Union City School System recognized with state award

Union City School System recognized with state award

Cliff Sturdivant, addressing the Union City School Board Monday night, reminded members that no other high school of comparable size in the State of Tennessee offers the number of AP courses as Union City High School.
It was one of several items Sturdivant and Dr. Norma Gerrell called attention to before presenting the prestigious Exemplary District banner and certificate to Union City Director of Schools Gary Houston and Vicki Wilkinson, who is the system’s classroom/curriculum coordinator.
Sturdivant is the West Tennessee CORE Strategic Planning director. Dr. Gerrell is the Northwest CORE director for the Tennessee Department of Education.
They praised the system for meeting more than half the achievement goals and said the system’s effort on behalf all of children was impressive. “It’s evident you are trying to do things to meet students needs where they are,” Dr. Gerrell said.
Across the state, only 21 districts raised proficiency levels on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests, made substantial progress in closing gaps between groups of students and ensured improvement for racial minorities, as well as students with disabilities, limited English proficiency and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The banner and plaque testify to the Union City School System’s effort and Houston was quick to credit Mrs. Wilkinson and the staff for their hard work.
In other business, the board voted to return Glenda Caudle to her responsibilities as chairman for a two-year term, with Cathy Waggoner tapped to stay on as the vice chairman. Board members also elected Curtis McLendon as the Tennessee Legislative Network representative of the system.
Houston was given the go-ahead to purchase two buses for system use, with one to be put into service immediately. The second vehicle was purchased at a greatly reduced price, compared to the bill that would be due at a later date, and will have its state-mandated 15 years of eligibility in force only when it is actually put to use, Houston said.  
The board also approved the School System Compliance Report and bills and heard a personnel update. UCHS math teacher J.B. Murphy has expressed his intention to retire after 36 years of teaching, more than 30 of those in the Union City School System. His retirement will become effective at the close of the current semester. Tiffany Carlton has been tapped to take over his classes when school resumes in the new year.
In his director’s report, Houston noted that the system had, so far, not been affected so dramatically with absenteeism due to flu and strep throat as have neighboring systems, so it has not been necessary to dismiss classes at this point. While the numbers have been higher than usual, they have been below 10 percent and, as of Monday, absenteeism at the high school and middle school had improved, although the numbers were up at the elementary school.
Houston called attention to the efforts of School Health Coordinator Kristen Miles for her work on the Healthier Schools Challenge and noted that the system had received bronze level recognition in the effort to merge health with academics to create student success. The program involved motivating all stake holders to create healthier school environments, encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors and promote the connection between health and academic success.
The director of schools called attention to the outstanding musical programs that have taken place recently with the system’s younger students, praising the work of teachers Linda Harrelson and Nolin Cloyd, as well as Jane Hale, who has been working with Mrs. Cloyd’s classes during the teacher’s extended absence. He noted special music programs and the efforts of members of the Voices of UCES and Chorus Kids at the elementary school to bring holiday cheer to the community. He also called attention to the success of Sunday’s Union City Middle School band concert and praised instructors Jason Deem and John Easley, as well as the students.
Houston reminded the board they will be hosting a Christmas luncheon at UCHS for members of the Union City School Foundation today at noon. The foundation has awarded nearly $2 million to the school system since 1998, with the bulk of the funding coming from the Verhine Grants. The foundation, made up of those with an interest in the system, makes the grants each year. That group is encouraging anyone with an interest in the school system to contribute to the foundation as a way of providing extra educational incentives and opportunities, beyond those things made possible by the regular budget.
Students in the Union City School System will begin their Christmas holiday with early dismissals Dec. 19 and teachers and students will return to classrooms Jan. 2, Houston said in closing.
Dr. Wright Jernigan and student board member Joseph Shanks were absent from Monday’s school board session.

Published in The Messenger 12.12.12

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