Some Are Not Happy with New LHS Management

It was not unexpected that some teachers and parents are not happy with the new administration at LaVergne High School.  Through the Tennessee Education Association, complaints have been formally submitted regarding bullying, name calling, homework, and other concerns.

Not only is the article interesting, but the comments are a mile long.  One of the complaints via an excerpt from the DNJ,

Non-instructional time — Students have 100 minutes in a day — 30 minutes for lunch and 70 for study hall. The 70 minutes of study hall equate to 5.8 hours in a week where students may not be receiving any instruction or enrichment. In some cases, where study hall is in the gym or auditorium, attendance may be upwards of 300 students. Attendance is required to be taken three times to ensure no students have left the area.

While I feel for the teachers, truly there was a lot to clean up at the school.  Mr. Ash isn’t perfect (and calling someone dumb *is* wildly inappropriate), but I’m hopeful that after a year or two things will improve.

Thanks Sherry for the email link.

18 comments for “Some Are Not Happy with New LHS Management

  1. October 5, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for this, Kathy (and Sherry). As the parent of a child that will begin attending LHS next year this is deeply disturbing. I initially had high hopes for the new administration. However, as I begin to understand the new leadership, it seems pretty clear their focus is on the appearance of a better education (disallowing grades below 50, and disallowing the grading of homework) rather than actually improving the quality of education our children receive.

  2. Sherry
    October 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Kathy. I was speechless when I first read it (and anybody who knows me will say that doesn't happen very often). I know a good many of the people that commented and yes, some of the posts are a bit over-the-top. Still, as the parent of an LHS senior, I can confirm that many of the new policies and complaints are completely valid (even though my daughter loves the fact she has yet to bring home the first page of homework, even in her honors classes).

    Yes, changes do need to be made, but I'm furious at the way they're being implemented and all the good teachers that jumped ship. If you have kids at LHS, show them the article and ask for their feedback. I guarantee you'll be surprised. I'll be so glad when my daughter gets out of there.

  3. Kim
    October 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I hope we don't have to wait a couple of years. My child is a freshman, I don't think I can handle dealing with this situation for that long. I agree with you Sherry, my child is completely on board with the no homework.

  4. michaelinLV
    October 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    This is interesting information. I know someone who worked for Ash at LMS for one year, and then left to take a lower paying job in another county because he said he couldn't work for Ash. I defended Ash to this person when the hiring was announced, I said the test scores are there to back it up. My friend said the test scores only tell part of the story. I cannot believe homework is not graded and scores of less than 50 cannot be handed out.

    Is anyone else worried about the future of LHS when the new Stewarts Creek HS opens? If I read the map correclty, La Vergne will now be split. Those who live on the west side of I-24 will go to SCHS, while those on the east side of I-24 will go to LHS. And for the first time only La Vergne students will be at LHS (well, the apartments and condo's right around LHS that are in Smyrna will go to LHS too). Whether you think this makes a difference or not, many of the pricier neighborhoods will be leaving LHS' zone (McFarlin Pointe, Woodsong, Potts Crossing, Woodland Hills, Pinnacle Point, Woodmont will be leaving LHS for SCHS).

    It just makes me wonder if we will see property values go up in West La Vergne, but go down in East La Vergne? If bad news keeps coming from LHS and you are zoned for LHS, it's something to consider.

    • Sherry
      October 5, 2010 at 11:07 pm

      I'm probably going to catch some major flak for this (and I'm trying to be tactful here), but Michael, you are 100% correct. The west side of LaVergne is the pricier side of town and for the most part, there are no drug, gang or crime problems over here. Yes, there are a few minor exceptions, but let's face it, folks, the bulk of the problems occur on the east side of I-24.

      When Stewart's Creek Middle School opened a few years ago, it pulled a large number of kids from Rock Springs Middle who would have ended up at LHS. Therefore, LHS has alot more kids from LaVergne Middle School rather than Rock Springs.

      Unless Ash makes some major progress (and I mean MAJOR), the problems at LHS will just get worse when all the kids west of I-24 are rezoned to the new high school. Unfortunately, that rezoning is a few years too late for some of us.

  5. Sarah N
    October 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    This article scares the crap out of me. Lowering expectations of students like this will only lower their self esteem and leave them grossly unprepared for higher education, if they should even make it that far. When I read stuff like this it makes me want to get my family out of this town before my daughter becomes school age. I know one should light a candle rather than curse the darkness, but where do we begin? The school board member quoted in the story sounded downright apathetic.

    • LHSAtRisk
      October 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm

      My son took summer school classes and starts night class in 2 weeks, just so he can graduate a year early (which he paid for himself). His grades are good, but only because he works for them. It angers me that if he should make a 50 and he tried and the student sitting next to him gets a 50 and did nothing, what does that say to my son? He was ready to drop out due to all of Mr. Ash's changes! I begged him not to, but to tough it out and take his classes he needs for college and they are NOT fluff classes. He's skipping a grade and I am so proud of him. Sad he has to do it this way and not graduate with the same kids he has gone to school with for 11 years. We moved to LaVergne 25 years ago because of the school system, if it was today, we would move some where else!

  6. mark
    October 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    It's really not the city's fault but the county's. No homework is really a joke but they hardly ever give out homework in middle school as well so why is everyone upset. I think it starts at the top and maybe we need a new head man. If you go to the teachers web sites that are supplied to them they hardly ever update them. we as tax payers pay for the upkeep of these sites but teachers are not using this tool to help the student or parents. eithe use the website or stop it all to together!!!

    • Sherry
      October 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      Mark, you must not have kid(s) that attended Rock Springs Elementary or Middle Schools. I'm sure it varied by teacher, but my daughter had homework probably 3 nights a week in elementary school and every single night in middle school, including weekends and holidays, and the teachers' websites were current almost all the time. I remember thinking it was a bit much at the time, but I told myself it would be good training for high school. Little did I know that she'd have next to no homework at LHS, even in her AP classes. It really concerns me that she won't be disciplined for college. Guess we're gonna find out soon enough.

      • Elizabeth
        October 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm

        Regarding Rock Springs Middle School, my grandson is in the 8th grade there and had more homework in the 6th & 7th grades but very little in the 8th grade. Definitely none over the weekends or holidays. I go to his teachers websites at least once a week to help him with homework (if any) and find that only 1 teacher updates their website. I don't see any daily work posted, homework posted or even extra credit posted. How are we to guide them with their homework if we don't know what they are doing? So it sounds like there is little or no homework in LHS….

      • mark
        October 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm

        Sheery,

        things have changed at that school. Elizabeth is my witness because my nephew goes to that school so yes i know what is going on!

      • Sherry
        October 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

        Interesting. I looked at both the RSE and RSMS websites, and almost all of my daughter's teachers are gone. You're right, too, that most of the teachers' sites aren't up-to-date. All I can think of is that both schools were brand new when she attended, so maybe there was more pressure on the teachers back then to stay on top of things like that.

        As far as LHS homework, it seems to have lessened year by year, and she has absolutely none at all this year. She's in one advanced honors class with no homework, no quizzes, no tests, nothing (they mostly watch movies and discuss them), and I have yet to figure out how the teacher issues a grade. She thinks it's great, but I'm more than a little worried that she is going to be completely unprepared for college. 🙁

    • nclb
      October 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm

      What middle school did your children attend, mine were at lms, we had homework on a regular basis, more than what I have seen at lhs.

  7. jaime
    October 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    The no child left behind is what has prompted the
    teachers to stop handing out grades less than 50. This
    happens not only at LHS…my kids have gone to
    Stewartsboro and then Stewart's Creek Elementary
    and Stewart's Creek Middle and now SHS and these
    grades are definitely not something new. I don't know
    if this is a county policy or what. As far as "study hall"
    at Stewart's Creek Middle they call it SSLAM
    (standing for social studies, science, language arts and
    math). The teacher is supposed to be there to help
    them with any subjects that they are having trouble
    with and they are able to complete any online work
    that is due. But who in the world came up with 300
    students being in the gym at one time?! Who is really supposed
    to be supervising these kids? And exactly what are
    they supposed to learn while they sit in this gym or
    auditorium with 300 people and this much noise going on?! NOTHING!!
    We were looking to move to LaVergne to Woodland
    Hills or McFarlin Pointe and decided to stay in
    Smyrna to avoid dealing with the gangs and problems
    at LHS. (My husband is a police officer for LaVergne
    so this ought to speak volumes!!). The parents really
    need to do something to get this stopped not to mention
    that these kids are not going to be prepared to move
    on to college. It's truly a very sad situation.

  8. nclb
    October 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    This was a very interesting article, I think that providing no grade below fifty, might have to do with a much larger master plan.

    The State Board of Education standards changed for incoming freshman students in 2009-10. A change in end of course examinations for core curriculum classes accounting for 20% of a students grade, starting fall of 2011 and thereafter the percentage moves to 25%.

    LHS previous administration made gains in academic adequate yearly progress for decreasing the percentage of students below proficient, despite their efforts, LHS didn't meet the benchmarks for their graduation rates, 2009 TNDOE report card indicates a state standard goal of 90 is in good standing, LHS scored 84.7%, therefore not making adequate progress.

    The current administrative change will have extreme pressure from the BOE to meet these standards. I can only assume that by not providing a grade below fifty and 20% of it consisting of an end of course exam could possibly inflate the percentage of students graduating.

    The comments in the dnj article indicates that families are planning on meeting to protest at the next boe meeting. I do know that there are many great teachers at lhs, they need our support and encouragement at this time.

  9. LHSAtRisk
    October 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I too have had a run in with the new administration, and it was not a pleasant experience. I recently worked with Ms Jones in the concession stand at the last football game, she is a wonderful person and teacher, one who cares about her students – has been for years (my oldest son graduated 2 years ago). If she is brave enough to speak out then we as parents and students should back her and the other teachers that are not "Ash Followers" or "Buddies" of Mr Gill and under his potection.
    Mr. Ash may have been excellent as a middle school principal, but he is now a high school principal and needs to act like one and treat his students as such.
    They are not "children", they are "young adults" and should be treated that way.
    His "Blue Light Special" night was a nightmare and a fire hazard. Saying it was not thought through very well is an understatement – it was dangerous & scary!
    Would it have been asking too much for him to come in, examine what the real issues were (and they were not painting walls, closing down stairwells, locking certain doors, putting cameras in class rooms, segmenting those who bring their lunch from those who purchase the molded and unedible lunches, etc.) and then make the proper changes? I could go on and on about the issues he has brought into this school. NO it was not perfect, but it was certainly better 2 years ago than it is now, thanks to all his changes and his "my way or the highway" attitude. With the students, teachers and parents. His ego is really a problem.
    Every parent should be concerned, and ready to speak up. Unfortunately we live in a society where we want to complain to each other but not really step up and do anything about it. Well, I will and I plan on it!

    • nclb
      October 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

      LHSAtRisk,

      I will see you at the next board meeting……..

      Thought this might interest you, it's the Rutherford County Board of Education Policy in regards to Ethics.
      http://www.tsba.net/production/detail.asp?iFile=1

      Here's the first policy…..from the RCS website

      An effective educational program requires the services of men and women of integrity, high ideals and
      human understanding. To maintain and promote these essentials, all employees are expected to maintain
      high standards in their school relationships.1 These standards include the following:
      1. The maintenance of just and courteous professional relationships with student, parent(s), staff
      members and others;

  10. A Student
    October 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    They only take attendance twice during the study hall time actually and sometimes never. For the students who have enrichment Mr. Ash is spending $200 so that the floral design class can make christmas wreaths and the students in that class can keep them. Then the painting and waxing of the gym floor is a total was of money. Then any kid who walks by the gym can also get a quick and easy high off of sniffing it.

    Change is defenaitly not always for the better because next year the sophomores will be completely unprepared because of keeping all the freshman from the rest of the school this year. I know a lot of teachers and fellow students who really don't like him. He wastes money and education is no better than it was last year. Even the senior pation is no good (I myself am not a senior so I have never eaten of there, but I know people who have) because they can't even sell outside food anymore. I have heard that some teachers have wanted to quite, but Ash will not let them and that is just wrong

    What I want to know is why can't LHS get a good principal? Thankfully I propably will not be going there next year anyway, but I still want the best for my friends who would still be there. LHS need change it needs it now.

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