Education focus of Chamber Town News meeting

Jacob Smith • Aug 25, 2017 at 2:10 PM

Three local leaders in the education field spoke to the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce on Friday morning at its monthly Chamber Town News meeting.

Donna Wright, Scott Benson and Paul Stumb represented local schools at the meeting.

Wright, director of Wilson County Schools, spoke first and talked about the need to emphasize focus on the students as the county schools grow.

“With people relocating here faster than we can respond, it creates tension, and we lose focus about what our purpose is as far as educating boys and girls,” said Wright.

Wilson County public schools currently have 18,450 students and continue to grow.

“We’re seeing more and more families that will literally call and interview the school district to get questions answered,” said Wright. “Many of them are coming from the Midwest, some coming from the East and out of Maryland who are more or less relocating here with home businesses, because with the worldwide web, they can work anywhere, anytime, anyplace.”

Benson, director of schools for the Lebanon Special School District, spoke after Wright about the improvements Lebanon schools have seen in literacy.

“When we started the school year, of course we had goals,” said Benson. “A couple of years ago, we drew a line in the sand when it comes to literacy and students reading on grade level.”

According to Benson, the state goal for the amount of students reading on grade level by 2025 is 75 percent. Just a few years ago, Lebanon Special School District  were at about 40 percent. At the start of this year, Lebanon City Schools were at 82 percent.

“We’re working on those other 18 percent,” said Benson. “It’s going to continue to be a goal until we’re at 100 percent.”

Stumb, Cumberland University’s president, was the last to speak. He talked about all of the recent growth happening at Cumberland University.

This year’s student enrollment at the school is just more than 2,300, Cumberland’s largest enrollment ever.

“We have a very diverse group of students,” said Stumb. “That adds a lot to our campus, and really and truly, I think it adds a lot to our community.”

Stumb also talked about the new developments happening at the college with a new parking lot under construction, as well as two new sports, archery and men’s volleyball. 

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