West Cheatham Children's Choir

The West Cheatham Elementary choir, led by Kaye Hunter, performs for the state of the district breakfast.

For the first time, Cheatham County schools hosted a “State of the District” breakfast Tuesday, Jan. 22, and informed community leaders about the district’s progress, highlighting accomplishments and changes along the way.

At the Cheatham Middle School breakfast, Director of Schools Cathy Beck spoke to the crowd, including the school board, principals, teachers and representatives of the sheriff’s office, about how the area’s surge in development is affecting schools.

“We are realizing right now we have an explosion of growth in the northern cluster,” she said.

In that cluster, all schools are between 95 and 100 percent capacity full, Beck said.

“We’re going to have to build a new school there,” she said. “We are just about to hire an architectural firm that will create a master plan for us.”

The school will be a new facility for Sycamore High School and will take three years to complete, she said.

Beck also announced that the board would release a printed annual report summarizing the district for the first time. These reports will be available in many offices and buildings around town as well as online, district spokesperson Tim Adkins said.

Beck also outlined the aspects of the district’s five-year plan: academic excellence, technology, facilities, partnerships and community engagement and human capital.

“It is what drives our work every day,” she said. “We want our children to be as competitive as every other child in the state of Tennessee (and) in the nation.”

In the past two school years, students in seventh-10th grades have gotten their own laptops as part of the technology initiative, Beck said. The district wants to give the devices to another grade next year, but finances could make that difficult, she said.

“The challenge will be (finding) funding for this,” Beck said. “We are working hard and we are committed to making this happen.”

She also spoke about the facility changes that have been made in the past year including having a school resource officer in each school, creating an anonymous tip line and constructing safe entrances in every school.

“Safety may be our most important commitment to you,” she said.

Beck also announced that last year’s graduating class accumulated $3.65 million in scholarships. In that class there were National Merit scholars, a perfect ACT score and an Air Force Academy appointment.

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