Anderson Schools rejects Oak Ridge Head Start application over false federal data

Larry Foster

Larry Foster

Note: This story was last updated at 8:35 p.m.

Anderson County Schools director optimistic that resolution will be reached

By John Huotari and Sara Wise

They had concerns about the alleged falsification of federal documents that contained data on motor skills of children, so Anderson County school officials rejected Oak Ridge’s application for Head Start funding in the 2014-2015 school year.

The decision could affect roughly $700,000 in funding, or enough to cover about 118 students in the Oak Ridge Head Start program, a federal entitlement program for low-income children. Anderson County Schools supervises the local Head Start program.

But Anderson County Schools Director Larry Foster said the county school board’s unanimous April 10 decision could be rescinded based upon collaboration between the two school systems. Representatives of the two systems have already had discussions, and school board chairs are expected to discuss what can be done to resolve funding for next year.

“Hopefully, this can be resolved,” Foster said during a brief break in a Monday morning Anderson County Commission meeting in Clinton. [Read more...]

Energy Secretary Moniz to give lecture on energy, environment at UT on Friday

Ernest Moniz

Ernest Moniz

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will give a lecture on energy and the environment at the University of Tennessee on Friday. It’s free and open to the public, a press release said.

It’s the Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy and the Environment, and it’s scheduled from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday at the UT College of Law, Room 132.

The College of Law is at at 1505 W. Cumberland Ave. in Knoxville. Paid public parking will be available in the Volunteer Hall Garage. A map of campus is available at [Read more...]

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 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...]