Local News Articles

New Bridge Construction Underway on Tramel Branch Road

April 10, 2011
Dwayne Page
Portion of Tramel Branch Road Closed due to Bridge Construction
New Bridge Being Built Over Helton Creek

One local bridge project is in progress and another is about to begin.

In February, the Tennessee Department of Transportation awarded a bid to Mountain States Contractors, LLC of Mount Juliet in the amount of $505,991 to build a new concrete box beam bridge on Tramel Branch Road over Helton Creek near Alexandria. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving.

Construction is now underway and Tramel Branch Road is closed to traffic at the point of the bridge site. The work is to be completed on or before November 30th.

TDOT has also awarded a bid to Roads, LLC of Brentwood in the amount of $623, 963 to build a concrete I-Beam bridge on Pea Ridge Road over Dry Creek. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving. Construction on this project has not yet begun but should be starting soon. The work is to be finished on or before November 30th.

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge told WJLE that both projects are to be funded with 80% federal funds and 20% local matching money, including 14% from the DeKalb County Highway Department budget (state aid) and 6% from the county general fund.

City Denies AT&T's Request for Tower Installation

April 10, 2011
Dwayne Page

AT&T will have to find somewhere else in town to erect a telecommunications tower.

The Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals Thursday evening denied AT&T's application for a "Special Exception" variance to install a tower and associated utilities within the M-I General Industrial District at the intersection of Kendra Drive and Short Mountain Street.

During a public hearing, several residents in the area and city officials expressed opposition to the proposal.

Members of the BZA board are Sandra Wall, Janie Knowles, Wade Smith, Jr. W.J. (Dub) White, and Jimmy Ervin. Mr. Ervin was absent.

A Look at the Tennessee Legislature

April 10, 2011
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Tort Reforms Move Along in Judiciary Committee

After much discussion, the House Judiciary Subcommittee moved forward with legislation to cap damages stemming from lawsuits in Tennessee. The tort reforms will provide stability in the legal system and ensure lawsuit abuse does not become a reality in Tennessee.

The bill has been a major cornerstone of the Republican Majority’s jobs package, with the Administration stressing the need for the proposal in order to create a jobs-friendly environment in Tennessee. The reforms set in stone much-needed stability so businesses in Tennessee will be able to adequately budget. We have fought for several years to pass various tort reform measures, and are extremely pleased to see the bill moving forward. The bill will now be heard in the full Judiciary Committee.

Governor, Lt. Gov., and Speaker Unveil Career Coach Vehicles for Tennessee

The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker today unveiled three vehicles designed to improve outcomes for those looking for work. Three “Career Coaches” were customized with 10 computer workstations with Internet access, printers, fax machines, and flat screen TV’s with SMART Board overlays to facilitate classroom instruction. The intent of these roving offices is to bring job matching and training to rural communities that have limited access to a Tennessee Career Center.

The vehicles will be based in Huntingdon, Nashville and Knoxville in order to cover all areas of the state. Each mobile unit will be staffed with three Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development employees who are trained in career counseling and unemployment benefits.

"These mobile career centers will provide Tennesseans across this state with the information, assistance, and equipment they need to find jobs and career opportunities,” the Speaker said. “Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development employees will provide them with the tools they need to succeed in today's economy, and I applaud Governor Haslam and Commissioner Davis for making this a priority."

Major Initiatives for Election Reform

On Thursday we passed major legislative initiatives meant to reform how elections are conducted and administered in the Volunteer State.

Taken together, the bills clarify the Tennessee Code to make it consistent with legal precedence that has governed election commissions. The bills also define the responsibilities of administrators of elections and provide greater local oversight over how elections are conducted. These bills ensure there is a concrete route for dealing with concerns raised by election observers.

A central tenet of the Republican platform is local control. These bills are all representative of that philosophy as they ensure greater access by county officials who can best ensure a free and fair election for the citizens of Tennessee. As the prime sponsor of HB709, this bill simply removes early voting if there is not any opposition in a municipal election (city council) and it does not coincide with the August or November election. This legislation will be a savings to our counties statewide. My focus is how to do government better by ultimately reducing the costs and size of government.

We Welcome New Tennessee Commissioner of Education

On Tuesday, the Governor swore in his pick to guide Tennessee’s Department of Education. The new Commissioner of Education is tasked with guiding and implementing the much-needed reforms that are at the heart of the education initiatives moving through the General Assembly. Following the swearing in ceremony, key leaders of the House of Representatives released statements applauding the Commissioner’s appointment.

The Speaker stated, "I am looking forward to working with Commissioner Huffman to ensure Tennessee students have every opportunity at their fingertips and every classroom has a great teacher at the helm. His background of strong reform will build on the momentum we currently have here to make our schools even better. Strong schools lead to job growth and prepare the next generation for our global economy. The Republican Education Committee Chairman said, “I look forward to working with Commissioner Huffman over the coming years to enact an agenda that is both visionary and attainable. Raising the standards for student achievement and teacher excellence is a laudable goal and I am confident we will reach it.”

Commissioner Huffman is the former executive vice president of Teach for America, a nationwide organization that recruits educators. Mr. Huffman is an attorney who taught in the classroom and has a decade of experience as an administrator under his belt.

We Pass Tough Sex Offender Registry Legislation

Early in the week, House Republicans overwhelmingly passed a reform to the criminal code that closes a loophole that allows sexual offenders to find refuge. The bill requires all sexual offenders who are incarcerated, but who have not yet registered as a sexual offender or violent sexual offender, to be registered in the institution in which they are incarcerated by no later than August 1, 2011.

Effectively, the bill increases public safety as it will catalogue and publicize the sexual offenders around the State. It ensures those who have been convicted of a sexual offense have to sign a TBI registration form. The TBI then takes the person's information and places it into the sexual offender database.

The Republican sponsor of the legislation stated, “This is an important move for our General Assembly. It reinforces our commitment to increase safety for Tennessee families. I have seen the destruction and detrimental effects sexual abuse can have on victims. The fact our law currently allows some criminals to legally continue harassing their victims is unacceptable. Our Majority is committed to preventing further victimization of Tennesseans by the worst kind of criminals.”

Tennessee Says Goodbye to a Tennessee Original, Former Governor Ned McWherter

Members of the General Assembly were saddened to hear the news of the passing of former Governor of Tennessee, Ned McWherter. Many veteran Members of the Chamber served with McWherter, including many Republicans.

Gov. McWherter was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1968. After a few terms, he was elected to be Speaker of the House. He would go on to serve Tennessee as Governor for two terms in 1986.

After learning of his passing, Speaker Harwell stated, “Tennessee lost a true statesman with the passing of Governor McWherter. He understood the role of the legislative body, and he carried it out to the fullest. He will be missed, and my heart goes out to his family during this difficult time.”

Two memorial services will be held for Governor McWherter, one on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Nashville at the War Memorial Auditorium. The other service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on the front lawn of McWherter’s home in Dresden. Both memorials are open to the public.

Unclaimed Property Website for Tennesseans

I urge citizens throughout Tennessee to visit an updated State website that features hundreds of listings for unclaimed property.

In terms of property, Tennessee does not hold to a law of escheat, meaning that unclaimed property after a certain time period “returns to the crown”. The State—through the Treasury Department—holds unclaimed property until it is reclaimed by the rightful owner, or by the owner’s heirs (if the owner is deceased). Anyone can search for unclaimed properties by name at this website: http://treasury.tn.gov/unclaim/FindUnclaimed.html. “I would hope every Tennessean visits this site to check for any property that may rightfully be theirs. Far too many citizens are unaware of this fact and I hope this site helps correct that. Typically the property that is held by the Treasurer’s office is intangible property. A few common examples might be uncashed payroll checks, utility deposits, customer refunds, dormant checking and savings accounts, mutual funds, and stock. This is a prime example of how our government can help our residents and I encourage everyone to spread the word about this resource.”

Tennessee's State Treasurer remarked, “The Unclaimed Property Division within the Treasury Department returned over $23.6 million and 250,000 shares of securities to approximately 20,000 claimants last fiscal year. This is an outstanding program that benefits citizens of this State.”

Visitors from the 40th!

It was such a joy to showcase the many talented and gifted artists from Macon, Smith and DeKalb Counties during Arts Day on the Hill this week. Arts Advocacy Day on the Hill is an annual event that promotes the importance of the Arts and the effect it has on our culture. As one who is a strong advocate of the Arts, I certainly enjoyed hosting this event and having a reception in honor of those who participated. Hats off to those of you who attended!

I also want to thank Sheriff Steve Hopper and his Chief Deputy Eugene Roberts for visiting my office this week. It is always so great to have my local officials stop by.

It was also Ladies Day on the Hill with a record number of Republican women from all over the state emerge on the State Capitol. Governor Bill Haslam addressed the annual event. I too, was asked to speak, as well as, sing the National Anthem. It was a huge honor for me.

In closing, please feel free to call on me at any time if I can ever be of assistance to you at (615) 741-2192. It is such an honor to serve you all.

Smithville Police Department Weekly Crime News

April 8, 2011
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has released its weekly update on city crime news.

Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 47 year old William Howard Bogle of Estes Street was arrested on Monday April 4th for driving under the influence. According to the warrant, Sergeant Randy King went to Wal-Mart to check out a complaint about someone who had been driving under the influence but had parked in the fire lane. Upon arrival he saw the suspect, Bogle, come out of the store. Upon speaking with him, Sergeant King said he could smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Bogle's person. Bogle was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Sergeant King asked if he had anything to drink and Bogle replied that he had been drinking. Bogle refused to perform sobriety tasks. Bond for Bogle is $1,500 and his court date is May 5th.

50 year old Grover Lamont Jones of Sparta Highway was arrested by Sergeant Randy King for shoplifting at Mapco and Save A Lot on Monday April 4th. Sergeant King saw Jones put items in his pockets at Mapco. Police later discovered that Jones had also taken some items from Save A Lot. Bond for Jones is $3,000 and his court date is May 5th.

Officer Bradley Tatrow cited 23 year old Amy Beth Washer of McMinnville Highway on Wednesday April 6th for simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance. While conducting a search of a wanted suspect, Officer Tatrow saw an unmarked bottle lying in the floor with three pills in it believed to be a schedule III drug Washer's court date is April 28th.

Officer David Phillips cited 27 year old Chasity Lynn Carter of Brush Creek for shoplifting on Wednesday April 6th. Ms. Carter had concealed items on her person that belonged to Wal-Mart. Her court date is April 28th.

Officer Bradley Tatrow arrested 30 year old Bratten Hale Cook III of Bryant Street on Thursday April 7th for two counts of simple possession and theft. According to the warrants, Officer Tatrow went to Roses to check out a complaint about a shoplifter. Upon arrival he spoke to Cook and found items belonging to Roses on his person. Also found on Mr. Cook's person was a schedule IV and VI drug and paraphernalia. Cook was cited for the paraphernalia. Bond for Cook is $ 4,500 and his court date is April 14th.

Anyone with information on any offense is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

American Cancer Society Honors Volunteers

April 8, 2011
Seven American Cancer Society Volunteers

In celebration of the 38th annual National Volunteer Week, the American Cancer Society recognizes and celebrates the efforts of its more than three million volunteers nationwide who have helped make a difference for people facing cancer since 1913. In DeKalb County, over 200 volunteers give their time and talent to fight back against this disease either through being a Relay For Life Committee Member or being on a Relay For Life Team.

“Volunteers are the foundation of the American Cancer Society,” said Denise Hackett, ACS Community Representative. Volunteers have been crucially important in enabling the American Cancer Society to help people facing cancer since we were founded in 1913. As we celebrate this week, I want to thank each of our volunteers in DeKalb County for dedicating their time and energy to our cancer-fighting mission. We are so grateful for the Society volunteers of yesterday, today and tomorrow, as they are helping save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays for future generations to come.”

Volunteers contribute to helping people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back against cancer through a variety of roles, efforts and American Cancer Society programs, including:

•Relay For Life- More than three million Americans (including 500,000 cancer survivors) participate nationally in the Society’s signature overnight community event. Volunteer teams celebrate the lives of those touched by cancer, remember loved ones and fight back against a disease that takes too much.

•Patient programs and services- Dedicated Society volunteers provide direct assistance and service to help people stay well and get well in a variety of ways. Our volunteers provide one-on-one support as survivors to newly diagnosed patients through our Reach To Recovery program. Our volunteers also help women with the treatment related-side effects by teaching them skills to help their appearance through our Look Good…Feel Better program. We also provide a camping experience for children who have cancer and their siblings at Camp Horizon each year.

•Legislative advocacy- The Society’s advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, has grassroots volunteer networks of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who successfully work to fight back against cancer and send strong messages to lawmakers about issues that matter to people touched by cancer.

The American Cancer Society listens, shares, heals and nurtures a spirit of hope and a culture of caring through volunteerism. To learn more about how you can save lives while fulfilling your own through volunteering, visit our Web site, www.cancer.org/volunteer.

Please join us in our Fight Against Cancer on Friday, June 3rd for The DeKalb County Relay For Life at Greenbrook Park in Smithville.

(Pictured Above left to right: Carolyn Reynolds, Ivadel Randolph, Violet Fuson, Ron Gray, Jeff McMillen, Eva Willoughby, and Barbara Ashford)

Smithville Police and Sheriff's Department Undercover Drug Investigations Result in Grand Jury Sealed Indictments

April 7, 2011
Dwayne Page
Andre Wakefield
Brian Thomason
Christopher Scruggs
Donald Perry, Jr.
Lesley Lawrence
Brandon Gurley
Jamie Lee Hodges
Susan Jean Brown
Terry Lee Price
Sharon Groshon Malone

The Smithville Police Department recently conducted an undercover drug investigation as well as a joint operation with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department which has resulted in several grand jury sealed indictments and arrests.

Evidence from the undercover operations were presented to the DeKalb County Grand Jury Monday resulting in sealed indictments against fourteen defendants.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said he is pleased with the outcome of this effort. "This is one of the first efforts we had on undercover drug buys in a long time with the City of Smithville (police department). It was very successful. We also had a joint operation with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. I couldn't ask for anybody better to work with than Sheriff Ray and his detectives. Detective (Matt) Holmes with the City of Smithville (police department) worked diligently on these cases along with his men (officers). We hope to continue this partnership together and work these cases for the people here in DeKalb County and Smithville. On the roundup, we also had assistance form the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. TBI Agent (Billy) Miller from here in DeKalb County was there to assist and we appreciate all the help in this whole operation and the roundup," said Chief Caplinger.

Sheriff Patrick Ray added that he was happy to work in cooperation with the Smithville Police Department on several of these cases. "This was a joint operation between the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. We got with them and done undercover drug buys. We're proud and honored to be able to do that and this is just one of many I hope to do with the City of Smithville (police department). Our last drug round up was done with the City of Alexandria. We want to continue working with our law enforcement agencies in the county, whether its the city or state agencies. I'd like to thank Chief Randy Caplinger and Detective Matt Holmes. Its been a pleasure working with them through all this. We're excited to get started again doing undercover drug operations with them. We've also been working with Detective Holmes on other criminal investigations. My detectives have been working with them. If we can join forces with other law enforcement agencies in the county then it just makes us stronger where we can go out and serve justice to the people and especially the victims here in our county," said Sheriff Ray.

Those arrested so far in cases made by the Smithville Police Department include the following:

36 year old Andre Wakefield of Foster Road, Smithville- indicted charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Cocaine). His bond is $60,000.

23 year old Brian Thomason (incarcerated in the DeKalb County Jail)- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Suboxone). His bond is $30,000.

36 year old Christopher Scruggs of Big Hurricane Road, Smithville- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Methamphetamine). His bond is $30,000

39 year old Donald Perry, Jr. of Foster Road, Smithville- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Cocaine). His bond is $30,000.

23 year old Lesley Lawrence of Foster Road, Smithville- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Cocaine). Her bond is $30,000.

Meanwhile those arrested so far in cases made as a result of the joint investigation by the Smithville Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department include the following:

28 year old Brandon Gurley of Bell Street, Smithville- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance ( Methamphetamine). His bond is $30,000.

23 year old Jamie Lee Hodges of Old Bildad Road, Smithville-indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Methamphetamine). Her bond is $60,000.

55 year old Susan Jean (Jeana) Brown of East Broad Street, Smithville- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Morphine)

50 year old Terry Lee Price of East Bryant Street, Smithville- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Morphine). His bond is $30,000. In addition to the charges in the indictment, Price was found with drugs on him at the time of his arrest and he was further charged under a state warrant with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid) with intent to resale. His bond is $2,500. Sheriff Ray said that Price had in his front pocket a black pill container which held three dilaudid pills. He also had $383 in cash in denominations of $20's, $10's, $5's, and one dollar bills. Price could not explain how be obtained the money. The cash was seized.

36 year old Sharon Groshon Malone of West Point Road, Smithville- indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Morphine) and (Dilaudid). Her bond is $60,000.

All those indicted will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, April 11th.

Harry Lasser Named to Replace Nolan Turner on Election Commission

April 7, 2011
Dwayne Page
Harry Lasser

A new member has been named to the DeKalb County Election Commission by the Tennessee Election Commission.

Harry Lasser, a resident of Smithville and Cookeville attorney, is replacing Nolan Turner as one of the two democratic members of the local commission. Turner served for 32 years. He was first appointed in 1979 and is completing his sixteenth and final term.

Kenneth Moore, the other democrat on the commission, has been reappointed. Moore has served since 1980.

The other three members of the DeKalb County Election Commission, Walteen Parker, Barbara Vanatta, and Jim Dean, have also been reappointed by the Tennessee Election Commission. Vanatta and Dean are beginning their second terms. Parker has served since 1992. All three are republicans.

Lasser was born in New Jersey but his family moved to the Lancaster community in 1982. Lasser is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the UT College of Law. An attorney since 1996, Lasser has had his law office in Cookeville for the last ten years. Lasser is a member of the Smithville First United Methodist Church and a youth league soccer coach.

Lasser and his wife Claudette have three children including Elizabeth, a student at DeKalb County High School; Alex, a DeKalb Middle School student; and Nate, a student at Northside Elementary School.

"I am honored to have been appointed to the election commission," said Lasser. "I believe the commission's tasks are of the utmost importance. Nothing is more important to our democracy than to ensure fair and transparent elections. I undertake this task with seriousness of purpose," said Lasser.

As for the man he is succeeding on the commission, Lasser added "I respect the service of Mr. Turner. He should be commended for his service to the voters of DeKalb County," said Lasser.

The state election commission made these appointments on Monday April 4th. The term of each member is for two years.

Since the state legislature is made up of a majority of GOP lawmakers, Republicans have the right to hold majority memberships on the Tennessee Election Commission as well as all county election commissions in Tennessee. The appointments to local commissions are made by the state election commission.

Regarding the political division of county election commissions, state law states that " three members shall be members of the majority party and two members shall be members of the minority party".

"The members of the majority party on the state election commission shall appoint the persons who are required to be members of that party on county election commissions."

"The members of the minority party on the state election commission shall appoint the persons who are required to be members of that party on county election commissions."

"When members of another statewide political party are required to be appointed to a county election commission, they shall be nominated by the party's state primary board."

"Before appointing county election commissioners, the members of the state election commission shall consult with the members of the general assembly serving each of the counties as to the persons to be appointed to the county election commissions".

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Election Commission will hold its monthly meeting April 19 at 5 p.m. at the Election Commission Office in the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Items on the agenda include, but are not limited to, reorganization of the board as per state law and the appointment of an Administrator of Elections as per state law.

Anyone interested in applying for the position of administrator of elections should send a resume to: DeKalb County Election Commission, P.O. Box 543, Smithville, TN 37166 or hand-deliver a copy to the election commission office in Room 104 of the DeKalb County Courthouse by NOON Friday, April 15, 2011.

Smithville Swimming Pool Under Repair

April 7, 2011
Dwayne Page
City Swimming Pool Under Repair
Smithville Swimming Pool Under Repair

The Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool is under repair by the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville

In February, the aldermen voted to accept a bid from Langley and Taylor in the amount of $83,649 to replace the fiberglass coating of the pool.

In his bid package, Taylor Dobbs of Langley and Taylor, wrote that the existing fiberglass coating is extremely thin (about 1/16 of an inch) and that it is already deteriorating in several areas. Under the proposal chosen by the city, Langley and Taylor will remove the fiberglass coating of the pool, plaster the pool with white marcite plaster and tile the gutters with 1x1 white tile.

The pool repairs should be completed by May 10th.

Thomason Indicted in Rash of Auto Burglaries

April 7, 2011
Dwayne Page
Brian Thomason

A local man accused in a rash of car burglaries in November has been indicted by the Grand Jury.

Brian Thomason is under indictment on seven counts of auto burglary, eight counts of theft under $500, vandalism under $500, and criminal simulation.

Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE after Thomason's arrest in December that these crimes occurred on Whaley and Cill Street.

According to Detective Holmes, Thomason is believed to have broken into and stolen items from vehicles parked at homes on 420 Whaley Street, 407 Whaley Street, 613 Cill Street, 620 Cill Street, and 701 Cill Street. The break-ins are believed to have occurred during the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 23rd before daylight.

The residents at all these addresses called police to report the break-ins and thefts later that morning after making the discoveries. Some people in the neighborhood also reported seeing a suspicious man on foot walking through the area that day carrying several bags.

After an investigation, Detective Holmes said Thomason was identified as a suspect in the case and that he was staying at a rent home on Dry Creek Road, which was supposed to be unoccupied at that time. Police were told by the owner that no one was to be in the residence and he assisted the officers in obtaining access to the home. Thomason and his girlfriend were found there along with nearly all the items reported stolen from the car burglaries on Whaley and Cill Streets.

Detective Holmes said Thomason admitted to committing the burglaries.

The criminal simulation indictment against Thomason stems from an incident in which he allegedly tried to pass a phony $100 bill at Pizza Hut on November 27th.

Thomason will appear in criminal court for arraignment on Monday, April 11th at 9:00 a.m.

Teachers and Students Preparing for TCAP Tests

April 6, 2011
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

Students in grades 3-8 will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Achievement Test starting Thursday, April 14th.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade said TCAP testing is conducted each spring. The Achievement Test is a timed, multiple choice assessment that measures skills in Reading/ Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Student results are reported to parents, teachers, and administrators later in the year. "The TCAP achievements tests use multiple choice questions that provides a measure of knowledge and applications skills in core academic areas. The results of these tests will provide information about the students progress," said Burklow.

"The TCAP achievement tests are mandated for grades 3 through 8. We have a testing window that begins April 14th and ends April 21st and during this time we will test in the four academic areas. On April 14th, our students will be taking the reading/language arts portion of the test. On Friday, April 15th, our students will be taking the math portion. On Monday, April 18th, students will be taking their science tests. On Tuesday, April 19th, students will be participating in the social studies test. Each day the tests will be given in two parts and each school will begin testing at 8:15 a.m. so its very important that students arrive to school by that time in order to begin their tests in the schools. Each school will have a variance in the schedule for the day because of different schedules throughout the school. Students will be testing in the morning as well as afternoon to accommodate small groups and various strategies that are used throughout the school in order to give the students the best opportunity to succeed on these tests," said Burklow.

Burklow urges parents to help their children prepare for the tests. "Teachers are working with all the students on testing strategies, but parents we need your help in order to encourage students to apply these strategies. Encourage your child to read and pay careful attention to all directions and to read all information and questions. Every bit of information is pertinent to that test. (Students) should read every possible answer. Even though that first or second choice sounds really good, it could actually be that the last choice is the very best answer. Try to get the answer by reasoning and eliminating wrong answers. After completion of the tests, use any remaining time to check your answers. The test has a minimum of 65 to 70 minutes. Most of our students will finish prior to that so (students) should utilize that additional time to go back over and check your answers. Do not rush through the tests. You will have ample time to finish the tests so take your time to focus on the questions and all the answer choices," said Burklow.

"Parents there's a few more things you can help us do that will make a big difference with your student during TCAP week. Help your child learn how to find information independently. Encourage your child to ask questions at home and in class. Gather available test preparation materials. Your child's teacher is now reviewing for the tests. Papers will be coming home so that you can review with your child at home. See that your child is rested and eats breakfast. Please have your child at school on time. Testing will begin at 8:15 a.m. Your child arriving to school on time will help him or her be relaxed for the tests. Please try to have your child at school during the testing window. Part of No Child Left Behind is that we do test 95% of our students. Some schools will have afternoon test sessions to test students who may have been absent or to accommodate students that test better in small groups. Its very important that your child stays at school all day. If you have appointments scheduled for the afternoon, please try to rearrange those so that those children are at school," said Burklow.


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