Jefferson County Public Schools (Tennessee)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
The district has one high school, Jefferson County High School. There are two K–8 schools in the district, Rush Strong School and White Pine School. The district also has six K–5 schools (Dandridge Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Mount Horeb Elementary, New Market Elementary, Piedmont Elementary, and Talbott Elementary) and two middle schools (Jefferson Middle and Maury Middle School).
Jefferson County High School opened in August 1975 as a result of the reorganization of all elementary schools and the consolidation of the existing high schools. Students from White Pine, Rush Strong, Maury, and Jefferson High Schools combined to form a student body of nearly 2300+ in grades 9–12. In its first year of operation, the high school was recognized by the Tennessee School Board Association as the "School of the Year" in Tennessee. The academic, athletic, and activity programs have continued to excel since its opening. Jefferson County High School is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Jefferson County School District has also received District SACS accreditation.
The High School is located in the geographic center of Jefferson County. The location is approximately fifteen miles from the most distant commuting student in the county. The campus consists of 60 acres (240,000 m2) including a stadium, gymnasium, playing fields, tennis courts, and the academic complex. The enrollment is approximately 1800 students.
In 2007 Jefferson County Schools embarked on a $65 million building program intended to provide additional classroom space in the elementary schools and renovations and a performing arts center at the high school.
In 2013, they made an addition to the high school called Patriot Academy for the incoming freshmen. The enrollment is approximately 600.
The main campus of the high school has repairs started after rain in 2013 caused roofing to collapse. Prior to these repairs none had taken place since the building of the school in 1974. Classes are moved to trailers behind the school and some teachers are left without rooms during remodeling which had yet to be completed. The hallways that have been remodeled, in particular the 200 hallway which was the first to be completed, flood when it rains and already have mold starting. Several hallways have cockroaches and green mold according the staff members and students.
While the school system says they had no idea there was an issue with the schools structure or any danger the year previous to roofing collapsing trash bins were moved into the halls to collect water, computers were moved away from the walls, and school was occasionally canceled during rain. Many students have fallen ill due to the mold around the school, several having to seek medical attention. Construction workers are a normal sight around the school as of 2013 when the remodeling (estimated to last years) started. Equipment is left around the school, often unsupervised. Teachers have told students to look out for wires and to stay away from the construction workers which aren't trusted. During the 2013-2014 school year pipes pulled from the building were left outside of entrances, vehicles used during construction were left unattended both in the court yard and outside of the building, and construction workers shouted at students through windows during class.
The Patriot Academy, a school made simply for freshman located down the road from the high school, was opened in 2013. Students from the 2013-2014 school year have reported leaks and molding ceiling tiles during the first year of that building's use. Some students expressed fear that their school was as dangerous as the main campus, considering it hadn't even made one year without leaks.
Teachers around the high school have shown great excitement for the repairs to be completed, while others have worried about the hallways that obviously have not benefited even after remodeling. A problem reported from teachers as of the start of the 2014-2015 school year has been the fact that the school has supplied them with one book shelf and one cabinet telling them they may not bring their own. These teachers were later informed that they may not put textbooks on either the shelf or the cabinet as they cannot support the weight, leaving the teachers with nowhere to put the books so desperately needed for learning in the classroom. On top of that fact, the money given to teachers to by supplies for the year was cut to sixty dollars. Previously the budget for such was double that, but now all supplies exceeding the given sixty dollars must be paid for out of pocket by the teachers.
Despite the budget supplied to the school system every year they can't seem to find the money to actually repair a potentially dangerous building where they send hundreds of students and the staff five days a week, no less find the money to pay for bookshelves that can carry the weight of textbooks.