Comments by sunshine

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Written on Proffitt’s exhibit looks back at the store, family:

They neglected to mention that the empire Brad Martin created collapsed and put a lot of local people out of work. But he is still rich.

Written on Working on Hope: Charter school expert, executive director share their thoughts:

in response to agentorange007:

There is a definite demand in this community for a truly innovative elementary school. The slated-for-closure Fort Craig School of Dynamic Learning fulfilled that need in the city school system. It baffles me why it is being closed but I digress.

It seems that countywide demand for a pupil-centered school is the driving force for the Hope Academy. Charter and other innovative-type schools are HUGE in Florida and are responsible for the significant increase in graduation rates of low income and minority students cited in recent news articles.

Given a chance, I think the Hope Academy and other non-traditional schools could do very well in Blount County.

I agree with agent. There are many families out there looking for a different educational experience for their children, and the established school systems should not feel threatened by the charter schools. They should welcome them into the county.

Written on Public meetings planned for Maryville City School zoning :

Yeah, let's all waste our time giving input so they can check it off their list. Then they will do whatever they want anyway.

Written on Grassroots group putting final touches on application for first charter school in Blount:

I think this school will attract a lot of families in the area. Good luck!

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to agentorange007:

I think I will try to bypass this MCS mess and see if I can get my kids into the proposed charter school.

http://www.blounttoday.com/news/2011/...

That's what it is. A mess.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

Maybe Contacs is just trying to be positive about what he likes about the school. That way you won't get that negative vibe you're so dreading from Fort Craig parents. I think at Fort Craig the integration was a guarantee, not an option.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

I don’t know what they are using the statistics for. At MIS, band, orchestra or study hall are the only 3 choices for one period. The kids who chose band/orchestra are already doing well in their course work. If they are not, they need to be in study hall. So band/orchestra isn't increasing achievement scores. Their achievement in years past gives them to ability to choose music.
In response to your other question, I personally think that 3 days/week for band is great at 6th grade. It gives kids band exposure and also time to see what other subjects may interest them. Balance and variety of classes are great to the extent that the budget will allow. I don't think the amount of time in a particular class matters as much as how effective students & teachers are with that time. Yes, you can be effective in 75 minutes of math. I got involved with this discussion because I took offense at negativity I was reading. I don’t think personal attacks are necessary and I think all the schools are doing a great job and deserve more recognition from the media than what they are receiving.

Music education specialists say it is most important to have daily instruction in the beginning for music. The point is, why take anything away? There is no budget issue regarding this. Add to the programs that are already successful.
Don't be a slave to a 5 period day.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

But they have delved into their data enough to compare the scores of those in music vs those who aren't.
So, I'm confused here. Should there be less music in Maryville City Schools to add more time to "academic" subjects like science and math, or do you believe there aren't enough different types of arts opportunities for the kids. Either way, they lose with a five period day in 4-7. And what exactly does 74 minutes of math look like? Who has successfully taught students of these ages in 74 minute classes? Have their test scores increased?
It sounds like you are an advocate for integrated instruction. Why does a 74 minute class period in one subject receive your support?

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

You earlier stated "I think students with a natural math ability are naturally better in the arts." If Maryville music instruction attracted these type of students to the schools, why do you want to discourage them? All the music people are fighting to do is to keep what they already have.
And what is that other variable why the music students are better in math? I would love to have that discussion with you.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

Since Bluefish writes that she is impressed with the data, here is some to think about. “Robert Cutietta, PhD says that research indicates that music instruction improves everything from foreign language skills to self-esteem. But the strongest findings show that if a child is learning to read notes while learning to read words, word-reading improves. Cutietta says evidence that music aids math abilities is not as conclusive.” All the research I can find shows correlations between math and music not causations. You may ask what the difference is between correlational and causational data. Here is an example. Data shows that murder rates increase during the same months that ice cream consumption increases. Can you conclude that eating ice cream CAUSES murders? NO, the data is correlational data. There is another variable affecting the increase in ice cream consumption and murders. The same is true between the music and math connection. There have been multiple comments about getting rid of Stephanie Thompson because she is not “progressive”. What exactly is progressive? There is new research that shows electric shock treatment causes an increase in math. Do you want that type of “new” progression in the schools? People have touted the new progressive teaching strategies of Ft. Craig. I challenge you to find any research that shows the integrated, thematic, multiage, whole language strategies of Ft. Craig are new and progressive. It is an effective strategy but not the only effective strategy nor is it new. Furthermore these strategies are used in all the elementary schools. The biggest advancement made in teaching has been the integration of smart technology and promethean boards into the classroom. Here is another article. http://www.blounteducation.org/2008/0.... Wasn’t Stephanie Thompson the Director of Technology? Don’t we want someone in charge with a background in implementing technology? I wish newspaper would cover more of the positive/progressive strategies going on at all the local schools – not just rumors and perceived facts. I also think they need to cover more activities at ALL the schools. Ft. Craig is not the only school with good students, good teachers and good things happening. They are all good and have unique qualities about them. As a community we need to value and respect ALL that they do for our children.

Local statistics. 50% of 8th grade students below proficient in math. 30% of music students below proficient in math. 65% of nonmusic students below proficient in math.
Now maybe these numbers are just correlational, but would you really want to make all those music parents who moved her for Maryville City Schools programs angry enough to move away? They would take all those students who are talented in math and science with them. Then where would the schools be? Maryville City Schools will soon be accused of false advertising if they continue to chisel away at the music program.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

Since Bluefish writes that she is impressed with the data, here is some to think about. “Robert Cutietta, PhD says that research indicates that music instruction improves everything from foreign language skills to self-esteem. But the strongest findings show that if a child is learning to read notes while learning to read words, word-reading improves. Cutietta says evidence that music aids math abilities is not as conclusive.” All the research I can find shows correlations between math and music not causations. You may ask what the difference is between correlational and causational data. Here is an example. Data shows that murder rates increase during the same months that ice cream consumption increases. Can you conclude that eating ice cream CAUSES murders? NO, the data is correlational data. There is another variable affecting the increase in ice cream consumption and murders. The same is true between the music and math connection. There have been multiple comments about getting rid of Stephanie Thompson because she is not “progressive”. What exactly is progressive? There is new research that shows electric shock treatment causes an increase in math. Do you want that type of “new” progression in the schools? People have touted the new progressive teaching strategies of Ft. Craig. I challenge you to find any research that shows the integrated, thematic, multiage, whole language strategies of Ft. Craig are new and progressive. It is an effective strategy but not the only effective strategy nor is it new. Furthermore these strategies are used in all the elementary schools. The biggest advancement made in teaching has been the integration of smart technology and promethean boards into the classroom. Here is another article. http://www.blounteducation.org/2008/0.... Wasn’t Stephanie Thompson the Director of Technology? Don’t we want someone in charge with a background in implementing technology? I wish newspaper would cover more of the positive/progressive strategies going on at all the local schools – not just rumors and perceived facts. I also think they need to cover more activities at ALL the schools. Ft. Craig is not the only school with good students, good teachers and good things happening. They are all good and have unique qualities about them. As a community we need to value and respect ALL that they do for our children.

Since we have promethean boards in all of our classrooms, why are 50% of our 8th grade students below proficient in math? How much did those boards and the training to use them cost? Has a cost/benefit analysis been done? I agree they help some teachers, but I think we went a little overboard on them. And why do the computers in the high school labs crash all the time when students try to use them?
About music instruction, I guess one phd has the final say on what is effective. There are plenty of other sites out there to contradict.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

The choice of study hall or band for 5th and 6th graders is a poor choice. My son was in band. While he was in band, he said the study hall kids got pizza and extra recess on Friday. His complaint was . . why should I have to work my rear end off in Phase 1 classes, have 1-2 hours of homework every night, and play band when the other kids can get their homework done in study hall and still have time to play? I realize that 5th grade logic is not the strongest, but from his perspective this was a BIG deal. His other complaint was that sometimes in band class he would sit for 1/2 or whole period doing nothing while the instructor worked with another group of instruments. I'm hoping that if band instruction is 3 days/week they might have another aid or instructor in there to help manage working with other sections or the class will be more focused to help them accomplish more in less time.

Please let the design team know about your wish for aid in the music room.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to 3rdShifter:

I agree with what you have said. My 5th grader was given the choice of band/orchestra or study hall. Not much of a choice. I'm ok with music in schools, just not a dominating position. I feel the same way in regards to sports.

3rd shifter is right. But instead of taking programs like music away, it would be good to add programs for students with other interests. Lets go forward with the good and add to it.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

I said the need for tutoring is minimal. I don't think it should be a policy that it HAS to be available at the beginning of the school year. If your child runs into issues, the teacher IS going to work with you. Every teacher I've encountered in this school system is great. If you have a problem, they will work with you to find a solution. I think the trick is to work with the teacher. I didn't blame anyone when my child got behind on his work. I didn't point fingers. I just asked for help. I think you catch my flies with honey than vinegar. The school WANTS children to be successful - they will work with parents.

I agree. The schools are very willing to work with you. But we can't expect the teachers to work extra hours without getting paid for it.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

Funny, Thompson and Winstead said tutoring wasn't available until state funds come in 6-8 weeks after school starts during the Mon board meeting. Thompson said it wasn't needed before then anyway. Maybe you were lucky on your timing?
Plus, didn't your earlier post say tutoring wasn't needed this early in the school year?

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to agentorange007:

The director of schools will not be removed by the present school board. Three of the five current board members hired her in the first place and they do what she says, not the other way around. The only way to remove her is to elect forward thinking board members to replace the sitting ones. West and Jenkins are eligible for replacement in 2012.

Did not expect any difference to come from the concern about music, but there was progress. Let's give it one more try!

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

There it is already, a lovely condescending "SHOULD". Am I not entitled to an opinion if it differs from yours? Even if they fire all the Ft. Craig teachers, which they are not going to do, the Ft. Craig population will add 2 students to each classroom.

Feel free to have your opinions. Show up in the elementary schools in Aug 2012 and see how many students they can squeeze into the classrooms-classrooms which used to be designated for other programs to enrich and enhance education.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

There was only one mention of FC on this page until you came along. What you SHOULD be worried about, though, as an elementary parent is the crowding that will take place when four elementary schools become three. The high school will be in good shape as far as student population, but the elementary schools will still be in the gray or red zone. This is according to the MCS numbers. Be guided less by your fears and look at the facts.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to agentorange007:

This is not a Fort Craig issue. Fort Craig is dead. Killing Fort Craig was just the first domino to fall.

Now the issue at hand affects the whole system. It is NOT a vocal minority who are concerned about the changes in the intermediate school music program.

What I am concerned about is the surprise coming next. What is it you ask? Don't know--that's why its called a surprise. Who knows? The next brilliant MCS proposal might adversely affect your kids.

I agree the MCS is a good school system. However, from what I have seen the past four years, I do not have much faith in the leadership of the schools director or the majority of the school board. It is sliding down the slippery slope of mediocrity.

Well said, Agent. I hope folks will let the school board know how they feel regarding the direction of our schools, as they are making the decision whether to renew Stephanie Thompson's contract in June.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

I am defensive. I do feel that the opinions and news articles are very "Chicken Little" and dramatic. Even the headline of the article is very dramatic. I also feel the comments are polarizing. The comments lead me to believe that some parents believe that its them against the school system or music vs. athletics, or all Maryville City elementary schools vs. Ft. Craig. We're all on the same team trying to work together to provide the best education we can for our kids. So, let's work together. I am responsible for MY childrens' education. The teacher is responsible for the group of children in their classroom. The school board is responsible for the education of the children as a whole system. I am offended at the approach some of these commenting parents are taking not necessarily what they have to say. I am personally very happy with the system and the education my kids receive. I would guess that most of the parents who chose to put their kids in MCS are happy. That's not to say there isn't room for improvement. I think the comments I have read reflect a vocal minority. I think a lot of the parents expressing concern over music are still hurt because of the Ft. Craig decision. But in my opinion, the Ft. Craig approach to education is not a new approach. Whole language, looping, multi-age classrooms have been around for a long time. The approaches may change names every 10-20 years but they are theoretically the same. Teaching is an art, not a science. The Ft. Craig teachers will not lose the essence of how they teach within the elementary schools. Its not going to be a negative transition unless you make it one. I do not think athletics needs a bigger piece of the pie, just part of the pie.

When the DOS begins removing programs with a successful track record, it brings up the question "Why?" "Why does it have to be done this way?" No options are given to the solution of the problems. There appears to be no thought given to a creative solution.
Need higher math and science scores, put them in class longer. Budget problems in the system, cut the personnel budget because it is largest.
I saw the fresh faced young teachers who received tenure the other night. We appreciate them now but will consider them a drain on the system once their salaries reach max. Two schools in the system are title 1 because of their percentage of free and reduced lunch. Do you think the only way to reduce the budget is to cut the hours of those teaching assistants who help in their classrooms?
FYI- Athletics receives a larger piece of the pie (per student participant) than music does. This does not include the hundreds of thousands scheduled to be spent on new sports facilities like a baseball field at Coulter Grove.
Speaking of cyclical educational theories: why was it REQUIRED that a 5th grader learn to play a musical instrument 10 years ago, and now parents are supposed to be glad for 3 day a week instruction? Our math and science scores were the same then that they are now, they are just being held to a higher standard. How many times have I heard "we have the highest tcap scores in the state." A state that was almost off the chart on Dr. Winstead's graph comparing national rankings.(And not off the chart in the right way). STEM, what is that? No teachers selected, no idea what it is going to include. But I guess the kids who get anything out of it will be the ones with the natural abilities in math and science, so there is no need to emphasize the music program any more.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

Having band, orchestra 3 days a week in 5th grade is A LOT more than most schools provide. I think kids at that age need to be exposed to a variety of educational opportunities. At that age, kids are trying to figure out what subjects, interests, sports they are passionate about. Passion translates to success/achievement or more motivation to succeed. I do not think the music parents have gone out of their way to avoid comparing athletics and music at least from what I've read. I do not believe that there is a cause/effect relationship between math & the arts. I think kids who have a natural math ability are naturally better in the arts and the two interests feed off each other. I think art class and geometry goes hand in hand like algebra and music class go hand in hand. I do think sports enhance a child's academic ability. The determination and perseverance you learn carries over to the classroom. If 75% of the reduced/free lunch kids are below proficient in math, I don't think its because they don't have enough music in their lives.

But they're not offered tutoring until they're failing their math class at the end of the first 9 weeks. People with money can go ahead and sign up with a tutor.
These must be the only comments you have read, because the facebook page and direction given to those concerned about music have directed NO comparisons be made to athletics.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to rational:

I agree wtih Rational1. I am disappointed and disgusted with the unprofessional, personal comments. I have 3 children in the Maryville School System all with varying sports, music and academic interests. I was involved in band when I was in school and my oldest child is in the band and wind ensemble. I had 20 years of piano lessons and was also an elementary school teacher before I had my own children. I support increased time on core academic subjects. The TCAP has become more difficult and the children need to spend more time in core subjects. I think the need for tutoring during the first 6 weeks of the year is minimal. Most children don't need or want to go to tutoring until they see that they aren't progessing as quickly as their peers. The need for tutoring won't become noticeable until 6-9 weeks into the school year anyway. The PE class should be as accessible as music classes. Any extracurricular music and/or sports can be after school and I support adequate facilities for as many varying activities that the budget will allow. I'm disgusted with the people who state that sports doesn't teach as much as music. I do think sports/athletics are very valuable to a school system. The values of hard work, dedication, perseverance, cooperation and TEAMWORK are NOT taught in many places outside of sports. You do NOT consistently learn those skills in music like you do in sports. You learn many life lessons playing sports that I think people take for granted. You learn how to work with others, use people's strengths and weaknesses to help the WHOLE team win. I think more people in the work place need to use the values taught in team sports. Music is valuable, but do not underestimate the traits gained from team sports.

Yeah, it doesn't take any teamwork to get 150 students to play the same note at the same time.
As for tutoring, why are we testing these students if we don't plan to use the information right away? Almost 75% of our free and reduced lunch students are below proficient in math in 8th grade. One would have to project that if they were below proficient at the end of one year, they would be below proficient at the beginning of the next. Who cares if the student doesn't want tutoring? They could be assigned to after school tutoring (with permission of parents) and the school system can find a way to provide transportation. Maybe they could use one of those shuttles they plan for the athletes. Unless you're afraid before or after school tutoring will interfere with sports practice?
I believe sports is very beneficial for some students, just as music is. But music is an academic subject and should continue being taught during the school day. Music performance is offered as a major in college, sports performance is not. There is a fine arts requirement to graduate from TN high schools. There is no competitive sports requirement.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to Rational1:

The prevailing ignorance of these posts is astonishing. Clearly many have no idea what is like to be in education today. Schools are blamed for everything that is wrong with society; from poor test scores to teen pregnancy rates to drug abuse. Maryville City responds to those challenges by increasing instructional time in the core subject areas as well as introducing STEM classes. And the response is that Maryville does not care about academics? The evidence used to support that claim is that we are making cuts in band (a non-academic activity for those not paying attention). How rational is that thought process? Sports and band are both enrichment activities and are important. Sports activities do not try to take up instructional time. We do not practice football, baseball or track while we should be spending time learning math and science. Who in their right mind believes that a school system does not value academics based on the fact that they are trying to increase instructional time in the core subject areas by cutting time in an enrichment activity. And as for the personal attacks, grow up. You do not have to agree with every decision made, but to be mean-spirited and vicious is uncalled for and out of line. I hope your children have learned from their teachers here in Maryville City the value of respect. Clearly many of you have not.

If they care so much about education, why have they not considered supplementing the tutoring funds from the state that don't come through until mid to late September? Kids can't get after school tutoring until the state money comes in, so almost a fourth of the year is spent without it. The suggestion by the board to supplement tutoring funds was a novel one for our DOS last night. Clearly the idea had never crossed her mind.
Oh, and they still spend more on athletics (per student) than they do on music education.
You've obviously never played music to think it is a nonacademic activity. It is PROVEN to improve math capabilities. Do sports do that?
Maybe we'll have to suggest that sports practices be cut in half to make sure the athletes get all their homework done. Surely the after school practices get in the way of reinforcing the learning of the day.
The music folks have gone out of their way to avoid comparing music and athletics. Don't get that discussion started because of these comments on this page. But if you want to have this debate, we can take it public.
How do you think it looked to all the music parents at the meeting when Sayles and Thompson would not take no for an answer regarding the gym floor?

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

Hurrah! Newest schedules show sixth and seventh grades get daily band and orchestra. Fifth gets it three times per week. Good progress.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to agentorange007:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess most people haven't even looked at the letter, let alone gone to the links!

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to agentorange007:

Here is a link to Stephanie Thompson's memo about the music situation

http://www.maryvillecityschools.k12.t...

Down near the end of it on recommendation for parents #2 is a link to the master planning website. I clicked on it and it led me to a nonfunctioning Amazon.com UK page. Look up at the address bar and it says something about Calamity Jane's Hottest Adult Stories. Why? Does anybody else get the same result when they click on that link?

I do too. Oops!

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to agentorange007:

...and what's the deal with all these beloved principals and coaches resigning, retiring, or stepping down?

Casteel's daughter said on facebook that he was forced to resign by Thompson. Heard there's a whole behind the scenes story to it but don't know the details. Have heard some bad rumors, though, and they are very widespread.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I had read the articles in your link a few weeks ago. Funny that they hired Thompson to keep things the same, but now she's getting away from site based management and "standardizing" the system by weeding out anything that made it unique!

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

in response to agentorange007:

"Is there really anything concerned parents can do about this?"

Yes. Jenkins' and West's terms on the school board expire next in 2012. Fire them at the ballot box and replace them with excellence-minded candidates. Then replace the current schools director with one who is actually qualified to do the job and not based on her "relationships."
http://www.blounttoday.com/news/2007/...

Or encourage the current school board members to get rid of her now. It's not too late to turn back the clock, but it will be in 2012.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

The current director of schools isn't the right fit for the system. She gets evaluated by the board in June. Maybe they should give her an F and send her on her way. No tutoring available for someone who makes as much as she does.

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

If they're so concerned about students learning math and science, why do they wait to fund before and after school tutoring until a month or so after school starts? Shouldn't tutoring be a priority?

Written on Maryville schools discussion on music curriculum has parents at crescendo pitch:

I agree with agent. We've always been told how wonderful Maryville schools are, now they are sounding an alarm that we are behind in math and science because of new standards. STEM sounds good, but they don't even know what they are going to teach or who will teach it! Meanwhile, we have an excellent music program which is going by the wayside. Remember when you were REQUIRED to learn to play an instrument in 5th grade just 10 years ago? Give me a break.

Written on Mike Casteel steps down as principal of Maryville High School:

It helps to be an athlete from a county dynasty.
Funny that Murvul is so much "better" than the county schools but its two most recent directors graduated from county schools. Maybe they're trying to destroy us from within.

Written on Fort Craig will close:

in response to POLITICALLYNEUTRAL:

IT can only be a school of choice if everyone can choose to go there. I wish someone would post the application for Ft Craig. It is plain as the ink on the paper that the application is designed as a "weed out" form. Also we are raising children with little or no "grit." For the interloping carpet baggin sycophantic people on this site that means that kids have no intestinal fortitude these days and schools like Ft. Craig that cater to the kids that can't deal with the real world quit your crying. Your side lost get over it and move on. It told me all I needed to know about the Ft. Craig parents at the last school board meeting when they all walked out when they did not get The Ft. Craig way. Man (or Woman) up and move on for your own good and the good of the school system.

Also, I grew up right here in Murvul. Born at Blount Memorial Hospital. Since when is school the real world? In what world do you live only with people the same age as you?
My kids are very tough and independent. They think for themselves and have a very low tolerance for the bull people like you dish out.

Written on Fort Craig will close:

in response to POLITICALLYNEUTRAL:

IT can only be a school of choice if everyone can choose to go there. I wish someone would post the application for Ft Craig. It is plain as the ink on the paper that the application is designed as a "weed out" form. Also we are raising children with little or no "grit." For the interloping carpet baggin sycophantic people on this site that means that kids have no intestinal fortitude these days and schools like Ft. Craig that cater to the kids that can't deal with the real world quit your crying. Your side lost get over it and move on. It told me all I needed to know about the Ft. Craig parents at the last school board meeting when they all walked out when they did not get The Ft. Craig way. Man (or Woman) up and move on for your own good and the good of the school system.

What were the questions on the application that signified "weed out" form? Anyone could go to Fort Craig if they live in the city of Maryville. If transportation was an issue, they could have easily run a shuttle bus from the other elementary schools to Fort Craig. But the city schools would not allow it.
I was told the Fort Craig supporters walked out because the school board didn't even pretend to address any alternatives to closing Fort Craig. They didn't leave in a huff so much as a protest against lack of process. Proper procedures-something the schools and board evidently need a refresher course on re violation of the sunshine laws in Nov 2010.

Written on Closing Fort Craig: Maryville City School board makes decision to close school, reconfigure grades:

in response to momoftwo:

It is sad the animosity & hatred of Fort Craig has been allowed to continue in this community for 16 years (seriously?). It does sound like there were hurt feelings in the beginning and it was handled poorly (sound familiar?) when it was opened. To allow it to go on this long has been a failure of leadership that trickles down from the administrators, to the teachers, down to the parents. It could have been stopped a long time ago and the community would have been better for it.
There are misleading facts about Fort Craig such as the student/teacher ratio (it is the same except 4th grade), and the cost per student is not entirely accurate.
Has ANYONE asked about the 35 special needs children that attend FC? I understand the other 3 schools do not have many children with special needs as FC does. I'm NOT saying that the teachers will not be as loving,or capable but it will be a learning process.
The director and board made it appear closing FC is a budget issue, but it was an opportunity to close it, or they would have looked at even 1 other option. Maybe closing Fort Craig IS the best thing for our entire school system? However, we were not given the chance to find out.
The director and board have alarmed the community by saying city council will raise taxes "this much" if they don't close it, and "only this much" if they do close it. City leaders have told me either way they are not raising taxes(I agree).
I have been heard they do have the money to open Coulter Grove and have $2.4 million in a "rainy day" fund?? I hope they do have the money to open it because if not, what else will they decide to cut in order to open it.
Did anyone ever question WHEN & WHERE this decision was first brought up? Hmmm....I guess that does not matter to the public, does it?
They will not address the real issue which is the overcrowding at MHS (it is appalling what conditions they are dealing with!)..Would it mess with football too much?
Why have Alcoa schools gone to a year round system, & Oak Ridge school board is researching if they are going to move to a year round calendar (they have 2 schools that are year round, "different"- gasp!) Knox County is getting ready to open a charter school & a new STEM academy (again, gasp!). Why can't our director & board do some research & come up with some innovative ideas they could implement in ALL of our wonderful schools to move forward instead of backward. Does the City of Maryville not want to be leaders in education in the future? The other surrounding cities sure do appear that they are thinking progressively. I am simply asking all these questions and I do not understand why anyone else would not be asking them as well. Look at the bigger picture. It is so much more of an issue than closing a school.

Go to blounttoday.com and search for more Fort Craig articles and look at comments. Go to knoxnews.com and search for recent articles on Fort Craig and the comments section. We have been battling about the very issues you bring up. re: larger percentage of special needs students at Fort Craig bring in federal and state dollars that inflate the dollars per student numbers at the school, and the central office could not be bothered to accurately reflect what the local school system is spending on the students. Also, football. $250,000 spent annually on extra pay for athletic coaches. Not a peep has been made about keeping that amount while reducing teacher benefits. No options investigated other than closing Fort Craig, etc. Maryville and Alcoa did look at doing a stem academy but could not find a "financially feasible" site. What about the unused wing of the Maryville Municipal Bldg? LOTS of people are still asking questions, but we're being labeled troublemakers for asking them.

Written on Fort Craig will close:

in response to agentorange007:

I am patiently waiting for the "Fort Craig hand picks its students" and "they get more funds" mythmongers to show up, so I can pounce upon their misconceptions.

I am also going to patiently wait for the next two school board elections and will strongly support any candidate who is forward thinking, unbiased, visionary, open minded and independent.

In the meantime, I am going to vote with my dollars when it comes to cars, boats, contractors, and CPA's.

I hope we get some good candidates. And we, too, are voting with our dollars.

Written on Fort Craig Controversy: Administrators, school board and parents offer their perspectives:

in response to jepezick9692:

I was a student at Fort Craig from first to fourth grade. Since then, I have gone through MIS, MMS, and, finally, MHS. I graduated in 2010. Fort Craig is the only school in Maryville I drive by without cringing...in fact, I smile, because all my memories of Fort Craig are good ones. It is a school that allows its students to be themselves, and to learn in whatever way suits each individual child best. Every employee had the kids' best interests at heart. I will always see Fort Craig Elementary as a blessing. It is what all elementary schools should strive to be... a place of dynamic learning and, more importantly, a second home to its students. I know nothing of the monetary benefits Maryville City may gain from closing Fort Craig, but I do know what Maryville City will lose...
a school that truly inspires its students far after they leave it.

Ditto for my kids.

Written on Fort Craig will close:

We should be watching very carefully to see what other budget items are cut. If they cut funding to the schools before eliminating the $250,000 spent on supplements for coaches for EXTRACURRICULAR activities, then we definitely know where their priorities lie.

Written on Fort Craig Controversy: Administrators, school board and parents offer their perspectives:

in response to tennessee7:

you want to save money? merge some school systems..3 systems in one county? ridiculous. but, can you imagine the comments? Maryville/Blount County is changing and one day it may not be such a desired place to live. pretty pitiful leadership..

I agree. Eliminating 2 director of schools positions alone could fund 6 or more new teachers.

Written on Fort Craig Controversy: Administrators, school board and parents offer their perspectives:

in response to sam3rd:

First, congratulations to most of you on your ignorance.
I am a recent graduate of the Maryville system and a proud graduate of Fort Craig and let me be the first to tell you that most of the "facts" that you are throwing up on this post are completely false. I will (obviously) admit that the statistics that you give are valid and provide a great point but the majority of the argument is based on "he said, she said" about rumors that are flying around like this is middle school--not a conversation between adults. I can understand people's anger and frustration but let's get to the root of the cause--which was clearly stated multiple times in the article for those of you who "conveniently" overlooked it--money. No one (well except Denny, perhaps) will deny that Fort Craig students perform at a higher standard than the other elementary schools but no one seems to be bothered by the "why" of the statistic. The numbers that were previously given mean nothing without context. And here is the context--Fort Craig students perform better because the environment is more conducive to this. The classroom sizes are smaller which leads to a smaller teacher: student ratio so there is more one-on-one attention. The only problem with this--its super expensive and money is the driving force behind the proposed closing of the school. Many of the previous comments talk about how Stephanie Thompson doesn't like Fort Craig and wants to see it closed but has anybody heard her say this specifically? I didn't think so. Before we continue to throw around vicious rumors about the "village idiots" on the school board, why don't we stop being ignorant bloggers and do something productive about it? I am writing on here because I find the previous comments from the "educated" public to be humorous in their ignorant discourse. The entire thought that Mrs. Thompson was groomed to be Director of Schools to specifically shut down Fort Craig from the beginning is completely invalid and honestly laughable, but agentorange007, I suppose that if your "fruitcake" of a neighbor said it, it must be true. You might want to go take a quick intro to psychology course where the first thing you will learn is that correlation doesn't lead to causation...aka your coincidences are merely that--coincidences.

Congrats on getting the opportunity to be a student at Fort Craig. Budget figures do look dire, and the schools have assured us they have cut all they can, including reducing staff and cutting teacher benefits like dental. Just a tiny peak into the budget, however, shows us that they budget $300 per student athlete to pay $250,000 for coaching supplements. This money is funding extracurricular activities at the expense of other programs (required educational programs) for the rest of the schools.
When you're assured all expenses have been cut and the next step is going to directly affect the education of the students in the system, it is very surprising to find something like this still in the budget. So some begin to question the very motives and honesty of those in charge.
Maybe Fort Craig has to go because of finances, but it makes much more sense to close it as part of an overall budget reduction where all questions as to "show me the money" are answered.

Written on Fort Craig’s future: Will school become victim of ‘desperate times call for desperate measures?’:

in response to Solomon:

Fort Craig School of Dynamic Learning is a crown jewel in the Maryville City School system. I remember a channel 10 hometown broadcast on the effectiveness of the FCSDL model. TCAP scores from FCSDL stand as some of the best in Tennessee throughout it's existence.

The current Maryville School Board and administration seem more interested in social issues than educational issues. This alarming trend has not gone unnoticed. Maryville High School this year has eliminated the evil football homecoming queen, proposed changing the MHS fight song, and recently had a great send off for the MHS football team by having an "after school" pep rally. A novel idea, with the exception that more than half the student body has a bus to catch after school.

So as Maryville City schools just "settles" into areas of just getting by, parents with school aged students become more alarmed. As extracirricular activities are abolished, parental involvement is not encouraged, social agendas are rammed down the throats of students and parents in the high school setting, and as outstanding educational opportunities are taken away by the potential closing of FCSDL, I would not be surprised to see concerned citizens continue to voice their displeasure.

As a result, I would personally not be surprised, as has already happened in west Knoxville numerous times, the opening of a major private school in Maryville. Then the need for additional administration, teachers, and even buildings would be totally null and void.

Homecoming queen didn't occur because of student apathy. No one wanted to run for it.
Maryville spends $250,000 out of the "bare bones" budget to pay supplements to athletic coaches, and average of $300 per student athlete.
Most kids hate the pep rallys because they are so crowded and, believe it or not, many don't really care about the FB team.
What is the MHS fight song?

Written on Fort Craig Controversy: Administrators, school board and parents offer their perspectives:

in response to MrBuds:

Mr. Garner's argument is also that Fort Craig students do not grow academically at the rate that the other schools do. What he is not telling is that all of the students test scores are averaged together to get the total; that includes the special needs students who the school requires to take the TCAP tests. He also says FC is not socioeconomically diverse and because of that, FC should be blowing the other schools out of the water. My point in stating all this: Is this really about $$$? Apparently not with him. He has personal reasons for wanting the school closed. His children once went to FC, but after a disagreement with an administrator, he pulled them out and has been against the school ever since then. That is not rumor; just ask him. I feel it is a conflict that he even gets a vote on this!

Which school board member is a (former?) dogfighter and bookie. Which school board member would like FC to be vacated and sold to the hospital to benefit family members with land connecting the two. Which school board member's family benefited financially from the building of Coulter Grove school?
Follow the yellow brick road.

Written on Fort Craig Controversy: Administrators, school board and parents offer their perspectives:

in response to Manfrommaryville:

With all of the bickering between the Ft.Craig fans and haters about the pros and cons of closing Ft.Craig there has been little discussion about the grade shuffling changes that are going to affect every child in every school from now on. With the new grade configurations, 9th grade is pulled out of the highschool and is in with 8th grade and 4-7th grades are together. Maryville City Schools (all of them) are some of the top in the state and making such changes to a system with such a strong track record should be a concern to every parent.

One potential solution that I believe the school board looked at early on but ruled out because it has its share of trade-offs deserves a closer review. Move Sam Houston (staff & students) to Coulter's Grove and use the Sam Houston school as an extension of Maryville High. The proximity of Sam Houston to the high school is ideal and could provide a roadmap of expansion to connect the campuses in decades to come. The distance between Sam Houston and Coulter's Grove is less than 3miles so that is the maximum additional distance that the Sam Houston children would have to travel on the bus. The Sam Houston students & staff would get to stay together and get a beautiful new facility. All of the disruptive grade reconfigurations are avoided - although there still would be a small logistical issue to overcome since Sam Houston isn't connected to the high school. From an economics standpoint it looks good. Without closing Ft.Craig it's going to cost an additional $1,800,000 per year to open Coulter's Grove. The vast majority of this due to hiring of additional staff. By closing Ft. Craig, the additional amount needed drops to $800,000 per year and introduces the grade configuration changes. If Sam Houston is moved, the amount needed drops to almost zero because no additional staff is needed and the grade re-configurations/shuffling/disruptions are avoided. Even if I'm $300,000 wrong on the cost savings per year (but I don't see it), it would still be $500K/Yr less that the taxpayers have to cover, would avoid the disruption to the entire school system and the eliminate the risk being introduced to entire Maryville School System's academic program.

I know how we can find $250,000 in savings. Let the $250,000 in the "bare bones" budget going to athletic coaching supplements be financed by fans, fund raisers and the private sector.

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