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School board asks state to abolish single letter grading

By:  Rebecca Herman

Freelance Writer

The Johnson County School Board met for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, November 10th. Board members Kevin Long, Howard Carlton, Mike Payne, and Jo Ann Reece were present; Kenneth Gregg was absent.
The board meeting began by recognizing the staff and students of Mountain City Elementary (MCE). “Mrs. Brandy Horne, the secretary, and Mrs. June Terry, the bookkeeper, are the face and voice of our school,” said Principal Gay Triplett. “They efficiently fulfill their job responsibilities, and their efforts exceed that which is required.” Triplett went on to explain how both of these ladies go beyond their office duties by stepping in whenever extra help is needed. “Whether serving as the substitute nurse, cleaning and organizing storage rooms and the clinic, helping plan the staff Christmas dinner, shopping for the best deal on supplies, or making a quick trip to the Dollar Store to pick up a book bag for a child in need, no job is too small or too big,” she said.
Triplett also honored seven sixth graders, who have had outstanding attendance from kindergarten through sixth grade. “We appreciate their dedication to be at school every day ready to learn,” she said. The students who were recognized were Chloe Hopkins, Chloei Ballard, Brandon Sutherland, Payton Gentry, Elijah Henson, Jackie Jenson, and Peyton Pavusek.
Next, student school board member, Marly Eggers, gave an update on Johnson County High School. Eggers explained that the fall semester is coming to a close and that students and teachers have been diligently preparing for the ACT. “The juniors took the Pre-ACT on Monday and we should have those results back within the next 10 days,” Eggers said.  End of Course Exams will take place beginning November 28 and club and group pictures will be taken on November 16. “With only 26 school days left until Christmas break everyone is working hard to wrap this semester up,” she added.
Director of Schools, Dr. Mischelle Simcox, spoke next about a resolution to abolish the single letter grading for Tennessee schools. She explained to the board that the state currently wants to take six components to grade the individual schools and then average the letter grades to give an overall score. The only score that would be visible to the public would be the overall score. This may look bad for some schools, which excel in one area but struggle in another. Simcox asked that the board sign the resolution that would ask the state to show all six components so parents and community members would be able to better understand not only the areas of struggle, but also the strengths that each school has. The school board agreed to sign the resolution.
Next, representatives from the HOSA club spoke to the board to request that senior HOSA members who complete a rigorous program be permitted to wear honor cords when they graduate from JCHS. Maddie South, president of JCHS HOSA club, and Mackenzie Leonard explained to board members the requirements that students would need to complete in order to wear the honor chords and discussed how the program has grown exponentially from seven students in 2011 to 90 students in 2016. JCHS Principal, Lisa Arnold, told the board that she was proud of the work that the HOSA club has done and the work they have put in to show rigor and to become a “top notch program.”

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