D.C.H.S. Winter Guard in Tennessee State Championship (View video here)

April 18, 2022
By: Bill Conger

The D.C.H.S. Winter Guard recently performed at the Tennessee State Championship, placing 9th out of 14 color guards in the Novice class at Columbia Central High School.

The Winter Guard put on a 3-minute 20-second show titled “The Crown.”

“The concept is a chess game where two queens battle for the throne and ultimately the Crown and only one can rule the kingdom,” explains Shannon Johns, Color Guard Director for the D.C.H.S. Fighting Tiger Band. “We start with a white and black team and emerge with a red queen who is the final ruler of the kingdom.”

The guard practiced every Saturday in November through March and added extra Friday night practices as possible. They also competed at Wilson Central High School and placed 8th out of 14 color guards in the Novice class while they placed 9th out of 18 teams at Summit High School.

“This group of kids has been amazing,” Johns says. “They range from 7th to 12th graders and have been so great to work with. They have great attitudes and a wonderful team spirit. I truly believe some have made lifelong friendships from this activity. They have improved tremendously since the start of the season. A handful of them had never touched a piece of equipment before November, and they fit right in with the rest now.”

Johns explains how the group of rifle/flag/sabre members devise the show.

“First, we come up with a song that we can live with hearing on repeat for four months (lol but really true) and then we build the whole concept of the show around it. After that, we decide where it makes sense to have dance, flag, rifles and sabres or combinations of each. Next, we start writing equipment work and choreography that goes with the music and putting it together with drill including transitions on and off the floor. Throughout the season we make improvements as we see things not working or based on judge’s feedback.”

Members of the Winter Guard are as follows: Serenity Burgess, Jacklyn Kleparek, Crissy White, Bairon Hernandez-Avalos, Olivia Diego, Jamey Bradshaw, BJ Mosley, Ashton McClain, Eli Martin, Hannah Swoape, Hannah Finan, Elizabeth Cardin, Yoana Hernandez-Avalos, Jazmine Wagner, Ally Morris, Elizabeth Mosley, Kamryn Knowles, and Cameron Smith. Hannah Finan was the Captain, and Hannah Swoape and Eli Martin served as Co-Captains.

Johns says she would like thank all those who helped make the winter color guard season a success.

“We had wonderful support from our parents, my assistant Emily Wallace, who is a former color guard captain from the 2017 season, Erica Birmingham, who helped with our music and choreography for the queens, [Band Director] Don and Kim Whitt for their never ending support and for coming to every competition.”

Anyone interested in following the group on Facebook can go to the private FB page (contact Shannon Franklin Johns to be added) and Instagram (@dekalbcgrox).

Walk Across Tennessee Exercise Competition Starts Today (Monday)

April 18, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your health, yet nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting the activity they need. Consider taking up walking with friends or your family by participating in Walk Across Tennessee, which is an eight-week program that will spark some friendly competitions in DeKalb County. The event is being conducted by the UT/TSU Extension office of DeKalb County.

Beginning Monday, April 18 teams of eight will compete to see who can log the most miles walking, jogging, biking, and other forms of exercise in their community. The goal is for your team to log 500 miles (the length of Tennessee) total during the 8-week competition. Here are the steps: Find a total of 8 people to get on a team; Choose a team Captain. The Team Captain should download the registration information online at or you may pick up packets at the UT/TSU extension office located in the DeKalb County Complex building. Enter through the Middle Door.

You are encouraged to attend the Kickoff on Monday, April 18th at Green Brook Park in Smithville from 5 – 5:30 pm or at Alexandria from 6:30 – 7 pm at the Alexandria Park behind the fairgrounds. On April 18 – May 12….EXERCISE! Any type of exercise works! Download the conversion chart for mileage at the above link. Not required, but helpful to like the Facebook page, Walk Across Tennessee DeKalb For more information call 615-597-4945.

Director of Schools contract up for review next month

April 17, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

Whether Director of Schools Patrick Cripps will get a contract extension may be decided by the Board of Education next month.

The board will discuss the issue during the regular monthly meeting set for Monday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Ernest Ray Education Center.

Cripps’ contract was to expire June 30, 2022 but a year ago he was granted a one year contract extension by the Board to run at least through June 30, 2023. He was also given a $3,000 bonus, the same amount as certified staff had received over the previous two years (2019-20 and 2020-21).

According to the contract, Cripps’ annual salary, as of July 1, 2021, is $93,000 and he (Cripps) will be entitled to the same salary raises that the Board shall grant to all licensed employees going forward.

The director’s contract is typically reviewed after his annual performance evaluation which shows if he is meeting “most” expectations of the board. Results of Cripps’ latest evaluation have not yet been released. Last year the board gave Cripps and overall average score of 4.19 out of a possible 6 score in its performance evaluation of him.

In accordance with state law, the school board is required to develop and implement an evaluation plan to be used annually for the director of schools. Board members use a four page evaluation form to rate Director Cripps (1-6) in each of 60 areas from eight categories including on his relationship with the Board, the Community, Staff and Personnel, Educational Leadership, Business and Finance, Personal Qualities, Strategic Planning Skills, and Tennessee Specific questions.

A rating of “1” means his performance is “Consistently Below Expectations”. A “5” rating signifies that Cripps “Meets All Expectations”. A rating with an asterisk (*) symbol or 6 means he “Exceeds Expectations”.

Other ratings are:
“2”-Meets Few Expectations
“3”-Meets Some Expectations
“4”-Meets Most Expectations

Each board member scores the director in all areas from the categories on the form. The scores are then averaged to arrive at the grand total score. The completed forms are sent to officials of the Tennessee School Boards Association where the scores are tabulated and averaged.

In other business at the May 5 meeting, the school board is to receive a personnel report from Director Cripps and to act on the consent agenda which includes action on a CSH budget amendment and action on summer learning camps budget amendments.

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