LSS relishes academic success, gets update on middle school contract

LSS logolakeRemarkable academic achievements took center stage during much of the Lakeland school board’s discussions at the Aug. 3 work session.

Board chairman Kevin Floyd spoke briefly about the district’s ranking as an Exemplary school district, one of only 12 statewide, and achievements on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests — all during its first year of operation as a municipal school districtt.

Lakeland students’ TCAP scores ranked number one in the state in both math and reading/language arts and number two in in science.

“We’ve had a remarkable year,” he said. “…Those things speak for themselves.”

School superintendent Dr. Ted Horrell shared his pride in the accomplishment and saved the most praise for the district’s teachers. “They went about their work with intentionality, and that leads to those kinds of results. … They did the right kind of work all year.”

He also praised the culture of the school, created by the school’s leadership, teachers, parents, supportive community and school board.

Jim Mitchell Jr., a founding partner at the school district’s consulting firm, Southern Educational Strategies and former Shelby County Schools district superintendent, also took a moment during the meeting as a Lakeland citizen to relish the Lakeland district’s performance.

He pointed out that it was extraordinary and truly historical for four of the new local school districts (Lakeland, as well as Bartlett, Arlington and Germantown) to earn the Exemplary district label.

“I don’t know if everybody understands how difficult it is to get on that list that you just got on,” Mitchell said. “It’s the top top.”

He said it’s this kind of distinction that draws new residents to a city, as long as suitable housing and development are available. He also praised all six new municipal school districts for operating in the black for their first year of operations.

“That’s a testament to conservative boards and conservative leadership and wise decisions,” Mitchell said.

In other business

During the work session, the school board also:

  • Received an update from Mitchell on the pending land purchase for the district’s new middle school. He said the final details are being worked out, and the goal is to complete negotiations this week and bring the contract to the board for consideration at the Aug. 10 business meeting.
  • Received a brief update from Mitchell on next summer’s re-roofing and replacement of certain HVAC units at LES. Preliminary discussions are underway with engineers, architects and energy management firms so the project helps the school achieve greater energy savings.
  • Heard Horrell’s update that the LES network upgrade project has been completed and the network is estimated to operate about four times faster than it did previously. Each teacher has an Airport in his/her classroom, and their new laptops have been distributed.
  • n Heard that a contract is now in hand for the board to consider a cell tower lease behind the school. It’s estimated to yield at least $18,000 annually in revenue, with opportunities for more. If the contract is approved, Tower Ventures will guide the project through the city’s approval process.
  • Learned that the final budget upload to the state was completed on July 31 and is balanced and ready for auditing.
  • Discussed routine policy updates about purchasing and funds expenditures.
  • Reviewed an LSS organizational chart, available online at
  • Heard a Lakeland citizen’s concerns about the potential for undetected mold at Lakeland Elementary School. (For details, see that separate story).