Clinton City welcomes students back

Classes and hallways swarmed with students Friday as Clinton City Schools opened their doors to kick off the first day of the 2017-2018 school year.

The school system is reporting a slight increase in enrollment compared to this time last year, said Kelly Johnson, Director of Clinton City Schools, on Wednesday.

The school system currently has 950 students enrolled, but that number will likely change in the following days as students continue to move in and out of the school system, Johnson said.

“These numbers [of students enrolled] will be fluid for the first few weeks of school as we enroll new students and un-enroll students who have moved over the summer. This is a slight increase in last year, but we won’t know solid numbers for a few more weeks. We did see a growth in approximately 20 students from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017,” reported Johnson.

During the summer, the school district also hired 11 new teachers, and made upgrades to several facilities. The facility upgrades include 21 new HVAC units in Clinton Elementary, a new section of roof at North Clinton Elementary, playground fence repairs, asphalt re-surfacing on Clinton Elementary playground, a new digital sign at South Clinton Elementary and installation of new student lockers for sixth graders.

The school system has also received raw data from the statewide TNRready assessment students took last year, but school officials have not received from the state detailed information indicating the number of students who scored ‘On Track,’ or ‘Mastered,’ Johnson said.

“This preliminary data simply tells us the number of questions students answered in each subject. Cut scores have not been determined yet by the state.

“We expect to receive this information at some point in the Fall. The state is working diligently to get districts this information as quickly as possible,” Johnson said.

Testing last year went smoothly with no major issues reported from Clinton educators and students, she said.

The school system’s largest challenge, however, was the number of test booklets and answer sheets that had to be processed due to the new format in testing, though Johnson indicated this was a minor issue.

“We are eager to move towards online testing in the future since students are accustomed to using technology throughout the school day,” she said.

Clinton City School officials hope to maintain or increase their relative position across the state with the recent TNReady data.

“Our focus this year will be on maintaining high expectations for students through an abundance of support,” Johnson said.

She added, “We embed the philosophy of growth mindset in our classrooms and are working to teach students that they have the power to achieve their goals through hard work and perseverance.

“Teachers are intent on providing a personalized education with a focus on differentiation for students. We strive to develop the skills and talents of the whole child as well. This year, parents will notice some positive program changes in our fine arts programs, enrichments opportunities, and health clubs,” noted Johnson.

School officials will present and introduce the district’s 11 newly hired teachers at the next scheduled Clinton City School Board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 10.