Union City’s 2008-09 school calendar matches county’s on vacation days
In keeping with a commitment to make Union City schools as family-friendly as possible, the Union City School Board approved a 2008-09 school calendar Monday evening that will allow students and personnel to enjoy the same fall, spring and Christmas vacation times as students in the Obion County School System.
Teachers will be able to work in the classrooms in preparation for the upcoming school year any time the week beginning July 28 — with two days of such commitment that week called for. The second date will be specifically July 31. Staff development days will be Aug. 1 and 4 and registration will be Aug. 5. A third work day is set for Aug. 6 and then students will begin the 2008-09 year in their classrooms Aug. 7.
Oct. 9, a Thursday, will be an abbreviated day for students so their parents can have conferences with their teachers. Students will also be out of school Oct. 10 while their teachers take part in a staff development day. Then fall break will begin in earnest Oct. 13 and continue through Oct. 17. Thanksgiving holidays will extend from Nov. 26-28 and students and staff will be able to enjoy the Christmas break Dec. 22 through Jan. 2, with students picking up yet another day off on Jan. 5, while their teachers show up for staff development.
Spring break will be April 6-10 and school will dismiss May 22, provided there are no “snow days” to be made up.
Director of Schools Gary Houston stressed that snow days — or any other days when the calendar is interrupted unexpectedly and students miss an opportunity to learn — are always made up at the close of the school year. Therefore, families should not make plans to leave on vacation and seniors should not make plans to depart on senior trips or report for work, military obligations or other academic pursuits immediately after the final day of classes listed on the calendar. These plans can be rudely interrupted if the weather or other unanticipated interruptions affect the state-mandated number of days of school students are expected to attend.
The 2008-09 calendar also has several other holidays built in when students and faculty will have a break.
While the major holidays will be a match for the two local chool systems, Union City students will return to their classrooms a week earlier than students attending Obion County schools and will complete their academic year a week earlier.
The 2008-09 calendar will be posted on the school Web site soon, according to a spokesman for the school system.
In other action, the board approved a consent agenda that covered accepting a bid for a deep fat fryer provided by Federal Equipment Dealers Inc. of Memphis. It was the only bid submitted from the nine sought. The board also approved Nick Markle, a student at the University of Tennessee at Martin and a former student of the new Union City High School football assistant coach Wes Kennedy at Fayette Academy, as a non-faculty football coach.
Students in the 8th grade Science Club at Union City Middle School also received permission to make an overnight trip to Chattanooga to tour Rock City, Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain and to take part in an overnight educational adventure at the aquarium there. Students will not only be able to explore the aquarium but will be able to sleep in areas of the facility where they will be surrounded by aquatic life. The aquarium visit and other aspects of the trip will be beneficial to students in their study of Earth’s geological changes; forces and motion; and various biomes from life, earth and physical science. The trip is planned for May 6-7.
Delegates from UCHS who will be attending the upcoming Student Congress on Policies in Education conference in Nashville were present for the session. These included student school board member Doreal Strayhorn and Sloane Bradberry, Hailey Fishel and Maddie Harris. UCHS teacher Melissa Rice will accompany the students as they take part in mock school board proceedings and learn how boards make policy while taking into account the various federal, state and local laws affecting education.
Union City Elementary School instructional coach Sandy Anderson told the board how she works to impact the quality of education at the schools. She said her role is to affect the educational process through instruction, planning, collaborative meetings and involvement of parents. She stressed the importance of providing research-based material for teachers and of making sure there is a flow of consistency from grade to grade. She mentioned the School Improvement Plan in effect and said she is charged with making sure plans are implemented and teachers have the assistance they need to do this.
The benefit of parental involvement, ranging from having moms or dads on hand in the morning hours to help deal with office overflow and to direct and sign in guests to performing hands-on tasks in preparing some teaching supplies, was stressed by Mrs. Anderson. School-sponsored events such as Parent Reading Night and efforts to communicate through special letters from Mrs. Anderson that are sent to parents in report cards are also part of the effort to benefit every student’s educational experience at UCES, she said.
In response to a question from board member Dr. Wright Jernigan about the quality of education for students who are not at the top of their class but are also not identified as needing special targeted help, Mrs. Anderson said the goal is to look at each educational objective from top to bottom and to determine appropriate interventions at every level. “All children learn at different rates and we are committed to providing the best for every student. I try to develop plans that involve all children, but we are aware of concerns such as this and we are working to improve,” she said.
In a personnel update, Director of Schools Gary Houston noted that UCES first grade teacher Amanda Jimerson has submitted her resignation. Her letter expresses a desire to be a full-time parent for her newborn baby. Cristina Grimm has been hired to assume responsibility for the class for the remainder of the school year.
In the director’s report, Houston congratulated the system Teachers of the Year: Katie Hall from UCES, Sherri Sisco from UCMS and Lance Morgan from UCHS. These will represent the system in the regional competition.
He reminded board members that the annual Tennessee School Boards Association Day on the Hill will be Feb. 26 in Nashville and board members will have the opportunity to discuss their concerns with Rep. Phillip Pinion and Sen. Roy Herron that morning, following a special breakfast with legislators and a review of TSBA concerns and legislative proposals.
Board members heard from parent Devona Cummings about a dress code issue concerning her daughter. Board chairman Janice Faulk urged Ms. Cummings to discuss her concerns directly with UCHS principal Barry Duncan and thanked her for alerting the board to issues related to the dress code.
Referring to extensive written reports from each of the schools in the system, which are provided for the board each month, Houston said students at UCES are participating in TCAP “test talks” aimed at encouraging students to do their best on the upcoming assessments. He noted that 85 UCES students are taking part in tutoring for at-risk children each week.
He congratulated the school on the success of the recent book fair and noted that fifth-grader Matthew Edmaiston won second place in the school’s fifth-grade division and went on to represent the school in the Obion County Spelling Bee Feb. 1.
The UCES physical education department hosted the annual health fair recently and students and faculty participated in a variety of health screenings and checks.
The report from UCMS included a statement of thanks to parent Jane Hale and other PTO members for work done remodeling a former teacher work area as an attractive conference room for teachers and parents. UCMS teacher Megan Miller was recently recognized by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee as a “Feature Teacher.”
Kristina Downey claimed the UCMS Geography Bee prize and Jason Stone won the school’s spelling bee and claimed second place in the countywide bee.
UCMS played host to board members and central office staff recently at a delicious breakfast marking school board education week. School employees at each of the schools have “gone the extra mile” in expressing their appreciation to the board during this special time, a board member said later.
The UCHS report included the information that 29 students are involved in online after school courses to help them gain credit in core classes in hopes they can graduate with their classes. The courses include Gateway Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, English 12, Economics and U.S. Government.
At the annual Fall Sports Banquet, team physician Dr. Sam Bradberry was recognized for his 26 years of service to the team. He has retired and will be replaced by board member Dr. Jernigan.
Houston noted that UCHS senior Taylor Bruff recently received an appointment to West Point.
Published in The Messenger 2.13.08