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Farragut High School to look at site-based management

Farragut High School principal Michael Reynolds is taking a cautious approach about bringing the recently discussed site-based management program to FHS.

Knox County Schools superintendent Charles Lindsey would like to try the program in an elementary, middle and high school, if a decision is made to implement the program, KCS spokesman Russ Oaks said.

Site-based management would allow individual schools to better tailor spending and policy making to the needs of the school.

“You make decisions by consensus,” Reynolds said of pure site-based management.

“You have the academic side and the community side. They would have input on such issues as how to celebrate holidays, maintenance of school grounds, the dress code, the discipline policy and community relations.”

“We do a good bit of site-based management [already],” he said Friday, adding that site-based management is not a new idea.

“Some high schools had site-based management and have gone back to the traditional style,” Reynolds said. “A lot of your innovative high schools are revisiting things, and site-based management is one of those things.” Reynolds noted that most private schools and many schools in other countries use the method.

Knox County principals and vice principals attended a presentation by Hamilton County Schools officials Dr. Don Loftis and Margaret Abernathy last week. Hamilton County abandoned site-based management after using it in the 1990s.

Reynolds said the concept is not simple enough to jump into without a lot of training.

“In pure site-based management, you have an academic council,” Reynolds said. The council would be composed of one representative in each of the following categories: academic, non-academic, union, school secretary, school counselor, faculty advisor and administrative.

In addition, you would have a community group composed of the local PTA president and vice president, three community representatives, a student representative and a school improvement team.

The reaction from the two local school board representatives was mixed.

Karen Carson, 5th District, said she would like to have seen a site-based model that currently was being used. She said she wants schools with very involved parents who would be part of the decision-making process.

“I think the [School] Board would still have overriding policies,” she said. The Board may set a dress code policy. If an individual school wants to tighten the dress code a little more, and they reach consensus, they should be able to do that.”

Chuck James, 6th district, was not sold on the idea.

“My question is, if it’s such a great program, why [is Hamilton County] not on it today? That program hasn’t been used there in nine years … I think our school system right now has an A-plus rating. I think the students in our school system are getting the best education possible. You can tell that by our test scores.”


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