Local News Articles

TCAP Writing Assessment Upcoming For DeKalb Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Graders

February 3, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

DeKalb County students in fifth, eighth, and eleventh grades will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Writing Assessment this week.

The TCAP Writing Assessment requires students to write a rough draft essay in response to an assigned prompt (topic) within a limited time period. Fifth-grade students are asked to write a narrative essay; eighth-grade students an expository essay; and 11th-grade students a persuasive essay. Historically, the TCAP Writing Assessment has been scored holistically using one rubric across all grade levels. A new scoring instrument is being developed to better accommodate the new design of the 2012-13 prompts.

Several aspects of the test are being changed this year to meet the expectations of the new Common Core Standards. All eighth and eleventh graders will take the test only online. Since these middle school and high school students are testing on line, the test administration can be taken within a window time frame from Feb. 4 - 8. Locally, fifth graders will continue to take the test by paper and pencil on one specific date, Tuesday, February 5 with a makeup day on Wednesday, February 6. "It is changed from being a one day test and a makeup day to a complete week window," said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade. "The reason for this change is that grades eight and eleven are going to be testing on the computer. The test is going to be on line. We'll have to move students in and out of computer labs so the state is giving us a one week window to get this completed. Students will be taking the tests, typing the tests into a site that is provided by Measurement Incorporated. It's a secure site. Once the student has typed in his essay, it will be submitted and scored by Measurement Inc. Normally, we test grades five, eight, and eleven. Grades eight and eleven will be computer tested this year. We had an option whether or not we wanted to do paper-pencil or computer tests for the fifth grade. This year we opted to continue with the paper-pencil test for the fifth graders. There are so many changes coming with the writing assessment that we thought too many changes would be very difficult for them as young writers," said Burklow.

The design of the prompts has changed, according to Burklow. "All of these changes are coming from the state due to the fact that we are moving, transitioning to Common Core. The tests this year have changed drastically from what it has been in the past," she said. "Normally students have been given a prompt and they would write to that prompt. Fifth grade would write narratively. Eighth grade would write an explanatory. Eleventh grade would write a persuasive. That is the same for this year. However, there are a few changes to that," said Burklow

Students will now encounter a reading stimulus and prompt that they are required to read before they begin to write. "The state department has looked at the Common Core and some of the things we need to change in order to implement the Common Core state standards. Looking at the English Language Art classes, Reading, Science, and Social Studies classes, there has been some major changes in all of these academic areas to have more of a focus on literacy. These changes have been made across the board in grades three through twelve," said Burklow. "This year as we have trained our English Language Arts teachers, we have also had our Science, Social Studies, and Career Technical teachers at these training sessions too because we know that every teacher is a Reading teacher and the Common Core standards are emphasizing this by bringing literacy into all of our academic areas. Teachers have been using content rich non fiction throughout the year. We started at the very beginning implementing these new changes. Students have now been introduced to a higher percentage of non fiction texts, informational texts. The reason for this change is because this is tied directly to the writing assessment," she said.

A reading stimulus can be a work of fiction or an informational piece. Speeches, poems, charts, graphs, letters, legal decisions, or timelines may also be considered as reading stimulus. The prompt will appear in a text box at the end of the reading stimulus. The students will have to utilize information from the reading stimulus to write their response. In some cases, students may encounter two paired passages. They may even encounter two different types of reading stimulus.

The new prompts have a new time limit of one hour. "Students will now be given an informational text, a stimulus to read prior to answering a prompt. The writing assessment has gone from a thirty five minute period to a sixty minute test where they will be asked to read a passage or passages, analyze informational texts and write to that," said Burklow. "Its very important that students are reading on grade level for this writing assessment. Parents, I want to encourage you. If you have concerns about your child's academics, please contact the teacher. Make an appointment to go see that teacher and working together we will help your child move academically. The rigor that we are moving to is going to require such a partnership between parents and schools. We are moving to preparing these children for college and career readiness," she said.

For the February 2013 Assessment Only:

•Fifth graders will encounter a reading stimulus and a narrative prompt
•Eighth graders will encounter a reading stimulus and an expository prompt
•Eleventh graders will encounter a reading stimulus and a persuasive prompt
In future test administrations, students on any of the tested grade levels may encounter a narrative, expository or persuasive type of prompt.

Burklow urges parents to make sure their children are rested and ready for the writing assessments. "Parents please have your children to school rested. Make sure they have eaten breakfast because we know that students can concentrate much better if they are not hungry. Have them to school on time, relaxed and ready to go," said Burklow.

Smithville Girls Win Big

February 3, 2013
Addison Puckett and Morgan Green

International Fresh Faces recently held their preliminary Pageants in McMinnville

Two locals girls Addison Puckett, 8 year old daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett, and Morgan Green, 13 year old daughter of John and Suzanne Harrison, were crowned Finalists.

Addison walked away with Overall Queen while Morgan received Supreme. These girls now qualify for Regionals to be held in Murfreesboro.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix Plans to Seek Re-election

February 3, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gayla Hendrix

Three people are apparently making plans to run for alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election this summer.

Incumbent Alderman Gayla Hendrix is the latest person to pick up a qualifying petition from the election commission office. Hendrix, a local attorney, was elected to her first term as alderman in June, 2011.

Incumbent Alderman Shawn Jacobs recently picked up his petition. Jacobs will be seeking his third term.

Anthony Scott of Riley Avenue was the first to pick up a petition.

Three aldermen are to be elected in the city election on Tuesday, June 18. Petitions for alderman can now be picked up at the election commission office on the first floor of the courthouse. The qualifying deadline is Noon, March 21st.

Regular Season Ends This Week for DCHS Basketball Teams

February 2, 2013

The DCHS basketball teams will be busy on this last week of the regular season.

The remaining regular season schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, February 5: DCHS at Cannon County: 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 7: DCHS vs Chattanooga Patriots : 5:00 p.m. (Smithville)
Friday, February 8: DCHS at Gabriel Christian: 6:00 p.m.(make-up)
Saturday, February 9: DCHS at Gordonsville: 6:00 p.m.

Tenth Annual County Wide Spelling Bee Set For February 11

February 1, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
 2012 County Spelling Bee Winner was Kirkland Smallwood

Forty eight students will be competing in the Tenth Annual County Wide Spelling Bee at the DeKalb County Complex Auditorium on Monday, February 11 at 6:00 p.m.

The 2012 winner was Kirkland Smallwood, who was an eighth grader last year at DeKalb West School. He is the 14 year old son of Jimmy and Jennifer Smallwood of Liberty.

Earlier this year students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School and Northside Elementary School competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition. WJLE will broadcast the Spelling Bee LIVE. Along with thirty-nine counties, the first and second place winners in the DeKalb County Spelling Bee will compete in the Middle Tennessee Regional Spelling Bee sponsored Middle Tennessee State University. The regional bee will take place on Saturday, March 2 at 9:30 a.m. at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

The purpose in sponsoring the County Wide Spelling Bee is to "help students improve Spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives".

Participants in this year's County Wide Spelling Bee are:

DeKalb West:

Cayden Kyle, Jordan Crook, Holly Evans, Ashton Sensing, Diego Vazquez, Phillip Coats, Jacob Frazier, Jaime Alexander, Cody Hale, Jayra Plattenburg, Brandy Rock, Casey Vickers, Jacob Billings, Rosa Payne, and Paige Snyder

Northside Elementary:

Briona Agee, Alexis Cudney, Julia Curtis, Yessi Dragustinovis, Kenzie France, Skylar Fuson
Kiersten Griffith, Savannah Jackson, Duncan Johnson, Karly Knowles, Raiden Martin, Makenzie Poss, Laynie Rippee, Carly Vance, Justin Washer, MyKenzie Wilson, and Jayden Worley

DeKalb Middle

Calen Arnold, Kayla Belk, Alexis Cantrell, Ethan Cantrell, Timothy Cassinera, Dalton Daniels, Baylie Davis, Malone Fletcher, Olivia Fuson, Kyle Justice, Reagan Patton, Skylar Pease, Ashley Phillips, Alec Reynolds, Alyssa Sewell, and Savannah West.

Hunter Graham Signs to Play Baseball for Columbia State Community College

February 1, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hunter Graham Signs to Play Baseball for Columbia State Community College

Hunter Graham, a senior member of the DCHS Tiger baseball team, will play for the Columbia State Community College Chargers next season.

A signing was held Friday afternoon at DCHS. Graham was joined by his parents, Kyle and Doris Graham; his sister, Tyra Graham, DCHS baseball coach Scott Odom and assistant coach Andrew Dixon; and Mike Corn, head coach of the Columbia State Chargers.

"I'm very excited to sign to play college baseball. Its been a dream since I was a kid," said Graham.

Coach Corn said its also a pleasure to have Hunter as a member of the Chargers. "We're real excited to bring Hunter and his family into our family," he said. "Its so important for these young men to be recognized, not only as baseball players but as student athletes and Hunter is a great representation of both of those. He'll graduate (DCHS) in 2013 and start up with us in the fall of this year and we'll expect big things from him coming in. This is not a huge recruiting class for us. He's our first signee of the year. For recruiting purposes with the junior college it just now really cranks up in January for us. I think he is going to be a great talent and he would certainly project as a Division-I pitcher for me after two years with us," said Coach Corn.

Before he moves on to the next level, Graham said he is hoping to help lead his team to another state tournament appearance this spring. "Definitely going to state my freshman and sophomore year was a big deal. We're hoping to go back for a three peat my senior year," said Graham

Coach Odom said he is excited for Graham to be able to continue his baseball career at Columbia State. "It is a good program and Coach Corn has done a wonderful job there," said Coach Odom. "However, we are really glad he still has another year of eligibility left with us. Hunter has started with us since he was a freshman. In those three years the TIGERS have an impressive 75-17 record and an .815 winning percentage with two district championships, 2 region appearances, 2 region and sectional championships and 2 state tournament appearances, where we finished ranked as high as #3 in the state and #4 last year," he said..

"Hunter has a lot of talent and has put in a lot of hard work as well," said Coach Odom. "Nothing good comes easy and he has earned this right to go to college and hopefully get a degree and keep playing. They like him as a pitcher and a hitter. He has been one of our best hitters over the last two years and we rely on him a great deal as both a pitcher and hitter," he said.

"I am really happy for him and his family. They are very supportive of Hunter and the TIGER baseball team. The best part is he is as good of a young man as he is a baseball player. He is someone that all of DeKalb County can be proud of. I know that I am," said Coach Odom.

Following a record breaking 2012 season, Coach Corn at Columbia State Community College was named Coach of the Year by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association. This marks the second consecutive year Corn has received this award.

The Chargers had an impressive 2012 season with a record 38 consecutive wins at home, a program best 43 victories and an NJCAA national ranking of number four. The 2012 team also boasts four Division-I signees and the only MLB draft pick in the TCCAA, Marsalis Holloway (34th Kansas City Royals).

In its history, Columbia State has logged six World Series appearances, sixteen state titles, twenty division titles, twenty four pro baseball signees, 238 four year signees, and 132 Division-I signees.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee's first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation.

Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association and the National Junior College Athletic Association.

(Pictured above: Left to Right- DCHS assistant baseball coach Andrew Dixon, Tiger head coach Scott Odom, Columbia State head coach Mike Corn, Kyle Graham (father), Doris Graham (mother), Tyra Graham (sister); seated, Hunter Graham)

Three Mexican Restaurants Now Approved for On Premises Beer Consumption

February 1, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Pablo Gonzales of Chabelita and Alfredo Villa of El Rancho

The Smithville Beer Board Thursday night granted applications from three Mexican Restaurant owners for on-premises consumption permits.

City Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, who presided over the meeting, said that all three businesses, El Rancho of 1101 West Broad Street, Mercadito Chabelita Restaurant of 408-A East Broad Street, and Los Lobos of 106 East Broad Street meet all requirements including the minimum distance of 400 feet to schools, churches, and or other places of public gatherings. "El Rancho is located fairly close to the high school so I had Phillip Gotro go out and shoot a line, front door to front door since it must be 400 feet or more. He had it at 756 feet so it exceeds well over the 400 feet (minimum requirement). I have a certified surveyor letter from him,"said Hendrixson.

City Beer Board member Annette Greek asked Hendrixson to read the regulations in the beer ordinance as they relate to "on- premises consumption permits"

Hendrixson, reading from the beer ordinance, said that "To qualify for a Class 1 On Premises permit, an establishment must, in addition to meeting the other regulations and restrictions
(A) Be primarily a restaurant or an eating place; and

(B) Be able to seat a minimum of thirty people in booths and at tables, in addition to any other seating it may have; and

(C) All seating must be part of the premises. In case of any outdoor seating, the outdoor seating area must be accessible from the inside of the restaurant or eating place and the outdoor seating area must have some type of enclosure around it, such as a wall or fencing; and

(D) In addition to the requirements of subsection 8-210(1) (a) through (c), the monthly beer sales of any establishment which holds a Class 1 On Premises Permit shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the monthly gross sales of the establishment. As used herein, the term "gross sales" means all retail sales of the permit holder plus any applicable taxes. As used herein, the term "beer sales" includes all retail beer sales plus any taxes applicable to beer sales"

Hendrixson added, "basically what its saying is it (ordinance) prevents bars from opening up everywhere. Its saying your beer sales can't exceed your food sales. But I don't think that's going to be the case for any of these three applicants," he said.

City Beer Board members Annette Greek, Steve Hayes, Farron Hendrix, and Alderman Danny Washer all voted to grant the three permits. Member Lloyd Black was absent.

The Smithville aldermen in December changed the city's beer laws to allow eligible restaurants to have an on-premises permit.

Former DCHS Football Standouts Talk About Setting Single Game Rushing Records (SEE VIDEO)

January 31, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two former record setting football players at DeKalb County High School recently sat down with local attorney Sarah Cripps with Ben Herman's Country Community Radio Show on WJLE to reflect on their playing days.

Mike Corley, a local attorney for Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, and Joey Reeder, DCHS educator and former Tiger baseball coach and assistant football coach both set single game rushing records at DCHS during the 1970's.

Corley, a tailback, rushed for 190 yards at Jackson County in October 1972. Four years later, Reeder, a fullback, broke Corley's record with 210 yards on 18 carries in the season opener at Nashville Joelton. Reeder's record was broken by Mike Kress during the 1980's. Corley, Reeder, and Kress played for former DCHS Football Coach Wayne Cantrell.

(PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR CORLEY AND REEDER TALK ABOUT THEIR RECORD SETTING PERFORMANCES)

Master Beef Producer Program Offered at UT Extension in Smithville

January 31, 2013
Michael Barry

The UT Extension Office in DeKalb County has scheduled a series of classes for producers who wish to participate in the University of Tennessee Master Beef Program. Along with the information gained from the event, producers will also receive a certificate recognizing their training, Master Beef manual, and a Master Beef Producer Farm sign and cap. Producers are urged to contact the UT Extension office in DeKalb County at 722 South Congress Blvd in Smithville or phone (615)597-4945 to sign up for the Master Beef Producer program.

The Master Beef Producer Program is an educational program designed to provide information to Tennessee cow-calf producers to help them be the very best in the country, improve their profitability and position the industry to be competitive with other states. The MBPP is part of the overall effort of the Tennessee Beef Cattle Improvement Initiative and enables participants to apply for a 50% cost-share through the Tennessee Ag Enhancement program.

The topics for the sessions will include: Managing and Planning for Success, Marketing Beef Cattle, Developing Genetics to meet the Needs of the Industry, Carcass Merit, Food Safety, Feeding the Beef Herd, Forage Production, Reproduction in Beef Cattle, Herd Health, Cattle Handling and Behavior, Environmental Concerns, and Management of the Beef Herd.

All classes will be at the UT Extension Office at 722 South Congress Blvd in Smithville, which is in the new County Complex building across the road from Food Lion. The classes take place from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on the following dates: Thursday, February 7; Monday, February 11; Thursday, February 14; Monday, February 18; Wednesday, February 20; Monday, February 25; Thursday, February 28; Monday, March 4; Thursday, March 7. Lunch will be provided at each session.

In order to graduate and become an official Master Beef Producer, a producer must attend a minimum of 7 of the 9 educational sessions. Registration fees are $175. Producers with BQA Certification and Premise ID are eligible for a $100 scholarship through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The cost per person would be only $75 with a Premise ID. A Premise ID can be obtained at the USDA FSA office on Bright Hill Road.

For more information or to sign up for the Master Beef program, contact Michael Barry, County Extension Director at (615)597-4945.

DEKALB SCHOOLS TO BE CLOSED THURSDAY AND FRIDAY DUE TO ILLNESS

January 30, 2013
Mark Willoughby

DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOLS TO BE CLOSED THURSDAY AND FRIDAY DUE TO ILLNESS

"We're going to close DeKalb County Schools Thursday and Friday in hopes that some of this sickness and stomach viruses and things like that will clear out," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby

"We've had a lot of students who have been out sick along with teachers and other folks who have had to stay home to take care of their children. I think its going to be a plus for everybody involved to be out a few days without having to be around everybody. We'll get back to school next week and hopefully everybody will be a lot healthier," said Willoughby

With schools being closed Thursday and Friday, DeKalb County will have used three of its allotted ten days for inclement weather or other reasons.

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