MCS Connected 2021-2022

October Newsletter for Marion County Schools

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Marion County Schools is a district filled with students who are leaders both in their school and local communities. Students crave challenge and are capable of meeting rigorous demands. We believe all students deserve access to quality instruction and support students in accessing grade level work. The vision of Marion County Schools is to prepare students to meet the challenges and demands of their futures.
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Marion County Schools Earn Top Growth Scores

According to data released by the Tennessee Department of Education, the Marion County Schools earned a level 5 in system-wide growth for: Composite, Literacy, Numeracy, and Literacy/Numeracy.

Dr. Larry Ziegler, Chief Academic Officer, states, “The results reflect the commitment and hard work of our teachers and students. During the 2020-2021 school year, our teachers were faced with many challenges and did what they always do - they rose to the challenge. I am so thankful that the children of Marion County are served by a group of educators that are fully committed to their success.”

Growth Highlights Include:

  • 5th Grade ELA: 5

  • 6th, 7th, 8th, English I, and English II: 3

  • 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Math:5

  • Geometry: 3

  • 5th, 7th, and 8th Grade Science: 3

  • 6th Grade Science: 5

  • 6th and 7th SS and U.S. History: 5

  • 8th Grade SS: 4

  • CTE Students Literacy: 3

  • CTE Concentrators: 3

  • CTE Concentrators Literacy: 4

  • CTE Concentrators Numeracy: 3

  • CTE Concentrators Literacy and Numeracy: 3

  • ACT Composite: 3

  • ACT English: 3

  • ACT Math: 3

  • ACT Reading: 3

  • ACT Science Reasoning: 4

(Note: 2nd - 4th Grade did not receive growth data due to lack of historical data.)

Achievement highlights include:

  • 2nd and 3rd grade students surpassed the state in ELA Achievement

  • 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 8th grade students surpassed the state in Math Achievement.

  • 4th grade students surpassed the state in Science Achievement.

  • 6th, 7th, and U.S. History students surpassed the state in Social Studies Achievement.

What is the difference between achievement and growth data?


  • Measured based on percentage of students who were on track or mastered grade level standards

  • Measures a student's performance at one single point in time e.g. TNReady Assessment

  • Compares student performance to a standard

  • Is critical to a student's post-secondary opportunities


  • Measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with a level 3 being at expectations and a level 5 exceeding expectations

  • Measures a student's growth across time; i.e., across years

  • Compares student performance to his/her own prior performance

  • Is critical to ensuring a student's future academic success

By measuring students' academic achievement AND growth, schools and districts have a more comprehensive picture of their own effectiveness in raising student achievement.

Additional commendations for the district include:

  • Jasper Elementary School’s designation as a Reward School for Achievement

  • Jasper Middle School, South Pittsburg Elementary, and Monteagle Elementary received a school-wide level 5 status for growth.

In closing, Dr. Mark Griffith, adds, “The level 5 designation for Marion County Schools reflects the dedication of our entire school community to greater academic outcomes for every student. Being a level 5 district indicates that Marion County students have shown significant academic growth across achievement levels as well as grade levels.”

News from the Academic Team

Can you believe that we have already been in school for nine weeks? Time really does fly. We just want to take a few moments to highlight some of the good work that is taking place.

By Friday, October 8, students will be finishing the first CASE assessment. This is an online assessment that is based on standards mastery. Teachers will receive detailed reports showing the standards that students have mastered. It is a great report to drive remediation and future instruction.

This school year, three of our schools are fortunate enough to be working with the Instruction Partners Consulting Group. This group has worked with our district for the past two years and works shoulder to shoulder with educators to support great teaching and accelerate student learning.

The NIET (National Institute for Excellence in Teaching) is partnering with our 4th and 5th grade ELA teachers to support them in the implementation of the newly adopted curriculum.

Marion County will be hosting Early Reading Training to 34 teachers from Marion County and 17 teachers from Hamilton County. This training focuses on phonics, phonemic awareness, and fluency. We are excited to be hosting this event.

Thank you to all of the stakeholders who recently participated in the district Improvement plan meeting (ePlan). We appreciate all of the feedback that we received from parents, teachers, and administrators.

Message from the Office of Coordinated School Health

October is National Suicide Awareness Month. The Southeast Region has had ESSENCE alerts for youth under 18 years of age for the week of 09/19/2021 to 09/25/202. (ESSENCE alerts are generated by County of Residence).

*Counties of concern are Hamilton, Marion, McMinn and Meigs.

*Most visits were individuals aged 10-14, followed by those aged 15-17.

*All visits were for suicidal ideation, with nine suicide attempts reported for both youth (<17) and young adults (18-24).

Risk Factor for Youth: History of self-harm, major depression disorder, Bipolar disorder, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder

Suicidal Behavior: Threats of suicide attempts, threats of harm to others, cutting, illegal drug use and suicidal plans

Suicide ESSENCE alerts are generated when a specific county/region is showing an increase in the number of children under 18 presenting at emergency rooms presenting signs of suicide-related behaviors, attempts, intentional harm, and or suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Message from the School Nutrition Department

The Buzz on Energy Drinks

What Is an Energy Drink?

  • A beverage that typically contains large amounts of caffeine, added sugars, other additives, and legal stimulants such as guarana, taurine, and L-carnitine. These legal stimulants can increase alertness, attention, energy, as well as increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
  • These drinks are often used by students to provide an extra boost in energy. However, the stimulants in these drinks can have a harmful effect on the nervous system.

The Potential Dangers of Energy Drinks

Some of the dangers of energy drinks include:

  • Dehydration (not enough water in your body).
  • Heart complications (such as irregular heartbeat and heart failure).
  • Anxiety (feeling nervous and jittery).
  • Insomnia (unable to sleep).

How Much Caffeine Is Okay?

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics states that caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents.

Source: CDC Website


The health department will be giving flu shots in your child's school soon at no cost.

If you want your child to get a flu shot at school;

a. complete the front side of the blue form.

b. return the blue form to your child's school.

You will be informed when flu shots will be given at your child's school.

Flu shots will not be given without consent.

If you have questions, call the health department.

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October 8: Staff Development, Students do not attend.

October 8: End of the 1st Nine Weeks

October 11 - 15: Fall Break

October 21: Report Cards

Student Health Screening Dates

October 7: Whitwell High

October 19: Whitwell Elementary

October 20: Jasper Middle

October 27: South Pittsburg Elementary

November 9: Marion County High

November 10: Whitwell Middle

ThinkFast Interactive Safety Program

October 28: Jasper Middle

October 29: Whitwell Middle

October is Child Health Month. All physical education teachers have activities and events planned for this month.

October 29: Dance Across Tennessee

Our Schools - Click on each school's picture to visit its website.