Homecoming: Success! Happiness hits the JCHS football field

Johnson County junior Sadie Stout enjoys the spotlight during the 2019 Johnson County High School Homecoming Parade that started the evening’s festivities ahead of the football game just minutes later against Claiborne County, Mountain City. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

The 2019 Johnson County High School Homecoming is over and embedded in the sweet memories of all who participated.
This year’s homecoming was just about as wonderful as the weather at Friday night’s football game.
The week was filled with crazy outfits reconstructing some favorite characters and paying homage to good ole red, white and blue, and of course, maroon and white.
The annual powder puff football game brought in a big crowd with spectators enjoying Kona ice as they eagerly cheered on their favorite team Friday afternoon on the JCHS football field.
The powder-puff game gave the ladies a chance to show off some football plays of their own and allowed the football players to trade in their jerseys for a whistle for a brief moment.
Jared Kimble, Jy Webster, Lucas Walters, Jamal Scott, Chance Phillips, and Luke Osborne were some of the players who helped with coaching. The game was a contest between classes, the freshmen and sophomore against the juniors and seniors. The juniors and seniors could not let the freshmen and sophomores get the winning edge over the team, so they gained control early and kept the touchdowns going throughout the game and taking the win 33-0.
The annual homecoming parade began at 5:30, starting at the First Baptist Church and ending at the high school. The streets of downtown were lined with excited fans ready to see the lovely homecoming
court, wave to some football players, hear the band and see the cheerleaders. The rowdy young fans also had an agenda of their own; they did not want to leave empty-handed, so they eagerly waited with
hopeful anticipation of receiving the candy tossed their way.
The homecoming court walked on the field at halftime as many waited to see who the 2019 football homecoming queen and princess would be. The nine young ladies were escorted across the area to the Longhorn sideline by members of the football team.
Homecoming princess, Emily Miller, was crowned by senior cheerleader Danielle Robinson. The homecoming queen for 2019 is Natalie Winters. Jada Gentry made a special appearance to relinquish her role as homecoming queen to Winters.
The Longhorns completed the week perfectly by playing a great game against Claiborne County. It was nice to see the boys walk off the field, smiling for gaining a sweet victory over their opponents.

Jones named Good Neighbor for October

JCMS student Mattie Jones, center, enjoys the
spotlight, while recognized as this month’s Good Neighbor. Photo submitted

Johnson County Middle School student Mattie Jones has been named the Good Neighbor for October, 2019,

Sponsored by the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International, this award recognizes students who demonstrate neighborliness through exemplary kindness and respect, generosity of spirit, and the ability to put others’ needs before themselves.

Mattie’s teachers describe her as a young lady with a wonderful work ethic who is kind and respectful to staff and fellow students.
She is always willing to lend a helping hand to others.

Mrs. Teresa Stansberry, Principal of JCMS, joined Sheila Cruse, representing the Johnson County Chapter of DKG, in presenting Mattie with letters of congratulations.

Laurel student of the week

Nevaeh Heaton is a second grader in Mrs. Freeman’s class at Laurel Elementary School. She is a strong role model of how a student leader should act engaged in the lessons of the day. She is the granddaughter of David and Bobbie Jo Watson. When she grows up,
Nevaeh wants to be a veterinarian. She has a passion for
helping animals. Nevaeh’s favorite subjects are math and recess. In her spare time, she loves to play with her dog, Libby. She loved school. Congratulations Nevaeh.

County schools stand against bullying

Mountain City Elementary wear blue to celebrate the World Day of Bullying Prevention. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged all county schools to participate. Photo by Gay Triplett.

By Meg Dickens

World Day of Bullying Prevention was Monday, October 7. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged schools countywide to follow Stomp Out Bullying’s advice to “Blue Up” by wearing blue to show support to stop bullying.
Stomp Out Bullying’s motto is to stand against hate, racism, and discrimination to create harmony.
“The staff and students at Mountain City Elementary participated in the World Day of Bullying Prevention. This happens on the first Monday of every October,” explained Mountain City Elementary Principal Gay Triplett. “Students, schools, and communities all over the world go BLUE together on this day to show support against bullying. It kicks off National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.”
Bullying does more damage than some may think. It harms the victims, bullies, and bystanders in the process.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has linked bullying to negative consequences, which include mental health problems, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
Events like these promote awareness and discourage bullying. A push in the right direction may be all it takes to turn a bystander into an “upstander.”
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) defines the bystander effect as a psychological phenomenon where bystanders feel discouraged to help if others are nearby. The more bystanders, the less likely someone will take action because he or she assumes someone else will. This is called diffusion of responsibility.
According to DHHS, there are many simple ways to curb bullying. Most of these tips depend on shifting the focus off of the victim. Redirecting conversation, diffusing the atmosphere with humor, and walking with targets to avoid leaving them alone are all simple and easy ways to help decrease potential bullying.
Anti-bullying tactics operate best when adults and children work together to cover the full spectrum.
The best way to prevent bullying is to teach children what it involves. Common bullying consists of teasing, threatening to harm someone, spreading rumors, intentionally not including someone, or attacking someone either physically or with words.

Find more information on bullying and how to prevent it at www.stopbullying.gov.

Laurel Student of the Week

Elliana Owens shows great leadership and a strong desire to learn and is always on top of her work. She sets a good example of what a student’s work ethic should be in Mr. Taylor’s third grade class at Laurel Elementary School. In Ellie’s spare time she enjoys playing on her tablet. She also likes playing with her sister Emma. Her favorite subjects in school are Math and Recess. Ellie would like to become a veterinary when she grows up. Ellie has a great love for reading. Ellie is the daughter of Nathan and Alexa Owens. She has two sisters Fayah and Emma and one brother Zachery. Congratulations to Ellie.

Reviewing Department of Education TNReady results

Staff Report
NASHVILLE— TNReady assessment results released by Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn indicate that students across the state are performing better in almost all math subjects. The TNReady scores also show that more than half the schools in Tennessee – 56 percent – improved their growth scores (TVAAS scores) from the previous year, with 41 percent of all schools earning a level 4 or 5 TVAAS rating which measures year-to-year growth.
”I’m impressed with the improvement we’ve seen in mathematics”, Commissioner Schwinn said, while adding, “the dedication of our educators, commitment to implementing high-quality materials, and unwavering student focus is what sets Tennessee apart and will continue to be the catalyst for moving our state forward.”
In addition to the statewide improvements, there are a number of regional success stories which are broken down by CORE region.
• Five school districts improved 3rd grade ELA scores by ten percent statewide, including Milan, Paris, Weakley, Henry and Dyersburg City Schools, while Bradford Special School District improved 3rd grade ELA scores by 25.4 percent.
• Three districts showed improved math scores for students in grades 3-8, including Crockett Co., Henry Co., and Paris SSD.
• Two districts, Dyer Co. and Gibson Co., improved end of course exam scores in Math and ELA by at least 5-percentage points.
• Five districts are among the top ten in performance statewide in 3rd grade ELA, including Arlington, Germantown, Collierville, Lakeland and Bartlett.
• Seven districts improved math scores for students in grades 3-8, including Chester Co., Fayette Co., Hardin Co., Madison Co., Shelby Co., Bartlett and Tipton Co.
• Decatur Co. is the most improved district in the state on Geometry- a 23.3 percent increase over 2018.
Mid Cumberland
• Five districts improved math scores for students in grades 3-8, including Metro Nashville, Montgomery Co., Robertson Co., Williamson Co. and Franklin SSD.
• Murfreesboro City Schools all students in grades 3-6 improved their math score.
• Wilson Co. improved ELA, English l and English II for all students in grades 5-8.
South Central
• Four counties had the most improvement in ELA in specific grades: Perry Co. had a 20 percent increase in 4th grade ELA; Wayne Co. had a 14 percent increase in 6th grade ELA; and Moore Co. is the most improved district in the state in 8th grade ELA- 12.9 percent increase over 2018.
• Lewis Co. is the most improved district in the state in 7th grade math- 28 percent increase over 2018.
• Fayetteville City is the most improved district in the state in 8th grade math- 34.3 percent increase over 2018.
Upper Cumberland
• Four schools saw students in grades 3-8 improve math scores, including Bledsoe Co., Putnam Co., Trousdale Co. and Van Buren Co.
• Macon Co. is the most improved district in the state in Algebra II- 15.4 percent increase over 2018.
• Clay Co. is the most improved district in the state in English II- 25 percent increase over 2018.
• Four districts saw students in grades 3-8 improve math scores, including Grundy Co., Hamilton Co., McMinnCo., and Polk Co.
• Hamilton Co. improved in math, ELA, and end of course exams by at least 5 percent.
• Etowah City is the most improved district in the state in 3rd grade math, 5th grade ELA, and 6th grade math. That’s a 34.8 percent, 23.4 percent and 28 percent gain respectively in each subject .
• Oneida City improved 3rd grade ELA scores by more than 21 percent.
• Maryville City was the only district in the state to increase ELA scores for all students in grades 3-8.
• Six districts saw math scores increase for students in grades 3-8, including Anderson Co., Oak Ridge, Campbell Co., Roane Co., Scott Co. and Sevier Co.
• Rogersville City improved 3th grade ELA by 17 percent over 2018.
• Three districts saw math scores increase for students in grades 3-8, including Carter Co., Hamblen Co., and Johnson Co.
• Johnson City was among the top 10 performing districts in all end of course exams for Math and English.
To view the TNReady for the 2018-19 school year, go to tn.gov/education.

Laurel Student of the Week

Levi Hartley-Chambers is 6 years old and in Mrs.Vincent’s 1st grade class. He is the son of Antheia Chambers. Levi’s favorite subject in school is math. Levi wants to be a police officer when he grows up so he can save people. He is working hard to learn new things, and he is always helpful to everyone. Levi’s advice to others is to help out whenever you can!

Mountain City Elementary’s Kindergarten LEAPs students say thank you

Mountain City Elementary’s Kindergarten LEAPs students say thank you to their bus drivers for teaching them about bus safety. LEAPS evaluates social and emotional maturity in students to determine an individual student’s strength and weaknesses from a psychosocial standpoint and helps teachers create a plan based on these needs. Photo courtesy of the Johnson County Department of Education.

Freeman’s class finds a sweet surprise at Laurel Elementary

By Meg Dickens
Students in Miss Freeman’s Students in Miss Freeman’s class at Laurel Elementary started their day on the right note thanks to their teacher. Freeman wrote a personalized positive message on each student’s desk on the morning of September 20. This small act of kindness put her students in the right mindset for the day.
Positivity can have an excellent effect on anyone and can often brighten someone else’s day. According to the American Psychological Society (APA), “the impact of child mental health on child development and society as a whole is well documented but under-recognized.”
Mental health is an immense issue for all ages. Stress and related issues can weaken the immune system and cause sickness. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress left unchecked can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Freeman’s students range between 6 and 8 years old. According to Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, children around this age begin developing logical thought and can start to problem-solve internally. Piaget believed that children learn best through doing and being active in their education.
This greatly influenced modern-day primary school curriculums. Some major ideas from Piaget include focusing on individual learning, keeping flexible curriculums, centering child on play as a teaching mechanic, using the environment, learning by discovery, and evaluating child progress accurately.
This is a critical stage in child development. Teachers and parents should keep an eye on children’s mental health and development. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), young children may benefit from evaluation or treatment if they exhibit the following symptoms:
throw frequent tantrums or are regularly irritable
talk about fears or worries often
complain about stomachaches or headaches without medical cause
cannot sit still or quietly (except under special circumstances such as watching videos or playing videogames)
sleep too much or too little, have frequent nightmares or seem sleepy during the day
lose interest in playing with others or have trouble making friends
struggle academically or begin to receive lower marks
repeat actions or check things many times out of fear that something bad may happen
Your child’s mental health affects their physical health and development. Keep an eye out for any symptoms like the ones listed above. Find out more about child mental health at nimh.nih.gov or mayoclinic.org.

Tennesseans for Student Success announces the release of the 2019 TNSuccessCard

Staff note: Local legislators include representative Timothy Hill for District 3 and Senator Jon Lundberg for District 4. According to the TNSuccess Card, Hill scored high in accountability and economic opportunity. Lundberg scored high in innovation and accountability. Both legislators received a B

NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success (TSS) announced the release of their 2019 TNSuccessCard, a scorecard to keep Tennessee voters informed and engaged at the ballot box.

Please see the following statement from TSS’ President and CEO, Adam Lister:

“The SuccessCard is a helpful tool to keep voters informed and assist lawmakers in measuring the ways they are actively advancing student-focused policies. Since launching the SuccessCard, Tennesseans for Student Success has talked to more than 300,000 Tennesseans asking what they believe to be the most important policies to improve student learning. It’s clear from those conversations that a top priority of Tennesseans in every corner of the state is that lawmakers and representatives champion policies that will improve student growth and achievement. Tennessee has seen a historic rise in education over the past ten years, and it’s important to us those gains continue.”

Sareatha Murphy, a former educator, current advocate for Tennessee’s students, and parent of public-school students, brings her unique perspective on the importance of being an engaged citizen to this work:

“It’s tools like the Tennessee SuccessCard that I would encourage my fellow Tennesseans to use as they consider whom they would like to represent them in the General Assembly. The Volunteer State has reached new heights in education in recent years, but there is still more work to be done. I’m very proud to be the parent of a child who was selected for a work-based learning opportunity in high school, from there he attended technical college and graduated nine months later earning an industry certificate. I am encouraged by the direction our state is headed as alternative pathways for greater economic stability are becoming the norm. With continued education and engagement on our shared education priorities, we’ll be on the right track to ensure that every student in Tennessee is able to succeed.”

To view the TNSuccessCard, please visit TNSuccessCard.com to view your local legislator’s grade.

Charter Communications Inc., promotes low-cost, high-speed broadband service, makes donation in Mountain City

Nick Pavlis, Director, State Government Affairs for Charter Communications, center, is joined by Johnson County Schools officials along with Tennessee State Representative Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) during a check prersentaion of a $5,000 donation to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) program offered in Mountain City. The event also focused on Charter’s efforts to promote the company’s Spectrum Internet Assist program in the region. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

By Tamas Mondovics

As part of a continuous commitment to expand broadband access, representatives of Charter Communications, Inc. joined state Rep. Timothy Hill and Johnson County High School officials this week and presented a $5,000 donation to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) program offered in Mountain City.

The event also focused on Charter’s efforts to promote the company’s Spectrum Internet Assist program in the region.

The donation and presentation were held at Johnson County High School, located 290 Fairground Hill in Mountain City. The TCAT program provides vocational training to students who would otherwise have to travel over an hour and a half for the same type of education.

Nick Pavlis, Director, State Government Affairs for Charter Communications, was on hand to present the donation and to emphasize the benefits of Spectrum Internet Assist to the school and guests including Spectrum Internet Assist service, which delivers eligible customers low-cost broadband speeds three times faster than comparable services offered by competitors, and exceeds the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of “high-speed.”

“Spectrum Internet Assist helps bring a whole new world of digital access and opportunity to low-income families and seniors,” said, Pavlis.

Spectrum Internet Assist is now available throughout the company’s 41-state service area.

Pavlis added that Spectrum Internet Assist is an essential next step in providing true high-speed connections to consumers who would otherwise continue to face a digital inequality in this country.

“It’s crucial for broadband providers like us to play a role in bridging the digital divide so that everyone has access to the information and tools they need to succeed in today’s economy,” he said.

Tennessee State Representative Timothy Hill was also on hand to express his appreciation to Charter for their interest in the community, “I would like to thank you for your investment in this facility and the future of our students.

Johnson County Schools director Mischelle Simcox agreed and added that the donation and Charter’s interest in the community will, without a doubt, make a huge difference in the student’s success and the community.

-“Johnson County has a family atmosphere,” she said. “Supporting program’s like TCAT will only help them prepare for life.”

Spectrum Internet
Assist includes:
$14.99/mo. for a 30/4 Mbps speed package
· Includes all standard internet features; e.g., email, security suite
· Includes a modem at no additional charge
$5.00/month for Spectrum WiFi
· Includes a router
· Price cannot be increased during the life of the program
· Activation fee waived
Additional Services
· Spectrum Internet Assist may be bundled with other services at no change in the Spectrum Internet Assist price.
· When adding Spectrum TV® service, current promotions may be applied (existing/new Spectrum Voice® service may be charged at the bundled price).
· Professional installation rates for TV and voice services apply.
· Standard billing and collection processes apply.

Spectrum Internet Assist eligibility
• Families with students who participate in the National School Lunch Program
• Seniors 65 and older who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program benefits
• Additional criteria:
• Current Spectrum TV and Spectrum Voice customers who meet one of the two criteria above may enroll.
• Prospective enrollees cannot have had a broadband subscription from Spectrum within 60 days of signing up.
• Eligible participants will not need to undergo a credit check, but they must clear any outstanding debt with Spectrum from the previous 12 months.

To assist consumers with the eligibility process and enrollment, Charter hosts a dedicated Spectrum Internet Assist website: www.SpectrumInternetAssist.com. Prospective enrollees may also call the Spectrum Internet Assist toll-free helpline at 1-844-525-1574 for assistance. More information about Charter can be found at newsroom.charter.com.

Laurel Student of the Week

Nevaeh Swift shows great leadership and a strong desire to learn and is always on top of her work. She sets a good example of what a student’s work ethic should be in Mr. Taylor’s fourth grade class at Laurel Elementary School. In Nevaeh’s spare time she enjoys playing on her computer. She also likes playing with her dog Cooper. Her favorite subjects in school are ElA and Art. Nevaeh would like to become a nurse when she grows up. Nevaeh has a great love for reading. Nevaeh is the daughter of Kayla Swift and John Clemmon. She has one sister and two brother. Congratulations to Nevaeh.

TN Commissioner of Education visits Laurel Elementary

TN Commissioner of Education Dr. Penny Schwinn visits with Brittany Freeman’s First and Second Grade Classroom. Submitted photo.

Staff Report
Laurel Elementary School was honored to have Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Penny Schwinn visit on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. This was Commissioner Schwinn’s first visit to Johnson County and was part of her statewide school tour designed to visit every school district within her first year of service. Dr. Schwinn, along with Katie Houghtlin, Assistant Commissioner of Strategic Priorities at the Tennessee Department of Education and Mia Hyde, First District Core Office, visited each classroom and met with local administrators Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, Mrs. Angie Wills, Supervisor of K-6, Curriculum & Instruction/Federal Programs and Dr. Stephen Long, Supervisor of 7-12, Curriculum & Instruction / Transportation and Laurel Elementary Principal, Dr. Brenda Eggers.
While visiting at Laurel Elementary, Dr. Schwinn made it a priority to visit each classroom and to gather input from our students and educators. She spoke at length with the administrators about priorities and needs for our schools. She talked with Owen Taylor, Sixth grade student, about what makes Laurel a great school in his opinion and what she could do for his classroom and school to make it even better.
Following her visit, Commissioner Schwinn stated in an email that “It is evident that you have put in a tremendous effort to differentiate support for your students in your mixed-grade level classrooms. From the phonics support in Ms. Freeman’s room to the connection-to-text activity in Ms. Savory’s classroom, the students are engaged and getting the supports they need. The sense of community your school fosters resonates with your students; I believe we all heard that one of the best things about your school are the teachers. You have a school and community to be proud of, and I am grateful I was able to experience that with you.”

TnAchieves works to provide TN Promise local support

September 4, 2019


TnAchieves has begun its effort to recruit 9,000 volunteer mentors to meet its goal of providing every TN Promise applicant from the Class of 2020 with a local support system. TN Promise affords every graduating high school senior in the state the opportunity to attend a community or technical college tuition free. Nearly 64,000 students from the Class of 2019 applied for the scholarship, which has a universal accept policy. Program administrators are expecting even more applicants from the Class of 2020.

Most of the TN Promise applicants will be the first in their family to go to college. Understanding that many obstacles can exist for first generation college students, each applicant is assigned a volunteer mentor who assists the student in eliminating the barriers associated with post-secondary access and success. tnAchieves mentors support students as they navigate the college going process and provide the nudges many need to earn a college credential.

“Tennessee Promise provides opportunity for every student in Tennessee,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director, tnAchieves. “Going to college will change a student’s life forever. tnAchieves mentors are helping change the culture in our state. Mentors are shifting the conversation from, ‘should I go to college?’ to ‘where am I going to go to college?’”

The time commitment is small; tnAchieves only asks mentors to give one hour per month, but the impact can be life changing for students. The organization provides a one hour training session, a handbook and weekly communication to ensure the mentor is fully equipped to serve his/her students. To learn more, or to apply to become a mentor, visit https://tnachieves.org/mentors/apply/.

Data from the first year of the program indicates that TN Promise students are graduating at a rate almost three times their peers at the same institutions. Program administrators believe eliminating the financial barrier, coupled with support from a mentor, is the reason students are graduating at significantly higher rates.

“We know the financial component of TN Promise is critical for many of our students attempting to access higher education.” said Graham Thomas, Deputy Director of Outreach, tnAchieves. “We also know that even when the financial barrier is removed, successfully navigating the college going process can be extremely difficult. A few reminders and simple words of encouragement can be a game changer for our students. The volunteer mentors are the reason TN Promise is working.”

Launched in 2008, tnAchieves is a privately-funded scholarship and mentoring program that seeks to provide an opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a post-secondary degree. It operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit in support of the TN Promise initiative in 91 counties across the state. For information on tnAchieves, contact Graham Thomas at 615.604.1306 or graham@tnachieves.org.

Laurel Elementary Student of the week

Eric Chant has been chosen as Student of the Week from Mrs. Savery’s class. Eric is in the fifth grade. He likes to watch YouTube and sleep. He is good at playing soccer. When he grows up, Eric wants to be a science teacher. Congrats Eric!

TCAT nursing pinning Aug. 21

Johnson County students Amanda Harris and Samantha Johnson prepare for their nursing pinning ceremony from TCAT Elizabethton. Submitted photo.


Forty five practical nursing students at TCAT Elizabethton are scheduled to participate in the nursing pinning ceremony to be held in the Monarch Auditorium of Bristol Regional Medical Center at 5.30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Carter County
• Shereen Campbell,
• Leslie Cofield,
• Julie Hambrick
• Keisha Harmon
• Megan Jarrett,
• Ardith Lynch
• Gary Wright
• Sierra Wright.

Greene County
• Amanda Hamby
• Anna Hensley.

Johnson County
• Amanda Harris
• Samantha Johnson.

Sullivan County
• Charles Bales
• Morgan Barton
• Brandi Davis
• Lexi Dingus
• Jonya Ebrahim Sensabaugh
• Anna Mink
• Joshua Owens
• Kali Parks
• Joscyln Pearson
• Shady Smith
• Jacqueline Woodruff.

Unicoi County
• Breanna Clawson
• Lora Ollis
• Sandra Peake
• Emily Simmons.

Washington County
• Terri Archer
• Laurel Bryant
• Michelle Campbell
• Megan Frazier
• Ravyn Grayer
• Caitlin Hampton
• Bailey Hochhalter
• Amy Lacy
• Heather Lawless
• Virginia Osborne
• Stephanie Privette
• Beverly Proudlove
• Christina Sawyers
• Alexis Tipton
• Trevor Wright.

North Carolina
• Tabatha Bowman
• Jesse Ennis

Avery County
• Savannah Honeycutt Durham

Twenty six students are members of the National Technical Honor Society. To be a member, students must have a 95 grade point average, no attendance violations and recommended by a faculty member.

The practical nursing program at TCAT Elizabethton prepares students for the State Board of Nursing examination to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. In the 12-month period ending August 31, 2018, the licensure pass rate for TCAT nursing graduates was 98 percent.

Practical nursing classes are offered at the TCAT Main Campus in Elizabethton beginning in May and September each year, and on the ETSU at Kingsport Campus at Allandale, 1501 university Blvd., Kingsport, begininng in January.

ETSU College of Nursing programs receive accreditation

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) recently granted full accreditation to East Tennessee State University College of Nursing’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program and the joint Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program between ETSU and Tennessee Tech University.

“We were extremely pleased that both of our programs received accreditation with no recommendations,” said Dr. Wendy Nehring, dean of ETSU College of Nursing.

The College of Nursing began both of these new programs in 2017 in order to better meet the health care needs of the region and the state.

The ETSU-TTU joint doctor of nursing practice program consists of six concentrations: family nurse practitioner, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, executive leadership, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner-primary care and women’s health care nurse practitioner.

The joint program allows both universities to offer a wide array of concentrations and expand their students’ choices and opportunities to specialize in their areas of interest and need. The blended/online program grants the conveniences of online study with face-to-face support, networking, and sharing.

“The joint DNP program has been good for our students because it provides an opportunity for increased numbers of nurse practitioners and nursing administrators to meet the health care demands of the region,” Nehring said. “Our graduates are going to be able to provide support to their communities in the specific areas of need.”

The MSN program underwent the accreditation process because ETSU reestablished its own MSN program in 2017. Up until that time, ETSU offered the MSN jointly with other Tennessee Board of Regents’ schools through Tennessee eCampus. However, following the passage of the FOCUS Act, the university decided to bring the program back to ETSU.

The MSN program is fully online and offers specialty concentrations in Nursing Administration, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education and the Family Nurse Practitioner.

To learn more about ETSU College of Nursing programs, visit www.etsu.edu/nursing.

Johnson County Book Bus a success

By Meg Dickens     
Johnson County Schools launched its book bus this summer. Recent statistics show it was a great success. The bus had 11 weekly stops along with occasional stops at the Read to Be Ready Summer Camp and Kids Country Child Care. It also traveled to multiple events such as the 4th of July parade and Sunflower Festival. Elementary and Federal Programs Supervisor Angie Wills spearheaded this program.
“She has had this vision ever since she came to Central Office. This was her baby, and she did a great job with it,” said Director of School Mischelle Simcox. “The kids of Johnson County definitely benefited from it.”
The Johnson County Book Bus would not have been possible without the generous support of the Johnson County School Board, Books from Birth, and Operation Pocket Change. The School Board recognized those who cared for and ran the book bus at their August 8 meeting. Those include Annette Greer, Stephanie Wills, Jayme Davis, Joe Bendell, Nancy Forrester, Darwin Garver, and Angie Wills.
The book bus served more than 273 people, gave away 587 books, and allowed 565 books to be checked out. The bus with its more than 1,800 books will not disappear, although it will not be running the roads as much. Local teachers have access in the classroom throughout the year.
“This book bus was a fantastic idea. It took a lot of work, and we really appreciate it,” said School Board Chairman Howard Carlton. “I would really like to see it going down the road.”
Involved parties are analyzing the data to improve this service. Look forward to the Johnson County Book Bus in the future. Feel free to visit the bus at the Johnson County Imagination Library’s annual Carnival on Tuesday, August 27.


How to help kids make friends at school

Akira (Pre-K) and Kemora Lipfird (7th grade) set off for their first day of school. Photo By Heather Moreno.

Staff Report

The average student likely spends more time at school and participating in extracurricular activities with classmates than he or she does at home. In close proximity to so many peers, it may seem like making friends would be a snap. However, some students have trouble connecting and can use a little push to make friends.

The family and parenting resource Parenting Science notes that research indicates that the most popular children are those who exemplify certain traits. These traits include being caring; a willingness to share; a willingness to offer help; and strong verbal skills. Children who embrace these traits may prove better at making friends. Parents may find that youngsters need some encouragement to build their social circles, and the following are some ways parents can offer that encouragement.

Encourage kids to seek out someone on their own.
It may be challenging to walk up to a group and introduce yourself. Encourage students to seek out someone who is alone and then strike up a conversation, which can be less intimidating than approaching a group. Emphasize to kids that other students may also be a little shy and looking to make friends.

Practice conversation starters at home.
Children can work with their parents to come up with topics that can help foster communication. These can include ice breakers and common interests, such as favorite television shows or video games.

Teach kids approachable body language.
Wearing earbuds or exhibiting negative body language, such as crossed arms or avoiding eye contact, can make a person seem less approachable. Smiling, engaging in conversation and being friendly can make it easier to make friends.

Ask teachers to help. The education resource Understood says teachers can give children responsibilities, such as the opportunity to hand out snacks or papers, which can build confidence and provide opportunities for kids to converse with their peers. Help children be active listeners.
An active listener is someone who makes it clear that he or she is paying attention. Making eye contact, orienting the body toward the speaker and making relevant verbal responses are some active listening strategies that can help kids more fully engage with their peers. Feeling valued and listened to may encourage other children to be more friendly and engaging.

Ask open questions. The social networking advisement site Young Scot suggests having students ask open questions, such as: “How was your summer?” or “What sports do you like to play?” These types of questions can kick-start in-depth conversations.Join a team or club. Students often make friends in social or extracurricular settings, such as on a sports team. With a shared interest, it’s easy to find topics to discuss.

Making friends in school can make time spent in the classroom more enjoyable for youngsters.