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Carpenters Middle to Stress Relationship Building

posted Oct 3, 2016, 6:53 AM by Chris Whitehorne   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 6:54 AM ]

Carpenters Middle School Principal Jon Young knows that he has big shoes to fill this school year. Young succeeds Mike Crabtree, who was named Blount County's assistant director of curriculum and instruction this summer. In 2009, Crabtree succeeded Blount County Director of Schools Rob Britt. "When you're following two names like that, it's humbling," Young said.

"They're the founders and designers of this school. We're going to follow the same mission we've always had here: Provide the best education to the students and families of South Blount County. We remain committed to academic excellence, doing what's best for kids and maximizing the academic potential of every child in a safe, personalized environment. "However, we can always learn and make improvements," he said. "We do a lot of things well, and a lot of that is part of our tradition. CMS has a tradition of excellence, but we're never satisfied."

Administrators plan to engage faculty and staff and seek input about how to improve their school, Young said. "We're already gathering input, because we're looking to make small tweaks that will make us even better. (Assistant Principal) Courtney (Whitehead) and I are identifying areas of focus as well. I feel like we complement each other well, and I'm lucky to have her. She's a staple of this community." 

Whitehead has served 14 years in Blount County Schools. The language arts teacher has always worked at Carpenters Middle. Carpenters Middle will double down this year on its relationship-building efforts, Young said. "When we think back to our favorite teachers, we don't think about what we did that year. When we think about our seventh-grade math teacher, we don't think about the two-step equations we learned. We think about how that teacher made us feel. It's a major point of emphasis for us.
"Kids need to know that every faculty and staff member cares about them and has their best interest at heart," he said. "If we don't have good relationships, we're missing a big piece of the puzzle."

Every aspect of Carpenters Middle's culture needs to support these efforts, Young said. "We will continue to organize parent-involvement programs and Reading Rocks. Our goal is to be a student-focused, community school, so we're going to do our best to make community members feel comfortable and welcome. Parents need to know that we're always available for their children and will work hard to see that they're successful.

"It's also important for them to know there are always opportunities to help, whether it's in the library, Saturday work crews or somewhere else," he said. "We want them here and want them involved, because we know it's one of the best ways to be successful. It's been a big part of our success for the past 14 years and will continue to be for years to come."

By Matthew Stewart-The Daily Times