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Tennis, anyone?

Come springtime, middle school students will get the chance to enjoy a little tennis. The Claiborne school board gave its thumbs up to Megan Williams’ request to create a team for grades five through eight. Students at Midway, Springdale and Soldiers’ Memorial Middle Schools will be eligible to participate in the new program.

Williams, a Midway Elementary teacher, said the new team will add a little spice to the tennis program at nearby Horace Maynard Middle School. According to Williams, the Union County tennis coach said her team is currently able to play only J. Frank White Academy.

The creation of the Claiborne Middle School Tennis Team will boost the category to three participating local schools.

Williams plans to use the Claiborne High tennis courts for practice. She said the coach gave permission to work around the high school schedule.

“By learning the basics in middle school, these players could then go on to the high school with the fundamentals already established. This would improve our high school team because they would not have to take the time to teach many of the players the basics,” said Williams.

Open Tennis, in which any student is welcome to try out, will be held during the first two to three practices. If there is an abundance of potential, Williams said she will hold tryouts in which two or three judges will score each player.

The top scorers will then make up the girls and boys teams.

More information will be included on a flyer to be sent home with the students from each of the three middle schools. A date, time and location for the initial meeting will be included on the flyer.

In other action, the school board approved three technology items to be submitted to the Universal Service Administrative Company, Schools and Libraries (E-rate) funding program. The items include approval to renew the Internal Connections, the Managed Internet Services and the ENA Internet Services bids for 2018-19.

The board also approved cyber security insurance in the amount of $1,250 per year. The insurance, through Public Risk Insurors, comes with a $5,000 deductible attached to the policy.

The cyber protection service provides up to $1 million in expenses, defense and liability coverage. The service also assists in developing policies and procedures related to cyber events and breaches in the school system. It also provides an online portal for employee training.

The service program was offered to Tennessee School Boards Association members as a group, in partnership with the insurance company.

The county will soon be the proud owners of four newly built buses. If all goes as planned, the vehicles will be in operation in time for next school year.

The board approved the purchase of the Thomas Built Buses, with an upgrade to the 240 horsepower engine, providing greater torque, according to Jeremy Whitaker, transportation coordinator.

The new buses, at a cost of $76,763 each, will be cycled into the routes that are currently being driven using the oldest buses in the school fleet.

Forge Ridge School earned the attendance record for the month of December – a first for the campus. The school earned a 94.6 percent average daily attendance rate. All the schools managed to earn at least an 85 percent or higher average for the month.

The school system is placing the finishing touches on the implementation of the Homework Hotline, the newest program to assist those having a difficult time with their studies.

Once in operation, students may call 615-298-6636, Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., for tutoring and free homework help. They may also chat online at: homeworkhotline.info or email: ask@homeworkhotline.info.

To schedule a consistent tutor, call the hotline or go to www.homeworkhotline.info/schedule-a-tutor to fill out the request form.