Twice-A-Week: School Board OKs Elementary Basketball Schedules

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The Cannon County School Board voted 4-1 to approve the elementary basketball schedules for the upcoming season during its monthly meeting Thursday (Oct. 14).

Board member Mike Mayfield made the motion to approve the schedule as it was presented by the six grammar school principals and it was seconded by board member Shannon Davenport. Mayfield, Davenport, Chris Blackburn and Cathy Hyatt voted in favor and chairman Randy Gannon voted against it.

The vote came after much discussion regarding two games per week being scheduled as opposed to the traditional one game per week schedule that has been in place for the last several years.

Hyatt pointed out this should not be a Board decision.

“I’m not even sure how this made it to the agenda because as a Board this is not our job,” Hyatt said. “We are not into the day-to-day running of the school. That’s why we hire directors, principals and teachers, so I’m not sure how this made it to us; however, that being said, it did make it here and I have researched this issue.”

The schedule change was initially a topic of conversation at the Board’s workshop Oct. 12 and parents had the opportunity to voice their opinion.

Most complained that two grammar school games per week would put a strain on students academically, it would put a bind on parents who work outside of the county and it would create a financial hardship for some parents who can not afford to attend two grammar school and two high school games per week.

Hyatt eased the problem of financial burden when she informed the audience, and Board, that she had contacted every principal regarding the financial hardship and all agreed to let those parents attend free on weeks where multiple games were played.

Davenport also pointed out that if students were not playing two games a week, they still would be practicing.

“When we don’t have games on Monday those students are practicing,” Davenport said. “Each of those teams have already scheduled two-hour practice slots every Monday they are not playing. I understand where the parents who don’t want two games a week are coming from but then I go look at practice schedules and each of the elementary schools have practices scheduled on Monday for two hours. Even if you don’t have a game you are going to take your child to that practice.”

East Side Principal Karen King, who serves as president of the Principal Study Council, explained the rational for scheduling multiple games during a week while also pointing out that there are only four weeks out of the 10-week schedule where schools would play multiple games.

“Last year we played basketball from October until the last week of February and part of that was due to inclement weather,” King said. “It stretched the season. Because students practice on nights they didn’t play they were busy with basketball until the end of February. That only left us three uninterrupted weeks before TCAP tests.”

King said each principal from the respective schools were in favor the schedule. Principals from Auburn, East Side, Short Mountain, Woodland and West Side voted for the schedule that was presented. Woodbury Grammar Principal Bonnie Patterson opted not to vote as she is entering her first year as principal at the elementary level.

“With the new schedule we only play two games a week for four weeks,” King said. “Most parents I have talked to realized it was not that much when you consider everything will be done by mid-February and we will have eight full weeks where our students will be doing nothing but school work. As educators that was the basis of our decision.”

Davenport pointed out that parents have to make the decision of whether their child will play sports and maintain their academics or not play sports to focus more on school demands.

“If there was not a game scheduled on Monday night then these basketball players will be practicing so what’s the difference between a two-hour game and a two-hour practice,” Davenport said. “You have to make the decision (as parents). You either want your child to play sports and do what it takes as far as disciplining yourself on getting academic work done. I’m all for sports and everyone knows that, but sometimes you have to make decisions as parents.”

In other business Thursday, the Cannon County School Board, approved elementary basketball coaches, as well as the schedules. In some cases the coaches are volunteers and do not teach or work at the school.

Director of Schools Barbara Parker asked the Board’s permission to begin a program where all volunteer coaches are fingerprinted and have a background check conducted on them.

“We, by state law and board policy, fingerprint everyone we pay,” Parker said. “We don’t pay volunteer coaches so we don’t fingerprint them. I would like permission to have all volunteer coaches fingerprinted and do background checks. They spend a lot of time working with our students after hours. I think it is good policy for us to have this in place.”

The Board unanimously approved Parker’s request but Davenport indicated the schools should pay for the background checks as opposed to the individual. Parker indicated the cost is $40.

The Board also awarded McMinnville Sherrill Pest Control with the pest control bid for county schools. McMinnville Sherrill had the low bid of $408 and currently had the county schools contract. It also approved the Carpentry Shop Proposal of just more than $40,000 to complete a project.
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October 16, 2010 at 8:33am
I believe your story misses a couple of points.
Point number one, the schedule was changed to allow more time for TCAP score preparation. The schedule will allow a 3 week period for teachers to focus on preparing your children for the test. This is imporant for one reason, more money for our schools. Better scores ...more money. It also highlights that schools are open for one reason, TCAP scores, not educating our children. Teachers who are reading this, don't take offense to that statement, I'm just pointing out that this is the standard schools are graded on and soon it will determine if you can be a teacher or not (IMO).Improving the education level of the people of Cannon County is thrown out the window. This score is the only thing that matters. If your child struggles in class or needs that extra attention to improve his or her education, it's difficult for a teacher to take that time for a specific child. Principals main concern is the score !!!! So with the first issue the TCAP score i say to the principals, step up and look at the whole year not just the 3 weeks you are trying to make these children memorize information for a better score. Everyday think of improving a child's abilities to contribute to the community not The Score...

The second issue is with the children who play sports, set the schdule and leave the schedule alone.Let the parents do their job. Parents understand the student athelete and the burden is creates, when we as parenets allow our children to play sports. It is the parent's job to juggle the practice and game schedule and ensure the grades are kept to the standard which the parent feels is acceptable. The score of 2.75 GPA when they graduate high school for the free money. We too are required to make the grade just as you are. The state has set it up the same for you as teachers and we as parents. I believe if the student athelete doesn't make the grade requirement, that child is not allowed to play. That itself teaches a child early, the penalty for not focusing on grades vs sports. I would say it is a life lesson which will help drive grade improvement, which will improve TCAP scores and the free money score.

In closing i would like to say, the prinicpals should have talked more the the parents and the schedule should not have been brought to the school board. We need the school board to focus on improving our children's education, not which night they play sports. But it was entertaing to listen to the babble that spew's out of the mouths of some our school board members let .

Mrs. Davenport it will be a challenge for you to get re-elected if you choose to when your term is over. Twice i have heard you state Cannon County will never have some play in the professional ranks (NFL, NBA etc.. Once at the sports council debalcle and then again over the elementary basketball schedule. I would rather you state something in the lines of "let's see if a futre business leader or strech it and say maybe a future US president will come from Cannon County. This would be less negative than the opinion you bring (the few times i have heard you speak). I have the the you-tube piece cue'd up and ready when election time comes. Not trying to threaten you, just pointing out sometimes it's better to listen then speak. I only say this as you are my school board represenative.
October 17, 2010 at 11:23am
perfectly stated-i hope our teachers and administrators agree totally
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