Local News Articles

County Clerk's Office to Implement New Print-on-Demand Decals

March 30, 2015
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss
County Clerk's Office to Implement New Print-on-Demand Decals

The DeKalb County Clerk's Office will soon be implementing 'Print-on-Demand' registration decals. A new service which will print a customized decal displaying a vehicle’s license plate number.

The technology, already being used in 86 other counties, removes the need for standard pre-printed decals with randomized numbers. Instead, residents will be issued a sticker showing their license plate number. Registration cards will also look different. Rather than the usual 8-1/2-by-11 inch sheet of paper, residents will receive a smaller document, about the size of an envelope, printed by the machines. The decals are directly printed onto the cards. Having the registrant's plate number on the decal will help prevent and stop the theft of renewal decals.

The county commission last week approved a line item budget transfer to start up the service. County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, who made the request, said that while he already has the money in his budget, he would need to move funds from one category to another within the budget to account for the expenditure.

"Based on registration and renewal statistics provided from the Tennessee Department of Revenue Vehicles Services, DeKalb County will receive $1,500 from the state which will assist with the start up costs of acquiring the equipment needed for the service," said Poss.

"Our equipment provider, Business Information System" or "BIS" has provided a quote of $1,640 to implement the "Print on Demand" program, after reimbursement. Four new printers are to be installed at the County Clerk’s office as part of the system. As an addendum to the contract, an annual $800 expense will be required to cover any maintenance or replacement of any of the four printers for up to five years.

“Print on Demand” is expected to help the office save money by no longer having to issue the standard registrations. And the state is furnishing the new specialized paper and assisting in the expense of the printers. " This will combine vehicle registrations and tag decals into a single document. We will no longer staple the decal sticker to paperwork. This process eliminates the need for controlled stock decals, since license plate numbers are printed on the decal. Our Office should see increased efficiency by eliminating the log of decal numbers. The Department of Revenue will supply the plain thermal form stock paper," said Poss.

The new system may also cut down on decal thefts, assist law enforcement, and help the clerk’s office turn away non-residents who attempt to register their vehicles in the county. "The printing of the registrant's plate number on the decal is an added security feature and will curb theft of decals. For someone who wants to steal your decal all they would have to do is peel yours off and put it on their plate. With "Print on Demand" if they try to take them it won't work because the decal number has to match the license plate number. This system works a lot better for us, because we won't have to worry about keeping up with all the decal numbers. Their decal will be tied to their plate," Poss said.

"Print on Demand" began in December 2013 and is expected be in operation statewide by the end of 2015.

Stan Brock, President and Founder of RAM, Visits DCHS Clinic (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

March 28, 2015
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling Greets Stan Brock, Founder of the Remote Area Medical Clinic at DCHS Saturday along with Chief Operations Officer Chris Hall and Clinic Manager Ron Brewer

The President and Founder of Remote Area Medical arrived in Smithville Saturday morning to tour the clinic set up at DeKalb County High School and to speak with the volunteers.

Stan Brock established RAM, a non-profit clinic, in 1985 to provide medical care through mobile events in underserved, isolated, or impoverished communities across the United States and throughout the world. Most clinics provide general medical, dental, vision, preventive care, and education.

The clinic is in DeKalb County Saturday and Sunday, March 28 & 29 to treat patients who cannot afford to pay for the services. Several hundred patients took advantage of the clinic on Saturday. Operating on a "first-come, first-served basis", the clinic will open for registration at 6:00 a.m. Sunday. Patients may show up as early as 3:00 a.m. to obtain a ticket. Be prepared for a long wait.

Brock spoke with WJLE while at DCHS Saturday morning. (PLAY VIDEO TO VIEW THE INTERVIEW)

"My vision for Remote Area Medical developed when I suffered a personal injury while living among the Wapishana Indians in Guyana, South America. I was isolated from medical care, which was about a 26 day journey away. I witnessed the near devastation of whole tribes by what would have been simple or minor illnesses to more advanced cultures. When I left Guyana, I vowed to find a way to deliver basic medical aid to people in the world’s inaccessible regions. So, in 1985 I established the non-profit, Remote Area Medical or as most people know us – RAM and RAM is the way I have kept that promise, not only to the Wapishana Indians, but to thousands around the world in similar conditions," he said.

Brock pioneered television programming focusing on nature and wildlife when he starred on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

Stan was born in Lancashire, England and at age 17 moved to Guyana where he lived at and eventually became manager of The Dadanawa Ranch, which, at the time, was one of the world’s largest working cattle ranches. It was his experience in Guyana that led to Stan’s work with the animals of Wild Kingdom and numerous other television and movie projects beginning in 1963.

The Emmy Award Winning Brock took viewers, for the first time, to the far corners of the world to study wild animals in their natural habitats. Millions of families gathered around their televisions every week to watch Stan travel the world to wrestle giant anacondas in the Amazon and corral wildebeests in the Serengeti. Stan helped pioneer nature-centric television programming, which typically builds a suspenseful story around the challenges faced by wildlife biologists and the organisms they study. With Stan as a co-host, Wild Kingdom reached the largest audience in the program’s history and was only one of five syndicated shows nominated for an Emmy in 1972.

Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was heavily recognized, receiving 41 major awards, including four Emmys. Stan created, directed, and starred in the TV series Stan Brock’s Expedition Danger. He has also starred in several films including: Escape from Angola (1976) and The Forgotten Wilderness (1977). Most were productions of legendary Hollywood producer Ivan Tors who created Flipper, Sea Hunt, Daktari, and more.

Stan is the author of three books on his experiences in the Amazon, including: Leemo, A True Story of a Man’s Friendship with a Mountain Lion (London, 1967), More About Leemo (London, 1967) and Jungle Cowboy (USA, 1969), republished in 1999 as All the Cowboys were Indians.

Along the way he became a pioneer Amazon bush pilot, a noted authority on wildlife management and conservation, an expert on rain forests and their inhabitants, a TV wildlife adventurer, guest speaker, film actor, fitness enthusiast, author, naturalist, and black belt in Taekwon Do Karate. Stan has written numerous articles for national magazines, including Readers Digest and Outdoor Life, and has been featured in global media coverage such as TIME Magazine.

In 1985 Stan Brock founded Remote Area Medical® (RAM®), a non-profit organization addressing the needless pain and suffering caused by the lack of healthcare in impoverished, underserved, and isolated areas.

Stan has received, among many other honors, invitations to address United States Congressional Sub-committees regarding RAM’s® mission. Since Remote Area Medical® was founded, Stan Brock has mobilized over thousands of volunteers and health care professionals to deliver millions of dollars worth of free quality medical services.

DeKalb Jobless Rate at 7.8% for February

March 28, 2015
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for February was 7.8%, down from 8.6% in January and 8.3% in February, 2014.

The local labor force for February was 7,090. A total of 6,540 were employed and 550 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for February was seventh lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Clay: 11.1%
Van Buren: 9.8%
Pickett: 9.6%
Jackson: 9.3%
DeKalb: 7.8%
White: 7%
Putnam: 6.4%

County unemployment rates for February show the rates decreased in 95 counties.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in February at 4.8 percent, down from 5.4 percent in January. Knox County was 5.1 percent in February, down from 5.7 the previous month. The Hamilton County February rate was 5.9 percent, down from 6.6 in January. Shelby County was 7.2 percent in February, down from 8.1 percent the previous month. Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for February was 6.6 percent, one-tenth of one percentage point lower than the January revised rate of 6.7 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for February was 5.5 percent, down two-tenths of one percentage point from the prior month.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

WJLE Radiothon for DCHS Project Graduation Set for Good Friday

March 27, 2015
Dwayne Page
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews Senior Caroline Carter during 2010 WJLE Radiothon

A WJLE Radiothon to raise money for the DCHS Class of 2015 Project Graduation will be Friday, April 3 from 9:00 a.m. until noon hosted by DCHS Teacher Chris Vance.

Parents of high school seniors who serve on the Project Graduation committee will be answering phones, taking pledges during the drive. Members of the Class of 2015 are also urged to stop by the station to make a brief appearance on the radiothon to talk about their school activities and future plans and to answer phones.

Project Graduation is an all night drug-free, alcohol-free graduation party for members of the DCHS Class of 2015 committed to having a safe, wholesome, yet entertaining celebration together for the last time as a class. The event begins following the graduation ceremony on Friday, May 22.

Funds raised will go toward entertainment and prizes for the graduates including cash awards they can put toward college or other plans after high school.

Call 615-597-4265 during the Radiothon to make your pledge from 9:00 a.m. until noon on Friday, April 3. Listen LIVE on FM 101.7/AM 1480 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com.

Hospital Presents Awards

March 27, 2015
Shan Burklow
Pictured: ER Director Emily Elrod presents awards to Christina Lull and Nancy Trapp alongside Chief Quality Officer Amanda Burgess and CEO Sue Conley.

DeKalb Community Hospital has presented Awards recognizing the director and employee of the quarter.

OR Director Nancy Trapp was honored along with Nurse Christina Lull. A special reception was held in their honor.

Pictured: ER Director Emily Elrod presents awards to Christina Lull and Nancy Trapp alongside Chief Quality Officer Amanda Burgess and CEO Sue Conley.

Both Trapp and Lull were recognized for work that goes above and beyond for exceptional patient care.

Hearing in Murder Case Ends in Courtroom Outburst

March 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
Anthony (Tony) Tyrone Crews Being Escorted Out of Courthouse Thursday
Clay Andrew Bain
Ashley Bain

An outburst in General Sessions Court Thursday has landed one man in trouble with the law.

23 year old Clay Andrew Bain of Lakeview Drive, Smithville is charged with disrupting a meeting or procession and two counts of assault. His bond is $4,500 and he will be in court on April 9.

The incident occurred at the end of a preliminary hearing in the second degree murder case against 42 year old Anthony (Tony) Tyrone Crews, who is charged in the February 5th fatal stabbing of 28 year old Ashley Bain. The woman was found dead in the home she and Crews shared at 3870 Cookeville Highway, Smithville. Clay Bain is the victim's brother.

After Judge Bratten Cook, II ordered the case bound to the grand jury, Bain stood up and walked toward the door as if to exit the courtroom. When Judge Cook asked him to return to his seat, Bain walked past where Crews was seated and took a swing at him with his fist, hitting Crews in the head. A deputy standing beside Crews, Sergeant Brian Williams, suffered an injury to his left hand as Bain was trying to get to Crews. After being hit, Crews, who was handcuffed, stood up and turned toward Bain but he was quickly grabbed by officers and taken out of the courtroom. Bain was also escorted out. During the outburst, others in the courtroom, believed to be members of the Bain family began shouting and yelling obscenities at Crews.

The assault charges against Bain are for his attack on both Crews and Sergeant Williams. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, one of the warrants alleges that Bain assaulted Crews by hitting him in the head while the DeKalb County General Sessions Court was in session. The other warrant alleges that Bain assaulted Sergeant Williams by attempting to gain access so that he could assault Crews. Sergeant Williams' left hand received an injury from Bain's actions. The disrupt warrant alleges that Bain did disrupt the DeKalb County General Sessions Court by making verbal threats and physically assaulting Anthony Tyrone Crews.

Following the hearing, Judge Cook increased Crew's bond to $2 million dollars. At the time of his arrest, Crews' bond was set at $250,000 but Judge Cook increased it to $1 million during Crews' first court appearance on February 12.

Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong called two persons to testify during Thursday's hearing and they were questioned by both Strong and Assistant Public Defender Allison Rasbury West , who is representing Crews.

Amy Tucker, a clerk at Village Market Marathon on North Congress Boulevard, testified that Crews was a regular customer and bought beer there on the day that Bain was killed. " He was a pretty steady customer. He came in usually two or three times a day every day and bought beer," she said.

During his testimony, TBI Special Agent and Criminal Investigator Lance Walker said surveillance video from Village Market showed Crews making a beer purchase around 1:00 p.m. on the day of the murder and an empty beer bottle and a bloody knife, believed to have been the murder weapon were found later that afternoon inside a Village Market bag at the crime scene. "We had heard that he had gone to Village Market and we retrieved a receipt (from the store) that matched up with beer sales of Mr. Crews purchasing 2-24 ounce Bud Ices and a Steel Reserve with a time stamp on the receipt at 1 p.m. The store video showed him making the purchase. When we got to the scene back in the bedroom where Ms Bain's body was found, there was a plastic bag consistent with the bags that Village Market uses and in the bag was an empty Steel Reserve bottle and next to the bottle in the bag was a knife that had been bent from the force used upon it covered in reddish brown stains. There was also blonde hair appearing to belong to the victim on that knife. The knife was recovered and sent for testing," Walker testified.

Agent Walker said that he was notified of the stabbing at around 2:00 p.m. that day and arrived on the scene at around 3:30 p.m. He described what he observed . " I arrived on the scene after I received the call. We set up a perimeter for the crime scene. Mr. Crews (who was on the scene) was transported to be interviewed by another agent. I conducted a crime scene investigation. The first thing we noticed was that the front door was ajar. The frame was off the door. We went through the house and saw reddish brown stains which we assumed to be blood throughout the house leading back to the back left bedroom. And then we encountered Ms. Bain's body. She was found on the left side of the bed, near the foot of the bed close to the wall. The manner of death (according to the autopsy) was multiple stab wounds. They could confidently say that there were at least fifteen (stab wounds). They could not establish the estimated time of death," testified Agent Walker.

" Mr. Crews (who was at the scene) was disheveled. He was repeating himself over and over again. He appeared to be incoherent and he had a strong odor of alcohol on him. My understanding was that he and Ms. Bain were in a relationship and he stayed at the house at times throughout the week off and on. His clothing had what appeared to be blood. His long sleeved shirt, pants, and shoes all had reddish brown stains on them. His hands had what appeared to be dried blood. His clothing was sent to the lab for testing," said Walker

"Samples of blood were taken from designated areas inside the home and sent to the crime lab for analysis including from the floor of the hallway, bedroom, dining/kitchen area, and a number of other items such as the knife and Bain's wallet, which was found between two trash bags filled with trash (one on top of the other) in the kitchen. The wallet had about $1,400 in it. We also found more money (another $1,600 or $1,700) that appeared to come from the same source in the bedroom," Walker testified.

As for the broken front door, Agent Walker said Crews had reported to the Sheriff's Department in January that it had been damaged in an attempted break-in. "The Sheriff's Office let me know that a report had been filed on January 26 for a supposed break-in. I think Crews filed the report that somebody had broke the door. I re-secured it before I left. It seemed secure," Agent Walker testified.

After listening to the testimony, Judge Cook said he found probable cause to bind the case against Crews to the Grand Jury, which convenes again next month and to increase his bond to $2 million. Following the hearing, Crews was transported back to a facility in another county where he is being held.

Three Smithville Police Officers Receive Commendations for Outstanding Service

March 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
(PICTURED: STANDING- Captain Steven Leffew, Sergeant Travis Bryant, Officer Andy Snow, and Officer James Cornelius. SEATED: Mayor Jimmy Poss and Alderman/Police Commissioner Jason Murphy)

Three members of the Smithville Police Department have been commended for "Outstanding Service" in the line of duty.

Officers James Cornelius and Andy Snow along with Sergeant Travis Bryant were recognized by Captain Steven Leffew, Officer in Charge, during a meeting of police department staff Wednesday afternoon at city hall. Mayor Jimmy Poss and Alderman and Police Commissioner Jason Murphy were also there for the occasion.

Both Officers Cornelius and Snow were commended for their response to a fire at City Walk Apartments on East Bryant Street in January 2012 where they entered the burning building in search of anyone who might need help getting out. Sergeant Bryant's commendation was for his professionalism as the department's evidence custodian in keeping files in order and properly secured.

While separate commendation certificates were presented to Officers Cornelius and Snow, they both read the same as follows:

"On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent efforts in your capacity as a Smithville Police Officer."

"On January 14, 2012, the Smithville Police Department and the Smithville Fire Department responded to 911 calls of a fully engulfed fire at an apartment complex. Officer James Cornelius and Officer Andy Snow were the first to arrive on the scene and with reports there could still be residents inside and without hesitation they entered the complex in search of anyone who may need help."

"It's initiatives like this that will distinguish Smithville Police Officers as friends and protectors and will take our police department to a higher level of excellence. You have served with distinction and you are a credit to the Smithville Police Department."

"Officer Cornelius and Officer Snow, for your outstanding service you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your permanent personnel file. Congratulations and keep up the good work."

The commendation to Sergeant Bryant states as follows:

"On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent efforts in your capacity as a Smithville Police Officer and Evidence Custodian. Speaking from experience, I (Captain Leffew) know how demanding proper evidence management can be. Recently I conducted a random and unannounced inspection of the evidence/property room. Random case numbers were selected and all pieces of evidence were found to be both secure and in its proper location. Evidence files and property were also found to be in order. I found that all security measures were being maintained."

"Your determination and efforts in the continued performance of your duties exemplify your outstanding work ethic. The integrity you have shown as evidence custodian enables the citizens of Smithville and your fellow coworkers to know that the Smithville Police Department is continuously striving for quality service."

'Sergeant Bryant, for your outstanding service you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your permanent personnel file".

"Thank you for your service and congratulations on a job well done".

The commendations to all three officers were signed by Captain Leffew, Mayor Poss, and Police Commissioner Murphy.

(PICTURED: STANDING- Captain Steven Leffew, Sergeant Travis Bryant, Officer Andy Snow, and Officer James Cornelius. SEATED: Mayor Jimmy Poss and Alderman/Police Commissioner Jason Murphy)

Six of Seven City Positions up for Election in Alexandria

March 25, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mayor Tony Tarpley and City Attorney Vester Parsley
Aldermen Bennett Armstrong and David Cripps looking over city documents
Aldermen Pat Jackson and John Suggs

Alexandria voters will have a chance to elect a mayor and as many as five aldermen in the town's election on September 3.

Qualifying petitions are now available from the DeKalb County Election Commission. The deadline to get in the race is noon on June 18.

In this year's Alexandria election, three aldermen are to be elected, each to serve a four year term. Meanwhile, a mayor and two other aldermen are to be elected to fill vacancies or the remaining two years of unexpired terms.

The sitting members are Mayor Tony Tarpley and Aldermen Pat Jackson, David Cripps, John Suggs, and Bennett Armstrong. All are serving as appointees except for Jackson, who was elected in 2013 and still has two years remaining in his term.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, addressed the Mayor and Aldermen about this year's election procedure during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. "Your charter states that you elect three aldermen at one time. Two years later you elect three aldermen and a mayor. In 2013 a mayor was elected and resigned later. Pat Jackson was elected aldermen. Two (Alderman) vacancies were filled by the board. According to your city charter, any vacancy filled is until the next municipal election. Your next election is September. What is on the ballot for September will automatically be the three aldermen seats in the regular four year cycle and now two vacancies and the mayor's spot. You are electing six of your seven people come September. Two of those aldermen seats (and mayor) will be for two years because you're filling vacancies," said Stanley.

Candidates will have to let the election commission know if they are seeking a two year or four year position. According to the State (Election) Office, it's a simple procedure. The ballot and the petitions that are being picked up will identify four year terms and two year terms. When someone picks up a petition, I'll have to ask which seat are you running for, the four year or two year seat?. When it's placed on the ballot, it will be described so you'll know who is a candidate for what," Stanley said.

Stanley advised city officials to send his office a letter calling for the September 3 election by May 28. "Although your city charter calls for the election and it's our job to carry out that election, we would like to have a letter from the mayor on behalf of the board asking the election commission to conduct this election come September 3 and we would like to have that letter before May 28 because by law we have to do the first legal advertisement for you before May 28."

If the election is uncontested, the city could choose to use paper ballots instead of the more expensive election machine voting process. "For small towns like you who have your own stand alone city election, if there is no opposition, you can use paper ballots on election day. If there is opposition we have to use the machine. But you have to make the request when you call the election," said Stanley.

4-H Horse Judging Team Places Third at Regional Contest

March 25, 2015
By: Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
The DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging team at the regional contest: Cooper Brown, Colton Kirby, Lily Martin, Raiden Griffin, Maeloree Kirby, Macey Cox, and Kayla Belk
Third Place: DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging Jr. team wins 3rd place at the regional contest: Maeloree Kirby, Cooper Brown, Macey Cox,  and Colton Kirby. Not pictured: Raiden Griffin

The DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging team recently traveled to Murfreesboro for the Central Region contest held at MTSU. Contestants included Kayla Belk, 9th grade, and Lily Martin, 6th grade, who competed as individuals. In the Junior division for 4th & 5th grades, Cooper Brown, Macey Cox, Raiden Griffin, Colton Kirby, and Maeloree Kirby placed 3rd overall. This was everyone’s first time to participate in horse judging.

During this event, youth put their decision making skills and horse knowledge to the test. Contestants watched five performance classes, including western pleasure, hunter under saddle, reining, and walking horses. The horses in each class were ranked 1-4 based on specific criteria needed for that discipline of riding. Three halter, or conformation, classes were also judged. These horses were judged on muscling, structure, and balance.

After ranking the horses, the 4-H’ers’ decision was compared to that of the official judge, and a score was awarded. Senior high members in 9th-12th grade have another portion to the contest: oral reasons. 4-H’ers must verbally defend why they placed a class as they did. This step requires youth to think under pressure and develops public speaking and communication skills.

DeKalb County was very well represented at this regional contest! Each 4-H member should feel proud of their accomplishments. To learn more about horse judging, or any 4-H activity, please contact the DeKalb County Extension Office at 615-597-4945.


Photo Captions:

Group:The DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging team at the regional contest: Cooper Brown, Colton Kirby, Lily Martin, Raiden Griffin, Maeloree Kirby, Macey Cox, and Kayla Belk

Third Place: DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging Jr. team wins 3rd place at the regional contest: Maeloree Kirby, Cooper Brown, Macey Cox, and Colton Kirby. Not pictured: Raiden Griffin

Smithville Elementary School Recommended for Reaccreditation

March 25, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary School Recommended for Reaccreditation

Members of an AdvancED External Review Team visited Smithville Elementary School this week and liked what they saw. During an exit report meeting Tuesday afternoon, Lead Evaluator Karen Garner announced to the administration and faculty that the school will be recommended for reaccreditation.

If the AdvancED Accreditation Commission concurs with the recommendation, Smithville Elementary School will earn the distinction of accreditation by AdvancED for a five year term that expires June 30, 2019. "We will be composing this report over the next couple of weeks and then it goes to Nashville. We hope this report will help guide your future," said Garner.

The AdvancED external review team, made up of five Middle Tennessee educators, met with several stakeholders in conducting its evaluation of Smithville Elementary School including the Director of Schools, parents, support staff, teachers, students, a school board member, and others.

According to Garner, SES scored higher than the national average in better than 90% of the areas surveyed. But the school needs a computer teacher and more technology, and those areas will be noted as "Improvement Priorities" that must be addressed within the next two years.

"We looked at your standards and each indicator and each of us rated each indicator. We put them into the computer to come out with a team average to use. On this list it gives us the indicator's average score from across the country. I would say 90% or better of your numbers are higher than the national average and that is something to say congratulations to you. We think your scores are very good. When you beat the national average consistently that is just a good job you're doing," said Garner.

"We observed close to 30 classrooms and the numbers there are excellent except in one area, technology. That is nothing to be ashamed of. They do not give us the national averages for this but I can guarantee you that every school I've done since this instrument came out, technology was the lowest score. You're lacking technological equipment in your classrooms. You're lacking a computer teacher in your school. We're not going to worry about that low score in technology right now but we are going to say that's one of the things we would like to see improved. We cannot say hire a new teacher or anything that relates to money. We have to say things like research ways that you can obtain a computer teacher," she said.

On a scale of 1-4, Smithville Elementary School had an average score of 3 or higher in all areas except technology. "This is a 1-4 rating. I'll give you the average. The first is called "Equitable Learning Environments" in which each child has an equal opportunity. Your average on that one was 3.16. The second one was "High Expectation Environments". You had a 3.4 on that one. On "Supportive Learning Environments" you had a 3.59. That's an excellent score. And on the "Active Learning Environments" you had a 3.23. On "Progress Monitoring and Feedback" you had a 3.13 and "Well Managed Learning Environment" you had a 3.41. "Technology" was 1.67. That was your only score under a 3", said Garner.

The External Review Team identified three areas as "Opportunities for Improvement" including "Mentoring", "Professional Development for everyone", and "Range of Media" or the need for computers for each teacher.

Among the "Powerful Practices" identified was "Communication". " You do a great job communicating with your parents in so many different media that they can't miss it. You have it out there," said Garner.

Smithville Elementary School Principal Julie Vincent commended her staff for their dedication. "I think you would be hard pressed in any school that you go to, to find a finer group of teachers than here at Smithville Elementary. I'm extremely proud of the work they do on a day in and day out basis. They are phenomenal. Good job," she said.

Members of the AdvancED External Review Team at SES were Lead Evaluator Karen Garner, retired teacher from Rutherford County; Michelle Burke, an educator at Seigel High School in Murfreesboro; Juanita Climer, a retired teacher from Rutherford County; Rita McDonald, a retired teacher from Giles County; and Carol Hawkins, a teacher from Rutherford County.

A written external report will be prepared and sent to the AdvancED Tennessee Commission for approval and then to the regional office in Atlanta for final action on reaccreditation in June.

(PICTURED: Assistant SES Principal Karen Knowles, Lead Evaluator Karen Garner, retired teacher from Rutherford County; Michelle Burke, an educator at Seigel High School in Murfreesboro; Juanita Climer, a retired teacher from Rutherford County; Rita McDonald, a retired teacher from Giles County; and Carol Hawkins, a teacher from Rutherford County, Second District School Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson; and SES Principal Julie Vincent)


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