BY LAUREN HENRY
The Greene County Partnership Board of Directors monthly lunch meeting heard from Erika Berry, outreach associate with State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), to inform the Partnership board about the state's new Common CORE curriculum standards being implemented in both city and county schools.
Berry was introduced by both Director of Greene County Schools Dr. Vicki Kirk and Greeneville Director of Schools Dr. Linda Stroud.
In her presentation, Berry outlined changes in education that have already been in place, and those set to come in the next school year.
"Schools are going to get harder," Berry said. "That's a good thing. It is good for the community to expect that."
The campaign is called "Expect More, Achieve More," and is built on changing expectations in education in order to force schools to improve education and better prepare children for graduation, college, and entering the workforce.
The coalition created to support the Common CORE standards in the State of Tennessee has more than 130 organizations on board, Berry said.
These include not only schools themselves but community organizations and goverment that have a stake in education.
Common CORE is something that has been adopted by the vast majority of states nationwide in hopes of improving their education systems, which Berry said have slipped.
In 2009 Tennessee raised standards, and Berry said the state is poised to do so again.
Education will shift from answer-based and results-driven teaching to taking the time to educate students on how problems are solved.
It also means reducing the number of standards teachers are given to allow more in-depth and focused teaching.
Berry called it less memoriziation and more understanding.
"This is what kids need not just in Tennessee, but across the U.S." she said.
Last year Common CORE math and English/language arts (ELA) standards for kindergarten through second-grade were implemented. This year, third-grade through eighth-grade partial math standards were implemented.
Next year, ELA and full math standards will be added to grades three through eight.
Also, grades nine through 12 will see common CORE standards for math and ELA, and grades six through 12 will see literacy standards.
New assessments, which Stroud and Kirk say will be entirely computer-based, will replace current TCAP tests in math and ELA.
Part of the change in standards begins with training the teachers in the new methods of education.
Greeneville hosted the workshops this July to do just that.
The three-day training session in Greeneville began the transition to Common CORE, and was the largest Tennessee Department of Education teacher-training program in state history.
Tammy Kinser, Partnership Tourism Director, announced upcoming GCP-related events for 2013.
* April 5 through 6: Greeneville will host the Pioneer Challenge Cheer and Dance Competition at Pioneer arena. Kinser said the tourism and sports council will recruit teams from elementary-age through college-age from all over the Southeast.
"If tourism is involved, it has to put heads in beds," Kinser said. "Therefore we are seeking teams outside our area. Local, too."
* October 24, the South Atlantic Conference athletic directors will meet to discuss the 2014-15 men's and women's basketball championship. Greeneville submitted a bid to host the championship, Kinser said.
* Sept. 6 through 8 will be a Tusculum College Soccer Tournament, which will attract four men's and four women's teams. Kinser said a meeting next week will discuss bringing younger teams to the tournament.
"It will be a weekend full of soccer, and we are hoping to pack out the hotel rooms for that," she said.
An update on U.S. Nitrogen indicated things are progressing smoothly.
"In another week we will probably see a lot of activity out at the site over there," said Tom Ferguson, Partnersip president and CEO.
State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, gave a brief overview of Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer's visit to Greene county Wednesday.
Hawk and State Sen. Steve Southerland, R-1st, of Morristown, accompanied Schroer on his drive-through visit to Greene County.
The first stop was the dangerous intersection of Bridge Burners Boulevard and U.S. 11E, in western Greene County.
Work has been ongoing to improve the safety of the intersection. In July, eight new signs were installed as an initial safety measure.
Hawk mentioned plans to add lighting to help with the fog problem as well as talks to improve egress and ingress.
Hawk also asked the commissioner to look at the overall safety of 11E.
"Ironically, while we were driving, we saw several near-misses," Hawk said.
Hawk requested that the commissioner look into the safety of the road amidst discussions and planning for a loop around the bypass.
Dr. Kirk gave the partnership an update about the Pathways Program.
The Workforce Education (WE) Committee hopes to transform local education into a series of pathways to equip students for skilled, high-paying local jobs.
The WE Committee is composed of individuals from the Greene County and Greeneville school systems, Walters State Community College (WSCC), and the Greene County Partnership, as well as local industry.
The committee has been meeting since last summer and now hopes that it will be ready to introduce the pathways program to students in time for January registration.
Kirk said there will be five pathways by the time the program is complete.
The health and science pathway is ready, and the WE is now working on the manufacturing pathway.
The nominating committee announced members who have served two three-year terms and are no longer eligible to serve on the Partnership: Lisa Crum, Randy Rumbley, Brian Click, and Bob Leonard.
The nominating committee is working on replacing those members, but will not release names at this time.
Approved new members are the following: Bossard North America, Daniel Tyler, Fastener distributor; First Franklin Financial, Phil Neas, Financial Services; WCYB, WEMT, CW, Candy Crigger; Accurate Realty, Wayne Ailshie; Reformation Lutheran Church, the Rev. Rick Ohsiek; and Rotary Club of Greeneville.