Archive for: February 2014

Give your Baby Something to Smile About

By Steven Brady, TennCare Project Manager for DentaQuest 

DentaQuest-Child Who can resist a baby’s gummy grin? As hard as it is to imagine that tiny mouth will be full of teeth someday, it is equally as difficult to imagine that cavity-causing bacteria can begin to cause problems even before the first tooth even pops through.

Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria feed on the sugars and starches from food and create acids that have the ability to erode the protective enamel of the tooth, creating an opening for decay to take hold.  Read more →

An Elixir of Fun

Donizetti’s romantic comedy has and will entertain thousands

by Michael Torano, Knoxville Opera Marketing Director


Untitled-3Following the overwhelming success of its previous two seasons’ in-school performances, Knoxville Opera again brought a staged opera into schools this past month.  The performances in English of Donizetti’s romantic comedy The Elixir of Love including costumes, scenery, and props, ran from January 6th – 17th and was a part of Knoxville Opera’s robust annual $150,000 Education/Outreach Program.   Read more →

Children Need Specialized Eye Care

by Audrey Madigan


Your child is having difficulty reading or learning. He may have struggled with a vision screening exam or even worse, surgery or medical treatment is needed as a result of an illness affecting your child’s eyes. Who do you turn to for help?

Your pediatrician may refer you to a pediatric ophthalmologist. Why a pediatric ophthalmologist and not one who treats adults? Because children are not little adults and should not be treated the same way. Unlike adults, children’s bodies are still growing. Even their eyes.  Read more →

Teens And Physical Activity

               By Barry Van Over, President of Premier Martial Arts International

During the teen years, kids face many social and academic pressures in addition to dealing with emotional and physical changes. Studies show that teens, on average, spend more than 6 hours a day watching TV, listening to music, searching online and playing video games. It’s not surprising that teens can’t seem to find the time to exercise, and many parents can’t motivate them to be active. Read more →

Preventing Teenage Alcohol and Drug Problems

Decide to incorporate empathy and insight

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


As a forensic psychologist who evaluates individuals with alcohol and drug-related legal problems, I am interested in parenting practices associated with preventing substance problems. As a mother of two boys, I am invested in trying to implement such practices in our home. What follows are some guidelines for parents based on factors associated with decreased risk of substance use disorders during the teenage years. Read more →

Transitioning Through Life With Nature

by Caleb Carlton, Teacher Naturalist at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont


Untitled-12I like to think of human beings as living murals: each person is the sum of their life experience. As we pass through the various stages of life, we become who we are. We are ever-changing, becoming more complete with each passing moment and the accompanying experiences – the human mural is never finished.  Read more →

Do You Know What Your Kids Are Downloading?

by Detective Aaron Yarnell, Knox County Sheriff’s Office


Snap Chat me, shoot me an I.M., don’t forget it’s #tbt (Throw back Thursday) and get your guy picked out for #MCM (man crush Monday).  If these phrases are unfamiliar to you, then this article you are reading now should spark an interest in getting involved with the digital lives your children are living. The digital life I refer to is social media.  Read more →

Why Do Teenagers Have to Take the ACT or SAT?

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“Thus, just going to high school wasn’t enough: students needed to prove their aptitude or achievement in addition to whatever courses they completed.”


For thirty years, I have helped high school students prepare for the important college admissions, the ACT or SAT. These students are enduring test preparation because higher test scores can lead to scholarships and facilitate selection into a college of their choice. Most of these teenagers, however, often ask me these questions: Why do I need to take these tests? Why can’t colleges just use my grades, my choice of courses, my extracurricular and leadership activities, and my athletic prowess to admit me and give me money? To answer these questions, let’s look at a brief history of these two examinations.

The first SAT was constructed in Princeton in 1926 by Carl Campbell Brigham. Modeled on the intelligence testing movement, the first versions of this test had verbal and mathematical tests to measure “aptitude” for college. The test was promoted in the next decade by James Bryant Conant, then President of Harvard. After World War II, Henry Chauncey used the test as he founded the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The SAT was originally conceived to identify those individuals with the highest “merit” or ability to not only perform well in college but to also become leaders of society. Curiously, by the 1930s, Harvard admissions were often determined by who could afford the tuition. Conant complained often about how his undergraduates were lazy and partied too much. He wanted to bring talented individuals to Harvard, from any part of the country, and give them full scholarships. So, the SAT (renamed as the Scholastic Aptitude Test) became the Ivy League admissions standard. By the 1950s, Chauncey conceived of all high school students taking this test with the highest scorers being sent to the most prestigious schools. ETS became a monopoly on college admissions testing.

E. L. Lindquist in the late 1950s decided to challenge this monopoly. Lindquist had created the widely successful Iowa tests, still used today in many school systems. He now created the American College Test or ACT as a competitor to the SAT. Lindquist viewed the ACT as an “achievement test” and his philosophy was completely different from Chauncey’s. Lindquist wanted to admit as many students as possible to college, the strength of the American educational system in his view. So the ACT was used to find all students who might succeed in any of America’s various colleges. Lindquist aimed to expand the undergraduate pool while Chauncey and ETS aimed to limit it to the most meritorious. Consequently, the ACT exam contained tests that were more aligned with high school curricula than are subtests of the SAT.

Today’s teenagers are caught in this historical vortex. Both the SAT and ACT were seen as providing more and better information than grades in courses. The SAT was considered to measure general aptitude for high level college coursework while the ACT promoted itself as a national achievement test. Thus, just going to high school wasn’t enough: students needed to prove their aptitude or achievement in addition to whatever courses they completed.

Fortunately, students can prepare for these tests and improve scores to a certain extent. I have been proud to help hundreds of students achieve their collegiate goals by admission to a college of their choice with scholarships. I can’t rewrite history but I can help students realize they aren’t victims of a hundred years of educational testing.

Michael K. Smith, Ph.D., is owner of TESTPREP EXPERTS ( ) which prepares students for standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT. He is also a consultant to Discovery Education Assessment. He can reached at

Shots No More

by Marek M. Pienkowski, M.D., Ph.D.



With the recent chilly weather and snow on the ground, we are all looking forward to the upcoming spring weather. Unfortunately for some 30% of young teens, this also means allergy season. It is not only sneezing, coughing, wheezing headaches and fatigue. Allergies can affect school performance and teens grades go down, which in turn can interfere with college preparation and scholarship hopes. Read more →

Help! I’m Suffering from…Adolescence!

by Jeffrey Eberting, D.M.D., M.S.



It’s 7:30 a.m., and I’m braving the morning traffic and the cold weather as I weave my way through West Knoxville. Next to me, in the passenger seat, is a young lady who seems intently focused on something outside her window. Or so I would like to think. In reality, it is probably more that she simply doesn’t want to focus on any interaction with me. The music she has selected for our listening pleasure is something which seems to have been created if Nine Inch Nails and Evanescence had a sonic love child and unleashed it upon the unsuspecting public. I can feel the angst and torment radiating off this person in waves. I attempt to engage in light banter, but the monosyllabic responses accentuated with the occasional grunts leaves me frustrated. The silence is almost worse. Read more →