Back to School Time!

It may be the dog days, but there’s something else that makes August notable: Back to School!

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It’s August already! It’s been a beautiful summer: at times hot and muggy, but we’ve had our fair share of crystal-clear, lovely weather, too. It may be the dog days, but there’s something else that makes August notable: Back to School! Kids and parents all over East Tennessee are gearing up to walk back through those lobby doors, heading to new classrooms, new desks and a new year of learning. Here are a few tips to make the transition from summer to school a little softer.

Snacks!

It’s amazing how far a good snack can go toward cheering a kid (or parent!) up, or just helping them wind down after a day of rules and work. Add a couple of fun snacks to lunches for a little midday boost, and have something healthy and yummy waiting for a just-off-the-bus treat. Here are a couple of ideas: pinch the middle of a baggie of grapes with a twisted pipe cleaner to make it look like a butterfly, or slather peanut butter on celery and stick on raisins for “ants on a log.” Then sneak a few bites for yourself!

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Downtime

Yeah, your older kids probably have a stack of homework already, but a little bit of quiet, unscheduled time (coinciding with the snack, probably!) can set the right tone for tackling those worksheets. Reading a book quietly, building with Legos, imaginative play, even just sitting and daydreaming: all these things help a kid’s brain release after school. Note: screen time, even though it can seem like relaxation time, actually overstimulates kids’ brains, making it more difficult for them to wind down.

Get Out!

Since they’re spending so much more of their days indoors, make sure kids have plenty of opportunity to get outside. Studies show it increases their learning capabilities, reduces stress and can even help them be healthier. Kick the kids out to the backyard during the school week, and go to the park on the weekends. It’s good for parents, too! And, luckily, we have the majestic Great Smoky Mountains practically in our backyard, so a Saturday day hike is a short trip away.

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Healthy Habits

It’s important for both parents and kids to get enough sleep and eat healthy meals during the school week. It can be stressful making sure backpacks and lunches are all packed up and ready to go, the kids aren’t wearing the same stained shirt they wore for the past two days, pick up and drop off happen on time, and a million other things don’t fall between the cracks! Give yourself a boost with healthy habits.

Kids at Home

Does little brother or sister still stay at home? You can do lots of fun things to prep them for the big day they get to go to school, too. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will send free books to your home to help you jump-start your kids’ love of reading. Local libraries have reading programs and story hours that help you get out of the house and help your entertain kids, too.

Good luck with back to school time! Visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com for your East Tennessee realty needs.

Education in Jefferson County, Tennessee

Check out Jefferson County! It might be the perfect “fringe-rural” spot for you and your family.

Fringe-Rural

Jefferson County is termed “fringe-rural,” which means it has both urban and rural attributes. With a hop and a skip in one direction you can be in dense woods, hunting deer or turkey without another soul in sight for miles. Take a jump in the other direction and you’re in Knoxville, Morristown or Sevierville. The biggest appeal of Jefferson County is its lovely rural land situated close enough for an easy commute to one of these bigger cities. Population here isn’t very dense, but there are many resources and cultural sites in the area. Carson-Newman University, a pre-Civil War institution, is one such cultural beacon. For a family who might be on the lookout for someplace close to the bigger city of Knoxville (a little over or under 30 minutes away, depending on your in-town destination) yet rich with country charms, making a home in Jefferson County just might be ideal.

The public school system is made up of 12 schools, one of which is an alternative school and one of which is the Jefferson County High School. Find out more about the Jefferson County public school system here.

Resources

The public school system also has supplementary family resources, from information about babies and very young childhood to resources on free kids’ books. ( Did you know Dolly Parton founded a statewide early reading program called the Imagination Library, which sends free children’s books to preschool-aged kids?) If you’re new to parenting, or just looking for a bit of information, go here to find out more.

Jefferson County High School

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Jefferson County High School is the system’s only high school. According to U.S.News.com, student enrollment for 2016 is 2,102. Boy-girl ratio is pretty even, at 51 percent male to 49 percent female. Student-teacher ratio is 16:1, and there are opportunities for Advanced Placement courses and exams, which give college-bound students a real leg-up. In fact, many high schools in Tennessee are pushing to improve the availability and passing rate of their AP programs. Overall high school graduation rate is 90%.

Jefferson County Private Schools

There are two options for private schooling of little ones in the area.

Jefferson Montessori School is a very small school for little ones. Fans of Montessori say it’s a great way to give kids a jump-start on a love of learning, especially in the important early formative years. You can contact them at:

Phone: (865) 475-5250

Po Box 489, Jefferson City, TN 37760

Blue Springs Christian Academy is a Pentecostal School run by volunteers. It’s a very small, private school for kids K-12. Reach them at:

3265 Blue Springs Rd, Strawberry Plains, TN 37871

Phone: (865) 932-7603

Carson-Newman University

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Of course, for post-secondary education in Jefferson County there is Carson-Newman University, the historic liberal arts Christian school that has been an important part of life in Jefferson City since 1851. They offer fifty different majors in on-campus and online courses in fields such as art, education and health pre-majors (to name just a few). It’s a small campus, with 2,528 students are enrolled there as of 2016. Visit their website to find out more about the school.

Check out Jefferson County! It might be the perfect “fringe-rural” spot for you and your family. Visit my website at darlenereeves-kline.com to view listings.

 

Schools in Morristown, Tennessee

Who knew you’d be the one doing homework to send your kid to school?

Morristown has a lot to offer any family: beautiful parks, fabulous lake access, convenient shopping and restaurants, a vibrant art scene…but there are practical things to think about when moving to Hamblen County, too. Daily life (and livelihood) details matter a lot, like jobs, cost of living, and availability and quality of schools. Once you decide to make the move, starting early on school enrollment is a must. In fact, you should arguably check on the best schools in your new area before you choose a house, as it might affect the neighborhood you need to live in for school zoning. Check out this article for tips on moving your kids to a new school.

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From Clipartpanda.com

As we’ve said, one of the most important things for parents to consider when moving to a new area is the quality of schools, so let’s consider the many options Morristown has to offer in that department. There are more options than you might think for private education in addition to the public school system for kids in kindergarten through high school in Hamblen County.

There are 18 public schools in the Morristown public school system. That number includes one alternative school and two high schools (Morristown East and Morristown West are football rivals from way back!) Visit the public school website for Hamblen County here.

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Morristown East High

According to GreatSchools.com, the top schools in Hamblen county are Alpha Elementary (K-5), West View Middle (6-8), John Hay Elementary (K-5), and Witt Elementary (K-5). These schools are chosen based on comparison of standardized testing scores.To learn more about these schools’ rankings, visit here.

Niche.com rates Hamblen County public schools overall at #14 for the whole state of Tennessee for the year 2016. That’s based on a slew of categories, including test scores, college readiness and graduation rates. That’s 14 out of 100. Not bad! Check out the website for more information.

Some parents disagree with public school policies or feel strongly about private school education because of personal beliefs. Many families are choosing to go an alternate route in educating their children.  If you’re one of those parents, Morristown has you covered, too. Hamblen County is home to six private Christian schools. Visit PrivateSchoolReview.com for more information.

The two biggest private Christian schools in Morristown are All Saints Episcopal School, with over 100 students enrolled in  Pre-K through 8th grade, and Cornerstone Academy with over 100 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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All Saints is poised to celebrate their 50th anniversary next year (2017). Visit their website to learn more about the school. Cornerstone, founded in 2006, has broken ground on a brand-new addition to their campus. They’re expanding! Visit their website to find out more about Cornerstone Academy.

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There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best school for your child! This article in Time has some good tips about what makes a good school.

This article from The Washington Post also has some great tips on making the school choice.

Who knew you’d be the one doing homework to send your kid to school?

Please visit my website for information about listings in Morristown, Tennessee!