School Annual Reports



As the 2019-20 school year was entering the final quarter, plans for state testing, end-of-the year field trips, prom, senior walks and graduation were looming. But the novel COVID-19 virus changed everything. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued a state of emergency due to COVID-19, prompting the Cheatham County School District to close from March 16 to May 22. As our nation was entering unprecedented times, the district immediately began to mobilize to keep our students, families, teachers and communities informed, prepared, engaged and supported.

The Cheatham County School District has more than 1,000 high school student- athletes who are involved in a sport. Students at Cheatham County Central High School, Harpeth High School and Sycamore High School can participate in football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, cheerleading, track, volleyball and wrestling.

n The academic team led the effort to provide remote learning opportunities for students.

n The school nutrition team served 86,928 individual meals to children 18 and under during the closure. Food pantries were also available.

n Schools organized parades in which staff members drove through the neighborhoods of their students. They also honored high school senior athletes as part of the national #BeTheLight movement. Athletic field lights were turned on at 8:20 p.m., or 20:20 military time, as a symbolic way to acknowledge seniors, whose seasons were cut short due to COVID-19. High schools also hosted senior parades to celebrate the Class of 2020.

2019-2020 Athletic Achievements

Writers Association’s All-State volleyball team. n Sycamore High School’s Tyler Niebel was named to the 2019 Class 3A Tennessee High School Football Coaches Association’s All-State team. n Cheatham County Central High School’s Lilly Pendleton and Sycamore High School’s Logan Heckert and Dalen Kimble were named to the 2019-2020 Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s All-State wrestling team. n Sycamore High School’s Mark Helser, Dalen Kimble and Logan Heckert were named to the A-AA All-Midstate team by the Middle Tennessee Wrestling Coaches Association. n Sycamore High School wrestling coach Steve Hamblin was named the A-AA Wrestling Coach of the Year by the Middle Tennessee Wrestling Coaches Association. n Director of Schools Dr. Cathy Beck received the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s A.F. Bridges Award as School System Administrator of the Year for District 6. n The Harpeth Middle School and Sycamore High School cheer teams competed in the UCA’s National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla.

n The 2019 Harpeth High School volleyball team enjoyed a phenomenal season. The Lady Indians compiled a record of 35-8, enjoyed an undefeated regular-season schedule, won the District 10-A title, Region 5-A title and state sectional championship and finished third in the Class A state volleyball tournament. n Seven wrestlers were state medalists at the Class A-AA state tournament: Sycamore High School’s Dalen Kimble (second place), Logan Heckert (fourth place) and Mark Helser (sixth place); Cheatham County Central High School’s Lilly Pendleton (third place); and Harpeth High School’s Taylor Turner (sixth place), Rolando (Jr.) Lucio (fifth place) and Cooper Edwards (sixth place). n Fifteen wrestlers from Cheatham County Central High School, Harpeth High School and Sycamore High School

n With school closed, the district celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week in May in a unique way by posting signs in the yards of our more than 400 teachers.

n The district established guidelines that allowed the Class of 2020 to graduate, and our high schools were able to successfully conduct socially-distanced graduation ceremonies to celebrate the seniors. n The district established a school reopening committee of administrators, instructional and operational supervisors, teachers and parents to develop detailed re-entry plans for the 2020-21 school year. The plan covered everything from instruction to nutrition to technology to safety to maintenance and operations. We’re proud to say that our plan was a model that other districts across Tennessee used to help reopen their schools. n The district received funds through the federal CARES Act as a result of COVID-19. With this money, three new school nurses were hired, laptops for students in grades 5-6 were acquired and the Schoology learning management system that is used for online learning at the middle and high schools was purchased.

qualified for the Class A-AA state tournament. n Harpeth High School’s Nicole Meadows and

Cheatham County Central High School’s Breanna Cook qualified for the Small Class State Golf Tournament. n Harpeth High School’s Mallary McKaskle finished 10th at the regional cross country meet and qualified for the state championship meet. n Harpeth High School’s Olivia Cox and Ann Elise Jackson were named to the 2019 Tennessee Sports



The Cheatham County School District has a long and rich history of providing an outstanding academic experience for our students. In 2018, the district created a five-year plan. Five priority areas were identified: Academic Excellence, Technology, Facilities, Partnerships/Community Engagement and Human Capital. The plan is used to guide the district in decision-making at both the school and district level. Additionally, it helps drive budget development and resource allocation, evaluate current programs for effectiveness, and select and implement new programs and initiatives that align with our goals and desired outcomes.

Website: Facebook: Cheatham County School District Twitter: @CCBOE, #ccsdtn Instagram: ccsdtn News blog: Questions? Email: Board of Education: 102 Elizabeth St., Ashland City, TN 37015, 615-792-5664

ART Our students are deeply immersed in the visual and performing arts and enjoy many opportunities for creative expression, including marching band, choir, art shows and theatre productions. For the first time in many years, select students from the district’s middle and high schools participated in an Honor Band in March 2020. Our six band directors joined together to organize the Honor Band. The middle school guest conductor was Mike Ansberry and the high school guest conductor was John P. Schnettler.


STAFF ACHIEVEMENTS n Harpeth High School teacher Jennifer Copeland was named the 2020 Special Olympics Tennessee Coach of the Year. n Cheatham County Central High School theatre arts teacher Lauren Street was selected as the 2020 Mid- Cumberland Region Teacher of the Year on the high school level. n Sycamore Middle School principal Robyn Miller was named the 2019-20 recipient of the William J. and Lucille H. Field Award in Support of Excellence in Tennessee Secondary School Leadership. It is one of the most prestigious awards available to secondary school principals in Tennessee. n Academic Coordinator Dr. Joseph Jones was named a finalist for the 2019-20 Tennessee Department of Education’s Supervisor of the Year. n Sycamore Middle School’s Robyn Miller was named the district’s Principal of the Year and Pre-K and Daycare Supervisor Emily Staggs was selected as Supervisor of the Year. SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENTS n Ashland City Elementary School was one of 22 schools awarded the Tennessee STEM School Designation in 2020. This honor was developed with the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Education and the STEM Leadership Council to identify and recognize schools in their commitment to teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and integrating strategies that ultimately prepare students for post-secondary college and career success in the 21st century. To reflect the designation, the school was renamed Ashland City Elementary STEM Academy. To date, 48 schools in Tennessee have earned this designation.

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS n Altogether, 16 students from Cheatham County Central High School and Sycamore High School Health Science received their Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification in May 2020. The district received a Perkins Reserve Grant from the Tennessee Department of Education to pay for the students to take this industry certification. n Four Harpeth High School students passed the National Registry Emergency Medical Response exam to become certified Emergency Medical Responders. n Three 2020 graduates earned their associate degree and high school diploma at the same time. Sycamore High School’s Hannah Turner and Catie McLachlan and Cheatham County Central High School’s Brandon Chandler earned their associate degree from Austin Peay State University through a collaborative between APSU and the Cheatham County School District. The collaborative, which was launched in August 2018, is an academic initiative of the district’s five-year strategic plan. n Harpeth Middle


The Cheatham County School District believes that effective teachers are the key to helping students become life-long learners, collaborators and critical thinkers. Our teacher support initiatives and programs help teachers new to the

We are pleased to share our 2020 Cheatham County School District Annual Report. In the report, you will find information about our school district, including a sampling of the many student, staff and school achievements over the past year. This year, as an administrator, I could not be more proud of the work our district has done amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. This pandemic is like nothing any of us have ever encountered. Despite the extraordinary circumstances of

district to engage in a collaborative mentoring model of support. The district’s New Teacher Induction program prepares and supports new teachers through a robust and comprehensive mentoring program. The district also functions as a Professional Learning Community in which educators regularly collaborate at each school to ensure that all students learn essential knowledge and skills. Additionally, district academic coordinators and building-level academic specialists provide support to our teachers. For educators interested in learning more about the leadership roles of an administrator, the district offers an Aspiring Administrators Academy each year. Through guest speakers and discussions, class members are exposed to a school administrator’s scope of work.


this school year, our entire staff remains committed to our mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day, no matter what circumstances we face as a community. Like many of you, I am so thankful to be a part of the Cheatham County School District community. Staff, parents, volunteers and the entire community share a commitment to working together in the best interest of students. We believe that together, we can inspire every student to learn, grow and succeed, and together, we can make a profound and lasting impact on the future of our students .

Schools: 13 Students: 5,750 Employees: 825

School’s Sarah Collier was named the middle school division winner of an annual state contest that encourages students across Tennessee to read during the summer break. The contest was sponsored by Tennesseans for Student Success and Tristar Reads. Collier read 22,955 minutes.

Classroom Teachers: 487 Grades Served: Pre-K-12 Established: 1873

CTE Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs at our three high schools give students real-world

Dr. Cathy Beck, Director of Schools

experience in technical fields. The district offers 13 different programs of study within 9 career clusters, which encompass 40 different courses among 90 sections taught beyond general education

n Twenty Sycamore High School students placed at the Middle Tennessee Regional Technology Student Association (TSA) competition and qualified for the state competition. Unfortunately, the state competition was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. n Harpeth High School’s Emily Johnston received the 2019 Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award. The program recognizes outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. n 10 Cheatham County Central High School students and eight Sycamore High School students placed in the regional HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) competition and qualified for the state competition. Unfortunately, the state competition was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. n Daniel Saylor, a 2020 graduate of Sycamore High School, was selected as a 2020 National Merit Scholarship finalist.


The Cheatham County School District’s Teacher of the Year program honors educators who exceed expectations to provide meaningful and rewarding learning experiences for our students. Selected from among their peers, the Teachers of the Year are among the best and most celebrated educators in the district.

offerings. More than 1,600 students are enrolled in our CTE classes and many of them participate in our CTE clubs, which consistently rank highly in district, region and state competitions. This year, the district added two new programs – Audio/Visual Production at Harpeth High School and Fundamentals of Education at Sycamore High School.

FAST FACTS n Graduation rate: 92.3% n Average ACT composite score: 19.5


n All high schools have Dual Enrollment classes n 21 students made a 30 or above on the ACT n $5 million in scholarships was awarded to the 2020 graduating class n 52% of teachers hold at least a master’s degree n Our teachers have 11.5 years average teaching experience n 4,955 meals served daily in our schools n 62 school buses transport 3,000 students each day

The Cheatham County Board of Education is composed of six elected members, who serve staggered four-year terms. The board meets monthly to review policy and district operations. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. (except January) and are broadcast live on the Cheatham County School District’s Facebook page. Board members are Chairman David Risner, Vice Chairman John Louallen, Christina Gilliam, John Patrick, Tim Ray and James Gupton.

Sarah Kilgore Cheatham Middle School Middle School Teacher of the Year

Lauren Street Cheatham County Central High School High School Teacher of the Year

Tamara Retchless Ashland City Elementary STEM Academy Elementary School Teacher of the Year

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