Students in the Cleveland City School System will report for their first full day of classes on Aug. 4. Bradley County students will report to class on Monday, Aug. 8.
The opening of school is always accompanied by increased traffic in the school zones. I urge everyone to be aware of speed limits, crosswalks and crossing guards who are there for your child’s safety. I applaud each school principal who is constantly looking for ways to improve our children’s safety while providing a disciplined, drug-free environment.
As Bradley County mayor, I want to acknowledge our school system’s outstanding staff, administrators and teachers who influence our children each day. Their leadership in the classroom is vital in helping the school system reach certain state benchmarks such as graduation rates and ACT scores. Preliminary TCAP results for 2011 show the Bradley County School System has met federal benchmarks in the “All Students” category.
The school system also had an increase in the number of students considered proficient in K-8 math and reading. These are important elements in ensuring that Bradley County maintains its ranking as a Governor’s 3-Star Community.
Too often the burden of educating our children is placed solely upon the classroom teacher. But 30 years of research shows that greater parental involvement in a child’s learning is critical if they are to achieve a high-quality education. It’s clear that most Bradley County parents take this responsibility seriously.
From following up on their child’s homework assignment to volunteering in the classroom, many parents are finding ways to partner with their child’s school. The result is a low dropout rate for grades 9 through 12. In 2008, this rate was just 1.3 percent in Bradley County, well below the state average of 4.4 percent. This continued involvement will ensure that Bradley County students are well prepared to lead rewarding adult lives and do not get caught in the huge income gap between high school graduates and high school dropouts.
Our schools are also important to our local economic growth. Major corporations such as Wacker, Amazon, Whirlpool and Volkswagen look for a well-trained work force. The good-paying jobs in these plants require a certain level of technical ability and reasoning skills. Thanks to our outstanding education system we were able to assure Wacker’s management that Bradley County will be able to meet their labor force needs.
I have always been a big supporter of our public schools and am proud of the job they are doing. I was pleased to propose a partnership between county government and the school board in the building of the new Park View Elementary School on Minnis Road.
The school now occupies one corner of the 90 acres, leaving room for the Bradley County Recreation Department to build four new ball fields which are now under development. This partnership has saved both the school system and Bradley County several hundred thousand dollars.
I want to thank Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel and Dr. Rick Denning, who recently retired as director of Cleveland City Schools, for their leadership. I also want to welcome Cleveland’s new schools director, Dr. Martin Ringstaff.
I commend each school board, principal, teacher and their support staff, who deserve a lot of credit for the schools’ success. Their jobs don’t always begin at 7 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. They spend many extra hours inside and outside the classroom to ensure a quality education for all our children. Thanks to each of you for all that you do. You are a primary reason that Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.
For more information about Cleveland and Bradley County schools, log on to www.bradleyco.net, click on the “living” link and look for “schools.”