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School board addresses snow route issues and new programs

With snow already affecting school in Johnson County, the board of education met on Thursday for their regular December board meeting after classes were canceled for the majority of the week for inclement weather.
“We are experiencing a problem with childcare attendance at Roan Creek Elementary when school is not in session,” reported Morris Woodring, Director of Schools. “There are so few utilizing the service,” he said, “we can no longer justify keeping it open for snow days.” After some discussion, the board voted to direct Woodring to draft a letter to the effected parents advising them of the availability of childcare at Mountain City Elementary on days when school is not in session. This decision will not, however, affect summer childcare at Roan Creek Elementary and will only involve days when school is out for bad weather or holidays.
After unanimous approval of the consent agenda as presented, student school board representative Joshua Hamilton provided the board an update concerning Johnson County High School. “A lot of end of semester activities are underway,” he said, “including recent Algebra I and Biology EOC exams.” Hamilton also informed the board the upcoming drama production was rescheduled to January 21st through January 23rd.
In other action, the board approved the purchase of a Blackboard Callout System to enable system-wide message alerts. “The principals have expressed a desire for a system-wide callout system,” said Morris Woodring, Director of Schools. “Each school has the capability to send out a call to their entire student body; however, they feel a system-wide alert would be advantageous.”
A budget update was given by school finance coordinator Russell Robinson, who informed the board of four “findings” presented as deficiencies by a recent audit. “All of the issues have been addressed,” reported Robinson, who indicates the department is waiting on a response from the state department of education.
Wendy Henley, the school system nurse, was in attendance to explain a new endeavor on the horizon for a mobile health unit to serve the needs of students, their families, and staff. “We were contacted by the CEO of Rural Health Services Consortium, Inc., who operates the Mountain City Medical Center on Oak Street here, and asked if the school system would be interested in having mobile health,” explained Henley. After hearing the proposal, the board voted to withdraw the “letter of support” which they approved during month’s board meeting for obtaining School Based Health Clinic Grant funds through New Access Point in partnership with East Tennessee State University in order to fully support the new endeavor, which will not include grant money. “We are very excited about the possibility of providing this service,” said Henley, who indicates the mobile unit will most likely be up and running by this fall.
Another innovative program caused excitement at the meeting as the announcement was made of the intent of the Tennessee Technology Center to partner with Johnson County Schools to provide a CNA certification program through the Health Science program at the vocational school. “This program would be offered to interested juniors and seniors who have scored a minimum of 19 on the ACT,” explained Mischelle Simcox. “They (TTC nursing instructors) will come up here every day beginning in January and continuing through the spring.” Vocational Director, Jim Crowder, indicated that although the classes were conducted just after school, the students would receive school credit for taking the class. Also, upon completion, the students would be eligible to sit for the certified nursing assistant state certification exam required for employment.
Finally, before the meeting was adjourned, some lingering questions were addressed involving the “Snow Route” schedule, approved by the board in March in an attempt to curtail the number of days school must be cancelled for slightly bad roads. Because students come from various communities throughout the county, with a wide range of weather variations, it is difficult to control all the busing situations that could impact opening school during inclement weather. 
“There were days when one part of the county would be virtually clear,“ explained Bishop, “while another community on the other side of town was completely snow covered and icy.” In the past, when any back roads and side streets were snow covered, classes for the entire county schools would be cancelled; however, with the adoption of the new limited snow routes, schools can still open if there are only isolated incidents of snowy roads.
“Alternate snow bus routes are routes that our buses will temporarily service in lieu of the normally scheduled routes due to adverse weather conditions which create particular challenges for bus travel and/or bus turn around,” explained Bishop. “When an alternate snow route is announced, this indicates that our buses will not travel upon certain roads.” Parent, or guardians, would be responsible to transport student(s) to the determined alternate pick-up or drop-off spot for each affected road, before school and after school.
“We hope that we do not have to implement any of the above procedures this year,” said Morris Woodring, Director of Schools, “however, with the plans now in place, we feel that we can minimize the need to cancel school as often.”
The pre-established “snow stops” are listed below. Snow stops will only be listed for routes that are modified during inclement weather conditions. Snow stops will only be implemented AFTER A TWO-HOUR DELAY is announced.

BUS 37 – Students normally picked up on Copley Branch, Profit Lane, Main Street in Butler, Imogene Street, Pine Street, Hill Street, McQueen Street, and Piercetown Road will be asked to load the bus at the Butler Fire Department at 9 a.m.

BUS 22 – Students normally picked up on Grindstaff, Sinks, Doeville Rd, Timothy Branch, Cobb Creek, and Pine Orchard Road will be asked to load the bus at Watsons Grocery at 9:05 a.m.

BUS 41 – Students normally picked up on Campbell, Mack Branch, Potter Lane, Sundown, Spear Branch, Cross Mountain, and Slabtown, will be asked to load the bus at Little Doe Baptist Church at 9:05 a.m.

BUS 21 – Students normally picked up on Pine Orchard, Jimmy Hollow, Stage Coach Loop, Rabbit Hollow, and Dillon Road will be asked to load the bus at Bethany Baptist Church at 9:05 a.m.

BUS 20 – Students normally picked up on Robinson Hollow, Swift Hollow, Sprucy, Pedro Shoun, Clarence Stout, Potter, Clarence Potter, and Swift Hollow will be asked to load the bus at Dewey Christian Church at 9:05 a.m.

BUS 16 – Students normally picked up on Gentry Creek, Hawkins, Sugar Creek, Greer Branch, Dry, Taylors Valley, Waters, Wilson, Deer Run, and Shingle Town will be asked to load the bus at the Laurel Trailer Court at 9:00 a.m.

BUS 2 – Students normally picked up on Furnace Creek, Huggins, Fox Hollow, Deer Creek Crossing, Red Brush, Dry Stone Branch, Eastridge Ln, Ackerson Creek and Waddell Road will be asked to load the bus at the Silver Lake Market at 9:00 a.m.

BUS 26 – Students normally picked up on Plummer, Winchester, Cretsinger, Hutchinson, Quarry, Owl Hollow, and Brickyard will be asked to load the bus at either Crandull Church at 8:50 a.m. or Harmon Chapel Church at 9:05 a.m.

BUS 9 – Students normally picked up on Brinkley, Orchard, Woods Ln, Niles Campbell, Edsel Ln, Hooper, Spencer, Sluder, and Wallace Road will be asked to load the bus at either Shady Valley Presbyterian Church at 8:50 a.m. or Shady Valley Baptist Church at 9:10 a.m.

BUS 4 – Students normally picked up on Bull Dog, Buttermilk, Dotson, Joe Wallace, Dotson, Fred May, Ragen, Grover Reece, Miller, Poplar Ridge, and Ridge, will be asked to load the bus at either Old Trade School at 8:50 a.m. or at the entrance of Bulldog Road at 9:10 a.m.

BUS 19 – Students normally picked up on Wallace, Modock, Drakes Creek, Main, Michael, and Reece will be asked to load the bus at either Trade Fire Department at 8:50 a.m. or at Evergreen Baptist Church at 9:05 a.m.

BUS 25 – Students normally picked up on Stage Road, McEwen Road and and Elbert Greer Road will be asked to load the bus at Nelson’s Chapel Baptist Church at 9:00 a.m.

BUS 42 – Students normally picked up on D Payne, D Curd, Vanover, Willens Gap, Hubert Taylor, Hall Hill, and K Brownwill will be asked to load the bus at either State Line Baptist Church at 9:00 a.m. or Hammons Chapel Church at 9:10 a.m.

BUS 7 – Students normally picked up on Moretz, Claude Warren, Crowder, May Tester, Mining Town, and Fire Tower will be asked to load the bus at Rainbow Mennonite Church at 9:10 a.m.

BUS 3 – Students normally picked up on Locust Gap, Harmon, Malcolm Fritts, Copperhead, J Hodge, Avery Branch, J Bunton Roads will be asked to load the bus at either Locust Gap FW Baptist Church at 8:50 a.m. or Baker’s Gap Baptist Church at 9:05 a.m. or Pine Grove Baptist Church at 9:20 a.m.

BUS 18 – Students normally picked up on Laurel, Sandy, Slemp Branch, Reece Hill, Stout Branch, Arnold Town, WE Neatherly, and McDonald Roads will be asked to load the bus at either Vaught’s Gap Baptist Church at 8:55 a.m. or Neva General Store at 9:15 a.m.

BUS 6 – Students normally picked up on Antioch Rd, Fall Branch, Clarence Potter, Millard Cooper, Fred Price, will be asked to load the bus at Antioch Baptist Church at 9:20 a.m.

BUS 17 – Students normally picked up on Meal Camp, N.Dugger, Carl Trivette, Wayne Laws, RD Campbell, Little Dry Run Roads will be asked to load the bus at Dry Hill Grocery at 9:00 a.m. or Midway Baptist Church at 9:10 a.m.

BUS 14 – Students normally picked up on Sugar Hollow, Draft Rd, Cowantown Rd, Hwy. 321, George Henry Day, and Stansberry Roads will be asked to load the bus at 9:00 a.m. or Midway Baptist Church at 9:10 a.m.

BUS 1 – Students which normally ride Bus No. 1 will be asked to load the bus at Dewey Christian Church at 9:00 a.m. or Evergreen Baptist Church at 9:25 p.m.

BUS 36 – Students which normally ride Bus No. 36 will be asked to load the bus at Hammons Chapel Church at 9:20 a.m.

BUS 8 – Students normally ride Bus No. 8 will be asked to load the bus at Dry Hill Grocery at 9:15 a.m.
Bishop cautions the a.m. pick-up times for each of these locations will be the APPROXIMATE time the bus would normally pick up at the locations listed. “The buses will stay at these alternate stops long enough to ensure that the remainder of their stops are picked up reasonably close to the scheduled time,” he explains. “Please do remember that with adverse road conditions, buses generally run progressively slower as the routes continue.”
According to the director of schools, the information will be broadcast on local radio and television stations in the mornings of such days by 6:00 a.m. whenever possible. The Tomahawk will also post a link on the website, www.thetomahawk.com, for schedule and alternate pickup locations.
Questions regarding alternate snow bus routes should be directed to transportation department for Johnson County Schools at 727-2638 or 727-2681.
The following personnel decisions were presented by the Director of Schools –
Resignations – Leah Taylor as JCHS Post-Secondary Transition Coach & Cheerleading Coach
Retirements – Lois Wilson as Doe Elementary custodian, Gale Larson as bus driver, and Diane Bentley as Shady Valley Elementary teacher.
Volunteer – Robin Lee as volunteer coach for JCHS girl’s basketball team
Hires – Alecia Smeltzer as JCHS Cheerleading coach, Thomas Johnson as bus driver, Stephanie Barnes as Doe Elementary educational asst. Tiny Denney and Kathy Terrill as substitute nurses, Caroline Morris, Regina Sauer, Rebecca Cress, Cynthia Lipford, Elise Bursztyn, Bobbie Dickens, and Kimberly Hillyer as substitute food service workers, Lois Wilson as substitute custodian for youth league basketball at Doe Elementary. 2010-2011 new hire custodians presented included Caroline Morris, Regina Sauer, Rebecca Cress, Cynthia Lipford, Elise Bursztyn, Bobbie Dickens, and Kimberly Hillyer. Also, the following were presented as new hire substitute teachers: Rebecca Bishop, Elise Burszytn, Allison Butler, Rebecca Cress, Tina Denney, Bobbie Dickens, Martha Elvidge, Angela Fritts, Belinda Greer, Bonnie Guy, Andrew Hensley, Kimberly Hillyer, Kyle Humphrey, Tasha Hutchins, Shana Jenkins, John Johnson, Amberlei Lawley, Tammy Lipford, Ashley Mills, Linda Moretz, Caroline Morris, Jessica Muncy, Tammara Phillips, Amanda Phipps, Mike Robertson, Heather Robinson, Regina Sauer, Belinda Sexton, Sherry Stanbery, Christina Sutherland, Kathy Terrill, Becky Timbs, David Watson, and Howard Weaver.