Dr. Mike Looney, Superintendent of Schools for Williamson County, held the first PTO meeting for the new school year. Organized in clusters, PTO leaders, school principals and elected officials gathered to build relationships. County Mayor Rogers Anderson, Senator Jack Johnson, Representative Glenn Casada and several members of the school board were present.

One elected official sat at each table to facilitate the conversations. Every 8 minutes Carol Birdsong, Communications Director would have the elected official switch tables. The interesting observation in the rotations was the topic of conversation for the area the schools were located.

Traffic issues, Title 1 Schools, bus driver shortages, tools for success and many other great discussions played out. Mayor Anderson spoke of the areas whose students do need the extra help with technology because of income diversity. And, how blessed many in the district were to have the proper tools for success.

For Franklin PTO President, traffic surrounding the Grassland schools is a concern. “I plan my commute around the school times.” This comment led to a discussion with Mark Gregory, School Board Member about the possibility of a staggered start time for schools. Gregory shared information he learned from meeting with the Vanderbilt Sleep Center regarding the science behind making possible changes.

Asked how this would effect after school activities, Gregory commented, “The community adapts to what the school system does.”

School Board member Ken Peterson felt like he had “good conversations” on many levels as he circled the room. At the table where Fairview Principals and leaders sat the conversation turned to a discussion regarding the Military Academy. Fairview High Principal shared openly her feelings and fears about this program “Taking away our role models. For data purposes we would lose our high achieving kids.” A logical concern since principals and schools are tracked on performance.

Peterson feels strongly about being proactive when it comes to a strategic plan on adding a school to the priority list. “At 85% capacity we should put on our priority list so we don’t have schools like we do now that are way over capacity.”

Kenrose Elementary Principal Dr. Marilyn Webb said “Kenrose is a slice of American Pie.” Many children walk with their families to school each day.”

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