District Update

APRIL 9, 2020

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In our weekly district leadership team meeting today via Zoom, it was heartwarming to hear all the positive comments principals have received from parents, teachers, and even students about e-learning in Maryville. I too have been proud to watch as our entire district rises to this unprecedented challenge - using all resources at our disposal to continue our mission, THE MARYVILLE WAY!

In our parent update last week we discussed how important it is for parents and students to understand the instructional difference we are able to offer students in Maryville. As a technology-enabled district, we are fortunate to be able to provide a continuation of teaching and learning in a remote setting. The important goal for us (and you) is to make sure students have mastered the skills they need to begin the next grade of study. As such, we are presenting new material, assessing mastery of new skills, and assigning grades to student work when appropriate.

As you may have read or heard from news reports, the Tennessee State Board of Education (SBOE) is meeting Thursday, April 9, to consider how the time frame from spring break until the end of the school year will affect students in our state. The SBOE will likely adopt a policy stating that final grades for students in grades 9-12 cannot be lower than before spring break. We will be closely monitoring the outcome of that meeting, but want to make sure our families and students are aware that this proposed change will not modify our approach in Maryville.

  • It is important to note that the rule change from the SBOE is only applicable to grades 9-12, and it only applies to the unweighted transcript (i.e., the one used for the HOPE Scholarship.)
  • The pending action from the SBOE does not impact our local grading policies, the local transcript (also referred to as the weighted transcript), or local graduation requirements.
  • The weighted transcript is the one used to identify students for honors and distinctions such as the National Honors Society and cum laude distinction at MHS.
  • Our student information system allows us to maintain both the weighted and unweighted grades for reporting as noted above.

We will continue as planned with the approach we laid out initially for digital instruction. Our virtual classroom experience has many of the same expectations as an in-school experience. The overwhelming majority of our students are fully engaged in the work necessary to complete all their classes and master the skills they would have covered after spring break. The consequences of not completing assignments or failing to take advantage of the instruction and supports available to all students will be the same as before. Our hope and expectation is that all students will engage in digital instruction and maintain or improve their grades while learning at home. For those who choose not to engage, the overall course grade could be negatively impacted.

The most important thing to remember is that every student needs to continue to do the work assigned by their teachers. As always, we want to see students doing nothing less than their PERSONAL BEST.


The Tennessee State Board of Education (SBOE) will convene in a teleconference meeting at 2 pm CST on Thursday, April 9 to consider important matters related to the educational process in Tennessee through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The meeting agenda and other details can be found at THIS LINK. We will review the outcome of this meeting in our District Update next week.



Needless to say, this is worth repeating. We are as anxious as our seniors to plan for graduation and when that is possible, you will be the first to know.


REMINDER: Parents and guardians of students in grades 4-12 who have not activated the "SECURLY HOME" option, click on THIS LINK to review the step-by-step details. If you need assistance, please open a tech support ticket (details included in this newsletter).

In addition, you may wish to review the guidelines for families from the team at Common Sense Education related to SOCIAL MEDIA. Click below to review these resources.

a reason to smile

Coulter Grove Intermediate posted a photo of this awesome lego creation by student Noah Jackson in gratitude for all healthcare workers. Thanks to Noah for sharing and to the staff at CGIS for focusing on gratitude in this uncertain and sometimes stressful time.


We now have a section on the COVID-19 UPDATE page of our district website to address some commonly asked questions. As you know, we are weeding through a great deal of information that changes on a regular basis. Having a central repository of information that is updated as quickly as we can make the changes, should prove to be helpful. Our goal is to offer weekly updates from the district office until students are allowed to return to our campuses. Our FAQ page (linked below) will be a good place to check for new information or changes.

In addition, our district office is now open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8am until noon. Please do not hesitate to call us at (865) 982-7121.

free Wi-Fi

As you might know, for several years we have been loaning hotspots to families with students who live in homes without Wi-Fi connectivity. During this pandemic, we are discovering more families with connectivity issues. To help meet those needs, we are quickly deploying more hotspots but also wanted to provide the following list of community Wi-Fi partners. This list may come in handy if you find your internet connection is out temporarily. While my internet provider does not believe me ... our internet goes out when it rains. Luckily I have a hotspot on my mobile phone, but I can also run-up to the school in an emergency. If you have such an emergency, this list of places in the community with free Wi-Fi might be helpful:

  • Maryville College
  • United Way
  • Eberting Orthodontics
  • Owens Orthodontics
  • Computer Catering
  • Alcoa Municipal Building
  • Chip Webb, DDS
  • Vienna Coffee House
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Southland Books
  • Blount Co Public Library
  • Blount Partnership
  • First Baptist Church
  • PCS
  • Townsend Visitors Center
  • Victory Baptist Church (865)982-2461 (guest)
  • Foothills Elementary
  • John Seiver Elementary
  • Sam Houston Elementary
  • Montgomery Ridge Intermediate
  • Coulter Grove Intermediate
  • Maryville Jr. High
  • Maryville High School
  • Link here for directions and more details: https://www.blountchamber.com/community/free-wi-fi-zone


As your children are using their school-issued device (laptop or iPad) at home to complete assignments, technology issues may arise. If so, please use our fantastic team of professionals in IT for support. Simply link from CLASSLINK using the support icon or use this URL link to complete the support request form. https://bitly.com/mcsstudentsupport


Actually, this was on SOCIAL MEDIA, but we wanted to address it. We have received questions from parents about regional and national posts on Facebook and other social media outlets encouraging parents to pick up free meals for their children to help districts retain needed federal funding.

It is true that these programs are reimbursed federally, but in Maryville, we are NOT asking Maryville families to pick up meals they do not need, in an effort to retain federal funding. Our only goal is to feed kids and especially kids who may live with food insecurity. These are unsettling times and we welcome all families with children to participate - no questions asked. Please review the flyers below for program details.

How can you help?

  1. By spreading the word that we are thrilled to offer meals to any family with children 18 or younger.
  2. By supplementing your family meals by participating in this program if you wish.
  3. By supporting our local restaurants and other food establishments by ordering take-out or delivery as often as you can.

By the way, our cafeteria staff is preparing and serving an average of 5,000 meals every Tuesday and Thursday. We are so grateful to this dedicated team of pros and to the volunteers who help with distribution.