Local News Articles

Shelton Arrested on Drug and Theft Charges

December 30, 2010
Dwayne Page
 Jeremy Silas Shelton
Dorian Soza Hernandez
Claude Patrick Trimble

Smithville Police arrested a 21 year old man on Tuesday, December 28th on drug and theft charges after checking out a shoplifting complaint at Save A Lot.

Chief Randy Caplinger said Jeremy Silas Shelton of Jacobs Pillar Road was taken into custody by Officer David Phillips and charged with sale and delivery of a controlled substance and theft of merchandise. Officer Phillips responded to Save A Lot to investigate a shoplifting complaint. Upon arrival he found that Shelton had taken two bottles of Ibuprofen, put them in his pocket and attempted to leave the store without paying for them. Upon receiving verbal consent to search his person, police found in Shelton's left jacket pocket two plastic wrappers of a white powdered substance believed to be methamphetamine. Bond for Shelton is $3,500 and his court date is January 27th.

22 year old Brandon Wayne Hutchings of Sparta was cited by Officer Scott Davis on Christmas eve for shoplifting at Dollar General Store. Hutchings was observed by a store employee placing merchandise on his person and walking out the door without paying for the items. His court date is January 6th.

20 year old Dorian Soza Hernandez of McMinnville was arrested on Christmas Day by Officer James Cornelius for simple possession of paraphernalia, resisting arrest and public intoxication. Officer Cornelius responded to 713 West Broad Street where a fight was taking place in the roadway. Upon arrival the officer found both persons in the parking lot of Bridgeway Motel. Hernandez was intoxicated and upon being placed under arrest, he became very belligerent and began resisting, pulling away, and refusing to comply. A search of his person revealed a hypodermic needle in his right front pocket. Bond for Hernandez is $3,500 and his court date is January 20th.

46 year old Claude Patrick Trimble of Tabernacle Road was arrested on Christmas Day by Officer James Cornelius for driving on a suspended license, evading arrest, possession of paraphernalia and DUI. Officer Cornelius was called to check out a vehicle that had run off the roadway. The same vehicle had also been traveling in the oncoming traffic lane on Highway 56 south. The officer saw a vehicle turn onto South Mountain Street from Meadow Brook Drive dragging approximately 20 feet of barbed wire. The automobile matched the description of the vehicle that had run off the roadway on Highway 56 south. As the officer activated his blue lights, the vehicle accelerated and then turned in at the trailer park on South Mountain Street. As the driver stopped and attempted to get out of his vehicle, Officer Cornelius approached the automobile and advised him to stay inside. He then requested backup from other officers. As Officer Cornelius spoke to the driver, Trimble, he noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he had slurred speech. Trimble was asked to step out of the vehicle. He was unsteady on his feet. Sergeant Joey Jones saw Trimble remove a hypodermic needle from his pocket and drop it on the ground. Bond for Trimble is $5,000 and his court date is January 20th.

32 year old Don Eugene Griffith Jr. of Murfreesboro was arrested on Sunday, December 26th by Officer Scott Davis for failure to appear in a Rutherford County court for domestic assault. Officer Davis became aware of the warrant against Griffith after investigating a burglary call on Gentry Avenue.

Meanwhile anyone having information on criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Donors Urged to Give Blood on January 4th

December 30, 2010
Dwayne Page

Winter weather is having a negative impact on the American Red Cross blood program.

Over the last couple of weeks, numerous blood drives were cancelled and those that did remain open experienced low donor turnout.

The winter months are a difficult time for blood collection. Snow and ice can cause blood drive cancellations; donors are more likely to suffer from colds and the flu, making them ineligible to give blood and people are busy with holiday planning and travel and either don't have the time or forget to give blood.

"We face a difficult situation each year because donations typically drop during the holiday season. However, the need for blood is constant," said Sean Armstrong, DeKalb County Blood Program Representative. "The Tennessee Valley Region needs 600 people to present to donate blood each day, no matter what the weather, to meet patient need at our 59 hospitals."

You can help by donating blood at the Smithville Community Blood Drive on Tuesday, January 4th from noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church located at 201 South College Street in Smithville.

All presenting donors receive a specially designed Elvis themed rock & roll T-shirt, while supplies last. Plus, all presenting donors are eligible to enter the "Ultimate Elvis Sweepstakes."

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Thank you for taking an hour out of your day to help save up to three lives.

McCowan Charged with Theft and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

December 28, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 25 year old man with theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Chief Randy Caplinger said Joshua Lynn McCowan of Morgan Drive was arrested by Officer David Phillips on Sunday, December 19th. Earlier that day, Sergeant Randy King took a theft report. The victim stated that he had given McCowan a ride to his residence and as McCowan exited the vehicle he took with him a .22 caliber bolt action rifle, belonging to the victim. The man tried to stop McCowan from taking the gun but was unsuccessful. Officers then went to McCowan's residence to interview him. He was asked to step outside with Officer Phillips as Sergeant King spoke with the other occupants. Upon stepping out on the stoop of the residence, Officer Phillips saw McCowan drop a syringe from his hand onto the concrete stoop. Police also recovered the gun. Bond for McCowan was $2,500 and his court date is February 27th.

In another case, 42 year old Kimberly Dawn Foster of McMinnville was issued a citation on Monday, December 20th for simple possession of a schedule III and IV controlled substance. Corporal Travis Bryant received a call of a suspicious vehicle at Mapco Express Upon investigation, Corporal Bryant made contact with Foster. Corporal Bryant confirmed that she was on parole. Foster consented to a search of her property. Found in her purse were schedule III and IV drugs. Her court date is January 6th.

Meanwhile while assisting Corporal Bryant at Mapco, Officer Scott Davis was given permission by the passenger of Foster's vehicle, 31 year old Terra Nadean Rippe of McMinnville to search her property. Found in Ms. Rippe's purse was a schedule III drug. Ms. Rippe was also cited into court on January 6th..

40 year old Terry Lee King Sr. of Bybee Woods Drive was arrested on Monday, December 20th for criminal impersonation. While investigating a suspicious vehicle Corporal Travis Bryant made contact with a man who identified himself as Lee Knowles. He also gave a date of birth. Upon further investigation Corporal Bryant learned that he was actually Terry King and that he attempted to conceal his identity due to an arrest warrant out of Warren County for failure to appear. Bond for King is $1,500 and his court date is January 6th.

Meanwhile anyone having information on any criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest in Recent Burglary and Theft

December 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Matthew Malachi Lawson
Claude Trimble

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary.

27 year old Matthew Malachi Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville is charged with sale of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid), aggravated burglary, and theft of property over $10,000. He is under a $70,000 bond and his court date is January 6th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on December 8th, Lawson allegedly kicked open the back door of a residence on Antioch Road and took several items from the home including two jewelry boxes containing a gold waterfall ring, four leaf clover diamond pin, gold necklace with red, white, and blue charm and several other pieces of jewelry. All items were valued at over $10,000.

Meanwhile on July 7th, Lawson allegedly sold a schedule II drug (dilaudid) to a confidential source during an undercover drug operation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

In another case, 37 year old Christie Michelle Willoughby of South Chancery Street, McMinnville was issued a citation for failure to drive within her lane, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (xanax), violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance) and driving on a suspended license. Her court date is January 6th.

According to Sheriff Ray, Willoughby was stopped for failure to maintain her lane of travel on Highway 146 on Monday, December 20th. As the deputy walked up to the vehicle, Willoughby allegedly tried to swallow a pill and on the floorboard in plain sight, was a xanax (a schedule IV controlled substance). The officer searched Willoughby's purse and found another xanax. A computer check revealed that her drivers license were suspended and she did not have insurance.

46 year old Claude Trimble also known as Hoss Roller is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. He was also issued a citation for failure to give immediate notice of an accident. He will be in court on January 20th.

Trimble is further charged with failure to appear in general sessions court in a separate case on September 20th. He will appear in court on this charge January 6th.

His bond totals $6,500.

Trimble also faces charges from the Smithville Police Department.

Sheriff Ray said that on Christmas Day, Trimble was involved in a traffic accident on Highway 56 south and left the scene. He was later stopped by Smithville Police. In the accident, Trimble's vehicle struck a fence, tearing down the top strand of barbed wire. When stopped by police, Trimble admitted to hitting the fence and not stopping after the accident

Christmas Eve Fire Leaves Liberty Family Homeless

December 25, 2010
Dwayne Page

A Christmas eve fire left a Liberty family homeless Friday night.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the home of Phillip and Natasha Waggoner at 270 Groom Street, Liberty at 9:40 p.m. after a passerby spotted the blaze and reported it to 911.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said the house was already engulfed in flames by the time firefighters were notified and they could not save the home. The family has a sick child in a Nashville hospital so the Waggoners were not at home at the time of the fire.

Neighbors salvaged a few items from the basement but most of the family's belongings were lost in the fire. The cause is undetermined.

Members of the Liberty, Short Mountain Highway, Temperance Hall, Main Station, and Tanker #1 responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department.

Honorees Named in ACS "Love Lights a Tree" Fundraiser

December 24, 2010
Dwayne Page
Love Lights a Tree Honorees
Support Love Lights a Tree

The DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society seeks your support in the "Love Lights a Tree fundraising campaign." This annual event gives area residents the opportunity to honor a special person during the holiday season and aid in cancer research.

The "Love Lights a Tree" project is designed to raise money not only for research, but includes cancer education and patient services. Donations in honor of and in memory of a special person can be made throughout the holiday season. The persons you honor or remember do not necessarily have to have suffered from cancer.

The names of honorees are as follows:

Kent Smithson, Mike Breeding, Polly Turner, Nadean Turner, Jimmy Taylor, Sandra Wall, Patsy Judkins, Violet Fuson, Margie Smith, Donald Smith, McKinley Jones, Ruth Pirtle, Linda Judkins, Carolyn Sheets, Ralph Curtis, Lisa Anderson, Willie Turner, Radley Hendrixson, David Terrell, Earl D. France, Georgie Willoughby, Macon Hale, Veronica Kay Atnip, and Emma Petty

In memory:

Jack Midgett, Velma Midgett, Frances Scramick, Dick Scramick, Joe Huffman, Judy Huffman, Shane Hawkins, Judy Hawkins, Lonnie Wilkins, Becky Wilkins, Peggy Roller, Rebecca Beason, Carl R. Cathcart, T.C. McMillen, Leonard Gwyn, Howard Stanley, Martha Cathcart, Will Allen Cathcart, William Doyle Thomason, William Paul Thomason, Ewin Sandlin, Sherman Love, James Gantzer, Barbara Page, Charles L. Redmon, Clara Carter, Frances Haley, B. Akin, Mai Akin, John D. Akin,

Buddy Cook, Bob Cook, Jessie Cook, Pam B. Cook, Lucille Cook Harris, Brownie Haley, Arzie Usrey, June Nixon, Len Judkins, Earl Judkins, Marie Judkins, Clyde Randolph, Mary Randolph, Ruth Elder, Jordon Steinbach, Brackett Luna, Nadean Luna, Margaret Freeman, Leonard M. Freeman, Sr., L.M. "Buddy" Freeman, Kevin Sanders, Houston Braswell, Eugene Braswell, Hattie Velma Braswell, Betty Jean Braswell, Courtney Pirtle, Nell Judkins,

Austin Vaughn, Linnie Johnson, Alfred England, Helen England, Paul Johnson, Dr. W.E. Vanatta, Kathy Crouch, Homer Lee Ellis, Green Wall, Maud Wall, Esker Harrison, Eva Harrison, Vada Pauline Herndon, Luther Fuson, Pearl Fuson, Lewis Cobb, Floyce Vaughn, Florene Sanders, Peggy Palmer, Ted Beck, Curtis Adams, Clyde Redmon, Foster Redmon, Tracy Cassidy, Glenn Smith

Lynn Duke, H.C. Duke, Kathy Foster, Gail Cripps, Emily Cripps, J. Van Walls, Jack G. Rhody, Charles L. Johnson, Angel Mahler, Mary L. Collins, Ruby Pinegar, Ewin Vanatta, Eveleen Walls, Donnie Edge, Helen Jones Mayo, Mallow Herndon, Sara Frances Herman, Nina Phillips, Vada Reeder, George Reeder, Bertie Reeder, C.T. Phillips, Sr., Edna Pauline Phillips, Sandra Willoughby, Billy J. France, James Alvie France,

Royce L. Givens, Jr., Dr. Jerry Puckett, Woodrow Frazier, John Larry Frazier, Billie Ann Frazier, Harold Hoover, Stanley E. Wallace, Virgil Smith, Nan Smith, Grady Crook, Eva Crook, Will Allen Crook, John Paul Grubb, Robert Joines, Johnnie Joines, Marvin Hutson, Lular Hutson, Edward Hobson, H.R. Rosson, Jewell Dean Alligood, Doris Janette Chapman, Chester Chapman, Walter Cubbins, Wilma Cubbins

Jim Truitt Hale, Jack Barnes, Dorotha Barnes, Donald Johnson Estes, Billy Estes, Sr., Marshall Estes, Lloyd Redmon, William Michael Murphy, Vera L. Davenport, Vanice King Davenport, Billy Cooper Pruitt, Sr., Bobby Carroll Pruitt, Leonard Nixon, Betty Nixon Vickers.

Love lights are $5.00 each. Forms are available at most banks in DeKalb County. The name of every person honored or remembered will be placed on a display board located on the south lawn of the courthouse through the holiday season.

For more information contact Iva Dell Randolph at 597-5296, Violet Fuson at 597-4483, Linda Luna at 597-5837, Barbara Ashford at 931-417-6563, Melanie Judkins at 597-1132, or Casey Midgett at 597-2089.

Arrest Made in Attempted Robbery at Subway Restaurant

December 24, 2010
Dwayne Page
Justin Robb

A man, wanted by U.S. Marshals in an Arlington, Virginia bank robbery parole/probation violation was arrested by Smithville Police Friday afternoon, after allegedly attempting to commit a robbery at the Subway Restaurant in Smithville.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said 26 year old Justin Robb, who has a Byrdstown address, is charged with aggravated robbery and his bond is set at $75,000. He is being held without bond on the parole/probation violation.

According to Smithville Police Officer Travis Bryant, Robb entered the Subway restaurant building through a back entrance, used only by employees. He then came through the stock room and into the restaurant behind the counter.

The only employee on duty at the time, who was in front of the counter doing some cleaning, saw Robb standing near the cash register and asked if she could help him, or words to that effect.

Officer Bryant said Robb told her "you know what I want" and warned her that he had a weapon, although he never displayed any weapon. He then kicked open the door to the safe, which was setting on the floor behind the counter. But, according to Officer Bryant, Robb left without taking anything from the safe or the cash register, making his exit through the rear of the building where he had entered. No one was injured.

The restaurant employee ran to the front of the adjoining Kwik-N-Ezy market and had the store clerk there call 911. Central dispatch alerted officers in the area at 3:07 p.m. to be on the lookout for the suspect.

Brandon Donnell, a DeKalb County Sheriff's Deputy, was patroling in the area and spotted a man fitting the description of the suspect walking through the parking lot of the Kwik-N-Ezy. Officer Donnell drove up, got out of his cruiser, and detained the man until other officers arrived.

Robb was taken into custody by Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis and Deputy Donnell. Robb was subsequently questioned about the incident and charged in the case.

Robb is currently being held in the DeKalb County Jail.

Chief Caplinger said Robb has been very tightlipped, not disclosing much information about himself or why he was in Smithville. Officers could not find any vehicle in the area belonging to him.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 9.3% in November

December 23, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for November increased to 9.3%, up from the October rate of 8.9% but well below the jobless rate of 10.7% in November, 2009.

The labor force in DeKalb County for November was 9,770. A total of 8,870 were employed and 910 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for the month was third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:

Pickett County-15.5%
Clay- 12.2%
Fentress- 11.1%
Warren- 11%
Van Buren 10.8%
Jackson- 10.3%
Cumberland- 10.3%
Cannon- 10.1%
Overton 9.9%
Macon 9.6%
DeKalb- 9.3%
Putnam 8.7%
Smith- 8.1%

Meanwhile, Tennessee's unemployment rate for November was 9.4 percent, unchanged from the October rate. The national unemployment rate for November 2010 was 9.8 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from the October rate.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for November 2010, released today, show that the rate increased in 85 counties, decreased in eight counties and remained the same in two counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.3 percent, up from the October rate of 6.0 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.9 percent, up from 18.9 percent in the previous month, followed by Marshall County at 16.2 percent, up from the October rate of 15.4 percent.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.2 percent, up from 7.0 percent in October. Hamilton County was 8.1 percent, up from 7.8 percent the previous month. Davidson County was 8.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month, and Shelby County was 9.9 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from October.

DeKalb County Records Three Traffic Fatalities in 2010

December 22, 2010
Dwayne Page

Three people have lost their lives as a result of traffic accidents on DeKalb County roads this year and local and state authorities will be working through the holidays to make sure that number does not increase. There were seven fatalities in DeKalb County last year.

On Sunday, January 10th, 47 year old Lisa A. Hallmon of Avant Circle, Alexandria died when her 1988 Cadillac struck a DeKalb County garbage truck on Highway 70 near Sligo bridge.

On Wednesday, September 15th, 44 year old Priscilla Judkins was a passenger of a Dodge Caravan that crashed on East Broad Street in Smithville. She later died at Vanderbilt Hospital. The driver of the vehicle was Donald Henson. Smithville Police said Henson rear-ended an eastbound 1994 Toyota pickup truck that was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of Broad Street and South Mountain Street. After crashing into the truck, Henson left the scene and turned into the parking lot of Curves where he came to a stop after trying to the drive the vehicle up an embankment.

On Monday, November 29th, 63 year old Wanda K. Harrison of Dowelltown was involved in a head-on crash on West Broad Street near DCHS. Harrison was in a 2009 Honda SUV traveling west when her vehicle veered into a 1994 Chevy pickup. Harrison died later at Vanderbilt Hospital.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturated patrols at various times through January 2nd targeting drunk drivers on State Highway 146, U.S. 70 east and west, State Highway 56 north and south, State Highway 53 in Liberty and Alexandria, and State Highway 96 on Dale Ridge.

Meanwhile in conjunction with the National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be cranking up its enforcement effort throughout the upcoming Christmas and New Year's Day celebrations to find and remove impaired drivers from Tennessee roadways. State Troopers will be conducting more than 100 sobriety and driver license checkpoints with a clear message to motorists – "Don't Wreck the Holidays."

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety checkpoints in DeKalb County on Friday, December 31st on State Route 53 north .2 miles north of the 4 mile marker and on Highway 56 south at DeKalb Memorial Gardens.

THP is also participating in the national campaign, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. "The Highway Patrol will be working with law enforcement officers from hundreds of agencies across the state and country to remove impaired drivers from the road," Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell said. "It is our duty to ensure the public's safety through education, regulation and especially enforcement; we take this responsibility seriously on holidays and all throughout the year."

The 2010 Christmas holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 23, and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 26, while this year's New Year's holiday period will commence at 6 p.m., Thursday, December 30, and will conclude at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 2, 2011.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. In 2009, 303 people died in Tennessee traffic crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. That's a one percent decline from the 306 impaired driving deaths in 2008, and a 19.6% decline from the 377 impaired driving deaths in 2007. Nationwide, impaired driving fatalities dropped from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,839 in 2009, a 7.4 percent decline.

"While the number of impaired driving fatalities has declined both nationwide and in Tennessee, that's not enough," said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. "We will not rest…we will not stop working until drunk driving fatalities become non-existent. Our Troopers will spare no expense to keep drunk drivers off the road en route to saving lives this holiday season. If we catch you, we will arrest you."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in December 2009, 753 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. That was down from 888 people killed in similar impaired driving crashes in 2008.

During the 2009 Christmas holiday period, six people were killed in traffic crashes on Tennessee roadways. This represents one death every 17 hours. Alcohol was involved in 33 percent of those crashes and one of the five vehicle occupants killed was not wearing a safety restraint.

Thirteen people were killed during last year's New Year's holiday period 2009-10 and 23 percent of the fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes.

In 2009, there were 989 traffic fatalities in Tennessee, down just over five percent from 1,043 fatalities in 2008. As of December 16, preliminary statistics indicate that 996 people have died on Tennessee roadways this year, an increase of 48 deaths (9 percent) compared to 948 fatalities at this same time a year ago.

If you are planning to drink alcohol with family and friends, there are several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or trauma and the financial costs associated with an impaired driving arrest.

·Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.

·If you're impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

·Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear when on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver.

·And remember, "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk". If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

·Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, other fines and court costs, towing and repairs, lost time at work, etc.

For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org .

Tennessee Schools are Improving, Not Failing

December 22, 2010

The 2009-2010 school year introduced a world of change in how Tennessee gauges the performance of our school systems, educators, and students. As a result of these changes, there will be numerous headlines in newspapers over the next several days that will indicate that our schools are failing our students. However, a quick glance at the facts paints a much different, more optimistic picture.

Prior to the changes, Tennessee faced two problems: the content of our statewide tests and the expectations of our students. Tennessee students were graduating from high school and entering college, career training, or the workforce. However, many of our graduates were not prepared for any of these difficult endeavors. After consultation with professors, industry leaders, and technical professionals, Tennessee realized that regardless of a student's post-graduation plans, the same skills were needed in order to be competitive in today's world. As a result, this year Tennessee increased the rigor of its curricula and assessments. All of the students in Tennessee will now earn a high school diploma that reflects both their hard work as well as their readiness to enter the world.

In addition to the content, Tennessee had to address expectations. In 2009, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a report which examined the assessments and performance of each state's public educational system. This report was very revealing as to Tennessee's inadequacies. Our great state was annually reporting a proficiency rate of 80% - 90% for 3rd - 8th graders in reading/language arts and math. When this report looked at the performance of our students on a national standard, though, only 20% - 30% of students were "proficient." This discrepancy had to be addressed.
Prior to this year, Tennessee defined a proficient student as one who was minimally prepared for the next level of study. With the changes, a proficient student is now one who demonstrates mastery in academic performance, thinking abilities, and application of understandings that reflect the knowledge and skills specified by the grade/course level content standards. This new definition is a drastic change in the expectations of students and recognition that students were receiving false senses of accomplishment with the tag "proficient."

With the new, more rigorous assessments and with the mark of proficiency moving from minimal to mastery, we are going to initially see lower results than in years past. However, our students are improving and performing, and as parents, educators, and communities, we must be steadfast and supportive. We must insist that the new standards remain while ensuring the resources needed are available. No one is denying that we are expecting much more from everyone involved. These increased expectations, though, will lead to economic development and jobs for our communities and an overall better quality of life for our students.

Imagine there was an archer who routinely hit the bull's eye, and everyone around him was proud. One day, the archer was told to take 10 steps back and aim at a much smaller target. Everyone questioned the changes and the archer had difficulty with the transition. Ultimately, though, with the diligent efforts of the archer and those around him, he greatly improved his skill and once again hit that bull's eye.

Our target in Tennessee has definitely moved, but our archers will once again hit that bull's eye.


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