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Simcox reminds teachers, staff to work together in unity

Mischelle Simcox
Director of Schools for Johnson County School System Mischelle Simcox addresses a large crowd of teachers and staff during a back to school celebration to kickoff the 2018-2019 school year. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

More than 300 teachers and Johnson County Schools staff members gathered last week to kick off the 2018-2019, school year with a back to school celebration last week at the Johnson County High School gymnasium.The celebration, which included the recognition of recent teachers of the year, 25 years of service employees as well as new hires, began with an inspiring speech presented to the large crowd by Director of Schools for Johnson County School System Mischelle Simcox.

“The beginning of a new school year reminds us that the future holds infinite possibilities,” Simcox said as she addressed her audience adding, “I hope that everyone had a relaxing summer, filled with lots of adventure.”Under the theme “Together We Can…Move Mountains” Simcox emphasized what JCS can accomplish during the upcoming season including the admonition that “together we can do anything we put our minds to,” and that “together we can ensure the success of all of our students.”

Simcox assured the staff that JCS is always researching strategies and programs that will benefit its students “to make sure that all of our students are college and, or career ready.”

As it is the case each school year across the nation, safety is always a top priority, and JCS is also searching out grant opportunities to help provide its staff with additional resources.

In a recent letter, Simcox included some highlights for the 2018-2019 school year:
•Our projected student enrollment PreK-12th grade is 2042 students, with the breakdown for each school as follows:
•Doe Elementary – 168
•Laurel Elementary – 58
•Mountain City Elementary – 491
•Roan Creek Elementary – 380
•Shady Valley Elementary – 27
•Johnson County Middle School – 328
•Johnson County High School – 590

•We have hired 17 new teachers and several assistants, custodians and bus drivers for the 2018-19 school year
•We received the second highest average with portfolio scores in the first district with our Pre-K, Headstart, Kindergarten and First Grade students. The first district makes up 15 systems in upper-east TN.
•The 2018 TNReady
student assessment showed that Johnson County High School was #8 in High School ELA in the top 10 districts by showing improvement.
•We placed emphasis on Literacy last school year, and it showed in our scores at all schools.
•All of our students will receive breakfast and lunch meals at no charge. Faculty and Staff can enjoy breakfast for $1.85 and Lunch for $3.25.
•We will be adding an additional SRO to our school system this year.
•We will be receiving additional funds in Safety from the state to help upgrade facilities.
•We offer the 21st-century grant, which provides academic and remediation opportunities for students before and after school at JCMS and JCHS.
•We offer the LEAPS grant, which provides academic and remediation opportunities for students before and after school at Doe, Mountain City and Roan Creek elementary.
•We recently received the 3-star grant to help to pay for the ACT Work Keys testing that is required to gain the Work Ready Community designation. The remaining funds will equally be dispersed between Johnson County Middle School and Johnson County High School Robotics.
•We received the Perkins Reserve Grant, which will be utilized in various programs in our CTE Department for equipment and industry certification tests.
• We were excited to receive our third GEAR UP grant. This 6-year grant will help continue to increase our college-going rate. GEAR UP has been very good to our students, and we are so thankful that we were chosen again to have this grant opportunity.
•Summer projects came together nicely, and all of our schools look great. The bridge to the hill is finally open. We added classrooms and a technology lab to the JCMS library. A special thank you to Barry Bishop, the Maintenance Department and Northeast Correctional Center for all of their hard work this summer.•We are currently working with our local mayor and several businesses to help bring the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) program to our CTE program at JCHS. This high-quality competence based training will provide students and adults in Johnson County with additional programs to make them career ready.
“I am excited about beginning the 2018-2019 school year, and I am looking forward to having all of our students back in class,” Simcox added. “I hope that everyone is ready for the excitement of the new school year.”