Banner Staff Writer
Education standards in Tennessee are changing. Just last year, the Tennessee Department of Education issued new standards which focus on more rigorous curriculum, particularly in the areas of math and science.
Schools across the state are reaching out to develop new programs to help students learn on the new standard level — enter Michigan Avenue Elementary School Principal Robert Brittingham.
This is Brittingham’s first year as principal as Michigan Avenue. Brittingham began his career in education in 1986 as band director for Hamilton County Schools. Since then he has served as assistant principal at Hunter Middle, Ooltewah Middle and East Hamilton High Schools.
“I came here in February and I laid low and just observed the inner workings of MAS. I noticed very quickly we had some stellar teaching in our music, our media specialist was doing incredible things in the library, just really out of the box and the work Mr. Fox was doing with the P.E. students was great. I realized there was so much going on, but they were in their own little islands. I thought I would throw this idea at them to work together with classroom teachers and just kind of let them run with it,” said the principal.
It’s called RAP (Related Arts Program). The program is coordinated to integrate classroom material (new state standards) that students absorb on a daily basis into related arts classes.
“We’re trying to help students learn these same standards through P.E., music, library and computer skills, and technology,” said Jamie Fox, physical education teacher at Michigan Avenue.
A couple times a month (on Fridays) students will have extra time to spend in the RAP classes. The classes offered are chorus, technology book club, Tech Savvy, Focus on Fitness and advanced sports.
“We’ve allowed students in third through fifth grade to choose their own related arts classes. Which they really enjoy,” said Fox.
Fox said kindergarten, first- and second-grade students will also have the opportunity to visit each RAP class.
“We figure if we tackle these new state standards from all of these different ways then someone’s learning style is going to be matched, whether it’s kinesthetically, visually or orally. Something that can reach a kid that might not have that opportunity in the classroom,” said music teacher Cara Rogers.