Archive for: February 2016

The Cerebral Development Of Teens

By Tracey Matthews Wynter, Supervisor of the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department

Untitled-13The process of developing maturity can be difficult for both parents and teens, but by better understanding how the teenage brain works, a world of difference can be made for everyone.

In past parenting models, parents have been encouraged to “hold their breath” and wait out the teenage years of rebellion. The problem with this parenting style is that it can foster a negative expectation of teens. While some teens will figure things out on their own and discover the ability to make good decisions early on, others rely heavily on their parents’ experiences, understanding and guidance. Read more →

Gauss Who’s Coming To Dinner

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



Don’t you love it when you learn something new?  I was reading a book about math… “Wait.  Stop there,” you say.  “Are you really that nerdy?”  The answer is a resounding NO.  My son gave it to me because I own a Mathnasium math learning center and thought I would get a kick out of it.  As it turns out, he was right.  “Wait.  Stop again,” you say.  “You’re really getting a kick out of a book about math.  You really are that nerdy!”  Okay, you win. Read more →

Adoption Ambassadors: Teaching Children Life Skills

By Jeff Ashin, CEO, Young-Williams Animal Center. Photo by: Young-Williams Animal Center



It’s a question many parents face – whether or not to get a pet. Before you decide against it, realize there is a happy medium. Children of any age can help homeless pets in a Young-Williams’ Animal Center program that teaches selflessness and empathy. Your child also will learn how to make a difference for a nonprofit organization.

Adoption Ambassadors is a shelter program that is similar to foster care but goes a step further. Read more →

Should My Child Major In Music: Part I

By Jeff Comas



question I often hear from parents this time of year is- “Should my child major in music, in college?” When I hear this question, it usually means that their child is 17 or 18, college is looming just ahead, and it’s time to consider a major. Their child may not know what they really want out of college, but they know that they love to play music. Being a music major sounds like it would be lot more fun, and much easier than majoring in math, or science. So they tell you “mom…dad, I want to major in music.” Read more →

Finding The Right Resort For Your Family

By Vincent Amico, Owner of Mickey’s Travel


Currently there are 28 resorts on Disney’s property and just examining all of the choices can be a time consuming task. Remember, there are thousands of people each day staying at every Disney resort. There are no wrong choices, however some will meet your needs better than others Read more →

Reading Knoxville: A Lesson Before Dying

Book by Ernest J. Gaines, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“I don’t want them to kill a hog,” she said. “I want a man to go that chair, on his own two feet.” Miss Emma’s godson, Jefferson, has been sentenced to die in the electric chair for his unwitting involvement in a liquor store robbery that left three people dead, including the white storeowner. By arguing for life imprisonment instead of the electric chair, the defense attorney tried to convince the jury that Jefferson, a young black man, wasn’t even a man: “Do you see a man sitting here?…Do you see a modicum of intelligence? Do you see anyone here who could plan a murder, a robbery?…What justice would there be to take this life?…Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair?” Ernest Gaines’ powerful novel A Lesson Before Dying (purchase the book on Amazon here), set in the 1948 South, portrays the struggle to help Jefferson die like a man. Read more →

The Big Read In Knoxville

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



Ernest Gaines’ novel A Lesson Before Dying (see book review in this issue) has been chosen to celebrate The Big Read in Knoxville, February 5 through March 13, 2016. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, “The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.” Coordinated by the Knox County Public Library and many community partners, “The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences.” A Reader’s and Teacher’s Guide to the novel is available at the NEA website: Read more →