do-it-yourself security

I like the people currently serving on our School Board. I don’t have to agree with everything they say and do. I believe that their intention is to work with the limitations they are given to do what is in the best interests of students. My trust in them is not given blindly. There are […]

back to school prep

There is a list of things that I do every year, just before school begins, to get everyone and everything prepared for the school year. Some of the tasks are practical and some of the tasks are psychological, but they are all important. A simplified version of my list looks like this: 1. Help a […]

Dress like an idiom

Halloween costumes are not allowed at our elementary school. Instead, the Friday before Halloween was “wear orange” day, which is pretty much every single Friday’s uniform for people of all ages in all of Knox County. On Halloween, the fourth graders were given the assignment to dress like an idiom. I thought this was a […]

meeting new people

Noah: “I talked to the Mayor on Friday and today I met the Superintendent.” Me: “How did you meet the Super?” Noah: “Well, I didn’t know you pull the cord to make the trolley stop, so, I missed my bus stop and got to school late. When I went in the office, the Principal was […]

Bye summer. Hello school.

After Zoo Camp times two, Jedi Camp, Apple Camp, Boy Scout Camp and an unsupervised beach vacation for the girl teens, summer break has ended. The backpacks have been scrubbed clean of exploded deodorants and pencil shavings and filled with all of the requested school supplies. Flip-flops have become weekend shoes and new sneakers are […]


I don’t know what helped Tommy learn how to read. Since he had a ‘do worksheets or I’ll shrug’ teacher for Kindergarten, I know that he didn’t learn to read at school. At home, we did flashcard drills, watched a million hours of PBS, drew letters in shaving cream and wrote with chalk or crayons […]

Dear TN legislators,

Please do not pass legislation mandating school calendars. Leave that decision in the capable hands of local school boards. You already know how low ACT scores, graduation rates and subject area benchmarks are for Tennessee’s children. You have seen the reports from Tennessee universities that most incoming freshmen need remedial coursework before they can begin […]

Class size matters

A few weeks ago, I helped small groups of students review a math skill while their teacher spent time teaching a new skill to a few students at a time. The teacher did the important work that varied from easy to difficult, depending on the student. My task was a bingo type game that should […]

Dear Knox County Schools,

I don’t feel any stronger about school being cancelled than I do about school being open. Have school open during winter weather. If I don’t trust the bus, we will drive the children. If our neighborhood roads are glazed with ice, we will stay home. Cancel school for winter weather. We will stay home and […]

Reading, Writing & Arithmetic

While one of my children graduates from high school in a few weeks, my youngest child is in Kindergarten. The difference in their education is tangibly different. When my oldest children started school, we played games like breaking everything down into circles, squares and triangles. My youngest child know the geometric shapes based on the […]