Bartlett schools focus on excellence, respect

Editor’s note: This series will run weekly throughout 2016 to highlight Bartlett’s history in honor of its 150th anniversary this year.

Bartlett-Sesq-logo-SMALL-WEIn 2014-2015 the Tennessee Department of Education named Bartlett City Schools an Exemplary District. This column completes a series focusing on the city’s schools. Previously, columns on Bartlett schools published on Nov. 3, 17 and 24.

Appling Middle School

Appling Middle School opened in August 1995 at 3700 Appling Road, a part of the Bobby K. Flaherty Municipal Complex, serving grades 6 through 8. The first principal was Mr. Odell Foster, who served for 17 years until his retirement in 2012. The first year there were 50 faculty members, an assistant principal and principal. The enrollment was about 850 students. For a few years the enrollment approached 1,000 students, and this year there are 695 students with 40 faculty members. The principal is Keshia McMickens.

The goal at Appling Middle is to prepare students for success by providing them with a strong academic foundation. They believe and strive for E3 – Excellence – Everybody – Everyday, and their vision is to cultivate an outstanding environment for teaching, learning and preparing students to make positive contributions to a global community. The mascot for Appling Middle is the Wildcat.

Elmore Park Middle School

Elmore Park opened in 1958 as an elementary school at 6330 Althorne Road. In 1994 the school was converted to a middle school serving grades 6-8. In 2011 the building was torn down and replaced with a new structure on the same property. Today Elmore Park Middle School serves 800 students, and the principal is Ethan Randall.

The vision of the school is Nulli Secundus, which is Latin for “Second to None.” The mission is to prepare students for lifelong learning, effective leadership and a productive life. Their belief is that taking 100 percent responsibility while building lasting relationships will produce extraordinary results. In the principal’s message on the school website, he points out that the middle school years can be some of the toughest for students, and a quote he likes to keep in mind is, “Focus on who students are becoming, not just who they are right now.” He also encourages parents to be involved, and he stresses parental involvement in working with their child and the school.

Clubs and activities available to students include art, band, choir, D.I.Y. Club, Eagle Buddies, Kaleidoscope Players (drama), National Junior Honor Society, Photography Club and Student Council. The mascot for Elmore Park is the Eagle.

Bon Lin Middle School

The newest middle school is Bon Lin Middle School at 3862 N. Germantown Road. It opened in 2008, three years after Bon Lin Elementary, which is adjacent to it on the same campus. Currently there are 700 students in grades 6-8, and the principal is Cody Duncan.

The mission of the school is, “We as a community educate all students to be successful learners who are respectful of individualities and responsible citizens.” Clubs and activities available to students include art, Beta Club, creative writing, Drama Club, Environmental Club, National Junior Honor Society, newspaper, Peer Tutors, Spanish Club and yearbook/photography. The mascot for Bon Lin Middle is the Lynx.

Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy

The Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy at 4734 Shadowlawn Road was established in July 2014 as part of the newly formed Bartlett City Schools. Housed in the former Shadowlawn Middle School building, it saw a significant amount of renovation and restructuring being done during the months of June and July of that year in preparation to meet the needs of about 600 incoming freshmen. Currently there are about 750 students attending Bartlett Academy, and the principal is John McDonald, who transitioned over from Shadowlawn Middle School.

A full range of ninth-grade level classes are offered at the Academy, from standard and honors level to advanced and honors level courses. Elective classes include band, chorus, guitar, strings, theater, film and video, computer applications and criminal justice.

One of the great experiences the Academy offers is the opportunity for ninth-graders to come together as a freshman class before they go to Bartlett High School next year, giving them the opportunity to learn valuable lessons about the demands of a challenging high school curriculum. The first two years of the Academy have been very successful and have met or exceeded the school’s goals for each year. In 2014-2015 the promotion rate was 94.7 percent, and in 2015-2016 the promotion rate was 95.2 percent. The vision of the school is that it will be a place where freshmen will establish a foundation of learning that will ensure their successful transition to 10th grade and each subsequent grade, as well as their graduation from high school and preparation for life after high school.

Written by Suzanne Griffith Coleman, special to the Express.