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School committee hears FIS, FPS, FMS needs
Money is not the only need

Three Farragut school principals shared their school needs during the town of Farragut’s School Committee meeting.

Farragut Middle School principal Heather Karnes and Farragut Primary School principal Julia Craze also attended as guests.

This month’s meeting was hosted by Farragut Intermediate School principal Kay Wellons, Wednesday, Nov. 4.

All three principals were asked to inform the school committee of their major school needs.

A major need for FIS is keeping a technology teacher it added to its staff this year. Through the help of Kroger and the town of Farragut, FIS has added a computer lab and hired a full-time technology teacher, Donna Payette. “We’re hoping to find funds to keep her here,” Wellons said. “She is an incredibly fantastic teacher.”

The Town had previously given $7,000 to Farragut schools. This year the schools received $10,000 apiece. FIS spent much of this on “active boards” and the new technology teacher. Active boards help students interact with their teacher and fellow students.

Out of 49 classrooms, 24 now have the active boards. They need 25 more.

FIS is looking for volunteers to help with its “Book Buddy” program. The program uses volunteers to read with children.

All three school principals said they need library volunteers in general.

“We know we have challenges. It’s hard work to get a year’s growth out of every student. But that is a goal of ours.” Wellons said.

“We want to teach as much as we can possibly teach,” she added.

Wellons said she strives to provide an inviting, nurturing, caring and aesthetically pleasing environment for the children, she said.

Staying current with the constant technology updates is key for Wellons, Karnes and Craze. All three said how important it is that they be able to stay on top of technology and its advances.

Each year FPS is asked to pay $22,000 to mulch its playgrounds; playgrounds the school is required to have. It also is another $3,000 for the mulch to be hauled to the school and dumped. Each year they hope to find people to help spread it in order to save funds.

Bud McKelvey, Town public works director, often helps the Farragut schools by delivering and spreading mulch as often as possible.

“We enjoy helping the kids and community by mulching their grounds,” McKelvey said.

Craze has looked into a couple of options. It is $100,000 for rubber mulch that is up to code and will last indefinitely.

The other option, a flat rubber surface, would cost “as much as a Farragut home,” said Thomas Deakins, District Knox County school board member on the committee.

Though it may be a lot of cash up front, $100,000 would be worth it over time, paying itself off within five years.

“As a school board member, it rips me apart,” Deakins said regarding the cost of mulching school playgrounds.

FPS is looking for lunchroom volunteers. “Does anyone know how difficult it is to open a ketchup packet?” Craze said.

She also needs volunteers for the small things, even if volunteers help for just 20 minutes.

Another suggestion for volunteers is to help open car doors for the children in the morning. “It helps the flow of traffic move quickly,” Craze said.

Karnes brought up the need FMS has for paper and printer cartridges. Wellons and Craze agreed on behalf of their schools.

The three schools continually work to cut down its use of paper with the help of technology such as active boards and computers. There are newsletters, take home sheets and assignments that need to be printed.

FMS encourages volunteers to start new clubs such as their new sewing group for the students, Karnes said. Scrapbook, book, cooking, car repair and knitting clubs were ideas mentioned.

“You never know if the students get that one-on-one interaction at home or not,” Heather Marshall, a committee member who teaches at South-Doyle High School, said.

The school committee began brainstorming on ways to help, but have not decided on an action plan.


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