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Motto “whatever it takes” leads Maryville school to national recognition

The staff at Sam Houston Elementary in School in Maryville have the motto “Whatever it takes” to help all 500 students succeed.
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The staff at Sam Houston Elementary in School in Maryville have the motto “Whatever it takes” to help all 500 students succeed. And now the pre-k-third grade school has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for the first time.

“Amazing. From all the work that we’ve put in and all the years, it’s just a blessing that everything came together to meet the qualifications,” said Kyle Hastings, a third grade teacher who has been teaching at Sam Houston Elementary School for 36 years.

Casey Cutter, Principal, believed learning less wasn’t an option. When schools began closing due to COVID in March 2020, the district was already on a 1:1 ratio for students and devices.

“When the pandemic happened and all of a sudden everybody’s learning was stopped, we only lost two days of learning. And so our kids were able to learn new content and just keep rolling during such a tough time,” explained Cutter.

By last fall all the teachers stepping up to meet their students where they were. Since the school couldn’t have a traditional back to school night, teachers drove to students’ houses to meet with them and their parent in their front yards.

“We always do a reading night. We couldn’t do that. So we decided to go outside. Let’s take it the greenway,” said Cutter.

Students also soared in the classroom. In Ms. Hastings’ class kids do test prep all year long, learning pacing and fighting test fatigue.

“We want to grow every child, every child to be able to improve and do the best that they can. That’s what we strive for every year,” exclaimed Hastings.

Some school staff will receive recognition in Washington next month.

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