to careers in STEM fields. The Robotics Club at the As parents we can support STEM Chattanooga Girls’ Leadership education every day by engaging our children in activities which nurture their Academy is an exciting hands-on opportunity for students to learn scientific curiosity. Encourage them to STEM subjects. ask questions about the world and help

L&N STEM Academy Celebrates First STEM Showcase with over 100 Families The Knox County L&N STEM Academy recently celebrated a milestone with over 100 families. Located in the historic downtown L&N building, a restored train station with elaborate stained glass and 106 year old tile floors, the STEM Academy opened its doors to students in August and had its first STEM Showcase as this grading period ended in December. Learning is dynamic, characterized by self-identified inquiry and puts students together in problem-solving group lessons that address real world problems. Building a roller coaster by applying gravity, friction and velocity teach students and inspire lifelong learning. Principal Becky Ashe was previously the director of curriculum at Knox County Schools and says that “Students are very empowered, they have a lot of freedom. They know if you want something that isn’t here, you have to ask for it.” Students look forward to the technology, energy and challenges in this new school and engineers have been meeting with students eager to design a bridge walkway from the main building to their expanding labs and teaching spaces in the building next door. Golf, yoga, the local YMCA, cross-country and tennis keep students physically active while a chamber ensemble, concert band and art programming supplement the STEM curriculum. Weekly trips to the East Tennessee History Center, Lawson McGhee Library and business neighborhood at the World’s Fair Park expose students to the culture and commerce of a bustling downtown. iPads were donated for the 300 freshmen and sophomores enrolled this year but fundraising for next year’s student needs remains a challenge that the school faces. The maximum capacity of 700 ensures that the remarkable education and integrated learning won’t be compromised by over-crowding as the smiles and successes bring more students to this innovative Knox County school.


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Terrific Teachers in the News

Catoosa County “Teacher of the Year” named at Ringgold High School his year the crowd at Ringgold High School roared as principal Sharon Vaughn announced that their health occupations instructor was named Catoosa County Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Gardner is a graduate of the program herself and a 1980 graduate of Ringgold High School. The career technology program offers a dual enrollment path that allows students Robin Gardner is a graduate of the to earn high school and college RHS health occupations program, a credit, achieving a CNA (certified Ringgold native and a beloved veteran nursing assistant) designation upon teacher. graduation. Mrs. Gardner worked in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at Parkridge hospital, the level 2 nursery at Hutcheson Medical Center and at Blue Cross/Blue Shield before replacing her former mentor at Ringgold High. In 2002 Gardner was selected to participate in the Teachers in Industry externship program for the NW Georgia Education to Careers Consortium (NWGECC) and her unique experience allows her to see the connection between her students and their workplace. Gardner puts an emphasis on providing solid career pathways for her students, guiding them toward nursing and general medicine as she sets the example, recently quoted while standing in front of Bloodmobiles at her 27th blood drive in her home town.


Hamilton County “Teacher of the Year” 2011 The greatest asset any school system can have is outstanding teachers and this year three were honored by Hamilton County Department of Education for their service. Amy Burton and Christina Monroe also advanced to regional and statewide competitions. Hamilton County Director of Elementary Math and Science, Stacey Roddy, coordinates the yearly contest and says, “we know from research that teacher effectiveness is directly related to improving student achievement.” This year’s winners represent the energy, excitement and commitment to education that makes their students succeed. Amy Burton, a Theater Arts teacher at the Barger Academy of Fine Arts, uses drama and theater to support her students on stage and off.  “As a drama teacher, I am passionately committed to using the healing power of play to bring together the magic of theatre and the poetry that is in all children,” Ms. Burton said. “I believe in teaching students how to think, not what to think, so that students can approach and solve unanticipated problems in our rapidly changing world.” Christina Monroe teaches Economics, Government and US History at Hamilton County High School and has been guiding Hamilton County students for 35 years. She has been honored three times by her students as the ‘teacher who taught them the most’. “Chris was not a teacher to operate using traditional instructional methods within ordinary classroom settings,” William Kennedy, Director of Secondary School Reform Initiatives for the Public Education Foundation said. “I recall watching kids involved in rich discussions while in a seminar circle responding to well-crafted questions that required them to talk to each other, rather than direct their words to the teacher.” Diane Stacy, a dedicated teacher with 33 years of service loves teaching, saying “I personally feel that teaching is a gift.” adding that “an effective teacher must have a plan for using national standards. An effective teacher also makes every student feel welcome and important.” Ms. Stacy teaches Health and Physical Education at Daisy Elementary and believes strongly in team activities for children’s growth and community recreation centers as a venue for that success. Knox County “Teachers of the Year”

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Knox County honored three teachers as District Teachers of the Year for 2011. Karen Rehder, Farragut Middle; Kim McDaniel, Dogwood Elementary, and Byron Booker, Central High were presented awards by Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent, at the annual Teacher of the Year Celebration. The district winners advanced Karen Rehder, Kim McDaniel and Byron Booker to compete for regional were honored as Knox County District Teachers of teacher of the year. the Year. Byron Booker, who has been an ESL teacher at Knox Central High School for five years now, was recently named as the Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Known for his compassion in the classroom and his community volunteerism Mr. Booker is described by a supervisor as a “dynamo of advocacy for his international students.” At the Nashville ceremony Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said “Teachers are the most important school-based factor in boosting student achievement.” Mr. Booker will represent Tennessee and Knox County in the national teacher of the year competition, also serving as an ambassador for education.


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Choosing the right school

Asking independent schools questions by CP


hether you are relocating or your child is at a milestone year changing from elementary to middle or high school being faced with making decisions about a new school can be an arduous task for the whole family. The Webb School of Knoxville supports the belief that “selecting the school environment for one’s children ranks among the most significant decisions that parents may make in their lifetime and impacts to a large degree how a young person develops.” While making those decisions there are important questions to ask the school, yourself—and your child. We spoke with a few experts to find out the questions you should ask.

the curriculum itself and how expansive it is beyond just the basic courses.” Notre Dame offers college prep, advanced college prep, honors, advanced placement and dual enrollment options for students, he notes. “Notre Dame also sponsors a college fair each year, with 70 to 80 colleges attending. Ninety-eight percent of our students move on to colleges and universities.” “Our job is to surround our students with motivated peers,” Kemp emphasizes. “We also put strong emphasis on character development. Parents should ask, ‘What are the greatest challenges for a student entering your school? Photo courtesy St. Nicholas School In 60 seconds, tell me what makes your school distinct?’” St. Nicholas addresses the whole, integrated development of elementary age children, The hallmark of an fostering critical thinking to create self-confident learners. excellent school, says Morgan, is one that recognizes that children develop in different ways. At Talking to your child The Bright School, “Our parents are our partners, and we work together to To some degree, of course, a child’s involvement in the decision-making customize learning for their children.” process depends on the age of the child. Ms. Hanson recommends that parents begin the process of choosing a school OJ Morgan, headmaster of The Bright School describes a mostly parent by identifying their own child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. “Then, driven process with applicants who are 3 and 4 years old but encourages that determine the type of environment in which your child does best,” she says. “visiting the school with your child is key.” “You need to feel that your child is “Some children thrive in highly competitive environments, while others are in a place where they can have fun, where there is a sense of play and a good more comfortable in structured settings, and some thrive in a more relaxed spirit,” he says. culture.” At St. Peter’s Episcopal School, serving pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students, Head Kathy Lanza also emphasizes that prospective students are encouraged to spend a whole day at the school. “Especially if a child has just moved to the area, you want them to want to be here,” she says. Kathleen Hanson, formerly with Baylor School, was a consultant for the National Association of Independent Schools and is now a principal at the philanthropic development firm Marts & Lundy. As she noted “How much of the decision is left up to the child depends on the child’s age. In my experience, the older children are, the more say they have in the final decision.” Signs of success “Parents looking at schools for their child should consider whether an individualized approach is included in the curriculum’s structure,” says Troy Kemp, dean of admissions and financial aid at McCallie School. “They should look at staff turnover—how long have the teachers been there? Have conversations with parents whose children are currently enrolled—what did they consider before they made the decision?” Perry Storey, principal of Notre Dame High School, recommends, “Look at

“The hallmark of an excellent school, says Morgan, is one that recognizes that children develop in different ways. At The Bright School, ‘Our parents are our partners, and we work together to customize learning for their children.’” Judy Molland, author of Straight Talk about Schools Today, points out, “The school’s headmaster or mistress is key. He or she sets the tone for the school. You need to feel that person is good with parents, students and faculty.” Continued on page 16...


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

...Continued from page 15

The visit: Lunch really is important School visits are critical for parents, prospective students and the schools who hope to serve them. Whether they are public, private, charter or religious most schools welcome visits and are eager to introduce prospective students and their families to their campuses and educational philosophies. “We offer three types of visits,” explains Kemp. “Prospective students can spend a half-day shadowing a McCallie student, there are parent coffees, and we also have a film showing what current students think of McCallie.” He strongly encourages parents to bring their sons on campus a year or so before they consider applying to experience the environment. “They can find out what’s involved in a typical day. Have lunch at the school.” Morgan says The Bright School encourages parents to sit in on classes. “Any time they want to come to campus, they are welcome,” he says. “Parents worry about little things, too, like how the lunch room works: Can my child manage carrying a tray? They can see that for themselves.” Experts suggest that, during a school visit, parents pay attention to the following: •

Is there enthusiasm among students and teachers?

Are students attentive in classrooms?

Are there adequate facilities for technology, the library and science?

Does the school, via the admission staff, truly want what is best for my child?

Photo courtesy Bright School It’s a small world at the Bright School and smiles about in many language at the historic Chattanooga elementary school.

The interview and admissions process Preparing for the yearlong admissions process/interview can be a stressful process for both parent and child. But, the experts caution, putting too much stress on your child and over-preparing can be detrimental. “Remember that it’s a two-way process: You’re interviewing the school as much as they are interviewing you,” says author Molland. “It’s also really important for a child to be herself during the interview. If you think it will help, you can do some role-playing in advance, asking questions like, ‘What are your favorite activities?’ “With younger kids, just be positive,” advises Morgan. “Say, ‘We’re going to visit some schools.’ If the parent is anxious, the child will be, too. Be sure to have done your research in advance. A good school will make it easy for you to do this, on the Internet, with brochures and with parent referrals.” Parents should not attempt to pad their child’s resume, warns Kemp. “But be aware quite a while in advance what standards of achievement the school expects. How much reading outside of class is required, and how much is your child currently doing? “Get all your materials together early, and don’t race to meet the deadline,” urges Hanson. “Get to know the admissions counselor—they are there to help you.” The intangibles Ultimately, your decision, and your child’s, after all logical evaluation has been done, will be connected to a feeling that “this is the right place.” And that’s a good thing, the experts say. “From kindergarten through 12th grade, kids spend about 16,000 hours in school,” Molland says. “You both need to feel good about your choice.” Come for a tour! In Chattanooga For ages 2 – 12

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Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

The National Association of Independent Schools suggests asking the following questions about the schools you are considering: • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • •

Is the school accredited, and by whom? What is the school’s mission, and does its philosophy appeal to you? Does the school have a special or particular educational focus? Are academics rigorous? Is the environment competitive? Nurturing? Are there high expectations? Does the school meet your child’s needs? How large is the school and its student body? Where is the school located, and what are your transportation options? What variety of learning experiences are available at the school—in class, on the playing field, in extracurricular activities and in community service? Are extracurricular activities obligatory? Does the school seem to have a diverse student body and faculty? Do the school materials discuss parental involvement? For high schools, what are the graduation requirements? What percentage of students enter colleges—and what kind of colleges do they attend? Is college counseling effective? (Look at rates at which school grads achieve their first and second college choices.) What is the tuition, and how flexible are the school’s financing options? What is the school’s application process? Are deadlines drawing near? Photo courtesy Notre Dame High School


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Notre Dame High School holds a “college fair” each fall to give students opportunities to visit with representatives from 70+ colleges and universities.

explore with your child!


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Small change can equal big return by Kelly Bullock


January = ALL. February = NOTHING.

ears ago I lived this scenario. When January rolled around I was gung-ho and these same three sentences would routinely escape my mouth, “I’m running on my treadmill every day!”, “I’m not eating any more sweets!”, “I will only eat tuna every day for lunch.” January turned to February. February to March. By the time the clock struck December, you guessed it, not only had my treadmill turned into the requisite closet but tuna turned into Value Meals and can you say M&M’s! Yes please! My reasoning in those days defied logic. If I couldn’t devote a full hour on the treadmill, I wasn’t doing it. Or if I ate M&M’s when I said I wouldn’t, I would continue eating everything in sight the remainder of the day. It took me (too many) years to figure out this all-or-nothing mentality did not work. It didn’t produce results and pushed me even further down the wrong path. I see now I was sabotaging my own efforts and this left me bewildered, un-motivated, and out of control. Negative. All negative.

January = A LITTLE. December = A LOT!

A little done enough times adds up to a lot.

2012 Challenge I challenge you to make one small habit change each month this year. It can be anything from choosing a better snack at work to shooting baskets with your child. Accumulate the habits! Pick a new habit you will accomplish for January. Once January is over, pick a new habit you will master for February AND continue doing the January habit, because after all, now it’s a habit!

Example: January: Turkey sandwich for lunch instead of a salami sandwich = a small healthy change and a small calorie deficit. February: Begin taking 10 minute walks AND continue the turkey sandwich habit = a bigger healthy change and calorie deficit.

Introducing (da, da, da, daaaaa!) THE POWER OF SMALLS! By continuing this process over 12 months you will have Photo courtesy Mark Bullock What? A different way of thinking that produces results, gained 12 new healthy habits that cumulatively produce Kelly is an NSCA Fitness Coach, motivating significant results! Make it fun and turn it into a family increases self-confidence, and is empowering? Sign me up! people to do more and be more through challenge. Here are some ideas for starters: When I started making small changes to my daily routine I fitness. She can be reached at KLBullock@ came alive! I saw a difference in my energy level, attitude, and ACTIVITY the way my clothes fit. I didn’t feel deprived because these small • Walk the dog 10 minutes (55 calories burned) instead of changes still allowed me to live a normal life, do the things I watching TV (16 calories burned) liked to do, and continue eating the foods I loved. Feeling empowered and in control • 5 minutes alternating 20 pushups and 20 squats (40 calories burned) instead of were only a few awesome by-products of my small and regular efforts. Positive. All hitting snooze (5 calories burned) positive. • Play kickball 10 minutes (80 calories burned) instead of playing Gameboy (11 We gain control of our fitness and lives by consistently making small, positive, and calories burned) sustainable changes. • Walk and seek (a tree, car color, etc) 10 minutes (55 calories burned) instead of mindless eating. Calorie burn is specific to each individual and is based on many factors. To determine I hate exercise! how many calories you burn for a particular activity, go to, activity I have heard there are people in this world who do not like to exercise calculator. (gasp!). OK, so don’t call it exercise. Is dancing exercise? Yes and there EATING/DRINKING are a lot of people who love to dance but hate to exercise. Is playing • Replace a regular soda with water. Save 150 calories. hide and seek exercise? Yes. Is raking leaves exercise? Pulling weeds? • 1 cup strawberries dipped in 1TBSP chocolate instead of 1 cup of regular ice Climbing a tree? Yes, yes, yes! Changing your words changes the cream. Save 186 calories. correlation. • 1 cup of ice cream instead of 2 cups. Save 286 calories. • Lean turkey sandwich instead of salami. Save 224 calories. • is a great site to look up your favorite foods. Notice! These ideas are simple, don’t require special equipment, memberships, or extra time in After-Hours Urgent Care for Infants, Children & Young Adults the kitchen.

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The science of weight loss I would make a scary scientist so let’s talk in terms I understand – Garanimals. You mix and match these cute kid’s shirts and pants to create the combination to fit your style or personality. Weight loss is the same. The basic, will-never-change, weight loss formula is: move your body a little more and or eat a little less to create a 3,500 calorie deficit and you will lose 1lb of fat. Do it the Garamimals way! Here’s one of many combinations: Burn 250 more calories per day (move your body more) and eat 250 less calories per day than you normally eat. Poof! In only seven days you can lose 1 lb of fat! The Power of Smalls approach to weight loss is empowering, produces results, and works! Start small today. I challenge you!

Calendar of Area Events January 2012

January 6, 2012

Tennessee Theatre First Friday Celebration 5-9 PM. The Tennessee Theatre is opening its doors during Knoxville’s First Friday celebration to celebrate the atmosphere and culture of downtown and the role the Tennessee Theatre plays in its revitalization. The celebration in the lobby of the theatre will include live music by The Old City Buskers, artwork by Mike Berry, wine tasting, food, a caricature artist and backstage tours of the theatre. Free. Knoxville, TN.

January 13, 2012

Knoxville Ice Bears vs. Louisiana Ice Gators Knoxville Civic Coliseum Come out and join us as the Ice Bears kick off a Friday-Saturday series against the Louisiana IceGators and take part in the first of two consecutive Legends Nights at the Coliseum. As always, the puck drops at 7:30. Please visit www. for more details.

January 14, 2012

January 11, 2012

YWCA Race against Racism YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center, 124 S. Cruze Street, Knoxville, TN, United States,

January 8, 2012

6th Annual National Juried Exhibition of 2011-2012 M-F 9-5. The Arts & Culture Alliance National Juried Exhibition provides a forum for artists to compete on a national scale and display their work from Dec 12, 2011 – Jan 27, 2012 at the Emporium Center in Knoxville, TN.

2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Events Events taking place at various locations in the city of Knoxville. Dates: Jan 11, 2012 – Jan 16, 2012 201 Harriet Tubman, Knoxville, United States, East Tennessee History Center Holiday Events – The Conspirator 2 PM. “The Conspirator” Film Showing and Discussion at the East Tennessee History Center. 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN. 865-215-8824 or www.

January 11, 2012

East Tennessee History Center Holiday Events – Mr. Lincoln’s Long Shadow Starts at Noon. “Lincoln’s Long Shadow: Statues, Monuments and Landscape” a Brown Bag Lecture by Mr. Thomas Mackie at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN. 865-215-8824 or Broadway at the Tennessee: Les Miserables Jan 11, 2012 – Jan 15, 2012 Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, TN. Experience your favorite musicals in the majestic setting of Knoxville’s Grand Entertainment Palace. Whether you’re a seasoned fan of the Great White Way or new to the world of musicals, you’re sure to be thrilled by the spectacular dance moves, visually stunning costumes, and unparalleled artistry of the shows we’ve selected for the 2011-2012 season.

Bolero Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012 Time: 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Where: 709 Broad St., Chattanooga, TN 37402. 423.267.8583 or www. Join the CSO and guest pianist Inon Barnatan for a concert featuring the works of Maurice Ravel. Concerto in G major for Piano & Orchestra Rapsodie Espagnole Alborada Del Gracioso Pavane for a Dead Princess Bolero Maurice Ravel. Cost: $19-$79. Tivoli Theatre in downtown Chattanooga, TN. Hullabowloo January 14, 2012 from 7-11 PM. Chattanooga Area Food Bank. 2009 Curtain Pole Road. $50 per person OR Consider purchasing a $100, IPMBGNFI (I paid more but got nothing for it), ticket to help the Food Bank even more. To purchase tickets please call the Food Bank at (423) 622-1800. Food will be provided by TONS of popular local vendors and music performed by Adam Ant Farm, Mountain Cove Bluegrass, and Matt Downer. Visit the website for more information.

January 16, 2012

Listen Up! 5-7 PM. The objective is to empower Chattanooga’s inner city youth to become leaders with character, vision, and action in their communities. We will challenge their creativity and equip their minds with practical knowledge and confidence building. Call (423) 643-6800 for more information. Chattanooga areas recreation centers in Chattanooga, TN. Elvis Lives! Time: 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM Where: 399 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37402 (423) 642-TIXS (8497) or www. ELVIS LIVES is an unforgettable multimedia and live musical journey across Elvis’ life. His iconic style, embraced by many of today’s artists, continues to intrigue audiences of all generations. Featuring finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises’ worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, as well as a tribute to Ann-Margret, audiences “Can’t Help Falling In Love” with this phenomenal theatrical concert experience. All seats reserved from $31.50 to $56.50 plus convenience fees. Age 17 and under save $20. Buy both ELVIS LIVES and SPAMALOT to save 10%! Presented by TAPA. Tickets are on sale at the Auditorium box office, online or by phone.

January 19, 2012

Comfort Food Dinner at 212 Market Street Date: Thursday, January 19, 2012 Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Where: 212 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 Website: Phone: 423-267-FISH (3474) No need to hibernate this winter! Join us to savor the delicious and soothing cuisine known as comfort food. Begin with a warm beet salad with cornbread crostini topped with Tennessee Chevre goat cheese. Our entree is pork loin, filled with figs and roasted apples with a rosemaryscented jus, accompanied by sweet potato gratin and wine-braised red cabbage topped with bacon “cracklings.” Top it all off with vanilla poached pear & almond tart garnished with crumbled macaroons and chocolate sauce to warm you heart and soul (OR Chocolate Souffle). Includes

dinner, cooking demonstrations a glass of house wine and gratuity. Advance registration is required. Admission fee: $45 non-member.

January 21, 2012

Pink! Gala Memorial Foundation presents Pink! 2012, a celebration of life for breast cancer patients and survivors. It benefits the MaryEllen Locher Breast Centers at Memorial. Saturday, January 21, 2012. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. @ The Chattanooga Convention Center. Proceeds from Pink! will benefit the expansion of surgical and infusion(chemo) services for breast cancer patients at Memorial. Pink! attendees will dance all night to live music by Party Nation and have the chance to bid on premium items in a silent auction. $200 Regular tickets include cocktails, dinner and entertainment. Regular tables of 8 are $1600. $350 Patron tickets include all of the above, as well as an exclusive pre-party invite, valet/reserved parking, premium seating, and table-side bar service the night of the event. Patron tables of 8 are $2800. Sponsorship opportunities are available, ranging from $50,000 to $3,500. Don’t miss Chattanooga’s premiere event! Clickhere to purchase your tickets online or call (423) 495-PINK (7465).Visit the Memorial Foundation Pink! Facebook page view photos from Pink! 2011.

January 23, 2012

Community Autism Resources Forum You are invited to attend our free community-wide event on Monday, January 23rd from 1:00pm-3:00pm to hear special guests and ‘Biggest Loser’ reality TV stars Phil and Amy Parham talk about autism’s impact on their son, their family-- and their own health. please contact Kasie Lewallen at LearningRx Chattanooga by phone (423) 305-1599 or via email: Brainerd Crossroads (The BX) 4011 Austin St., Chattanooga, TN.

January 25, 2012

East Tennessee History Center Holiday Events – Civil War Book discussion Starts at Noon. Civil War Book Discussion at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN. 865-215-8824 or

Events continued January 26, 2012

Mothball! Starts at 8 PM YOUR CHANCE TO WEAR IT AGAIN IS COMING Tickets Available Soon benefitting: Woman’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga

January 27, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest Date: Friday, January 27, 2012 Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37405 Website: Phone: 423-267-8534 By Oscar Wilde. Dashing men-about-town John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff pursue fair ladies Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew in this comedy classic. Matters are complicated by the imaginary characters invented by both men to cover their on-the-sly activities-not to mention the disapproval of Gwendolen’s mother, the formidable Lady Bracknell. The quintessential Oscar Wilde comedy. Tickets: $30 opening night. $10 – $25 for all other performances.

Dorothea Lange’s America

January 2012 Stand Up Comedian Steve Byrne Date: Friday, January 27, 2012 Time: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Where: The Comedy Catch, 3224 Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37411 Website: Phone: 423-629-2233 Seen on two Comedy Central Specials. Tickets: Thursday $9/ Friday and Saturday $14/ Sunday $9.

January 28, 2012

Girl Scout Day at Tennessee Aquarium Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012 Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Where: Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402. 800 2620695 or The Tennessee Aquarium salutes the good deeds of area Girl Scouts with special pricing and programs. Scouts will enjoy a day of fun to discover what it’s like to work with jellyfish, penguins, sharks and reptiles. In addition to regularly scheduled animal programs, keeper talks and behindthe-scenes tours, Aquarium experts have prepared informative and entertaining programs for scouts that will include live animals. Each presentation will take place in the River Journey Auditorium. Seating

is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission fee: $10 for Scouts and Leaders in uniform; parents and additional adults: $20; Additional children age 3-12: $10 Ailey II Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012 Time: 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St., Chattanooga, TN 37402. (423) 642-TIXS (8497) or Ballet Tennessee presents this worldrenowned New York City dance troupe founded by Alvin Ailey to bring AfricanAmerican cultural expression and the American modern dance tradition to the world. Since 1974, Ailey II has been a peerless showcase for rising young dancers and choreographers. All seats reserved from $15 to $30 with discounts for children, students and seniors 60+. The usual convenience fees will apply. Tickets are on sale at the Auditorium box office, online and by phone. Have an event you want to share? Email your listing information well in advance to Calendar@ Chattanooga or

We work to improve student achievement

Now through April 22 Photographs from the Great Depression

Register Now:

Winter Classes for Kids • Art After School (classes for ages 6 to 13) •Pre-K Days and Pre-K Holidays

Call 423.267.0968. Image: Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, vintage silver gelatin print

So that all children succeed in school and in life. Learn more at


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Child safety starts with you by Chief Tramel, Knox County Sheriff ’s Office


hen I sat down to put this article together, and thought about all of the issues that encompass child safety, I immediately thought about my own 10 year-old daughter. As a father, I believe it is my responsibility to ensure that she is safe, both physically and emotionally. Our children are our most valuable asset. While I believe it is important to let them be children, I also think it’s important to educate ourselves and them about potential threats to their safety, and most importantly, ways to avoid those threats. For example, the internet is an amazing tool that can, in fact, enhance a child’s educational experience. But the same qualities that make it such a useful and easy educational tool also leave them vulnerable to exploitation and harm. The FBI website has an excellent article about internet safety and children. Here is the link: The article talks about signs that your child may be at risk from online predators. This, of course, is useful for older children. But for younger children using the internet, my advice would be to never leave them unattended, period. Always know what websites they are going to and why. Nothing is more terrifying than the thought that your child could come to harm through either an online predator or someone closer to home. But following some simple guidelines and going over easy rules with your kids could make all the difference. The most disturbing issue to any parent is child abduction/exploitation. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a child abductor/exploiter can be anyone: a relative, a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. Despite wellpublicized incidents of stranger abduction, this accounts for only 10-15% of all abduction/exploitation cases. The vast majority are committed by someone known to the child and/or family. The old saying that knowledge is power is true. To help prevent people from hurting your children, know who your children are with and where they are at all times. Know the people who are acquainted with your children. Know the background and character of anyone who has charge of your children such as friends, neighbors, baby-sitters, or relatives. Know your children’s behaviors and be sensitive to any changes; sit down and talk to them about what has caused the changes. Know your children’s fears; listen and be supportive when discussing them. I take my responsibilities as Chief seriously, and one of those responsibilities is helping to educate the public about child safety issues. At the Knox County Sheriff ’s Office, we do this in part by placing Child Safety Education Officers in Knox County Schools to teach elementary and middle school students throughout the year. We are talking to your kids at school. Talk to your kids at home, using these tips and guidelines. As individual families, and as a community, it is our responsibility to protect our children. Together, we can really make a difference.

Teach your children these basic rules of safety: • • • • • • • •

Always get permission from your parents/grandparents before going anywhere or getting in a vehicle with anyone. Use the “buddy system” if possible and never go places alone. If anyone tries to take you, let people know you need help by yelling and screaming and trying to get away. Tell your parents or a trusted adult if anyone asks you to keep a hurtful secret. Always tell a parent or a trusted adult if anyone should touch parts of your body covered by a bathing suit or wants you to touch those areas on their body. You have the right to say NO to protect yourself. Never go with anyone, even if they ask you for directions or say they need help finding a lost pet, person, or anything else. Remember to call 911 if you need help.

Keep Your Teeth Healthy For A Lifetime! NEW PATIENTS AND EMERGENCIES WELCOME! Our mission is to provide the highest level of dentistry in a comfortable, caring and friendly environment.

Paul B. Nations, D.D.S. Cedar Bluff Dental Center, P.C. 9221 Middlebrook Pike, Ste. 201 Knoxville, TN 37931

(865) 693-6933


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Help Your Child Succeed With Knox County Schools’ Parent University “P.E.” (Parent Empowerment) Classes by Tracey Matthews, KCDE Supervisor of Family and Community Participation


he Knox County Schools’ Family and Community Engagement Department recently introduced “Parent University” as one way to help parents help their child succeed in the classroom. These Parent Empowerment classes help fill the needs identified by parent feedback conducted through surveys. Family and community engagement is one of the goals outlined in the Knox County Schools’ Strategic Plan, entitled Excellence for All Children, and recognizes parents and other community members as critical collaborators in the district’s educational efforts. Frequently asked questions and answers about Parent Empowerment classes include: Q: What is the cost of P.E. classes? A: Classes are free; however pre-registration is required to receive free materials. Onsite registration is also allowed. Q: What types of classes are offered? A: Past classes have included how to find time to help your child read, as well as how to know if you and your child are ready for Kindergarten. Future classes are based on parent needs identified through surveys and other feedback. Classes are interactive, encouraging participants to engage by sharing their own ideas, challenges and solutions. Q: Will I be graded? A: Individuals will not be graded on materials, but they will receive a certificate of

participation for each class. The courses are designed to provide very useful information and cultivate opportunities to learn from others.   Q: Where are the classes? A: Classes are held at various locations throughout Knox County, including in schools and public libraries.  Q: When are most classes scheduled? A: Most classes are held during Tuesday and/or Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Additional scheduling will be considered as feedback is gathered from participants. Q: Who teaches the courses? A: Courses are taught by experienced professionals, and many of them are also parents! Q: How do I learn more about the classes being offered? A: P.E. classes are spearheaded by Knox County Schools’ Family and Community Engagement Department. For a complete class listing, visit www. or call 865-594-9525. Parents of Knox County School students can receive automatic email updates by logging onto your child’s school website – simply use your Parent Portal username and password and select “Join this FusionPage” on the Family and Community Engagement webpage. Once you are a member, you will automatically receive emails about classes, registration, and other important announcements and events related to families and the Knox County Schools! Q: Who do I contact for more information, to share ideas for future class offerings, or to see about becoming a “teacher” myself ? A: We welcome parent, staff and community participation! Contact Tracey Matthews, Supervisor of Family and Community Engagement, at tracey.matthews@knoxschools. org or 865-594-9525.

Knox County Schools PARENT UNIVERSITY “P.E.” (Parent Empowerment) Classes The KCS Family and Community Engagement Department’s Featured Class Series “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours!” meets once per month beginning in February. To receive more information, please visit or call (865) 594-9525.

Community-Sponsored Classes

Tuesdays and Thursdays: “Nurturing Parenting Classes” are held at the Child & Family Tennessee Building on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. - Noon and Thursdays 4 – 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays: “Access Granted” classes are held at the Phyllis Wheatley YMCA from 6 - 7:30 p.m. Every Second Thursday of the Month: “Parents of Dynamic Rebels: A Group for Moms with Teens” meetings are held at the Phyllis Wheatley YMCA from 6 - 7 p.m. Last Monday of the Month: “Autism Society of East TN Parent Support Group” meets at various locations from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Ongoing: “Internet Essentials” - Learn about new affordable opportunities to provide the internet and equipment in homes and how to use the internet. Ongoing: Knox County Public Library Family Events: Fun learning opportunities and events for all family members! Ongoing: “Adult Education Classes” FREE classes are held at Historic Knoxville High School. Ongoing: Online “Family Involvement Course”

Pond Gap Elementary School-Sponsored Classes Open to All KCS Families

Contact Mark Benson at (865) 909-9040 for details on each Pond Gap Elementary-sponsored class. Mondays: “Job Skills Workshop” from 6 - 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays: “GED Classes” from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays: “ESL Classes” from 6 - 7 p.m. Thursdays: “Women’s Support & Discussion Group” from 5:45 - 6:45 p.m. For details and more information about any class, please visit


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Healthy teeth for a lifetime

Your child’s dental health starts with you By Paul Nations, D.D.S.


our dentist’s sole purpose is to help you keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime. To accomplish this, it is vital that you give your child the best possible start. From the first day that a new tooth comes in (erupts), it is vulnerable to decay, so you can help protect your baby’s teeth by providing the best possible dental care and by starting early to develop the right kind of dental hygiene habits. Baby teeth normally start to erupt when a child is between three and twelve months old. The lower incisors usually come in first, though every baby is different both in timing and location. You may notice swelling and tenderness right before the teeth are ready to erupt, and you can help make your baby more comfortable by massaging the gums gently with a piece of gauze, your finger, or the bowl of a small, cool spoon. Many babies like to chew on a teething ring. This, too, can help ease your baby’s crankiness (which can only help you as well!). As soon as baby teeth erupt, they are susceptible to cavity-causing plaque, so it’s important to keep these new teeth clean with a small washcloth, gauze pad or a baby-sized toothbrush. Avoid fluoride toothpaste until your child is old enough to brush without swallowing the paste and can spit it out on his or her own. As the spaces between your child’s teeth begin to close, you can start flossing them. Set a good example for your child by developing a regular routine with brushing and flossing, and remember to make it a positive and fun experience. Children love to imitate their parents, and showing them that you happily follow a routine of proper dental hygiene will help them establish the same healthy habit!

“Children love to imitate their parents, and showing them that you happily follow a routine of proper dental hygiene will help them establish the same healthy habit!” One avoidable threat to your child’s teeth is “nursing bottle mouth” or “baby bottle decay.” This can occur when a baby is put down to sleep for the night with a bottle of milk, juice, or even formula. During waking hours, saliva helps to cleanse the teeth and naturally fight decay. But, when your baby is sleeping, saliva production slows, and sugar from these liquids stays in the mouth. This creates a perfect environment for bacteria in the mouth to attack the tooth enamel resulting in cavities. Babies with this condition will have severe decay on all of their upper front teeth at an early age and will need extensive dental work before they are even old enough to understand. You can avoid this serious condition by using only water in the bottle during nap time and night time sleep. One frequently asked question by our patients is, “When should I bring my child in to the office for a first visit?” We encourage parents to bring their baby in for a check-up between six and twenty-four months old to make sure that there are no cavities and to check that teeth are coming in normally. A good approach is to schedule your child’s check-up at the same time as your own check-up or cleaning. This way, your child will be able to observe you with the dental hygienist and

dentist and learn what to expect when it is his/ her turn. When a child knows what to expect and can see that mommy and daddy are just fine, it will go a long way in helping make him or her more relaxed and comfortable. By age three or four, your child should be old enough to tolerate an appointment with the dental hygienist. At this time he/she should receive a cleaning and be taught how to brush and floss properly. Your dentist should check for cavities and apply topical fluoride to help strengthen the teeth. Also, dental x-rays should be taken during this and periodically during future visits to check for cavities and to see if the permanent teeth are developing normally. The first of these appointments need not be stressful for your child, and no one should force your child to do anything that causes discomfort or fear. If your child isn’t ready for some part of the treatment, the best response is for both you and the dentist to keep the mood positive and reschedule the appointment for another time. After a few visits, children are usually able to do everything necessary for the appointment. Practicing good dental hygiene with your child at home and these early office visits are very important. If your child can get used to coming to the dentist for easy cleaning appointments it will help build trust, and any future dental treatment will be much easier. Plus, with regular check-ups, problems will be caught early making treatment more simple. Finally, your child will be familiar with the dentist and staff and will know that he/she will be taken care of and that nothing will hurt. The foundation will have been laid for your child to enjoy healthy teeth for a lifetime. Dr. Paul Nations received his B.S. in Biology at Vanderbilt University and his D.D.S. at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, where he graduated with honors. He also completed one year in Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the University of Tennessee, Memphis and maintains a private practice at Cedar Bluff Dental Center, P.C. in West Knoxville.

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Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

One way you can help

he goal of the Teacher Supply Depot is to provide teachers with free usable materials to enhance their classrooms and to promote student achievement. Four times a year, teachers can come into the depot and collect items for use in their classrooms. The Depot accepts basic educational tools (from pens to glue), arts and crafts supplies (including paper, paints, fabric scraps) and classroom equipment (computers, calculators, cabinets, etc.) from businesses and parents’ homes. The Depot provides donors with the opportunity to discard usable items and receive a tax deduction instead of paying for disposal. Hamilton County Schools/PTA Teacher Supply Depot 2225 Roanoke Avenue (former Mary Ann Garber School)

The Hamilton County Council of PTAs is asking for donations for its Teacher Supply Depot, a free stock of school supplies for public school teachers. The depot relies on corporate and individual donations of office, school and

household supplies. Three or four times a year, PTA volunteers throw open the doors and allow teachers to shop for pencils, notebooks and art supplies.

Knox County Schools/PTA Teacher Supply Depot 709 North Cedar Bluff, Knoxville TN (865) 594-1221

The goal of the Teacher Supply Depot is to provide Knox County teachers with free usable materials to enhance their classrooms and to promote student achievement. The Depot provides donors with the opportunity to discard usable items and receive a tax deduction instead of paying for disposal. This project is a collaboration of the Knox County Council PTA, Knox County Schools, KCEA, Goodwill, the Knoxville Chamber Partnership and Knox County Government.

Ivy Academy is a tuition-free, public charter high school focusing on hands-on learning with outdoor classrooms. For the active learner! 8443 Dayton Pike * Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379


Hamilton Skate Place 7414 Goodwin Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421



Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012


The Acne of Defeat

hey say with age comes a clearer understanding of the world around you. This may be true, but at this point I would settle for a clearer complexion of the skin around me. As a teenager I never had more than the occasional pimple, so I just don’t get how a woman in her forties can still get zits. My friend Susan assured me that she gets pimples too, adding, “Believe me, there is nothing worse than going to my dermatologist for acne treatment and Botox in the same sitting!” This was only mildly comforting when I woke up one morning last month literally faced with the harsh reality that pimples are not just products of puberty. While brushing my teeth I felt that all-too-familiar aching under my skin – the first sure fire sign that the acne is a comin’. And that’s when the pimple panic and pandemonium set in. I rushed to the bathroom mirror to immediately examine my face, and could spot a faint shadow of what would soon develop into a full-blown bump. My first instinct was to call a Hail Mary pass that I prayed would prevent the impending pimple. I scrubbed my face with a bar of Clinique soap that I found in the drawer (no doubt a relic from circa 1984) and then verbally attacked the area by screaming, “No, No, No, No, No!” into the mirror a few hundred times. And while this method and madness never seemed to work in high school, I figured it also couldn’t hurt. Before bed that night I started applying some over the counter acne cream to the area followed by a dollop of toothpaste – a home remedy I read about on the Internet. The next morning it was obvious that these were futile last minute attempts as I stared at the newly blossomed blemish on my chin, which also smelled like Crest. You would think that in the twenty-five years that have passed since I got my first zit, there would be a fool proof remedy for either preventing or immediately curing the occasional acne. And if there is such a magic cream or medicine out there, I sure don’t know about it. Instead, I spent the next two days watching this red thing fester and taunt me in the mirror as my mother’s words resonated over and over again in my head, “Don’t touch it, Ali. The best thing you can do is leave it alone.” Anyone who has ever contended with a pimple knows there is always that point when you must make a critical decision: to pop, or not to pop. That is the question. In the interest of full disclosure I am a popper. I have always been a popper, not to mention a picker to boot. That’s because I can always convince myself that by giving it that little squeeze, I am actually expediting the healing process, not making it worse. But as soon as I complete the pop, whatever immediate gratification I may feel is immediately overshadowed by the results of my reckless behavior. And that’s when the “prevention, popping and picking” phases are quickly replaced by the “cover and conceal” phases of my plan.  Everyone knows that once a zit is popped and exposed only the best drugstore makeup concealer can make it invisible. And by “invisible” I mean it can turn an otherwise red and crusty spot into an even more conspicuous brown and crusty spot. And once again, as I apply the concealer and notice that it is at least three shades lighter than my normal skin tone, I still manage to

Got feedback for Alison? Contact her at or post feedback to her column at

“Anyone who has ever contended with a pimple knows there is always that point when you must make a critical decision: to pop, or not to pop. That is the question.” convince myself that this is an improvement. My family assures me otherwise with their weak attempts to avoid staring at the obvious area on my face over the next week. I knew the jig was really up when our nine-yearold, Abe, urgently called me into the family room one afternoon to show me an infomercial for Proactiv. “This helps people with pimples, like you, Mom.” I walked away in defeat. I would love to say that a week of popping and picking and covering and concealing ultimately brought me to a place of Zen with my zit. Instead it left me with dry skin, a drawer full of acne concealer and a date with my dermatologist. I just hope that he knows which toothpaste works best on wrinkles.

St. Peter’s Episcopal School Learning to Love, Loving to Learn


Chattanooga Parent • Knoxville Parent • January 2012

Teach. Don’t tell. By Gary Johnson


ads want to fix things for their children and Moms want to nurture. It’s in our parenting DNA. Yet, fixing things for our children or being overly protective isn’t always best to help prepare our children to be independent, responsible adults. One of the best things we can give our children is our time. To a child, a parent spending time with them is an unspoken “I love you.” It may be playing dolls with our young daughters or throwing a ball or shooting hoops with our sons. Maybe it’s a walk and taking time to talk about what’s going on in their life. There are countless things we can do to share time with our children. Remember the song Cats In The Cradle? The song tells the story of a son wanting to spend time with his busy Dad only to hear “We’ll get together soon Son.” Even though his Dad was too busy for him, the son continued to admire his Dad and wanted to be like him when he grew

“When it comes to parenting methods we often emulate our parents, or if we didn’t agree with their methods, do the opposite.”

Gary Johnson is the East Tennessee Development Manager for Youth Villages ( and the father of two grown daughters and one granddaughter. He and his wife Linda live in West Knoxville.

up. And as the son grows and becomes more independent, finally a man himself, his Dad now wants to spend time with his son only to hear ”We’ll get together soon Dad.” Dad finally realizes that his son has grown up to be just like him. When it comes to parenting methods we often emulate our parents, or if we didn’t agree with their methods, do the opposite. I emulated many of my parents’ methods but one I didn’t was how

I talked to my children. Ever hear “Because I said so?” Growing up, I heard it often. Like any teen, I was inquisitive about everything. When my Dad would ask me to do something, and I asked why, most often I heard “Because I said so.” I wasn’t being disrespectful. Rather, I wanted to learn. I suspect my Dad heard the same thing as he was growing up as well. I made a commitment that I would explain why to my kids when I became a parent. In his way, my Dad was trying to fix things for me by telling me rather than guiding me. How do we teach our children so that they become independent and responsible adults? By guiding them to make their own decisions. Teaching them independence and responsibility as children will allow them to be independent, responsible adults. Here are a couple of examples my wife and I used as our children were growing up:

Do the words “math homework” strike fear in your child…or you? We can change that fear into better grades and higher self-confidence, and eliminate the frustration, tears, and fights over math homework. Discover how a better understanding of math can change your child’s attitude. Before you know it, your child could be crazy about math.

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865-769-6944 •


Parent guides, child decides - For example, pick out a couple of outfits and ask them which they want to wear

The Decision Contract - When they were teens we negotiated a Decision Contract to guide their decision making. The contract included things important to every parent, a curfew time, phoning us when plans or where she would be changed, etc. One nonnegotiable was safety. We included that “it must be safe.” Because safety can be defined differently by a parent and a child, together we defined safety. When she wanted to do something we looked to our agreement. If it didn’t fit, the answer was “No.” If it did, “Yes.” In essence they were helping make their own decisions. This avoided arguments, Mom and Dad being pitted against each other, and it helped teach them how to evaluate decisions. It also offered them what all teens long for: independence.

Our children seemingly grow up right before our eyes. Enjoy the moments, all too soon they will be grown and gone.

g r e e


New York’s Ailey II at the Tivoli Theater

One Performance Only! Saturday, January 28, 2012 8 PM

Tickets On Sale January 1st

(423) 757-5050

Fana Tesfagiorgis in Troy Powell’s Reference Point. Photo: Eduardo Patino, NYC.


Knoxville Parent - January 2012  

The greater Knoxville area's resource for families.

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