School Begins Friday Following Summer Of Planning, Preparing

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Students in the Cannon County Schools system will soon realize the phrase “back to school” has a different meaning for them than it does teachers when the 2010-11 school year begins this week.

Students will return to school for an abbreviated day Friday (Aug. 6), and Monday (Aug. 9) is the first full day of classes, according to Director of Schools Barbara Parker.

While students will be returning from their summer break, faculty, administration, custodial and maintenance staffs, as well as cafeteria workers already have been working to assure the seven respective schools in Cannon County are ready for the start of a new year.

“There really is no off time for educators because it is the summer,” Parker said. “(Summer)  is actually our busiest time of the year (at the Central Office). We have to close out our old budget and start on our new one. All the interviews for new teaching positions are taking place. Teachers have been preparing their rooms for days now, and doing lesson plans among other items that have to be done. Our teachers are excited about the new school year and I believe students get excited, too. They are ready to come back after a nice break.”

The stress of preparing for a new school year can be overwhelming, even for teachers and preparation throughout the summer can assist in the transition, not only for students, but also teachers.

Woodbury Grammar conducted an Open House for parents and students last Thursday, while Back-To-School Bashes are planned for East Side and Auburn Schools Monday (Aug. 9), where parents and teachers will enjoy a free hot dog dinner, in addition to balloons and school supplies being available.

These are just some of the many things teachers and principals have been putting together and planning in recent weeks.

Evidently, summer break is for students, not teachers.

“A good teacher is on call 24 hours a day. You are never off,” said Bonnie Patterson, former assistant principal at CCHS who is beginning her first year as principal at Woodbury Grammar. “Everyone is willing to put in the time to make sure the school is ready for the students when they start back next week.

“We take pride in everything we do, from the cafeteria staff, custodians, teachers, office staff, everyone has a vested interest in students here (at Woodbury Grammar). This building is amazing and we can’t wait to showcase it and our students to everyone in the county.”

Returning students at Cannon County High School will notice some changes when they return to school, including a new modified block schedule.

“We will have a new modified block schedule and utilize a nine-week marking period instead of the traditional six-week to help accommodate that,” CCHS Principal Tim Knox said. “We have spent a great deal of the summer preparing for that. One of the benefits of the block schedule is that we can offer students an additional credit each year so over four years that’s four extra credits they have a chance to get that they didn’t have before.”

The one-hour lunch program instituted by Knox at CCHS on a trial basis at the end of the 2009-10 school year will begin from the outset this year.

“We are excited about doing it for the whole year,” Knox said. “The incoming freshman will spend the first 30 minutes working on study skills. The sophomore, juniors and seniors will have the entire hour and it can be used for meeting with teachers, make-up work, remediation work, tutoring, taking care of business in the office, going to the media center, the library, and we also can use this time for class and club meetings. There is a lot students can get accomplished during this hour.”

Parker said Cannon County Schools also will utilize a new formative assessment program in 2010-11 and a great deal of time of the summer has been spent training for it. Formative assessment is described as assessing the formation of the student. Facilitators do this by observing students as they respond to questions, ask questions and interact with other students during activities.

A great deal of maintenance work that can only be accomplished while students are out of school, such as air conditioning repair, painting, etc., has been completed. Interviewing and hiring faculty and administration also is a big part of the summer months. According to Parker, the Cannon County Schools system has hired 23 new people so far this year. There will be new teachers as well as personnel changes that involve old faces in new places.

Patterson is one example, making the move from CCHS to Woodbury Grammar. Melinda Crook will take over as principal at Auburn School after teaching there for nine years.

“I have big shoes to fill following Mr. (Roger) Turney,” Crook said. “(Turney) was my principal and he was my teacher (at Auburn School). I taught here for nine years and he was a big help to me. One of my biggest things this summer has been working toward filling vacant positions, ordering what we need for the new year, scheduling, and planning. There is a lot that goes into being prepared for the start of a new school year and this work must be accomplished during these summer months so teachers are not overwhelmed at the outset.”

Cannon County Schools Personnel Changes for 2010-11

Bonnie Patterson, Principal, Woodbury Grammar; Melinda Crook, Principal, Auburn; Barbara Donnell, Resource, Short Mountain; Lani Spigolon, Resource, Woodbury Grammar; Beth Palombo, eighth grade, Short Mountain; Tiffany Gannon, second grade, Woodbury Grammar; Teresa Scott, part-time librarian, Auburn; Tonya Davenport, Auburn; Johnny Dorris, fifth grade, Auburn; Reagan Vaughn, part-time physical education, Auburn; Kay Barker, Assistant Principal, CCHS; Courtney Nichols, part-time vocational director, CCHS; Lisa Murphy, English, CCHS; Lacy Eckan, English, CCHS; Susanne Hebden, Spanish, CCHS; Holly Harwood, second grade, Woodbury Grammar; Rayann Loftis, second grade, Woodbury Grammar; Ken Overall, Title I, Woodbury Grammar; Alysia Pitts, Kindergarten, Woodbury Grammar; Shane Hollandsworth, eighth grade, Woodbury Grammar; Lance McAllister, Life Skills, Woodbury Grammar; Missy Hatfield, custodian, Woodbury Grammar; Darlene Wetzel, Art, Woodland; Tammy Smith, first grade, Woodbury Grammar, Sue Bragg, receptionist, CCHS; and Missy Hatfield, janitor, Woodbury Grammar.

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