The music has fallen silent at Tellico
Plains High School.
In a letter to Monroe County Director
of Schools Mike Lowry this week, Principal Russell Harris recommended "with great reluctance" that the position currently held by
tenured teacher Robert Cobb at the school be eliminated due to "continued lack of demand for band and choir courses."
"The band and choir classes are
significantly low in numbers," said Harris. "As of May 17, only
14 total students are requesting these courses. This has been an
issue for many years."
Harris wants to add an additional math
teacher instead in order to offer algebra II as a year-long block
class in the upcoming school year.
"When someone compares our scores to
other schools they will not realize we have 73 instructional days
before the state end-of-course test, while many other schools have
158 instructional days before the test," said Harris. "This is
due to others having a block algebra II all year long whereas we only
have one semester. You're comparing apples to oranges."
As a former algebra teacher, Harris
stressed the importance of time in student comprehension.
"The top 20 percent of the students
are going to understand quickly," he said."The bottom 20 percent
of the students are going to have trouble understanding even if the
teacher spends a great deal of time teaching. However, the average
student can learn the the standards if he/she has time."
To create a block algebra class, it
would require five or six more periods from a math instructor.
"I currently do not have enough math
teachers on staff to accomplish this without a new teacher," said
Four years ago, Tellico Plains High
School had five math teachers. With increased standards and rigor,
the school still has only five math teachers.
"We've stretched the five math
teachers on staff as far as possible," said Harris.
See full story in the Sunday, June 16, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.