SSO Presents the ‘We Are’ Concert
The Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO), under the direction of Tiffany Lu presents the “We Are” concert. The concert is free and open to the public. It will take place at 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2, in Guerry Auditorium. Masks are required. The concert will be preceded at 2:30 p.m. by our first Arts Amplified event—featuring students of Theatre, Dance, and Music and incorporating a sneak preview of Hamlet—in the arcade on Georgia Avenue and the UAG.
The SSO concert will feature Georges Bizet’s “L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2,” and a symphonic suite from “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” by Howard Shore, arrangement by John Whitney.
Tiffany Lu is the new conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra and teaches in the music department. Lu earned her doctorate in 2019 and comes to Sewanee with extensive conducting experience. She currently serves as conducting associate of the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival (Maine) and assistant conductor with the Prince George’s Philharmonic (Maryland). In a just-concluded five-year stint as music director of the Wilmington Community Orchestra, Lu won praise for groundbreaking and creative programming. Her past conducting posts include guest or assistant slots with the Capital City Symphony, Symphony New Hampshire, and the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. She was Conducting Fellow with the Allentown Symphony in 2019 and 2020. She also has professional experience as a violinist, music librarian, and recording producer.
A native of Tampa, Fla., and most recently resident in the D.C.-Maryland region, Lu holds degrees from Princeton University, Ithaca College, and the University of Maryland.
Francis to Receive the Aiken Taylor Award
The Sewanee Review is pleased to announce that Vievee Francis is the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.
Vievee Francis is a poet whose work is suffused with abundance: of what emerges from earth, of stories told by those who live upon it, and of the ravages visited on the same, all shaped by a singular voice expressing the full range and intensity of human feeling. A Texas native who has lived in Michigan, North Carolina, and most recently New Hampshire, Francis reveals in her work the pastures, fields, and forests of these places she has called home. Her poems also work and tend that ground in order to reveal its histories, its traumas, and the revelatory truth of her own experience. Her work reminds us that the question of who we are is often answered as much by one that asks where, and how we attend to and care for the place we call our own. Her poems are, in the fullest sense, acts of cultivation. She is the author of three collections of poetry, including “Blue-Tail Fly” and “Horse in the Dark.” Her most recent collection, “Forest Primeval,” received the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.
University Vice Chancellor Reuben E. Brigety, II and Sewanee Review editor Adam Ross will present Francis with the Aiken Taylor Award at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 13, in Convocation Hall, after which Francis will read from her body of work
As part of this year’s award celebration, poet Phillip B. Williams will lecture on Francis’ poetry at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12, in Guerry Auditorium. Williams, a 2020-21 Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is the author of “Thief in the Interior,” winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He currently serves as Professor of English at Bennington College.
Every year since 1987, the Sewanee Review has honored a distinguished poet in the maturity of their career with the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry. Established by the physician and poet K. P. A. Taylor in honor of his elder brother, the modernist poet and story writer Conrad Aiken, the Aiken Taylor Award has celebrated poets such as Howard Nemerov, Gwendolyn Brooks, Wendell Berry, Louise Glück, and Billy Collins.
Monteagle: Stormwater, Police Recognition, Grants, Zoning
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Sept. 27 meeting, the Monteagle Council addressed two stormwater issues: American Recovery Plan funding for stormwater control and stormwater pollution entering Laurel Lake from the Petro project site during a recent heavy rainfall event. In a busy meeting, the council took time out from regular business to recognize police officer Chad Locke for service above and beyond the call of duty.
Updating the council on grant requests for sewer system remediation, city engineer Travis Wilson said he expected the city would receive $1.3 million in Appalachian Regional Commission and Community Development Block Grant funding. Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman pointed to American Recovery Plan (ARP) money as another funding source. Alderman Nate Wilson stressed the need for stormwater management.
Engineer Wilson said ARP funding was highly competitive and would go to shovel-ready projects. Monteagle would need to do mapping and data collection about water lines, sewer lines and stormwater patterns.
“We need to spend money to get a shot at getting money,” Alderman Alvin Powell observed.
Rodman asked engineer Wilson to determine the cost of a Geographic Information System (GIS) study for water, sewer and stormwater. The council will hold a special called meeting at 8 a.m., Monday, Oct. 18, to vote on a budget amendment to allow the GIS project to go forward.
Taking up a current stormwater problem, structural engineer and Monteagle resident Jim Waller presented photographs documenting muddy rainwater breeching the barriers at the Petro project construction site, entering city stormwater drains, and polluting Laurel Lake with mud. Waller notified the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). According to Waller, TDEC replied that lake pollution control was Monteagle’s responsibility, and the city needed to adopt a Source Water Protection Plan. City engineer Travis Wilson had left before Waller spoke. Rodman will forward him the information for review.
Rodman presented Monteagle Policeman Chad Locke with a plaque recognizing him for outstanding service. Police Chief Jared Nunley called Locke “a gentle giant.” Nunley said in the year and a half Locke had been with the department, they received frequent calls from both residents and out-of-state travelers praising Locke who went out of his way to help people.
Reporting on police department funding, Janet Miller-Schmidt said the department received a $3,000 grant for bullet proof vests. Advisor Greg Maloof said residents Tim and Katie Trahan had pledged $3,000 for purchase of a generator for the department. If the city contributes $2,000, the Trahans will increase their pledge to $5,000.
Rodman updated the council on plans for a native plant garden along the Mountain Goat Trail. Rodman said the project, sponsored by the nonprofit Growing Roots, had expanded from the original design. “This is not just a garden. There are multiple structures.” She expressed concerns about maintenance. “We don’t need anything else pulling at our staff … We need something more substantial than just volunteers.”
Revisiting a discussion about tiny homes, building inspector Earl Geary said more was at issue than home size, defined as under 600 square feet by Monteagle ordinances. International building codes stipulate minimum room size and other floor plan rules for fire safety. Monteagle only allows tiny homes in R-4 zoning and currently has no R-4 zoning. Alderwoman Dorraine Parmley asked where Geary would recommend R-4 zoning. Geary said he wanted guidance from the state fire marshal before offering recommendations.
The council passed a resolution approving a $1 million grant application for purchase of a new fire truck.
The council also passed a resolution removing the requirement stipulating the council must make specific findings before allowing rezoning. Alderpersons Wilson and Jessica Favaloro voted against the resolution. “[The requirement] lets the public know we’re doing our job,” Wilson said. Favaloro concurred, “We’ve had it a long time, and it never served us badly.” Rodman pointed out the requirement had rarely been followed. City attorney Sam Elliot recommended removing the requirement.
In keeping with zoning regulations, the city will create a seven-member Board of Zoning Appeals, staffed by Rodman, Alderman Wilson, Planning Commissioner Richard Black and four business people from the community.
Resident Andy Patel approached the council about starting a cricket league, which would host games at the ballpark on Saturday evenings from 10 p.m.–1 a.m. Rodman said a contract addressing insurance and reimbursing the city for costs would be needed. Alderman Wilson said the contract should also cite the city’s noise ordinance given the late hour of the matches.
The city will host Trunk or Treat, 5–8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28. Children will parade to the Town Pavilion for Halloween movies beginning at 6:15 p.m.
Applications for a part-time baseball coordinator are being accepted until Friday, Nov. 19.
SCA Steps Up to Do Even More
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Since 1942 the Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) has improved quality of life on the Plateau through the annual Community Chest fund drive. The SCA also takes on ad hoc and emergency projects. Recent efforts include refurbishing Elliott Park, raising $26,000 for personal protective equipment needs during the pandemic with the 37375 Campaign, and donating $1,300 for air purifier filters at the Sewanee Elementary School. At the Sept. 28 Zoom meeting, the SCA formalized the mechanism for dealing directly with Plateau needs by forming the SCA Service Committee.
Co-president Kiki Beavers cited food insecurity, animal rescue, the housing shortage, and a community-wide art project as challenges the Service Committee might embrace. The first step in the conversation will be a “needs assessment,” Beavers said. To get involved, email <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The 2021-2022 Community Chest set a goal of raising $102,291 to support 20 Plateau initiatives including children’s programs, animal rescue, senior citizens’ needs, health care and more. Long-time community volunteers John and Kathy Solomon and Clay and Paula Yeatman will serve as co-stewards.
Ever youth oriented, the SCA thank-you note design contest currently underway at Sewanee Elementary School and Sewanee Children’s Center will offer prizes of art supplies and book fair gift certificates. SCA Board member at-large David Michaels made an appeal for adult volunteers to step forward to lead local Cub Scout Pack 152. The SCA has long sponsored the pack, but without adult leadership, the pack cannot continue.
Fittingly, the evening’s speaker, Tyler Ford with tnAchieves, highlighted the important role mentors play in the Tennessee Promise free college tuition program open to all Tennessee high school seniors. tnAchieves, the nonprofit partner of Tennessee Promise, operates in 90 counties to make sure students apply, take the steps necessary to access college, and have the resources they need. Ford serves as Director of Mentors. tnAchieves engages 9,000 mentors annually to interact one-on-one with students. Mentors serve as task managers and as a resource to keep students on track in the application process, especially important for the 40 percent who are first-generation college attendees; and, most important, mentors are “encouragers,” a positive voice reassuring students with self-doubt and anxiety about being “college material.”
tnAchieves assigns 5-7 students to each mentor. Mentors have the option of meeting with students virtually or in open-house sessions hosted by tnAchieves. Ford told the story of an anxious first-generation college student on his first day of classes puzzling over his schedule’s notation “MWF,” which he took for the classroom building, a building he could not find and was too afraid to ask anyone about. He phoned his mentor who explained “MWF” meant Monday, Wednesday, Friday. The mentor then directed him to the schedule’s building code and building location. The young man went on to earn a degree in Forestry from UT Knoxville.
Franklin County needs 47 more mentors. To sign on, email Ford at <Tyler@tnAchieves.org>.
The SCA meets next on Oct. 26. September is membership renewal month for the SCA. The $10 dues give members a one-year subscription to Sewanee Classifieds, the email listserv which functions as a community bulletin board. To renew, members can respond to the Sewanee Classifieds email they received or visit <www.sewaneecivic.org>.
To make a donation to the Sewanee Community Chest, send a check to PO Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375, or use PayPal Giving.
University Announces Names & Places Committee
University of the South Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety and Board Chair Reid Funston have announced the formation of an ad hoc committee authorized by the University’s Board of Regents to consider the names and stories behind buildings, monuments, and places on the Domain. “The committee’s work follows the path that the Board of Regents and the University laid out in September 2020 of evaluating our past while affirming who we are and who we aspire to be,” said Brigety and Funston.
The work of the Names and Places Committee will support the Regents’ plan for evaluating the University’s past ties to the Confederacy. The committee, made up of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members, will identify naming principles and practices and ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the contribution of the namesakes and the values of the University. The committee is co-chaired by the Rev. Dr. Gene Manning, T’01, and Professor Deon Miles.
The committee will work over the course of the academic year with a goal of providing a naming framework and recommendations to the Board of Regents next summer. They will be learning more about the University’s history and will be gathering input from various University constituencies to inform their work.
CDC Approved Booster Dose Recommendations for Certain Populations
The Tennessee Department of Health will begin offering booster doses of COVID vaccine to certain populations, beginning Friday, September 24.
A single dose booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can be administered for individuals who met these criteria:
- People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
- People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
- People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
- People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer- BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
More information on the CDC’s recommendation for a booster dose is available online.
Local health departments across the state will be administering the booster dose. Information on appointment availability can be found at https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/availability/. Appointments are not required. The Federal Pharmacy Partnership (FPP) for Long-Term Care (LTC) Program is facilitating on-site vaccination for residents in long-term care facilities. Additional vaccine providers offering the Pfizer vaccine can be found by visiting http://www.vaccines.gov. Patients do not need to prove their diagnosis or health condition to be eligible for the booster dose.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.
Bigfoot Adventure hosts four-day fall festival next week in Grundy County
Festival features live music, hot air balloon rides, ziplines and more
This week, Bigfoot Adventure, an RV park and campground with disc golf, hiking trails, fishing and other outdoor attractions, will host this year’s Bigfoot Fall Festival and Grundy County Fair. The event kicks off Wednesday Sept. 29, 2021, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Each night has a unique theme, adding to the festiveness.
With offerings for both kids and adults, the festival will feature live music, ziplines, carnival rides, food trucks, fireworks, a petting zoo, hot-air balloon rides, a video game truck, dunking booth and more.
“This year’s fall festival is packed with a wide variety of attractions, games, rides and unique experiences you can’t find anywhere else in our area,” said Andy Baggenstoss, owner of Bigfoot Adventure. “It’s a great way to bring family and friends together for a fun fall getaway.”
The schedule of special offerings and themes is as follows:
Opening Night - Wednesday, Sept. 29 from 3-11 p.m.
Pricing: Armband - $25.00, General Admission (excludes food, games and rides) - $15.00
- Live music by Macy Tabor and Worth the Wait
- The Fireman’s Challenge – fire department members may compete in various athletic challenges for the chance at a $1,000 grand prize that will be donated to the winner’s department
- Festival attendees are encouraged to wear purple for Grundy County Schools
Faith Night - Thursday, Sept. 30 from 3-11 p.m.
Pricing: Armband - $25.00, General Admission (excludes food, games and rides) - $15.00
- Live music by Chris VanAllman and local church children’s choirs
- Petting zoo
- Bingo at 6 p.m.– All proceeds go towards Isaiah House 117 Grundy County, Coffee County and Franklin County
- Contests for the best jam, jelly and pie
- Attendees are encouraged to wear gold for Grundy County Schools
Kid’s Day - Friday, Oct. 1 from 10 a.m.-Midnight
Pricing: Armband - $25.00, General Admission (excludes food, games and rides) - $15.00
- South Cumberland Business Expo
- DJ with songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s
- Live music by Trevor Hill & The Fellas
- Hot-air balloon rides
- Cruise-In/car show with up to $2,000 in prizes
- Petting zoo
- Craft show
- Attendees are encouraged to wear pink for breast cancer awareness
- Special butterfly release in honor of those affected by breast cancer and to promote awareness – Sponsored by Adventure Foundation Therapy
Music & Denim Day - Saturday, Oct. 2 from 10 a.m.-Midnight
Pricing: Armband - $35.00, General Admission Unavailable
- Live music by Shenandoah, The Happiness Band, Neal Parson & The Last Rebel, Bizz & Everyday People, Shane Worley & Wild Ride and Vanessa Collier
- Craft show
- Attendees are encouraged to wear blue denim and boots
Tickets are on sale now at BigfootAdventureTN.com/Bigfoot-Fall-Festival. Four-day, all-inclusive passes are $100. Daily admission for people ages 60 and up is $10. For on-site event lodging options, please contact Bigfoot Adventure at (931) 488-8652 (spaces are limited).
Bigfoot Adventure is located at 518 Brawley Rd., Tracy City, TN 37387. For more information, visit BigfootAdventureTN.com or follow Bigfoot Adventure on Facebook and Instagram.
Fire Prevention Week Theme: Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | 10:30am
Every year during Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 3-9), fire departments across the country unite to raise awareness about a crucial fire safety message that can help save lives and property. This year’s fire prevention theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” where all Americans are urged to focus on the importance of learning the sounds that their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. I remind Tennesseans to install working smoke alarms inside and outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years. Conduct family fire drills and make sure everyone living a house knows the way out of every room.
Since 2012, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office has provided smoke alarms to fire departments and volunteer organizations across Tennessee through our “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” smoke alarm program. To date, more than 254,000 smoke alarms have been distributed and 324 lives have been saved by smoke alarms installed through the program.
Providing smoke alarms to fire departments in order to help reduce fire deaths is just one part of the mission of the Division of Fire Prevention, also known as the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO).
The SFMO is committed to protecting the safety of Tennesseans and their property through fire prevention, education, codes enforcement, inspection and regulation. While all these sections might have different tasks, they all share the same goal of making Tennessee a safer and more attractive place to live, work and play. I’d like to share a few details about our work to help keep Tennessee consumers safe.
Codes officials in the SFMO’s Codes Enforcement Section, as well as those in the Electrical, Residential and Marina Inspections Section, work to ensure buildings are constructed safely and public marinas are operating safely. As part of that mission, we have recently established a program for the inspection of “tiny houses” in order to help maintain consumer safety when purchasing non-traditional, permanent residential structures, such as tiny homes.
The SFMO supports the heroes of the Tennessee fire service through a variety of ways including training firefighters at the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy. Under the leadership of Governor Bill Lee and the General Assembly, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Commission on Firefighting have implemented the Volunteer Educational Incentive Program. The program will provide $600 annually to volunteer firefighters for completing the program requirements of 30 hours of annual training with educational directives related to achieving Firefighter l certification.
In 2020, the SFMO developed the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant following the passage of legislation – setting aside $500,000 for the purchase of firefighting equipment by Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments or to help volunteer fire departments meet local matching requirements for federal grants to purchase equipment. The SFMO received over 170 applications from volunteer fire departments. We look forward to continuing this expanded program with $1 million this fiscal year to assist volunteer firefighters.
As you can see, the SFMO is a multi-faceted organization that continues to have a positive impact on Tennesseans of all ages. The work of the SFMO in serving our first responders and helping save lives of Tennesseans is a high honor and privilege.
43rd Annual Fall Tennessee Craft Fair: Come Celebrate Craft in the Park!
Tennessee Craft presents the 43rd Annual Fall Tennessee Craft Fair, October 8, 9 and 10, in Nashville’s iconic Centennial Park. Artists from across the nation will exhibit their handmade craft on the Great Lawn adjacent to the Parthenon, showcasing fine craft from clay, jewelry and leather to wood, glass, painting and more.
On pause due to COVID restrictions, two popular attractions have returned to the fair: the Kids’ Tent and the Demonstration Tent! Organizational partners will be onsite throughout the weekend sharing a variety of craft techniques with our youngest fair goers. Volunteers from Belmont/Watkins Community Education, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, East Nashville Hope Exchange, Frist Art Museum, Nashville Public Library, Poverty and the Arts, Shimai Gallery of Contemporary Craft, Tennessee State Museum, Turnip Green Creative Reuse, and the perennial favorite Wishing Chair Productions Puppet Truck will guide children through art activities that they can recreate at home using ordinary materials and their creativity.
In the Demonstration Tent, watch and learn “how it’s made” from the Tennessee Association of Woodturners, the Clay Lady’s Campus, and one of our 2020 Master Artist/Apprentice Program pairs.
The Emerging Makers Tent is another exciting place to be during the fair! Artists who are just beginning their craft careers or are exhibiting in a craft fair for the first time work together in a group selling environment to support each other in set up, display, selling and customer service.
Through the fairs and a robust calendar of year-round programs, Tennessee Craft impacts current and future generations of craft artists and collectors. Tennessee Craft Fairs (held each Spring and Fall) are the premier outdoor events for artists to showcase and sell their work in an intimate and personal setting. Craft artists connect with the community by demonstrating their craft knowledge and processes.
As always, this free event is accessible to the public – with free parking and free shuttle service on Saturday and Sunday. Shuttles will run in 15-minute loops from the HCA Parking Lots located on Park Plaza to the entrance of the Tennessee Craft Fair. Gray Line of Tennessee generously provides this free service. The Fall Fair will be a socially distanced event and masks are strongly encouraged, especially in artists’ booths where social distancing is not feasible.
Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more details, maps and event information, please visit tennesseecraft.org/fallfair.
Tennesseans Encouraged to Register to Vote on National Voter Registration Day
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – To celebrate National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, Sept. 28, Secretary of State Tre Hargett encourages Tennesseans to register to vote, check their voter registration status and show friends, coworkers and neighbors how to register online in minutes.
“It’s never been easier to register to vote in Tennessee and our office is excited to lead the effort to help all eligible voters in our great state get registered,” said Secretary Hargett. “We are doing this with college voter registration tailgates and by working with businesses, non-profits and civic organizations across the state through our Your Vote Matters program.”
This month, the Secretary of State’s office is working with student volunteers, university and athletic department staff, student government associations, campus organizations and local county election commissions at Tennessee’s nine Division I Public Universities conducting voter registration drives on campus.
Through the Your Vote Matters program, the Secretary of State’s office is providing participating businesses, non-profits and civic organizations across the state with tools they can use to promote voter registration and civic engagement to their employees, customers and community. As part of the Your Vote Matters program, Secretary Hargett is also speaking with corporate and community organizations in person and virtually about increasing civic engagement.
“The first step to making your voice heard on Election Day is registering to vote. If you are not registered, don’t wait. Now is the time to get ready to cast your ballot by registering to vote,” said Secretary Hargett. “If you’re already registered, you can participate by helping us spread the word about National Voter Registration Day and encouraging everyone in your spheres of influence to get registered.”
It has never been easier to register to vote in Tennessee. Registering to vote, updating or checking your registration status is fast, easy and secure with the Secretary of State’s online voter registration system, GoVoteTN.gov.
Using a computer, phone or tablet, any U.S. citizen with a driver’s license or a photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security can register in minutes at GoVoteTN.gov. Each submission is checked against the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s database. A paper voter registration application is also available to download at GoVoteTN.gov.
National Voter Registration Day and National Voter Registration Month are nonpartisan, nationwide efforts to encourage all eligible voters to register and participate in the electoral process.
For details about the Secretary of State’s upcoming voter registration activities, follow their social media channels Twitter: @SecTreHargett, Facebook: Tennessee Secretary of State and Instagram: @tnsecofstate.
Tennesseans are encouraged to use #GoVoteTN and #YourVoteMattersTN on social media posts promoting voter registration during National Voter Registration Month and throughout the year.
For more information about registering to vote in Tennessee, go to GoVoteTN.gov or call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959.
Franklin County Schools: Covid Times Test Data
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Sept. 16 Franklin County School Board meeting, Supervisor of Elementary Instruction Kim Tucker and Supervisor of Secondary Instruction Leah Harrell explained 2020-2021 test score data and the new mechanisms for addressing learning loss.
Compared to 2018-2019, elementary age achievement testing scores dropped in both English Language Acquisition and Math, Tucker said. But she praised county elementary schools for higher TVAAS (Tennessee Value Added Assessment System) scores in both subject areas. TVAAS is a statewide student comparison measuring growth, how many students improved, not achievement. For the elementary level TVAAS scores rose from 2 to 3 in ELA and from 1 to 5 in Math. “I’m pleased we didn’t lose as much ground as other districts,” Tucker said.
Harrell cited the same pattern in grades 6-8, lower overall achievement scores, but TVAAS scores increasing from 2 to 3 in ELA and from 1 to 5 in Math. At the high school level, though, both achievement and TVAAS scores decreased. Harrell attributed the decline to the large number of virtual and hybrid schedule learners at the high school level. “Being in school is beneficial,” Harrell stressed.
To remedy learning loss occurring due to the pandemic, each school has three educational assistants to provide tutoring, Tucker said. “In terms of achievement, we have work to do … You’ll see better achievement in the middle and upper schools, once we get those foundational skills shored up in the primary grades.”
Explaining the difference between the new learning loss tutoring model and the Response to Intervention program already in play, Harrell said the more intensive RTI program targeted students achieving below the 25th percentile. Learning loss tutors worked with students just slightly behind due to interruption in instruction resulting from the pandemic.
Consistent with the national trend, ACT scores also decreased last year, Harrell said. The state earned national kudos, however, for testing more students than any other state. Franklin County was one of the few districts offering weekend testing, Federal Projects Supervisor Jenny Crabtree pointed out, with a number of students from other districts taking advantage of the opportunity.
In other business, Director of Schools Stanley Bean recognized Sewanee Elementary School for receiving Reward School status. The criteria for the award required level 5 student success in both achievement and growth. Bean praised Principal Allison Dietz, as well as past principal Kim Tucker. SES has received the award several times.
Bean also announced the $500 bonuses for teachers and administrators would go out in November. The wage supplement will recognize returning teachers and administrators who persevered and stayed with the school system throughout the difficult 2020-2021 school year.
Sherrie Miller, grandmother of a Franklin County student, addressed the board expressing her displeasure with “how COVID had been handled.” Miller said Tennessee currently had the nation’s worst COVID infection rate and less than 50 percent of residents were vaccinated. “Masks should be mandated, since we don’t have an option to do virtual,” Miller insisted, pointing to the masking policy of neighboring school districts.
The board voted to elect CleiJo Walker chair and Lance Williams vice chair for the 2021-2022 school year.
Suggesting a board administrative change, Bean proposed a non-voting board member from each high school. The state student-representative policy calls for the student to have at least a 3.0 grade point average, no disciplinary issues, and a good attendance record. Bean asked the board to review the policy for possible adoption at the November meeting. He recommended, if adopted, high school student body presidents should assume the representative role.
Trustee Community Relations Committee Meeting
The University of the South Trustee Community Relations Committee will meet Wednesday, Oct. 6. Members of the committee will meet with the Sewanee Community Council, who will update the Trustees on topics of interest and concern to our community. Please contact a council member before Friday, Oct. 1, with items for the council to consider.
Members of the Sewanee Community Council include Nancy Berner, Pamela Byerly, Sallie Green, Bill Harper, Sarah Hess, Spike Hosch, Eric Keen, Bruce Manuel, Anna Palmer, Mary Priestley, Katherine Reed, Karen Singer, John Solomon, Lynn Stubblefield, Shirley Taylor, June Weber, and Phil White.
Alumni Lectures Hosted by School of Theology
On Sept. 29, the School of Theology will present the third in the series of lectures on racial reconciliation. The 2021 Alumni Lectures welcomes three bishops as the guest lecturers for this year’s event—the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskervill-Burrows, Diocese of Indianapolis; the Rt. Rev. Phoebe Roaf, Diocese of West Tennessee; and the Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, Diocese of Maryland.
All lectures will be held in Guerry Auditorium. Everyone is invited to attend any or all of the lectures. Please note that masks are required inside all campus buildings. 8:30–9:30 a.m., Lecture 1, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrow; 9:45–10:45 a.m., Lecture 2, Phoebe Roaf; 2:15–3:15 p.m., Lecture 3, Eugene Sutton; 3:30–5 p.m, conversation between Bishops/Q&A
The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, “The Language of Dismantling White Supremacy: Intentional Words for Intentional Witness”—Word choice matters deeply to the gospel work of dismantling the sinful and systemic systems of racial oppression. Baskerville-Burrows will speak about her experience as a Black woman leading a majority-White diocese through a period of racial justice reckoning in the name of the Word made flesh, Jesus. She will share how defining the words shapes the work in the Diocese of Indianapolis as they create spaces where people can bring their real and vulnerable selves to the work of dismantling systems of injustice.
The Rt. Rev. Phoebe Roaf,“Addressing Racial Reconciliation in Different Contexts”—Roaf will focus on the promises contained in our baptismal covenant as guiding principles for our collective response to racism within the Church and society. As Baskerville-Burrows’ context in Indianapolis is very different from Roaf’s context in Memphis, she will explore how these two dioceses are addressing the question of racial reconciliation and becoming beloved community.
The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, “Four Steps to Becoming a Racially-Reconciled Church”—Fifty years after the Civil Rights Era, have we as a Church and society made as much progress in racial justice and reconciliation as we had hoped? Recent polls consistently reveal a pessimism and hardening of racial attitudes among many Americans. Given our well-documented collusion with the forces of slavery, segregation and injustice, can The Episcopal Church lead the way toward becoming a more racially-reconciled community that faithfully reflects the values of the reign of God? In his presentation, Sutton will lead us in reflecting on these issues, and will suggest concrete ways that we as a Church can shape a brighter future.
SCA Meeting Welcomes tnAchieves
The Sewanee Civic Association will meet at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 28, via Zoom. Items for the agenda include the introduction of the Sewanee Community Chest Stewards, the Sewanee Community Chest goal for 2021-22, updates on projects, the possible formation of a service committee, and the sponsorship of the Cub Scout Pack 152. The Zoom link is
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8784.... Meeting ID: 878 4312 6265.
Dial in +1 (312) 626 6799 US (Chicago).
tnAchieves Director of Mentors Tyler Ford will present the program. tnAchieves is the partnering organization to the TN Promise Scholarship in 90 of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Their mission is to increase higher education opportunities for Tennessee high school students by providing last-dollar scholarships with mentor guidance.
tnAchieves reaches and serves nearly 90 percent of Tennessee’s high school seniors annually, working with 98 percent of all TN Promise scholarship applicants. In addition to mentor guidance, tnAchieves provides extensive statewide student success advising and support that is leading to transformational increases in retention and completion. tnAchieves supports students from high school through college to career.
For more information go to https://tnachieves.org.
This year, the SCA is celebrating 113 years of civic opportunities for the community. The SCA is the sponsoring organization for the Sewanee Classifieds and the Sewanee Community Chest. Any adult who resides in the area and shares concerns of the community is invited to participate.
For more information go to http://sewaneecivic.org.
Film Fundraiser for Communities Hit by Hurricane Ida, Oct. 1-3
The Academy Award-winning 1951 film of Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire,” set in New Orleans and starring Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden, will be shown at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 1-3. Friday and Saturday’s screenings will be in Blackman Auditorium, and on Sunday, Oct. 3, there will be an outdoor screening in front of the B.C. Rain location is Blackman Auditorium.
At the Sunday evening screening, Professor Jim Crawford of the Theatre Department and Professor Virginia Craighill of the English Department will lead a discussion and Q&A after the film.
Admission is free. All audience donations and proceeds from concession sales will go to Post-Hurricane Ida Relief Effort (PHIRE) of the Coastal Community Relief <https://www.coastalcommunityre...;, where funds will be divided between the Mayor’s Community Fund for the Town of Grand Isle, and the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw’s nonprofit organization, and to Lower Nine <lowernine.org>, a nonprofit group dedicated to restoring the damage from Hurricane Katrina in New Orlean’s historic Lower Ninth Ward.
Sponsored by OCE, Sewanee’s English and Theatre departments, and the SUT.