Youth Pride Fest in Oak Ridge May 31

Clockwise from Olivia Erkins, Caroline Dobyns, Keith Coyle, Kawon Whiteside, Anne Backus (president of Oak Ridge PFLAG), Joe Sears, Particia Edou, Alex Todd, Misty Neergaard

The Pride Fest planning committee is pictured above. Clockwise from left to right starting in the back row are Olivia Erkins, Caroline Dobyns, Keith Coyle, Kawon Whiteside, Anne Backus (president of Oak Ridge PFLAG), Joe Sears, Particia Edou, Alex Todd, Misty Neergaard. (Submitted photo)

Oak Ridge’s first Youth Pride Fest will be Saturday, May 31.

It’s for members of Oak Ridge High School GSA, Oak Ridge PFLAG, all East Tennessee LGBTQ youth and allies under the age of 21, and parents.

The Youth Pride Fest will be held at First Presbyterian Church from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. May 31. Youth should register by May 24 to attend the full day.

In the morning, there will be discussions on activism and being involved, spirituality, and coming out, as well as a presentation, “Love is not black and white” by members of the ORHS chapter of GSA. During the day, there will also be a scavenger hunt with prizes. [Read more...]

Sister City group has April 25 dinner for middle school exchanges with Japan

Oak Ridge Naka-shi Middle School Exchange

Participants in the Oak Ridge/ Naka-shi, Japan 2013 Middle school exchange, frolic in the ocean on the Japanese coast. (Submitted photos)

The Sister City Support Organization, in cooperation with the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Schools, has sponsored the visit of middle school students to our sister city of Naka-shi, Japan, for 22 years.

In support of the 2014 Middle School exchange, the Sister City Support Organization is hosting a spaghetti supper on Friday, April 25. The supper will be held at the First United Methodist Church from 5:30-8 p.m. Student exchange participants and SCSO board members will don Japanese “happy coats” and kimonos to serve the main course and an array of delicious homemade desserts. [Read more...]

Register now for Graduation Celebration on May 29

Graduation Celebration 2013

Plans for the 17th annual Graduation Celebration on May 29 are well under way.

Graduation Celebration is an all-night, safe party for our city’s graduates from Oak Ridge High School, homeschool, or private schools.

The party began in 1997, after several tragic deaths during the graduation season, and today about 90 percent of ORHS graduates attend each year. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Schools seeks to become top STEM district in country

Bruce Borchers Introduces Discovery Education

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers introduces Discovery Education to members of the PTA Council on Thursday, April 10. (Photos by Sara Wise)

Superintendent: ‘It’s a big deal nationally’

Oak Ridge Schools is attempting to become the premier district in the nation for science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, education. Superintendent Bruce Borchers has a $3.4 million plan to make that happen using Microsoft Surface tablets and Discovery Education. The money will be spent over a five-year period.

Borchers calls the needed changes a “digital transformation” that will, he hopes, bring a tablet to every student in the school system. This is especially important in Oak Ridge, a district with a free and reduced lunch rate of more than 50 percent. The digital transformation would allow every student in the district to have the same educational opportunities, regardless of income.

The first of three steps toward transformation is to create a technological infrastructure capable of handling all the tablets. Those improvements have a $1 million price tag that the Oak Ridge Board of Education and the city have already approved. Borchers hopes for the upgrades to be completed before students return to school in the fall. The upgrades are projected to last until at least 2022. [Read more...]

STEM standards training for informal educators, tutors, community members

Oak Ridge Schools is partnering with Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the Children’s Museum, and American Museum of Science and Energy to do a STEM standards training for informal educators, tutors, and community members from 6-8 p.m. Monday, April 21, at the Children’s Museum.

“This training will be beneficial to those who are interested in learning more about helping students advance their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math and have been wondering what the Common Core and Science Standards are as well as how they can be applied to informal and after-school education programs,” a press release said. “The training will be led by Oak Ridge Schools’ staff.”

Light refreshments and childcare will be provided. You can register at

City, schools have wellness fair on May 21

Oak Ridge Wellness Fair 2011

Flu shots are given at an Oak Ridge Wellness Fair in November 2011. (File photo)

The City of Oak Ridge Wellness Committee and the Oak Ridge Schools will host the 2014 Wellness and Safety Fair on Wednesday, May 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. The fair is open to Oak Ridge City employees, Oak Ridge School employees, retirees, and their families. The fair will then be opened to the public from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Sandy Sexton at (865) 425-3414 or [email protected].

Applications for Oak Ridge Schools tuition, cross boundary due April 25


Oak Ridge Schools Administration Building

The Oak Ridge School Administration Building on New York Avenue is pictured above.

The application period for renewing or applying for tuition and cross boundary applications for 2014–2015 in Oak Ridge Schools started April 7 and ends April 25.

The approved applications are good for one year. If your child was approved last year and has remained in good standing during that time period, you will not need to complete a cross boundary application or a tuition application for the upcoming school year, a press release said. You will receive a letter of your child’s status.

Cross boundary applications may be obtained at the schools, on the Oak Ridge Schools’ website or from the Pupil Services Department. Tuition applications may be obtained on the Oak Ridge Schools’ website or from the Pupil Services Department in the School Administration Building. [Read more...]

Science, ethics, war to be discussed at Lunch with League on Tuesday

Jeffrey Kovac

Jeffrey Kovac

A chemistry professor and director of undergraduate studies at the University of Tennessee will explore the proper role of scientists in war-related research during a Tuesday meeting in Oak Ridge.

The presentation by Jeffrey Kovac at a Lunch with the League meeting is titled “Science, Ethics, and War—Questions of Conscience.” It starts at noon Tuesday in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church.

“Science and the military have had a long and often mutually beneficial relationship, a relationship that is seldom questioned,” a press release said. [Read more...]

Martial Arts forum at RSCC Oak Ridge campus on Wednesday

Representatives from Progressive Martial Arts of Oak Ridge will demonstrate martial arts skills and discuss the development of Filkenjutsu, the field of martial arts practiced at PMA, during a forum at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (today).

The forum will be held in the City Room at Roane State’s Oak Ridge campus. The forum is free, and the public is invited. It’s presented by Roane State’s Social Science, Business, and Education Division.

Bruce Corrigan and his sons, Nick and David, will lead the demonstration. Bruce Corrigan has more than 30 years’ experience in martial arts and is certified to teach a variety of disciplines. He founded Progressive Martial Arts and taught Nick and David. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge teachers, principals request 2.5 percent pay raise

Mike Haygood of Oak Ridge Education Association

Mike Haygood, left, co-president of the Oak Ridge Education Association, tells Oak Ridge school board members during a March 24 meeting that teachers are requesting a 2.5 percent salary increase.

Oak Ridge teachers, staff members, and principals have requested a 2.5 percent salary increase in the next school year.

The requests could be considered as part of the budget discussions for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Oak Ridge Education Association said the consumer price index has increased 2.38 percent on average each year during the past decade. Meanwhile, the annual salary increase for school staff members has averaged 1.5 percent.

Teachers have not had a pay increase for several years, said Mike Haygood, OREA co-president.

“Some type of salary increase is long overdue,” he told members of the Oak Ridge Board of Education during a March 24 meeting. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge resident Don Bell running for Anderson school board

Don Bell

Don Bell

Oak Ridge resident Don A. Bell is running for the District 7 seat on the Anderson County Board of Education. District 7 includes Highland View, Glenwood, and Pine Valley in Oak Ridge.

Bell is a longtime Oak Ridger and a 1974 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, the candidate said in a press release. He retired from the Oak Ridge school system in 2013. He had worked in the maintenance and operations division at Glenwood Elementary School.

Bell served on the board of directors of Oak Ridge Schools Federal Cedit Union for seven years and as vice chairman for three years. He also served on the Superintendent’s Search Committee to appoint the principal for Glenwood Elementary and was on the supervisory committee of the Tennessee Members First Federal Credit Union.

In the press release, Bell said he looks forward to meeting his constituents and hopes to use his experience to serve the Anderson County school system.

ORAU Annual Report highlights impact of early career researchers on U.S. scientific mission

Jason Hayward

Jason Hayward, who has a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan, holds a high-resolution instrument, which is part of his research to benefit facilities like Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source. (Photo credit: University of Tennessee)

With U.S. falling behind China and India in numbers of STEM graduates, strengthening U.S. scientific talent is critical, according to report

Jason Hayward is applying his nuclear engineering research expertise to develop the next generation of high-resolution instruments for facilities like Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source.

Hayward, who has a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan, hopes his work will eventually help curtail the spread of nuclear weapons and assist in identifying viable alternative energy sources. Hayward is an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee, a joint faculty member with ORNL’s Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division, a U.S. Department of Energy research award recipient, and a participant in the Higher Education Research Experiences Program.

He and many other early career researchers are participating in fellowships and internships managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities with DOE and other federal agencies, and they are the main focus of ORAU’s “2013 Annual Report,” which has just been released. [Read more...]