BTH: Municipal Superintendents Look at Challenges Ahead

Sep 10, 2018

Jason Manuel, Superintendent of the Germantown Municipal School District
Credit WKNO-TV

This week, WKNO-TV’s Behind the Headlines looks at some of the issues facing Shelby County's municipal school districts, including school safety, bullying, state testing, and more. Host Eric Barnes talks to superintendents John Aitken, Jason Manuel and Dr. David Stephens about some of their challenges and success stories. 

Aitken, superintendent in Collierville, says that student safety is an ongoing discussion. In order to get grants certain measures must be taken, including a safety audit done by Homeland Security. 

As to bullying, Bartlett superintendent Dr. Stephens says it's is important for people to “see something - say something,” so that early intervention takes place. He adds that positive student-teacher relationships are key to preventing bullying and other security threats. 

Germantown superintentendent Manuel says that social media issues are among the district's biggest challenges. Off-campus online disputes continuously bleed into school activities. "It doesn’t go away," Manuel says, and because of that, it is important that schools teach children digital citizenship. 

The discussion wraps up with thoughts about state testing. While Aitken believes that the test results do help with accountability, he wants to see Tennessee's troubled testing system work correctly. Dr. Stephens says that while testing has its benefits, there needs to be a balanced approach to how exactly the state measures a student and a school based on test scores.