Distinctive character emerges for Bartlett elementary schools

Editor’s note: This series will run weekly throughout 2016 to highlight Bartlett’s history in honor of its 150th anniversary this year. This is the third column on Bartlett schools. The previous columns on Bartlett schools published on Nov. 3 and 17.

In 2014-2015 the Tennessee Department of Education named Bartlett City Schools an Exemplary District. This week and next will give you a view of the rest of the schools in the district.

Altruria Elementary

Bartlett-Sesq-logo-SMALL-WEAltruria is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, opening in 1976. To celebrate their anniversary they have an event each month. For Bartlett’s 150 anniversary this year the music Teacher, Ashley Spriggs, wrote a play for second graders to sing and act out the history of Bartlett. There are 820 students this year, and Altruria consistently scores in the top schools in performance levels.

While their focus is providing the best education for students, they support the community in a variety of ways. They have donated over $300,000 for St. Jude Research Hospital through Math-A-Thon participation. Altruria supports Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital through meals for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff, baby blankets donated, volunteered time, staff treats, and take-home bags for NICU babies. The chorus performs annually at the hospital, and they also donate baskets of treats to the West Clinic annually for cancer treatment patients. Some of the clubs and activities students participate in are APEX, Battle of the Books, Beta Club, Fifth Notes, the school’s choir and Beach Club, which was the first Beach Club in Tennessee.

Principal Marva Johnson has been at Altruria since 1993, serving as assistant until 1996, when she became principal. She takes a personal interest in each of her students and is very proud of the academic performance of the school and the “servant heart” that the school demonstrates annually to the community.

Bon Lin Elementary

The land on which Bon Lin Elementary is located on Germantown Road has a very historical background. Abe Beaty’s family owned the property originally, and the grandfather of Earle and Betty Beaty left the land to his grandchildren. The property was not originally for sale, but Shelby County officials contacted Earle and Betty and asked them to consider selling it and allowing a school to be built on it. Linda Beaty, their mother, said the school was the best thing that could have happened to the land. The name Bon Lin came from Earle and Betty’s great grandparents, William Bond and Linnie Lee. The Bonds were one of the earliest families to settle in this area. Research on the school’s name turned up the fact that Betty Beaty attended Bartlett High School and so did Bon Lin’s first principal, Kay Williams.

The school opened in 2005 and has 880 students this year, pre-school through the fifth grade. Last year they were named a Reward School, which means the students performed at the top 5 percent of the state, and they continue working to close achievement gaps with all students. Clubs and activities include the Ambassador Club, Battle of the Books, Chorus, Drama Club, Garden Club, STEM and National Junior Beta Club.

In 2010 Kasandra Berry was named principal and continues to date.

The Common Mission is: “Bon Lin Elementary is a community of educators and stakeholders committed to ensuring academic success for all students by providing a diverse learning environment, fostering wise decision making skills, creating a sense of responsibility, and developing productive citizens.”

Oak Elementary

Oak Elementary is located on 15 acres that was once a sod farm. The school was built in 1987 and served grades K-8. In 1995, Oak was restructured to serve grades K-6. Oak became a K-5 school in 1996 because of extensive boundary changes. A new wing was added in 2002. The one-story building currently serves approximately 653 students. The principal is Marie DeLockery.

Editor’s note: This series will run weekly throughout 2016 to highlight Bartlett’s history in honor of its 150th anniversary this year. This is the third column on Bartlett schools. The previous columns on Bartlett schools published on Nov. 3 and 17.

Various programs provide students with a range of opportunities, including Before and After School Tutoring, offered weekly to reinforce the academic needs of students. Extracurricular activities include Book Club, Science Club, Math Club, Jogging Club, Music Club, Choir, and Technology Club. Throughout the year students can participate in a variety of opportunities that include Science Fair, DARE, Read Across America, Field Day Activities, Battle of the Books, Literacy Program, Visiting Authors and Illustrators, Botanical Garden and Oak ACRES (an outdoor classroom).

Service projects include Safety Patrol, as well as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, both of which received donations from Oak. Oak has a Chorus Club and a Music Club that perform on special occasions. Technology is a vital component of the school’s instructional teaching practice. The Parent Teacher Organization purchased new computers for the computer lab during the 2014-2015 school term.

Oak has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School and as a National Drug Free Safe School. Oak has also received The School of Excellence Award from the national Parent Teacher Association.

Parents assist with school-wide programs. Parents volunteer for tutoring, reading to the class and assisting with Field Day, Ram Run, library work, book fairs and Career Fair.

The Shared Vision is: “Oak Elementary School’s faculty, and stakeholders are committed to the shared vision that all students will take personal and social responsibility for their actions to help them reach their potential academically, physically, socially, morally, and artistically.”

Rivercrest Elementary

Rivercrest Elementary School opened in August 1998. The Rivercrest mascot is the redbird, and the school colors are red and gray. The continued growth of the school required the addition of a new wing of 14 classrooms in 2007-2008. The current enrollment is 534 students. The principal is Portia Tate, and she, along with the faculty and staff, works to ensure the best education possible for each student. Students learn and thrive as they get a good foundation in their early education experience.

The school also is home to a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Honors Program. The program is open to outstanding students in grades 1-5 of the Bartlett City Schools District who perform above their grade level peers in the traditional classroom setting.
The students are told every day “We Love You Here at Rivercrest” over the intercom. This gives them a positive way to start their day. Rivercrest is a family-oriented school, and faculty, staff, parents, grandparents, stakeholders and community supporters share Rivercrest’s education mission.

Their mission statement is: “Realize education depends on building intelligent responsible decision-makers.”