By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools
The initiative is part of Rutherford County Schools’ new Ion school program.
“Ion is an exciting opportunity for our schools to engage their communities in developing new programs that will reach students with a wide variety of strengths,” said RCS Choice School Coordinator Dr. Caitlin Bullard. “Ion programs will promote relationship-building and help ensure that students’ talents and interests are recognized.”
The nine schools selected for the program include six elementary schools and three middle schools. The Ion initiative is intended to bring additional programmatic opportunities to students at the elementary and middle levels. Rutherford County high schools are not included in the program because each high school already offers specialized programs.
“Programs developed through this initiative will also serve to balance opportunities across zones and answer the call for expanded school choice while keeping students at the center of our work,” said Bullard, explaining the intent is to allow families from across the county to apply for these programs once they are launched.
Participating schools include Cedar Grove Elementary, Christiana Middle, LaVergne Middle, Plainview Elementary, Rocky Fork Middle, Roy Waldron Elementary, Smyrna Elementary, Smyrna Primary, and Stewartsboro Elementary.
Ion is an innovation incubator that will use community, staff, and student input to develop exciting new programs and offerings across Rutherford County.
“We know that all learners have unique needs,” said Dr. Kelly Chastain, RCS assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “Ion will allow our schools to develop options that respond to those needs. This program will help students across the selected schools explore their interests and talents and allow those schools to build on the successes, values, and priorities of our communities.”
Administrators at the participating schools are already working with their leadership teams and teachers to develop program ideas, and all Rutherford County parents will soon receive a survey to gather their valuable input and ideas.
Rutherford County Schools will provide regular updates to the parents and the community as the initiative moves forward.