UC schools to tackle health care challenges
Kristen Miles, the new Union City School System director of Coordinated School Health, gave the Union City School Board a look at the state of the physical, emotional and mental health of the nation’s classrooms at Thursday night’s rescheduled board meeting.
The board advanced the date of the regular monthly meeting to avoid a conflict with the fall school break next week.
Mrs. Miles talked about health care challenges she hopes to address on behalf of students, faculty and staff and families and told the board she envisions building health-based relationships within the community that will benefit the whole community.
With the goal of producing healthy and productive citizens for Union City, Mrs. Miles is already making plans that she says may shake up some traditions — such as working on menus for school parties to include delicious but more healthy selections.
Mrs. Miles is a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University and Columbia University in New York and is a devotee of an active and healthy lifestyle. Impressed by the recent conference she attended with Union City Elementary School physical education teacher Tammy Harris, she has invited the program’s speaker, Dr. Pat Cooper, to address educators in Union City Dec. 3. She is also planning a special evening session in which the community can hear information Cooper has to share about the effect improving health had on schools in McComb County, Miss., where he was the superintendent.
Student board member Doreal Strayhorn led the board in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag at Thursday’s meeting, after board chairman Janice Faulk called the meeting to order. The consent agenda, which included the approval of minutes from the September session, approval of the agenda, approval of Section 3 Board Policies and approval of all bills, was approved unanimously.
In the personnel update, Director of Schools Gary Houston welcomed Mrs. Miles to her job and noted that longtime Union City School System teacher Cathy Wesner will be returning to the classroom to fill a maternity leave for Andrea Byford from mid-November to mid-January.
The director’s report noted that at Union City Elementary School, afternoon tutoring has begun for third- and fourth-graders. Fifth-grade tutoring will begin after fall break. Transportation is being provided for these students, thanks to Title I funds, and this has increased attendance.
A new enrichment class is beginning at UCES that will expand upon the core curriculum and will include, but not be limited to, conversational Spanish, drama, art, hands-on-science, creative writing and more. A benefactor who is supportive of the school system has provided funds for the program.
At Union City Middle School, students who prove themselves to be good citizens, leaders, good role models and people who are able to get along well with their peers and staff will be honored as “Pride of Union City Middle School.” Five students will be selected from each grade level each nine weeks and will be feted at a special luncheon to which they may invite a guest. In addition to receiving special certificates, the students will have their names listed on a special plaque in the school foyer.
Houston congratulated the school’s first softball team and coaches Kelly Swafford and Lisa Pituch on a successful season (6-4) and noted the youth UCMS football team had a competitive year at 3-5.
At the high school, an extended learning tutorial program is in place, with a special emphasis on students who have not passed Gateway exams for math and/or English.
Houston said a recent senior parent information night brought in 78 students and 49 parents to hear representatives from colleges, military and technical schools.
The recent community-wide pep rally was a major success and enjoyed good support from the community.
Houston noted the placement of a new welcome sign in the office area at the high school and announced that UCHS would be initiating a new Teacher of the Week program, with recipients presented gift cards for Applebee’s in appreciation of their contributions and efforts.
Houston also called attention to the new black fence installed at War Memorial Stadium, thanks to a gift from the Jones-Walker Veterans of Foreign Wars post, and noted that the ticket booth at the stadium also had received a new roof.
Students in the system have been celebrating School Nutrition Week with special healthy treats at lunch each day.
Fall break will be in session Monday through Oct. 12 and parent-teacher conferences will take place Oct. 19, with students’ mini-vacation extended through Oct. 22, which will be a professional development day for teachers.
The November orientation session will be Nov. 6 and the regular board meeting will be changed to Nov. 13, a day later than usual since board members will be attending the state school board conference in Nashville on Nov. 12.
Houston expressed sympathy to UCES staff member Jeannie Babb on the death of her father.
Mrs. Faulk welcomed Mrs. Miles to the school system and thanked the VFW for their contribution to the stadium’s appearance. In response to her query, Houston noted that Wednesday’s first Leadership Class for educators interested in administration had been a great success. He noted that Classroom/Curriculum Coordinator Vicki Wilkinson had discussed licensing in Tennessee and in relation to No Child Left Behind mandates and Magnet School Coordinator Cindy Kuberski spoke to nine of the 10 class members who were able to be present about the Union City College Preparatory Magnet School and the honors courses and AP classes already under way there, explaining that the emphasis on higher academic standards would soon be felt at the middle school and elementary school as well.
Published in The Messenger on 10.05.07