ELIZABETHTON — Although Unaka Elementary School is being targeted as one of the schools most likely to be replaced with a new building in the future, the old building may still be getting a new hood for the kitchen in the near future. The hood would probably cost in the neighborhood of $90,000.
Unaka’s is the last kitchen to receive new hoods, which include fire-suppressant chemicals and other safety features. Assistant Director of Schools Kevin Ward said the system has delayed putting in the hood because of the likelihood of a new building at Unaka, but he said the fire marshal is insisting the hood be installed soon.
The Carter County Board of Education gave its approval during Thursday’s meeting to begin preliminary designs on a new hood.
On a more economical note, Food Service Director Marissa Potter said the school’s participation in the NETCO school food service cooperative is not only saving the system money by the combined buying power of 12 school systems being able to bargain directly with producers, but even in receiving lower delivery charges from food vendors.
In other matters, Director of Schools Shirley Ellis said teachers should be given thanks during the Christmas season for their important contributions.
“I would like to focus on our teachers who are setting a strong foundation for our students,” Ellis said. “Our pre-K through second-grade teachers are paramount in this educational system. They are using technological devices such as Promethean and Smart Boards to encourage interaction by our students. It is a pre-K through second-grade world that was not present five years ago. To keep up, all of our teachers must continue to incorporate technological equipment that enhances teaching in a positive way. They must focus on standards-based teaching and learning. They must enhance learning by doing.”
She said the power and influence a teacher has on a child reminded her of two stanzas from Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Ellis compared the undereducated child and the educated child with a bird that was caged and one that was free.
Attendance Supervisor Richard Renfro said system-wide attendance is 94.3 percent and all schools are meeting state goals with the exception of Unaka High School, which is at 90.6 percent. He said work is being done to improve the rate at Unaka. Central Elementary has the best rate, at 96 percent.