Education commissioner observes Summer Learning Camp in progress

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BEAUTIFYING – Student Kerris Spivey (left) and Malachi Whaley are receiving help from Commissioner of Education Pennye as they work on a steam project for beautification. Submitted photo

The Tennessee Department of Education brought its Accelerated TN. 2022 Tour to Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central School Friday to highlight summer learning opportunities. There they observed the Summer Learning Camp in progress.

The Special School District’s staff members got a surprise when state Commissioner of Education Pennye Schwinn emerged from the bus and entered the school dressed in a raccoon costume.

It brought smiles to the faces of Director of Schools Dr. Myles Hebrard, Supervisor of Instruction Scot Crocker, CTE Director and Data Supervisor Trey Crews, County Mayor Joseph Butler, and Board of Education chairman Brad Hurley. The commissioner soon discarded the raccoon head and began shaking hands.

She was accompanied by other state Dept. of Education officials. State Representative Tandy Darby also joined in later during the tour.

During the General Assembly’s 2021 special legislative, legislators passed the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act. It sets forward a path for all districts’ current and future summer programming opportunities that will benefit students and accelerate achievement.

The commissioner and other department staff members and community partners are visiting 50 of the state’s school districts this summer in June to connect directly with students, educators and board members.

During her visit, Schwinn listened to students explain their different stem projects that were spread down one long hallway. Nineteen sixth through eighth grade students completed these projects in the last two weeks, according to teacher Dana Christian. Christian, along with Jessica Watson, Caleb Boyd and Michael Limbaugh were the instructors. Each project had a theme.

Among the students telling about their projects were: Harley Huntsman on pilgrims and Indians, Aden Barnhart on his RV interior design, Chase Drinkard on his rocket launch, Carter Lowe and Johnny Tilley on their trekking through summer display.

Schwinn also visited first grade teacher Tena Halter’s room on her tour where she observed some stream projects as they are called in the lower grades. The lower grades raised $1,000 in three hours from a lemonade stand they put in front of the school which was donated to S t. Jude.

The commissioner talked with Hebrard, Hurley and the county mayor concerning  strategic initiatives and the new TISA public school funding formula.

At the conclusion of her visit, she assisted students Malachi Whaley and Kerris Spivey in a beautification project of setting out flowering plants around the elementary school sign.

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