State of the Schools recap
We were honored to host four of our local leaders in education last week for our annual State
of the Schools luncheon panel. Maury County Schools new Superintendent Michael Hickman,
Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden, Columbia State Community College
President Dr. Janet Smith and Columbia Academy President Dr. James Thomas all provided
insightful discussion surrounding their current environment and how the business community
can partner for student success. Here are a few trends from the discussion that I think we all
can appreciate, along with some ‘asks’ for the community:
– Teachers have been going the extra mile to ensure that each student gets the attention
they need. Each panelist encouraged attendees to thank teachers as often as possible.
– Education gaps are apparent, but due to the hard work between teachers and the
students, they are catching up faster than expected. If everyone can work on creating
opportunities to encourage students it would make an even bigger impact.
– Remote learning is here to stay! Weather or health related school closings will not keep
students from continuing to learn. (Sorry kids, no more snow days!)
– Strategic plans have been fast-tracked due to COVID-19, including ensuring all students
have devices and access to robust online learning platforms.
– Collaboration is key to student success. Administration, teachers, students, parents and
community partners must work together to ensure student growth.
– Extracurricular activities are important for student development but must be provided
in a safe manner. For example, you might see your local high school band perform in
your neighborhood or online as opposed to the Friday night football game.
– Mental health is a key issue. It takes everyone to be more intentional in their
interactions with young people to make sure their ‘whole’ self is addressed.
– Access to the internet is still a challenge. Businesses providing hot spots are greatly
appreciated, please promote if you are offering it. Please write your legislators to make
sure TN is a digital highway.
– Grace has been shown and will continue to be needed as schools work to educate all
students during a pandemic. Please keep positive!
2020 has been a difficult time for all of us, I cannot imagine trying to navigate the intricacies of
meeting the various needs of so many students, as well as their families. Let us all continue to
encourage the leadership, teachers and students during these unprecedented times. Flexibility
is not always easy but we are all learning to dig deep and discover that we are capable of so
much more than we ever imagined. Together we make a better Spring Hill!
– Rebecca Melton, Executive Director, Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce