School and Community Newsletter

School start and end times are as follows:

Elementary Schools: 8:15 am to 3:15 pm

Middle and High Schools: 7:45 am to 2:45 pm

All Mt. Pleasant Schools: 7:45 am to 2:45 pm.

Culleoka Unit School: 7:45 am to 2:45 pm
Hampshire Unit School: 7:45 am to 2:45 pm

Santa Fe Unit School: 7:45 am to 2:45 pm

Please be careful in school zones!

In this September 3, edition: Important Dates, Emma Johnston Wins Art Contest, Spring Hill Middle's Georgia Hazelwood wins at TN Walking Horse National Celebration, Instruments for Education, CHS Broadcasting, Sept is Literacy Month in TN-Share your Pics or Videos, TN DOE Opportunities for Students, FFA Annual Farm Bureau Dinner, Santa Fe School Floods, Columbia Coating Donation, TN Stem Innovation Network Cohorts Selected, Pinewood Springs Grand Opening, MCPS Covid Guidelines, Teaching at MCPS, Bus Drivers Needed, Car Seat Check-up and Shout Outs!

Important Dates

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Labor Day Holiday

All Maury County Schools and Central Office will be closed Monday, September 6 for Labor Day. Tuesday, September 7 is a professional development day with no students.

Fall Break

All Maury County Schools will be on Fall Break the week of Monday, October 4, returning on Monday, October 11. Central Office will be open.

Congratulations Emma Johnston!

Art Teacher Monique Smith with Randolph Howell Elementary STEM School would like to share with everyone that a former student of hers, Emma Johnston won the Art contest for the Maury County fair Program cover design. She is now in middle school in the 5th grade. We are proud of her!

The Maury County Fair kick-off dinner and award ceremony was Monday, August 30, 2021, at the Maury County Senior Citizen Building. Below you will find pictures from the dinner. Emma received $100 plus a free wristband for all the rides at this year's fair. Emma and her family were at the dinner, along with Superintendent Michael Hickman and School Board Member, Bettye Kinser.

Way to go Emma. The cover looks amazing, and Maury County Schools is so proud of you!

Click to enlarge!

Georgia Hazelwood - TN Walking Horse National Celebration

Georgia Hazelwood, an eighth-grader at Spring Hill Middle School, recently competed at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Georgia and her yearling filly, Lemon Drop Martini, were named Reserve World Champions in the Youth Yearlings Division. Later in the week, Georgia and her father exhibited a foal that she raised, The Dixie Linebacker, along with its mother, World Grand Champion Whoopin' It In Command, in the Mare and Foal division. The team was named Reserve World Champions in the Mare and Foal Division as well.

Instruments for Education

Ally Johnston from Randolph Howell and Kristin Gladish from Marvin Wright Elementary both received Ukuleles and Bongo Drums from Instruments for Education, a nonprofit Music Education organization benefitting Nashville area schools. Thank you Instruments for Education!

CHS Broadcasting

Columbia Central High Schools Broadcasting students receive valuable experience in live sports production at a football game. Thanks to McDonald's of Columbia for donating the crew meal!"

Share your Love for Reading! September is TN Literacy Month!

September 2021 is Tennessee Literacy Month!

Tennessee has prioritized academic gains for students over the past decade, and most recently in the K-12 crisis response to COVID-19. Our districts, schools, teachers, elected officials, and education stakeholders understand the importance of supporting literacy and the unique opportunity we have as a state to further outcomes for students from state and federal relief funding.

During the month of September, we will be highlighting how reading is for ALL during Tennessee Literacy Month. We will be sharing exciting new announcements and highlighting the already incredible work happening around Reading 360.

Please share a short video of why you love reading and how important early literacy is. You can also send a photo of your favorite book or favorite place to read and we will highlight your submission on social media. Please include your name and county where you live and email your submission to

We hope you’ll join us this month and share your love for reading!

2021-22 United States Senate Youth Program Application Opens

The application for the 2021-22 United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is open. This opportunity is open to junior or senior high school students. Two students will be selected as Tennessee delegates to participate in the annual Washington Week experience which includes a variety of events that promote a unique understanding of the structure of the United States government.

The program sponsor, the Hearst Foundation, also offers selected state finalists a $10,000 undergraduate scholarship.

Additional information, including the application link, can be found here. Student applications are due by 11:59 p.m. CT on October 15, 2021.

TN Dept of Education Opportunities for Students Page

There are many extracurricular opportunities available to Tennessee students and teachers, such as grants, scholarships, and experiences. Click above for details!

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FFA Annual Farm Bureau Dinner

Future Farmers of America or FFA is a student leadership organization that makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

The 6 FFA chapters in Maury County were invited to the Annual Farm Bureau Dinner held at the William Ridley 4H Center in Columbia on Tuesday, August 24th, 2021. This annual meeting highlights the many organizations the Farm Bureau supports, including FFA. All 6 chapters received a $500 check from the Farm Bureau to assist with the chapters' goals for the 2021-22 school year. The students pictured below are all officers of their respective chapters and were thrilled to have an opportunity to accept such a generous gift from the Maury County Farm Bureau.

Students that attended are as follows:

Spring Hill FFA

  • Allison Wells - President
  • Ariel Roland - Treasurer

Mt. Pleasant FFA

  • Lillie Peden - President

Santa Fe FFA

  • Matthew Ruch
  • Canton Grace Prentice

Culleoka FFA

  • Gauge Borum- President
  • Hannah Demastus - Vice President

Columbia FFA (Central)

  • Haylee Robinson - President

Hampshire FFA

  • unable to attend but will receive a donation
Tuesday, August 24, 2021, Maury County FFA attended the Annual Farm Bureau dinner. Each chapter received $500 to use in their school FFA chapter.

As storms drenched Middle Tennessee, causing devastating floods on Aug. 21 in Humphreys, Hickman, and Houston counties, the halls and classrooms of Maury County’s own Santa Fe Unit School also began to fill with rising waters.

The heavy rains filled the school’s lower levels, pouring in through a pair of large doors that welcome students on weekday mornings and send them home on school buses every afternoon.

“The rain came faster than our system could carry it away,” assistant principal Jerry L. Potts told The Daily Herald.

“Every room on the lower end of our school, including the cafeteria, had water standing from the flood.”

The school serves about 600 students in kindergarten through 12thgrade.

Getting to work: A phone call away in any situation

As the heavy rains fell upon the small, unincorporated community located on the rural northeastern edge of Maury County, school staff mobilized to mitigate the damage. That night, the school district’s maintenance department, led by Murry Ring, got to work.

“Several members of the department showed up and five to six hours later, they had removed the water and mopped every inch of floor and set up numerous fans to help the rooms dry out,” Potts said.

About a dozen people cleared the water out of Santa Fe Unit School classrooms and moved supplies and resources out of flooded areas at the school. Ring said the team removed about two inches of water from the cafeteria. “I have a very willing team of men that is a phone call away in any situation,” Ring said. Eric Perryman, MCPS assistant superintendent of facilities, and Dave Hall, director of facilities, also assisted the group. “We can’t thank them enough for showing up late at night and getting it done,” Potts said.

Teachers, community members ‘stepped up’

Teachers, staff, and community members arrived to assist with the cleanups at Santa Fe Unit School on Aug. 22, ensuring that classes would continue the following day. Several faculty members worked until it was time to go to church. After church services, they returned to the school.

“Almost every teacher in that end of the building came out and finished cleaning and moving furniture back in,” Potts said. “Even faculty members who work in the unaffected sections of the school showed up.”

“The community stepped up as well. They helped in the classrooms, cleaned the areas in front of the building, and brought water for everyone.”

“As a result of the hard work of a great many people, Santa Fe School opened on time Monday morning and didn’t miss a beat,” Potts said. “Unless you knew what had happened, you would not have been able to tell.”

Columbia Coatings Donation to Santa Fe Unit School

Mr. Brian Talley of Columbia Coatings graciously donated a powder coater to Mr. Blain Keysaer’s agriculture program at Santa Fe Unit School. Mr. Talley said he wanted to give back to the community. The students were excited for the opportunity to learn powder coating skills. Check out their website for equipment and coating supplies. We thank you very much for the donation. Justin and Jacob Hutchenson are graduates of Santa Fe Unit School and now employees of Columbia Coatings.

Pictured L to R: Justin Hutchenson, Jacob Hutchenson, Andy Slaughter, Nathan Myers, Canton Grace Prentice, Matthew Ruch, Gracie Mills, John Crutcher, Brock Talley, and Austin Talley.

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Hampshire School awarded two Cohorts with TSIN

Rebecca Parks and Sonya Cathey have been accepted into the Innovative Leaders Cohort through TN STEM Innovation Network!

The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is pleased to offer Hampshire Units School two spots for Champions in this year’s Innovative Leaders Institute (ILI).

TSIN in a message to Parks and Cathey, we applaud your focus on growth even as we navigate the unknown territory of today and have designed this experience so at the end of the year you will look back and be glad you spent time in this work to the benefit of your school and community.

Congratulations Hampshire School Principal, Sonya Cathey, and Hampshire School Teacher Rebecca Parks!

Pinewood Springs Grand Opening

Mental Health Hospital in Maury County

TriStar Health and Maury Regional are proud to partner in the development of a new mental health hospital in Columbia, TN. Pinewood Springs is dedicated to the mental health needs of patients across Middle Tennessee. We offer a broad range of inpatient services to treat patients with mood, thought, and co-occurring disorders within a supportive and therapeutic environment.

Join Pinewood Springs on Friday, Sept 17 for their Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting with Maury Alliance. Or just stop by for ice cream.

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Car Seat Check-Up Sept 18!

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Shout Out to Educational Assistants

I am a teacher at BCES. I want to Shout Out and compliment the amazing Educational Assistants we have servicing our school and all the others EA's across the county. They come to the rescue at the last-minute subbing in our classrooms when we are out of subs in these trying times. They always cheerfully and effectively take over when needed. I think they are often our forgotten heroes.


Beverly Richardson

Covid-19 Health Tip

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Covid-19 Guidelines 21-22

Teaching at MCPS

In light of COVID-19, the Commissioner of the TN Department of Education has given districts greater flexibility to hire classroom teachers by relaxing the emergency credential requirements for approval of permits and waivers. For the 21-22 school year ONLY, if an individual has a bachelor's degree and would like to be a classroom teacher, the district can apply for a Permit to Teach. Individuals seeking to teach on a permit must create a profile in TNCompass and apply for the positions available through the MCPS website HERE. HR will work with individuals and the school principal to apply for the necessary permit. Once a permit has been approved by TDOE, the individual can be placed as a classroom teacher. This is applicable for all positions except for Special Education courses.

A permit to teach is an emergency credential issued by the TDOE and is only valid until June 30 following the date of issuance. If an individual wishes to continue teaching, they must seek to gain a valid TN Teaching license.

If you have any questions, please contact the MCPS HR department and visit the TDOE website.

About MCPS

Maury County Public Schools (MCPS) is a pre-K through 12 school district in Southern Middle Tennessee operating 21 schools, one virtual academy, one non-traditional high school, and one alternative school. MCPS employs more than 900 teachers and 500 staff members who serve nearly 13,000 students. We will provide the educational instruction, tools, and environment for every child to succeed in LIFE as Life-long Learners, Independent Thinkers, Fearless Innovators, and Exemplary Citizens. Our vision: Educating every child for LIFE!

If you would like to submit an article for the MCPS News, please email here!