By Crystal Burns
Shortly after Governor Bill Lee recommended last week that all Tennessee school districts remain closed for the spring semester, Trenton Special School District Director of Schools Tim Haney issued a statement, saying the district would comply with the governor’s request.
Haney, who served as principal of Peabody High School for 14 years, is keenly aware of the questions his statement would raise, particularly for seniors and their families.
“I think the governor did right,” Haney said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “What we’re doing has worked. The Tennessee curve has flattened. I still hate it.”
The district has set aside three dates for graduation, from least likely to most likely, Haney said. Plan A is Friday, May 22; Plan B is Saturday, June 20, and Plan C is Saturday, July 11.
No matter the date, graduation will be held at Walter Kilzer Stadium, and social distancing measures will be strictly enforced. Haney said seniors would probably receive a certain number of tickets to give to their loved ones.
Haney also said that Peabody administrators are working to set up a Zoom conference with seniors and their parents to cover what they expect will be frequently asked questions.
Friday night, juniors and seniors should have been at prom. Instead, school leaders decorated the gym and put up a big screen and projector. They live streamed the traditional senior walk, with guidance counselor Sunni Cooksey announcing each senior’s name and parents’ names while a photo of the senior was displayed. Principal Rickey Hooker also included an encouraging video message for the seniors.
“Everybody’s bummed about athletics [too],” Haney said. TSSAA announced last week that all post-season tournaments would be canceled. “That’s something [student-athletes] will never get back. That won’t go away. That’s going to sting.”
The next day for families to pick up additional schoolwork for their students is Monday, April 27. The last turn-in day is Monday, May 11. Grades will be finalized by May 14, and report cards will be available for pick up May 18-19. Haney said school officials would contact parents to schedule appointments to pick up report cards.
Senior grades will be finalized by April 30.
Haney also reminded parents that the state has said that a student’s grade can go no lower than it was on March 20. Students, however, can improve their grades.