Archive for: August 2014

Helping Children With The Hospital Experience

By Mary Pegler, M.S., CCLS. Photo courtesy of ETCH.



A medical procedure or hospital stay can be very stressful for a child and parents as well. Fortunately, there are professionals called child life specialists who can help children cope with their stress and hospital experience.

The profession of child life specialist was developed to help children and their families deal physically and emotionally with medical treatments. Child life specialists use their training and knowledge of child development to educate, prepare and support children through all kinds of medical procedures and challenges. They also support families dealing with major changes resulting from a child’s disability or chronic illness, treatment and recovery. Read more →

Helping Your Introverted Child Blossom

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.



In her remarkable book Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, Susan Cain describes gifts introverts have to offer along with challenges they face. Some of the gifts include a capacity for deep concentration, good listening/observation skills, and sensitivity to others’ feelings. Some of the challenges include difficulty with overstimulation, hesitancy to try new things, and reluctance to speak in a group setting. One of Cain’s chapters is devoted to effective parenting of introverted children with an emphasis on helping such children develop their full potential and ensuring they don’t get overlooked simply because they are quiet. Cain highlights several issues for parents, including: (1) helping the introverted child cope with school stress; (2) exposing the child to new situations and people; and (3) teaching the child social strategies to help him or her succeed in academic settings. Read more →

Minding Our Mindsets

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



Alfred Binet, the inventor of the modern intelligence test in 1905, felt that his instrument should be used to identify children who needed help to succeed in school. In his book, Modern Ideas About Children, he summarized this philosophy: “A few modern philosophers…assert that an individual’s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism…With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.” The modern psychologist Carol Dweck, in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, characterized Binet’s dichotomy as a “fixed mindset” versus a “growth mindset.” An examination of these two approaches to learning can help parents and teachers as this new school year starts. Read more →

A Case For Cursive

By Sedonna Prater, Director, Curriculum and Instruction for the Knoxville Diocese Catholic Schools




Imagine for a moment a visit to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. As you and your children meander through the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, you follow the majority of the visitors to view the great Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. When you reach them and your eyes are finally upon those glorious, patriotic documents with their elegant lines of artistic penmanship, you glance over to see your sixth grade student staring vacantly.  Read more →

Rheumatic Fever: A Case Of Mistaken Identity

by Marcin Gornsiewicz, M.D.


7 year old becomes ill with fever and complains of joint pain in a knee. After a day or so, the knee gets better, but now the pain is in the ankle. The next day, the ankle is better, but now the elbow hurts. A pink rash appears on the legs. Several hours later it is gone, but returns the following morning. The fever persists. Her parent notices that the child is short of breath, and makes an appointment with the doctor. What could be wrong? After an examination and laboratory testing, the diagnosis becomes clear. This child has acute rheumatic fever (ARF), an inflammatory disease occurring after an untreated strep throat 3 weeks earlier.  Read more →

Powerful Math Magic

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville




Math tricks can come in handy on occasion. There are some fun ones for amazing your friends and the like. There are some that can be kind of useful in doing your math, like the one for multiples of nine using your fingers. Unfortunately, for learning and using your math in general, learning and using tricks ain’t gonna get it!

But, I’ve got some “tricks” that aren’t really tricks. That is, these are ways to find your answer using mathematical reasoning, and they work like a trick because they’re so simple! Often, when I’m teaching these to my students, I lean in close and say, “Don’t tell anyone about this, because this is far too powerful to put into the hands of just anybody…” So, in that spirit, I’ll let you read it, but only you, okay? Read more →

Dear Knox County Schools’ Families

By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools

We’re excited to enter into the new school year with an enhanced direction. After nearly 12 months of intensive and productive public engagement and discussion, the Board of Education unanimously adopted the Knox County Schools’ new five-year strategic plan this month. The plan is a blueprint that reflects our aspirations for the future of the school district and the educational interests and priorities of our community. Read more →

Lending Library: Family And Student Success For The New School Year

By: Tracey Matthews, Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Supervisor
Contributing Writer: Nicole Galler, Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement University of Tennessee Intern


Welcome to a new school year! With the start of a new school year come opportunities to learn new things, strengthen family bonds and create great memories, and the Knox County Schools can help!

The Family and Community Engagement Department and Family Resource Center are pleased to provide tools to support families and student success. Among the many services we offer, the Lending Library provides a way to access sources of knowledge, resources and a system of support free of charge. Topics in the Lending Library that can support your family include positive child rearing, understanding teen behavior, communicating with each other and others. Read more →