The district’s paraprofessionals of the year were Lita Speck at Byars Dowdy Elementary School; Deanna Freeman at Castle Heights Elementary School; Ann Smith at Coles Ferry Elementary School; Barbara Davis at Sam Houston Elementary School; Amy Chapman at Walter J. Baird Middle School; and Debbie Gray at Winfree Bryant Middle School.
The district’s teachers of the year were Tomekia Marshall at Byars Dowdy; Jamie Ricketts at Castle Heights; Cassie Urban at Coles Ferry; Brenda Blevins at Sam Houston; Hannah Petty at Walter J. Baird; and Jessica Johns at Winfree Bryant.
Lebanon Director of Schools Scott Benson discussed the district’s growth plans, as well as the district’s “minor” issues with Tennessee Ready testing last month.
The district bought 57 acres of land at the corner of Coles Ferry Pike and Hartmann Drive for $1.3 million in 2015 to secure land for a future school, and tapped Thompson-Steed LLC last month as the construction management agency to oversee the project.
“We have four architectural firms that have turned in proposals to us. We are in the process of evaluating these right now,” Benson said. “We’ll have a decision to make, and we’ll bring that before you, as well. We’re getting close to that.”
The district joined several other districts throughout the state that encountered testing issues with the Tennessee Ready assessment last month. The district suspended testing for a day during the first week of exams.
“I think our issues were minimized for a couple of reasons,” said Benson, who said the district’s one-to-one technology plan helped the district during troubles with the exam.
“A lot of the submission issues that other districts were having, we had those issues, but yet, we had an individual Chromebook for each student, so we weren’t held up with other students trying to get on that same computer if we were having issues,” Benson said. “We could just put that computer aside and try to submit, say at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and that worked really well for us. We did have a few hiccups, but I think we took that in stride.”
Benson updated the board on the state’s actions regarding state testing, which essentially made this a “hold harmless” year for teachers, students and schools.
“We’re fully committed to online testing, and that’s where we need to go and the direction we’re moving in. We have been fully prepared for that for years in our district, so we want them to get this worked out,” Benson said.