Motlow highlights 50 years of achievements in recent annual report

Motlow College celebrates 50 years with an Annual Report highlighting their achievements. The college opened its doors on September 22, 1969. {Historic Image Provided}

LOCAL NEWS | It all began in over 50 years ago after almost five years of planning. On September 22, 1969 Motlow State Community College officially opened its doors to 551 students on a 187 acre campus in Moore County donated by the Motlow family.

To celebrate 50 years, Motlow State recently released their 2019-2020 Annual Report, which highlights the school exponential growth. Click here to view that report.

The report is a colorful, vibrant 50-page publication providing critical statistical information, features, and photos from the College’s 50th Anniversary, academic milestones, and critical operational achievements that lean Motlow into the future and the next 50 years.

“The Annual Report is a capsule of the 2019-20 academic year from a statistical standpoint,” said Motlow Communications Director Scott Shasteen. “However, with our talented graphics and content creators, we bring numerical data to life, transforming it into a pleasing visual experience and proudly displaying it for the public. I’m often asked in the community, how are things at Motlow? This report tells our story.”

Motlow achieved a school record for enrollment with 7,023 students in fall 2019. Included in that student population was 1,819 dual enrollment students, the most of any community college in the TBR system. Motlow awarded 1,182 degrees during the year, another new school record.

An additional highlight for the College is its incredible 800% growth in the number of dual enrollment students who graduated from Motlow and high school at the same time. Dual enrollment students made up over 25% of Motlow’s student population.

One of the items highlighted in the report is the recent announcement of the new distillery training education partnership with both Jack Daniel’s and Nearest Green’s distilleries. To read our full coverage of that partnership, click here.

The report also highlights Motlow’s awards and achievements by individuals and as collective units. McMinnville Librarian Sharon Edwards won the TBR Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) Award, and Motlow’s External Affairs department won multiple state, regional, and national awards for Ovation magazine, Robotics design and marketing, and graphic creation.

To learn more about Motlow State Community College, visit their website. •

Local STEM educator hosts NASA Observe the Moon Party

Local STEM outreach and science educator, Billy Hix, will host the NASA Observe the Moon Party on September 26. Hix is a former Motlow College professor and familiar face in Moore County Schools. {Photo Provided}

EVENTS | Usually it requires a trip to Huntsville, but this year you can join the fun from anywhere. On Saturday, September 26 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., local STEM educator Billy Hix will host the International Observe the Moon Party presented by the NASA Planetary Missions Program and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

It’s an event meant to celebrate our fascination with the moon. Over 50 years ago, the Apollo 11 crew led by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins used 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel themselves into space and history. As more than half a million people watched from home including President Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth, Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the moon and American’s have been obsessed ever since.

Hix took early retirement from teaching science at Motlow College to turn his attention towards STEM outreach in Tennessee schools. He zig zags across the state with his portable planetarium to visit nearly 100 schools and over 71,000 students each year. He visits Moore County students several times a year.

The live stream event on Saturday will be live planetarium show with interviews with Planetary Scientists. It’s a fantastic opportunity for both the science-curious and home or virtual school students. On the day of the event, click here to join. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

MCHS plans PSAT on Oct. 14

Moore County High School freshmen, sophomores, and juniors can sign up for the PSAT to be given at the high school on October 14. {File Photo}

EDUCATION NEWS | Staff invites Moore County High School (MCHS) freshmen, sophomores, and junior to register to take the PSAT on Wednesday, October 14. The cost is $20 per student.

The PSAT – also known as the Preliminary SAT – gives students a practice run at the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) used by many universities and colleges to determine aptitude for college classes.

Students can only take the PSAT once per year, and many students take the test in both 10th and 11th grade. If you earn a high score on the PSAT your junior year, you could qualify to receive a National Merit Scholarship—$180 million dollars in merit scholarships are awarded to students each year. The PSAT is two hours and 45 minutes long and tests your skills in reading, writing, and math. Unlike the SAT, the highest score possible on the PSAT is 1520, according to their website.

MCHS juniors who take the test will compete for the National Merit Scholarship program. Freshmen and sophomores can still take the test and use it as a practice test to assess strengths and weaknesses in advance of the their junior year PSAT.

The number of tests available is limited, according to MCHS officials, and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. Test fees should be delivered to Amy Cashion at MCHS. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Metro School Board meets Thursday

The Metro Board of Education will meet in a regular session on Thursday, September 17 at 6 p.m. at the Lynchburg Elementary School (LES) Cafeteria. {Lynchburg Times Graphic}

The Metro Board of Education will meet in regular session on Thursday, September 17 at 6 p.m. at the Lynchburg Elementary School (LES) Cafeteria.

In new business, the board will consider several personnel issues. It will consider tenure for two teachers: Belinda Smith and Amber Neal and also be informed of the immediate resignation of two teachers: Special Education Teacher Eric M. Davis and LES Art Teacher Whitney Ferris.

The LES Library will present a list of materials for “weeding out” … or items currently in library inventory that will be re-allocated to classrooms. The list includes books, science equipment, anatomical models, CDs, and other items. LES Librarian Sarah Gammon submitted the list.

Other new business items include a proposal to create a MCHS Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) program at the high school as well as removing several early release dates (9/24, 10/8, 11/19, and 12/10) from the school calendar.

The board will also consider the appointment of five members to the Student Disciplinary Hearing Authority: Wendy Hart, Danny Mooney, Jacqueline Cates, Monica Hardin, and Penny Smith.

Director Moorehead will also discuss several budget issues including a transfer from the ESP Fund Balance, and an MCHS Construction Project Budget Amendment.

To see the complete meeting agenda, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow, TCAT partner to make student transfers easier

Motlow Murfreesboro Vice President Dr. Echelle Eady, TCAT Murfreesboro President Dr. Carol Puryear, and Motlow State President Dr. Michael Torrence sign an articulation agreement that will make student tranfers easier. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Motlow State Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) –Murfreesboro recently announced a partnership that will create a smooth transfer process for students studying nursing, cyber defense, business office, and mechatronics.

The articulation agreement between the schools will facilitate the transfer of TCAT – Murfreesboro students to Motlow; provide specific advisement for TCAT – Murfreesboro students who intend to transfer to Motlow; and, encourage academic and administrative coordination between the institutions. Transfer students from TCAT – Murfreesboro to Motlow may also receive credit for prior learning and certifications.

“This partnership provides expanded opportunities for students in Rutherford County and surrounding areas,” said Scott Shasteen, Motlow communications director. “Motlow nursing, cyber defense, business office, and mechatronics graduates enjoy high placement rates in high-demand, high-wage occupations.”

In particular TCAT – Murfreesbor LPN graduates will able to more easily transition into the Motlow LPN-RN program.

Students wishing to transfer credits to Motlow must meet the admissions requirements, and Motlow reserves the right to reject any student’s admission in accordance with its standard policies and procedures. Transfer students from TCAT-Murfreesboro will provide an official transcript of completed courses to Motlow.

For more information, visit the Motlow College website by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Local Farmers: Required Beef Quality Assurance classes held Sept. 12-15

If you need to attend a Beef Quality Assurance class to qualify for state ag grant dollars, one will be held in Franklin County on September 12-15. {File Photo}

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Attention Moore County cattle farmers: Planning on applying for state agricultural grant dollars? Then you’ll need to plan to attend one of the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) classes planned in Franklin County next week.

The two-hour class covers cattle management and care and is sponsored by the Tennessee Cattle,man’s Association. BQA classes are volunteer based but must be completed to qualify for state dollars.

The annual Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) application period is October 1-7 and grant seekers must complete a BQA class to qualify.

Th state established TAEP in 2005 to provide cost share dollars to agricultural producers in the state. It’s goal is to invest in both Tennessee farms and their communities. Over the past 15 years, the state program invested more than $185 million in over 60,000 Tennessee farmers. On average each dollar invested generates $6.09 in local economies, according to the state.

Classes will be held at the UT/TSU Extension Office in Winchester on September 12 at 8 a.m., September 14 at 9 a.m., and September 15 at both 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. UT Extension will limit class size to 15 participants for each class so reserving your spot is important. To RSVP, call 931-967-2741. According to state ag officials, online classes are also available.

Questions? Contact Moore County Extension’s Larry Moorehead at lmooreh1@utk.edu.

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Library: Virtual learners welcome on eLearning Wednesdays

Moore County students will experience their first eLearning Wednesday tomorrow and the Moore County Public Library wants locals to know they are here to help. {File Photo}

LYNCHBURG — eLearning Wednesday’s will kick off tomorrow and the Moore County Public Library (MCPL) wants you to know that they are here to help. On Wednesdays, the library will transform into an virtual learning help center.

Last Wednesday, Moore County Schools announced that all students would learn virtually each Wednesday in order to give teachers a mid week opportunity to catch up from the demands of dual teaching both in person and online as well as get students prepared should COVID force school closures. (Read our full coverage of that decision by clicking here. )

Library staff will provide paper, pencils, as well as tech support for those who feel unsure about the elearning process. Students should come with their passwords in hand as the library staff will not have independent access to this information. The MCLP WiFi is an open network that does not require a password. Parents must remain with their children at all times. Snacks will be allowed but not in carpeted areas.

The library will still follow its social distancing guidelines on eLearning Wednesdays and therefore, spots are limited. All seating will be on a first come, first served basis. Parents who wish to utilize the library on these days should call 931-759-7285 to reserve a spot. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

New eLearning Wednesdays leaves schools, parents struggling to find the way

All Moore County students will learn remotely on Wednesdays beginning August 26 to help teachers catch up and students to be better prepared should COVID force school closures. {File Photo}

It’s a move Moore County Director of Schools Chad Moorehead said that has two intended purposes. One, it’s meant to give teachers a mid week opportunity to catch up from the demands of dual teaching both in person and online. Two, as active case counts rise in Moore County, eLearning Wednesdays are meant to get students prepared should COVID force school closures.

“This school year has been and will continue to be a challenge for everyone involved,” said Director Moorehead. “We ask for patience and understanding as we make decisions that we feel will be most beneficial for our teachers and students. The school board has voted to make school attendance as flexible as possible and has preserved parent choice with each vote. We will all have to work together to make this year successful.”

Things change quickly this school year

Moore County Schools aren’t the only school system forced to rapidly evolve this school year. Tullahoma City Schools welcomed student back on July 29. Nine days later on August 7, the system announced it would be moving to a hybrid schedule because the active cases threshold in Coffee County exceeded their school closing trigger of 0.5 percent.

Today, Franklin County School announced a similar measure to eLearning Wednesday’s stating that “due to the volume of virtual learners and the added cleaning burden due to COVID 19, each Friday will be designated a virtual/distance learning day for all students.”

On August 11, the Moore County School Board voted to revise their own school closing trigger to based on individual school absenteeism rates rather than the amount of community spread. (Read our full coverage of that meeting here.)

Yesterday via their social media page, Moore County Schools announced that beginning Wednesday, August 26 all students at Lynchburg Elementary, Moore County Middle School, and Moore County High School would become remote learners for that single day and would not report for in-person learning.

Teachers, students, and parent feel the strain

According to Tennessee state law, all students must complete 180 days of instruction to matriculate and each instructional day must a minimum of 6.5 hours. From the beginning, the Moore County Board of Education voted to start the school year under a hybrid plan that allowed parents to choose either in person or distance learning depending on their individual situation.

According to Director Moorehead, around 20 percent of students now learn remotely. This means teachers give classroom instruction all day and then go home to help remote learners at night.

One Moore County teacher we talked to said her normal 40-60 hour work week in a normal school year has ballooned to closer to 90 hours.

“I have always worked hard to prepare lessons that are engaging, fun, and standards based,” they said. “Now I work 90 hours a week and my lessons are lackluster at best. I also don’t have the energy to deliver power-packed lessons that I did last year. Most of my time is spent corresponding with remote students and their parents. I give 70 percent of my time to 18 percent of my students.”

Another problem is that remote learning can lead to teachers feeling as if they are on call 24/7.

“We get emails around the clock,” one Moore County teacher said. “I feel obligated to answer emails whenever possible, but this 24/7 schedule is not sustainable. I finally had to turn off notifications on my phone so that I could get at least a couple hours of sleep. By the end of the week, sleep deprivation has taken its toll, and just speaking a sentence in front of a classroom of students is challenging.”

It’s this potential teacher burnout that Director Moorehead says he’s trying to avoid with eLearning Wednesdays.

“We are blessed in Moore County to have outstanding teachers that truly care about all of our children and we must take care of our teachers, so they can take care of our students,” Director Moorehead added. “The plan is to give the teachers these five days, spread over five weeks to make adjustments, and develop a system to deliver content to students that are in the building and those that have chosen not to be.”

It takes a village to raise a child

Director Moorehead posted the eLearning Wednesday notice yesterday around 4:30 p.m. Understandably, it left some parents frustrated with the sudden change. By the early evening, local moms and other community members were already offering to help on social media.

“I would love to offer my home and help to a couple of children in need of care and assistance during e-learning Wednesdays, if you need help feel free to message me. I’m grateful to work mostly from home,” said one local on social media.

Another local with a “smart teenage daughter and fiber Internet” also offered to help.

In the end Director Moorehead as well as all the teachers we spoke to expressed a sincere desire to help every child in our school system work their way through these unprecedented times.

“There is no “right” answer anymore,” one teacher said. “It’s just the right now answer.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

LES student wins state art prize

LES fifth grader Jenny Sanders recently won the state level prize in the Tennessee Beef Industry Council’s art contest. {Photo Courtesy of Moore County 4-H}

Earlier in the year, the Tennessee Beef Industry Council (TBIC) made a statewide call to local school-aged artists and their request was simple. Draw a picture that demonstrates how cattle help the environment and/or the byproducts that come from local cattle. The council wanted to stress the fact that 99 percent of local dairy cattle gets used whether its for beef, leather, crayons, soap, glue, piano keys, or other items.

TBIC decided to award one first place winner in four divisions and wouldn’t you know it, one of those winners is from right here is Moore County. Lynchburg Elementary fifth grader and Moore County 4-H student, Jenny Sanders, won the state level prize for the Junior Division.

Jenny is the daughter of Joel and Sarah Sanders. She and her older sister, Macy, live on their family farm in Lynchburg. The Sanders feed 160 Holstein cows, raise a few bottle calves, harvest their own hay, as well as raise ducks, chickens, and horses. The Sanders are also a familiar face at the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market where they sell locally-grown produce from their family garden.

Not only did Jenny win $100 but her artwork will also be used on the Tennessee Beef Industry Council’s social media outlets as well as published in TBIC publications throughout the state … so keep your eyes peeled for her work. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Friday Backpack Program resumes at LES

Each Friday afternoon, staff at Lynchburg Elementary School fills and distributes backpacks with food for local students who might need a little help over the weekends. {File Photo}

According to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, thirteen percent of local households are food insecure — meaning that they have uncertain access to enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes one is six southern, middle Tennessee children.

Lynchburg Elementary’s staff offers a simple, discrete solution to that problem … the Friday Backpack Program. Each Friday, bags filled with non-perishable food and snacks for the weekend are discreetly slipped into students backpacks by their homeroom teacher.

Those bags are filled with food supplied by Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee as well as local donations. It you’d like to contribute food, you can drop off individually wrapped snacks like granola bars, cheese or peanut butter crackers, microwave popcorn, or fruit cups at the LES Main office. Locals can also make a monetary donation to LES for the program.

Pam Duffus, who oversees the program for LES, says on average they send home around 55 bags each week.

Parents or guardians of student who wish to participate should contact Pam Duffus (pam.duffus@moorecountyschools.net) to sign up. In the email, parents should mention whether their student(s) are bus riders or car riders. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}