School board discusses facility improvements

Posted on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

Hamblen County students will soon be returning to their respective classrooms to find the Hamblen County Board of Education has been hard at work maintaining and updating the facilities, as well as programs, to ensure the students’ success.

New window projects have been completed or are being carried out throughout the system including at Whitesburg Elementary, West Elementary and East High School.

There are also three security entrances to be installed at Alpha Primary, Alpha Intermediate and Meadowview Middle School.

Other updates include air conditioning being implemented at Whitesburg Elementary in the gym as well as West Elementary and new roofing on the Whitesburg Elementary gym and the Lincoln Heights Elementary gym.

Work has also been done to the sprinklers at Manley, Alpha and Lincoln Heights Elementary. A fire hydrant was also moved at East High.

“We had a leak up there (Whitesburg) from the work that was going on on the roof and the windows, but we got up there Monday morning and got those repaired,” Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Seay said. “We had a few ceiling tiles damaged.”

All window projects and facility updates are scheduled to be completed around the first of August.

Updating programs, HCBOE has endorsed A View to the Future, Hamblen County Schools college and career readiness program. Thanks to many programs including STEPS, a teacher externship aimed at showing educators what manufacturing sites are looking for in terms of students’ preparedness, and further investments in ACT improvement, Hamblen County students will now be more college and career ready. A View to the Future promotes student internships already in place through Alcoa-Howmet, student advanced manufacturing internships continue to grow through Colortech, Team Technologies and Tuff Torq.

The teachers who participated in the STEPS program will be leading site tours for the 2014-15 school year during the fall and spring semesters for targeted students with an interest in said manufacturing sites and industries.

Further, March 3, 2015 will prove to be a busy day, Assistant Director of Schools Dr. Brenda Dean said.

On the same day sophomores will be job shadowing, juniors will be taking the ACT and seniors are on college visit days, freshmen will be learning about “vital soft skills for employability as well as career opportunities within Hamblen County,” a press release from the HCDOE states. Also, with the assistance of Douglas Cherokee and its workforce development initiative, all middle school students will participate in a career fair held at each school site.

Mixing both pots of college and career readiness with the help of the Niswonger Foundation, students with specific career interests will visit area colleges and universities including Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Morristown, Tennessee Technological University, East Tennessee State University Medical School, ETSU College of Education, ETSU Hispanic Outreach and the University of Tennessee Law School and Baker Center for Policy.

Chosen students will not only exude specific career interest, but also must show academic readiness.

With the updates to the facilities as well as the momentum behind the college and career readiness programs, Hamblen County Schools are going into 2014-15 full steam ahead.

School board meetings are open to the public and are usually held every second Tuesday of each month unless specified otherwise.

The next school board meeting is Aug. 12.

-By Joshua Dean, Tribune Staff Writer

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