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Cain Visits Bartlett
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Oak Elementary Stunt Pilot
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In Remembrance of September 11, 2001
The Case for Rage and Retribution
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Education and Creative Thinking
Living on the Fault
John "Bad Dog" McCormack
Shelby County Schools get all A's
Let it Snow!
Veteran's Day Ceremony 2010
Appling Middle School Salutes Veterans
Real Science at BES
Scary Bartlett
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Student Mechanics at Bolton High Earn Thousands in Scholarships as Winners in State Autoskills Finals and Advance to Nationals

Student mechanics from Bolton High and Collierville High were the top two teams in the 63rd annual Tennessee Ford/AAA Autoskills competition. Michael Morra and Tim Stewart of Bolton placed first, and Brian Ritchie and Billy Rainey of Collierville finished second. The Ford/AAA Autoskills competition is a nation-wide automotive technology challenge that brings together the best of the country's future automotive technicians. At the state finals, student teams raced against the clock to correctly diagnose and repair deliberately "bugged" Ford vehicles. The Bolton and Collierville teams were the only two to find and repair all 10 of the intentionally installed electrical and mechanical "bugs" on their 2012 model Ford Fusions, earning them thousands of dollars in college scholarships and new tools. Bolton's Michael Morra and Tim Stewart earned the chance to represent Tennessee in the national Ford/AAA Autoskills competition in Michigan on June 12 by turning in the top combined scores from both the hands-on portion of the challenge and the online exam. They'll compete for a share of $12 million in college scholarships, the opportunity to earn a NASCAR job shadowing experience and the honor of being crowned "America's Best Student Auto Technician." Paul Frye is the Automotive Technology instructor at Bolton High, and Phil Kirby teaches Automotive Technology at CHS. Both thank their local Ford dealerships (Dobbs Ford and Lander's Ford) for supporting their Auto Tech program and providing vehicles for their students to practice their competition skills.



Appling Sixth Grader "Generates" Grand Prize-Winning Project at 2011-12 SCS Science Fair

Sydney Ritter of Appling Middle School is the big winner in this year's Shelby County Schools Science Fair. Sydney took home the MLG&W "Bright Idea" Award, along with the competition's Grand Prize. She created a generator using only recycled parts from old computers. Sydney is a sixth grader in Rhodis Thompson's class at Appling. Congratulations

SCS Superintendent John Aitken Recognized by Tennessee PTA as State's "Outstanding Superintendent" of 2012

The Tennessee PTA has recognized Shelby County Schools (SCS) Superintendent John Aitken as the state's "Outstanding Superintendent" of 2012. This award is presented every year to a superintendent who not only demonstrates exceptional direction of student achievement and staff excellence, but is also committed to a positive and productive partnership with the PTA.

"I am honored to receive this special recognition from the Tennessee PTA," Aitken said. "This award is truly a testament to the wonderful support we have from parents, and I am humbled by the recognition. The partnership Shelby CountySchools has with its parents has been absolutely crucial to the success of our system, and the same is true in school systems throughout the state. As we move toward the 2013-14 school year, I am committed to increasing parental involvement in order to make the merger a success."

Aitkenwill begin his fourth year as superintendent of SCS in July. He has guided SCS to consecutive State Report Cards with all As in Academic Achievement in each of his first three years. Earlier this year, Superintendent Aitken was credited by a national review team from for fostering "a culture of collaboration, respect and trust throughout the district and among its stakeholders" - a key commendation in SCS becoming Tennessee's largest school system to be recommended for District Accreditation. Additionally, SCS has met all Race to the Top (RttT) performance goals this school year under Superintendent Aitken's direction and is one of only two large systems in the state to meet all RttT benchmarks for third grade Reading and seventh gradeMath.

Aitken regularly attends and participates in local school-level PTA meetings and functions, as well as Shelby County Council PTA meetings and the annual State PTA Convention. Furthermore, the PTA acknowledges and appreciates Aitken's efforts to meet with and hear from parents on various issues, to allow parents to have a voice in important district decisions and to fully support the district's policy requiring all schools to have a functioning PTA.

In February, Aitken received the PTA's National Lifetime Achievement Award during 2012 PTA Founders Day festivities. He is also a past PTA State Principal of the Year and PTA Lifetime Membership Award winner.

Superintendent Aitken will receive his Outstanding Superintendent Award during the 99th annual Tennessee PTA Convention in Nashville on Saturday, May 5. For more information, visit

Arlington High School Freshman Wins Trip to Washington D.C. to Represent Tennessee in National Poetry Contest

Arlington High School freshman Anita Norman was recently named state champion of the 2012 Poetry Out Loud Competition in Nashville. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition that is sponsored in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Anita competed against 36 other finalists from across the state, winning $1,200 in cash prizes and an all-expense-paid trip to represent Tennessee at the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, D.C. next month. Anita presented poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Dudley Randall and Adelaide Crapsey. Anna Terry, Arlington High's lead Poetry Club teacher, also received an all -expense paid trip to join Anita at the national competition, along with $500 to be used toward the purchase of new poetry books for the school library.

Shadowlawn's "Nerd Herd" Headed to State Championship Round of Destination


ImagiNation Program & Eighth Grader Kanak Pal "Makes the Grade"

Nerd Herd: The "Nerd Herd" of Shadowlawn Middle School has its sights set on a state crown in this year's Destination ImagiNation tournament. This impressive group of students earned a place in the state round, which will take place in Nashville next month, after winning the local tournament last week. Destination ImagiNation requires student teams to solve open-ended challenges. Working together, students are challenged to unleash their imaginations and take unique and critical approaches to problem-solving. The program not only nurtures research and inquiry skills, it also enhances communication and encourages leadership in team settings. Members of the Nerd Herd are: (L-R, bottom) Amos Nasongo and Aaron Hathaway; (L-R, top) Regan McClain, Abby Sutton, Tierra Duerkes, Anna Elmore and Madison Matern. Congratulations, and good luck next month! Making the Grade: Shadowlawn eighth grader Kanak Pal was honored for "Making the Grade" at the University of Memphis Basketball game on February 22. The U of M and Checkers honor outstanding students every month through the Making the Grade program. Kanak is an APEX student who participates in Boy Scouts, plays violin and has been the school's Spelling Bee champion for the last two years. He has also placed in the top 10 at the Memphis-Shelby County Spelling Bee in each of the last two years. Kanak and his family received tickets to the basketball game, where he was introduced to the team and fans on the arena scoreboard. His prize pack also included some U of M items and meal certificates from Checkers. Plus, his entire class received certificates for Checkers milk shakes or french fries. Congratulations!

Shadowlawn's Carter Sutton Set to Represent SCS at 2012 State Geography Bee


Congratulations to Carter Sutton on winning the Shadowlawn Middle School Geography Bee! Even better, Carter followed up his school victory with a high enough score on the state test to qualify as one of only 100 students in Tennessee to participate in the 2012 State Geography Bee later this month. Carter's teachers say he is is a bright, considerate student with a great mind, and the entire school is proud to have him represent Shadowlawn and SCS at the state level. Congratulations, and good luck!

Going to the BIG ORANGE


Saint Benedict at Auburndale left handed senior Andy Cox has signed his letter of intent with The University of Tennessee Knoxville. The 6'1, 160 lb baseball player was surrounded his family - Mom and Dad, Jeff and Lisa; Grandmother and Grandfather Richard and Diane Cox; Brother Aaron Cox. And his coaches Coach Hines and Coach Patton.

"We are extremely proud of his commitment to Tennessee, we are looking to see some exciting things from Tennessee by the time he enters the baseball program. Andy has been a great contributor here. I think his best days are going to be ahead of him. He's going to get taller and he's going to get bigger. I think Tennessee made a great choice in him," said Coach Hines.

Cox also had some input on being offered the scholarship by UT. "I am going to be very excited to go there. I like the Coaches. I hope I get some playing time starting off. I am ready to go. I am excited," said Cox


The 16-minute documentary-style video - produced by the Business Roundtable with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - features interviews with more than a dozen state leaders and education-reform figures, including Gov. Bill Haslam, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The video also includes lawmakers, parents, teachers and business leaders from across Tennessee.

"Truth for a Change" can be found online at and can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. The video was developed in association with leading Tennessee education-reform groups, including the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), Stand for Children, the Tennessee Business Education Coalition and Tennessee PTA.

"Tennessee is a national leader when it comes to raising standards and striving to make sure every student is ready for a career or college," said Jim Powell, president of the Tennessee Business Roundtable and founder of the Powell Companies, of Johnson City. "We pleased to tell Tennessee's story online with this new mini-documentary."

"The statewide business community is proud of the collective work that's been accomplished in Tennessee," added Gregg Morton, president of AT&T Tennessee and vice president of the Business Roundtable. "We hope ‘Truth for a Change' encourages policymakers, educators, parents, and students to stay the course on education reform."

The new video's title is a nod to the event that triggered Tennessee's standards-reform movement - a 2007 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that gave the state a failing grade for "truth in advertising."  At that time, the U.S. Chamber said Tennessee wasn't adequately preparing students for the demands of career and college. In the years since, the state has put in place some of the most rigorous academic standards in the country.

Secretary Duncan cited Tennessee as a national model for raising academic standards in K-12 public schools. Prior to standards reform, Tennessee claimed 91 percent of students were proficient in math. The reality, demonstrated after bringing standards in line with other states, was that only about one-third of students were proficient.

"That's a very tough message," Duncan said during a conference call with education reporters. "But guess what? It's the truth."

Tennessee's new and higher standards took effect in the 2009-10 school year and served as the basis for the state's winning bid in the national Race to the Top competition to spur education innovation. Other landmark reforms detailed in ‘Truth for a Change' include policies to use student data to improve classroom instruction, reform teacher tenure rules and improve college completion.

In addition to showing ‘Truth for a Change' online, the Tennessee Business Roundtable has limited quantities of DVDs available to civic organizations or other groups looking for education-related programming. For more information, email Cassie Lynn at:



Photo:  (L-R,  Front) Xavier Cole, Arlington High School; Khasi McDaniel, Bolton High School; and Meghan L. Claney, Health Education Facilitator (CSH); (L-R,  Back) Shunji Q. Brown-Woods, Director of CSH; Chelsea Ugarte, Collierville High School; Lauren Deberry, Arlington High School; Andreanna Williams, Southwind High School; Alivia Holtsman, Germantown Middle School; Brooke Norris, Collierville High School; Timothy Dowdy, Germantown High School; Madi Glemser, Houston High School; Brian Didlake II, Southwind High School; Ribonney Bowen, Bolton High School; and Brandi A. Morgan, Health Education Facilitator (CSH).

August 1, 2011 - Students from Shelby County Schools (SCS) joined nearly 400 youth leaders from across the state at the Tennessee Teen Institute (TTI) from June 20 -24 at Austin Peay University. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health's Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services and the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency sponsored the five-day teen institute and prevention camp. TTI is a peer-led prevention camp designed to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in the participants communities. The comprehensive program trained, organized, and empowered the youth to lead alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs prevention programs in their local community. It also addressed the need to prevent self-destruction in themselves and their peers.

Leaders Ribboney Bowen, Xavier Cole, Lauren Deberry, Brian Didlake II, Tim Dowdy, Madi Glemser, Alivia Holtsman, Khasi McDaniel, Brooke Norris, Chelsea Ugarte, and Andreanna Williams developed a comprehensive community-wide action plan at TTI that focuses on distracted driving in teens. Their goal is to bring district wide awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and to decrease the accidents that stem from it.

The community action plan correlates well with Coordinated School Health's (CSH) Prevention Advisory Council (P.A.C.). The leaders, along with the other members of their schools' Prevention Advisory Council will participate in Coordinated School Health's leadership training from August 1-5, 2011.

"The leadership training will provide students with the necessary skills needed to increase student lead participation in CSH initiatives for overall health awareness and well being of students across Shelby County," said Shunji Q. Brown-Woods, director of Coordinated School Health.

Each SCS high school (Arlington High, Bolton High, Collierville High, Germantown High, Houston High, Millington High and Southwind High) now has approximately 16 members in the newly implemented Prevention Advisory Council. Participants were chosen to serve as health advocates who will help promote healthy living amongst peers.

The P.A.C. serve as student health liaisons between CSH and their school. Students are tasked with developing school action plans that focus heavily on health promotion through events. These events can include health fairs, walk-a-thons, summer camps, and healthy living seminars.

The Prevention Advisory Council is peer-led; teens are given a unique opportunity to have a "voice" in addressing issues important to them. Giving youth some ownership in this type of program is one of the key factors in the success of enforcing a substance free lifestyle. "TTI and CSH have given me the confidence to lead health programs at my school and in the community, I'm excited about this opportunity, " stated Alivia Holtsman of Germantown High School.

Coordinated School Health's Shunji Q. Brown - Woods, Meghan L. Claney, and Brandi A. Morgan served as advisors during the TTI camp, and are leading this new program.



Golfer Bria' Sanders Meets Congressman Steve Cohen

By Joyce Crawford

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-9) took time out of his busy schedule to meet with Memphis junior golfer, and former Memphis School student Bria' Sanders, at his Memphis office recently after learning about her educational and golf achievements.

The congressman was interested in learning of Bria' attending The Hank Haney Intl. Junior Golf Academy (HH IJGA) and surprised she attends the entire school year.  "Must be awfully hard to go to high school in Hilton Head Island", he said with a smiled.

Bria' told the congressman students from more than thirty countries attend the academy and she has learned to speak to her friends in Spanish and write in Korean.  "My roommates were from Thailand, and Canada this past year", added Bria'.

She also told him about her school schedule, "School is 7:30 to 12:30, lunch, and then golf practice from 1:30 to 5 PM daily".

Rep. Cohen was impressed when he asked about her grades.  Bria' responded, "I ended up with a 3.7 GPA this year and I did some community service work traveling from Hilton Head to Savannah, GA to teach golf to kids at the First Tee of Savannah with other students from HHIJGA".

Equally impressive was Bria's golf record at the academy.  She ranked second nationally on the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) in her first year of competition and was selected to the 2011 All IJGT Team.  In addition, she traveled to Orlando to receive an award from Hank Haney for being selected to the team this past June.

At the close of the meeting, Rep. Cohen presented Bria' with the Congressional Award for Meritorious Achievement.  "You keep up the good work, I'm very proud of you young lady".

Bria' also took time, before returning to school,  to take students from local schools on an engineering field trip to Christian Brothers University (CBU) sponsored by the Bria' Sanders Foundation.  Bria's foundation provides Science, Technology Engineering, and Math (STEM) field trips for students in the area.  "Mr. Price took us through the CBU labs and showed us how they perform test, the CBU students had made a cool dune buggy, but we couldn't ride it", Bria' said with a smile. Randel M. Price is Associate Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at CBU.

This summer, when she was not practicing six days a week at Quail Ridge Golf Course, Bria' could be spotted working out with her trainer, Tony Knox, at the Forever Fit Gym in the Crescent Building on Poplar. 

Bria' received an invitation to participate in the 2011 Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge being held at Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida.   "It's a great honor and I hope I can go", stated Bria,  "It's tough on my parents sending me to school and turning around and flying me down to the Black Enterprise event, but what a great opportunity".  

Bria' who is preparing to leave the second week in August for the start of her second school year at HHIJGA will be in the tenth grade. "I'm going to miss my family and friends but we'll stay in contact via Skype and Facebook".  

Photo by Michael Sanders


Arlington High School Student among Top Finishers at 2011 National Beta Club Spelling Competition!

Carly Geis, a rising senior at Arlington High School, placed fourth in the spelling competition at the 2011 National Beta Club Convention. The competition took place on June 25 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Carly competed against Beta Club students from all over America. She was cheered by her parents and 11th grade English teacher, Allison Vannucci, who traveled to Nashville to support her throughout the competition.

Altruria Student Honors Family’s Cultural Heritage with Nationally Recognized Artwork 




Kabod Mauwong comes from a proud family with rich cultural heritage. In the classroom or on the playground, Kabod is just like any other second grader at Altruria Elementary. Yet, what impresses his teachers is the deep understanding and appreciation he has for his family's cultural background at such a young age. Kabod is a student in Alison Ross' Art class at Altruria. Ross recently sent Kabod's and 37 other students' creations to the selection panel for the 2011 NAEA National Convention's digital gallery in Seattle, Wash. She says Kabod's mask painting blends colorful aspects of both of his parents' cultures. It was the only one chosen for the gallery from Altruria and one of just 540 selected out of 24,191 pieces submitted from all over America.

Kabod's mother is a Louisiana native. His father, Salefu, has only lived in America for 13 years. He is a Samoan born citizen of New Zealand. Kabod and his siblings, kindergartner Anna and fifth grader Ruth, are all bilingual. The family frequently visits the Samoan Islands, where they honor many cultural traditions. Salefu is the sole carrier of the High Chief Name "KOGAGA'E." The name one day will be passed down to Kabod.  To view more of Altruria's student artwork, visit

Arlington High's Varsity Dance Team Wins 2011 NDA National Championship


(Standing back row, L-R): Allie Raney (11), Carly Hall (10), Sierra Dexter (10), Madison Furr (11),  Amberly Rankin (11), McKenzie Smith (10), Morgan Grammer (11), Chelsea Ehalt (11) and Rachel Nichols (10); (Kneeling front row, L-R): Bre Mauter (12), Tierney Smith (12), Whitney Payne (12), Chelsea Dunehew (12), Cecily Gilmore (12), Jasmine McGhee (12), Lauren Scarbrough (12), Carli O'Connel (11) and Asia Payne (10).

Arlington High had to make room in its trophy case after an awesome performance by the school’s Varsity Dance team last weekend at the 2011 NDA National Championships in Orlando, FL. The school is still buzzing after the girls’ big win. Arlington’s 18-member Varsity Dance team went head-to-head with several powerhouse teams from across the U.S. in the Large Varsity Pom Division, but they handled themselves as if they were the heavy favorites. The AHS dancers jumped out to a substantial lead in points after the preliminary competition and never looked back. They rode the momentum straight through to the finals and ended the weekend hoisting up the 2011 NDA National Championship trophy!


Tennessee PTA Names Bon Lin Middle School's Dr. Russell Dyer as Statewide Principal of the Year!

The Tennessee PTA has named Dr. Russell Dyer, principal of Bon Lin Middle School, as its 2011 Principal of the Year. Dr. Dyer will be honored Saturday by PTA representatives from across the state at the Tennessee PTA Convention in Nashville.

As stated in a press release sent out this week by the Tennessee PTA, "Dr. Dyer has encouraged students and parents at the new Bon Lin Middle School to become part of the legacy at the school by submitting ideas that would enhance the learning environment. He encourages the fostering of strong character, positive self-image and social consciousness."

Parent and student engagement have been top priorities for Dr. Dyer since he opened Bon Lin three years ago. By remaining visible and accessible, he's helped Bon Lin's PTSA quickly grow into a positive force at the school, from supporting and assisting with achievement goals to raising funds for important resources and enhancing the overall environment for students and staff. Dr. Dyer credits his PTSA for much of the success the school has enjoyed with its PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) implementation. Bon Lin was recognized this year as a model school for character education. Additionally, he says the PTSA has been instrumental in advancing healthy school initiatives with school- and community-wide activities, like the Bon Lin Blazing 5K, which takes place on Sunday, April 17.

"It is truly an honor to be recognized by the leading advocate for parents and students in our state," Dyer said. "This award is made possible because of the dedication of our parents, students and staff at Bon Lin Middle. Our PTSA is committed to making a positive difference... It is truly a team effort, and we must continue to find ways to connect to best serve our students."

Bolton High School Certified to Offer the Globally Recognized International Baccalaureate Diploma

Bolton is Shelby County Schools’ Second I.B. World School

New IB Program Starts 2011-12 School Year

It’s official. Bolton High School has been certified to offer the globally recognized International Baccalaureate (I.B.) diploma program starting in August 2011. Bolton is Shelby County Schools’ second I.B. World School. Germantown High School was West Tennessee’s first to offer the I.B. program.

The most prestigious colleges and universities in the world recognize the I.B. diploma. Emphasizing high academic standards, critical thinking, intercultural understanding and community service, the I.B. program prepares students to compete globally for scholarships and college acceptance. The challenging I.B. curriculum features advanced level instruction in English, Foreign Language, Social Studies, Experimental Sciences and Mathematics. I.B. students must also complete various requirements beyond the classroom in areas of creativity, action and service, as well as an extended essay.

Student zoned to a North area SCS high school (Arlington, Bartlett, Bolton and Millington) are eligible to apply for Bolton’s I.B. program. The process is competitive, and there are limited spaces each year.

Students can apply until their junior year of high school. An informational session for interested students and parents was held in December, and the application process started in January. Bolton is no longer accepting applications for the 2011-12 school year.

Many colleges and universities offer significant credit for success in I.B. courses, including up to sophomore standing for completion of the full I.B. diploma. I.B. is sometimes compared to Advanced Placement (AP). However, while both are advanced level courses, the difference is that I.B. uses international standards of excellence, as opposed to the national standards used by AP. Additionally, I.B. is a full diploma program, not a series of independent courses.

To learn more about the I.B. offerings at Bolton High School, contact Matt Adler, I.B. Coordinator, at or (901) 873-8150.

UnitedHealthcare Supports Early Childhood Reading in Shelby County with Donation to Governor's Books from Birth Foundation

(March 15, 2011) - - UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, the state's largest Medicaid organization, today joined Memphis City Mayor A.C. Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell to announce a two-year, $250,000 pledge to the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation, which will support Shelby County Books from Birth (a local affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library), providing a free book to children under the age of five, regardless of family income.

"This generous gift will help children all across Shelby County be more prepared for school and a lifetime of learning, and we appreciate this commitment to early childhood education," says Governor Bill Haslam. 

"Children develop a love of learning early in life, and they also can learn healthy living habits at a young age," said Scott Bowers, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, which coordinates health care to 585,000 TennCare members across the state, including more than 100,000 in Shelby County. "We're proud to partner with Books from Birth and the Urban Child Institute to help Shelby County children develop habits that lead to a healthy and productive life."

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan will donate funds over the course of the next two years to help Shelby County Books from Birth provide a free, age-appropriate book each month to children under the age of five. The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation will match this gift. The foundation matches dollar for dollar every gift donated to the Imagination Library in all 95 counties.

"We are honored by this extremely generous donation from UnitedHealthcare," said Nora Capwell, executive director of Shelby County Books from Birth.  "This funding will directly support our continuing efforts to provide an age-appropriate book each month to children in Shelby County, aged 0 to 5 regardless of a family's income.  We are grateful to UnitedHealthcare, which strives to help worthy programs like Books from Birth that seek to enrich and engage our community's youth."

"We're glad to partner our company's efforts to encourage healthy living habits at an early age with the work Shelby County Books from Birth is doing to help young children develop a love of learning through reading," said Brian Dobbins, executive director for the Western Region of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan." Books from Birth and other community agencies like the Urban Child Institute are making a difference in the lives of our youngest citizens, and we're glad to be a part of these efforts."

The Shelby County Books from Birth program partners with the Urban Child Institute which plays an important role in the lives of newborns. They do this by conducting research to demonstrate the correlation between literacy and improved health outcomes. As a consequence, the Institute advocates on behalf of Books from Birth for all newborns to be enrolled and to receive books.

"Because of the focus of The Urban Child Institute on early brain development, we are very supportive of the Shelby County Books from Birth program's efforts to provide every child in our community with books of their own. Few things are as good for a child's brain development as sharing a book with the family while sitting in a parent's lap," said Dr. Hank Herrod of the Urban Child Institute.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library was created in 1996 by Dolly Parton as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn. and was later expanded to the entire state with the creation of the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation.  Just $24 annually provides for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child.  This cost is split evenly between a non-profit sponsoring organization in every Tennessee county, and a state budgetary allocation administered by the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation.

Currently, 57 percent of all Tennessee children birth to five are registered in the Imagination Library and are receiving free books in the mail.  More than 213,000 Tennessee five-year-olds have already "graduated" from the program.  The statewide program has helped deliver more than 12 million books to Tennessee children since the creation of the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation in 2004. 

About the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation:  The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation® was established in 2004 and currently serves Imagination Library organizers in all 95 counties by providing fund-raising, public relations, and other support.  To learn how to support your county's Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-99-BOOKS.

The Spirit of a Tiger:  Arlington High Students Brighten Holiday Season for 107 Angels
~ By Allison Fisher, AHS Teacher
On Friday, December 10, I was greeted at my classroom door at 6:30 a.m. by a small group of students carrying large shopping bags and sitting on 16" bikes. These few students were the stragglers who waited until the absolute last day to bring in their donated items. I do not mean this negatively in any way, but you should understand that throughout the week, Beta Club students had been meeting me at my door each morning with bags upon bags of toys, pajamas, sweaters and coats for 14 very lucky Angel Tree children. Thus, on a day earlier in the week, when I ran so late that I was literally running to my classroom in a huff at 6:50 a.m., my attitude totally changed at the sight of AHS Beta Club members toting their thoughtful donations and gladly taking a tardy to first period on behalf of a needy child (well, a few of them asked for notes, but it was my fault after all...). Angel Tree is a program sponsored by the Salvation Army in order to provide holiday gifts to children who otherwise might possibly receive nothing for Christmas.  The Student Government Association, sponsored by Karen Woody, has made the adoption of these Angels a part of our culture, and each year every first period class is responsible for at least one child. Additional clubs also adopt children, including the Book Club, JCL, Leo Club, NHS and Spanish Society. All in all, AHS was responsible for supplying gifts for 107 Angels this year - an approximate total value of $8,000 to $10,000 worth of gifts. The most meaningful and touching aspect of it all occurred for me early Friday morning amid the chaos of Beta Club members dropping off their groups' donations. Just the day before, I had received news that there was one Angel Tree card that had somehow been overlooked. To my knowledge, as of sixth and seventh period on Thursday, December 9, there was an infant who would not being receiving any gifts this holiday season. Some of my students overheard me discussing this at my desk, and at least four students randomly arrived at my classroom last Friday morning to drop off bags of toys and clothes for this precious baby. These students had no extra incentive to do this. They did so out of the goodness of their hearts. I hope this year that everyone reading this will contemplate the importance of giving rather than receiving and find encouragement in the spirit of these AHS students, who displayed the true spirit of the holiday season.

PHOTO: (L-R) Kristen Barnes (SGA President), Ashley Allen, Taryn Hibbitt and Brady Bramlett (SGA Vice-President).



(Bartlett, TN) - Wednesday, November 3, 2010, marked the final day of
Lifeblood's "Giving Together VIII" program, where rival high schools
Bartlett and Bolton teamed up to gather blood donations through a
combination of individual donors at Lifeblood donor centers across the city
and blood drives held at both high schools.  The schools collected 262 units
of blood, 50 units more than in 2009.

"This is the largest turnout the schools have had in the history of our
'Giving Together' program," Lifeblood director of marketing Jason Sykes
said.  "We couldn't be happier with their hard work to bring the community
together to donate blood and to educate our youth on the importance of blood

For surpassing their goal of 200 units of donated blood, Bartlett and Bolton
High Schools will receive $6,000 in grant funds, equally divided between the
two schools.  Funds were contributed by Pfizer, Inc., a global leader in
pharmaceuticals, at the request of the Bartlett Area Donor Council.  The
funds will be used to aid the schools' mathematics and science programs.



FCCLA's Month-Long Campaign at AHS Raises $2,400 for Breast Cancer Research
Student members of Arlington High's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) organization just ended a successful month-long community service project in October aimed to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The FCCLA students support this important cause every year. Their campaign includes a pink ribbon sale and a pay-to-wear-jeans fundraiser for faculty every Friday in October. The biggest in-school show of support for breast cancer awareness was "Wear Pink Day." Arlington's FCCLA sponsor Crystal Benfield said, "Every where I looked, students and faculty were wearing pink. The final activity in this month-long campaign was the Race for the Cure, where the AHS Pink Tigers raced in support of Benfield's mother, Karol Benfield, a six-year cancer survivor. In the end, the campaign raised over $2,400 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.



Kids at BHS "Mixed it up" on Tuesday, November 9. Mixing it up means getting to know people you usually wouldn't. Maybe eating lunch or walking to class with someone you don't know that well. Each year one day at BHS is dedicated to making new friends by "Mixing it Up."

Shadowlawn Students Selected to Join Bartlett Mayor on Town’s Youth Council

Spenser Frazier, Stefani McGee (advisor), Madison Conklin and Abigail Burton

Congratulations to Spenser Frazier, Madison Conklin and Abigail Burton! The trio from Shadowlawn Middle School was recently chosen by Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald to serve on the town’s Youth Council. Comprised of teen leaders from all Bartlett area schools, the Youth Council will meet monthly to plan school activities that teach students about local government.


Shelby County Schools Offering a Glimpse at

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programs

Interested SCS Students & Parents Invited to Upcoming IB Info Sessions:

Thursday, December 9, at Germantown HS & Tuesday, December 14, at Bolton HS

Two Shelby County high schools will host an informational meeting for parents and students who are interested in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. The meeting will allow visitors to receive an overview of the IB Program. Visitors will also have an opportunity to meet faculty members who will teach IB subjects and ask questions about admission, acceptance and participation in the comprehensive academic program. Parents of current middle school students are especially encouraged to attend one of the following sessions:

  • § Thursday, December 9, at Germantown High School (6 - 7 p.m.)
  • § Tuesday, December 14, at Bolton High School (6 - 7 p.m.)

The IB Diploma Program allows highly motivated students to pursue a rigorous high school course of study. Students who meet the program's requirements will receive a special diploma that is recognized by the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world. Students will work with IB-trained instructors who are the best in their areas of expertise. Currently, there are 590,000 students in 2,195 schools in 125 countries enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program.

Students wishing to pursue an International Baccalaureate diploma will complete an application process, including a writing sample, evaluation of academic history and test scores, and an interview.

For more information about the IB program at Germantown High School:
Melinda Keller - or (901) 756-2350, ext. 248

For more information about the IB program at Bolton High School:
Matt Adler - or (901) 873-8150


Oak Elementary Students & Staff Don Denim to Support St. Jude & Two Young Survivors
Students and staff members at Oak Elementary were decked out in their favorite denim last week for a very special cause. Last week, Oak held its “St. Jude Jeans Day” fundraiser. Oak has two current students who are cancer survivors, third grader Jack Boren and second grader Taylor Dempsey. Jack’s mom, a SPED teacher, is also one of several cancer survivors on staff at Oak. These individuals are heroes to their classmates and friends, and the entire Oak family is extremely proud to have them at school. For “St. Jude Jeans Day,” students and staff were able to donate $5 wear jeans to school. The fundraiser produced $450 for St. Jude.   

APEX Students at Rivercrest Not Only Learning about Weather, They're Teaching Too
Mrs. Dianne Larson's APEX classes at Rivercrest Elementary have been spending a lot of time lately talking about the weather. Students have been studying all things weather, from simple observations to in-depth measurements and predictions. During each class, the students use weather tools, such as thermometers, barometers and anemometers, to aid their observations. Part of the lessons also has them reporting their findings over the intercom as an official school forecast. That's not all. After mastering the skills, they actually get to play the role of teacher. They don their Redbird Research aprons and invite other classes into the science lab. They teach things like how to make a homemade anemometer out of a protractor and a ping-pong ball and how to use the contraption to record wind speed.

Franklin, Jones, David, Madison, Chandler, Kaylee, Kaleigh, Grace, Kayleigh, Kallie and Lanie

Nineteen SCS Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists!
Nienteen Shelby County Schools (SCS) seniors were named Semifinalists in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship program. These talented seniors are part of an elite national pool of students who scored highest in their state on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as entrants in the scholarship competition in 2009. In addition, they were selected on the basis of their academic skills, achievements and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The following SCS students were named National Merit Semifinalists:  Arlington High –  Angel Lin; Collierville High –  Kevin Cuddy, Timothy Daniels, Steven Devan, Caitlin Moran;  Germantown High –  Matthew Murphy, Alden Powell, Rohit Reddy, Jaiming Zing;  Houston High –  Alexandra Ambartsoumian, Ashley Culver, Christina Foshee, Patrick Hulce, Wesley Jones, Dania Li, Hannah Lin, Landon Mosely, Faith Smith, Megan Zielinski. Three groups of National Merit Finalists will be announced between April and July 2011.

Congratulations to Shelby County Schools' Six National Achievement Semifinalists!
Six talented Shelby County Schools (SCS) students were chosen from a national pool of elite high school seniors as Semifinalists in the prestigious National Achievement Scholarship competition. The National Achievement Scholarship Program recognizes promising African-American students throughout the nation and provides college scholarships to the most outstanding participants. National Achievement Semifinalists must demonstrate proven potential for success in rigorous college studies, as well as leadership ability and community service, and receive excellent SAT scores in order to be selected as a Finalist in the competition. Finalists will be announced in the spring. This year's National Achievement Semifinalists are: Mya Wilkes - Bolton HS;  Opeoluwa Adebanjo - Collierville HS;  Joseph Chism and Alden Powell - Germantown HS;  and Rahji Abdurehman and Ebele Obi-Okoye - Houston HS.* 5555 Tylertown Avenue * Bartlett, Tennessee 38134 * Phone: (901) 606-3836 Fax: (901) 248-0681 Email

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