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Local education evolving and progressing

new CTE building
Mischelle Simcox, director of schools for Johnson County addresses local and state officials in the Career Technical Education Building on the Johnson County High School Campus . Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Jill Penley

A strong public education system is essential to a thriving society and each day across this county many individuals – teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and grandparents – strive to ensure Johnson County’s children are prepared for what lies ahead.
With a new governor, a new education commissioner, and new lawmakers steering school policy, this promises to be a big year for education in the entire state.
“We are constantly researching strategies and resources that can provide the best education for all of our students-Pre-K through twelve,” said Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Johnson County Director of Schools.
The local school district, which serves about 2,080 students in pre-K through high school, has set a goal to expand student access to online platforms. “We plan to continue to increase the number of technology devices,” said Simcox, “especially Chromebooks, for this initiative.” In today’s age, computer literacy is an integral component of any student’s learning plan, and according to Simcox, Chromebooks help engages students with interactive lessons and prepare them for an increasingly digital workforce.
Since learning does not cease while students are out of the classroom during summer months, several programs are available locally including the Johnson County’s school “book bus,” which will be up and running this summer and will be going out to various parts of the community. “This will allow all students to have easy access to quality books over the summer,” said Dr. Simcox, who also indicates the “Read to be Ready” summer camp will return this year. “This camp has been very successful over the past few years,” she said, “and will be offered again in June for upcoming first through third graders.”
Traditionally construction and renovation projects ramp up during the summer months while students are on break and this year will be no different.
According to Simcox, one focus will be on renovations to better secure the school entrances at Laurel Elementary, Shady Valley Elementary, and the CTE building.
“We are also very excited that TCAT Elizabethton will have a permanent extension campus at Johnson County High School,” said Dr. Simcox, who reports the Hybrid Auto Diesel program will begin in the Fall of 2019.