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Schools report: WCS approves open-zoned schools; FSSD schools named ‘model’ schools

WCS celebrates teachers of the year

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Grassland Elementary School

Grassland Elementary School is in the Williamson County Schools district at 6803 Manley Lane in Brentwood.

Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District had a busy last couple of weeks.

Along with awards being given for teachers and classified employees of the year at WCS and RTI2-B Model of Demonstration (MOD) schools in FSSD, Williamson County altered its application process for open-zoned schools and announced an upgrade to its bus tracking app.

Here’s a little more on some of the school districts’ top headlines.

WCS approves open-zoned schools for 2022-23

Due to legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, Williamson County Schools updated its application process for open-zoned schools to identify each school that has space available and how many vacancies they have. 

The Williamson County Schools Board of Education approved the list of open-zoned schools at its Jan. 18 meeting. 

The district is also now required to conduct a lottery to select students if the number of applicants exceeds the space available at a particular school. Vacancies have previously been filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants must be Williamson County residents, and, if approved, must provide transportation to and from school. To request that a student attend a school they are not zoned for, families must complete the Out of Zone online application. 

The application will open on Feb. 1 and remain available until May 15 for all requests except those related to residential moves and program of study applications.

Additional information about the change in open-zoned schools as well as the list of available vacancies for each school can be found at Once available, the online application may also be accessed from this page.

FSSD RTI2-B Model schools

Five Franklin Special School District schools have been awarded RTI2-B Model of Demonstration (MOD) schools, as announced Thursday by the Tennessee Tiered Supports Center (TSC) at Vanderbilt University. 

Freedom Intermediate, Liberty Elementary, Poplar Grove Elementary and Poplar Grove Middle were named Silver Level RTI²-B Model of Demonstration (MOD) schools. Freedom Middle School was named a Bronze Level Award recipient, acknowledging all of its exemplary implementation of Response to Instruction and Intervention for Behavior (RTI²-B). 

“We are excited to celebrate these schools for their work in supporting the needs of all students,” FSSD Reading and RTI Coordinator Dr. Gina Looney said. “This recognition is a testament to the many hours that they have worked to design outstanding practices for improving climate and culture, student engagement and positive student behavior.”

Model of Demonstration sites are highly valued as examples in local trainings and technical assistance. They may be asked to host visitors who are looking to engage in or enhance their implementation practices. 

“By working to implement practices and interventions that support our students’ behavioral needs, we consequently enhance their academic experience and strengthen their mental health,” Poplar Grove Elementary Principal Dr. Alisha Erickson said. “It is rewarding to see students thrive independently after being taught self-regulation strategies. I am so proud of the commitment our school makes in supporting the whole child.”

RTI²-B is a framework for prevention and intervention within an integrated, three-tiered approach. Each tier involves careful reflection on the needs of students, the design of interventions matching those needs and the collection of data to evaluate progress. 

In the FSSD, the RTI²-B effort includes years of training, framework design and refinement so that educators are empowered to equip all students with the opportunity to meet high expectations and students can experience behavioral success and celebration.

WCS Teachers of the Year

Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden and his prize patrol surprised teachers and classified employees of the year on Jan. 11.

Golden and several other district administrators visited the three district-level teachers of the year and the three district-level classified employees of the year to tell them in person how much their work means to WCS.

Edmondson Elementary teacher Elaina Gallas was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year, while Hillsboro School’s Landon Hardison was named Middle School Teacher of the Year. Fairview High’s Stephanie McGaha was High School Teacher of the Year.

Rita Binkley of Fairview Elementary was the Elementary Classified Employee of the Year, Mill Creek Middle secretary Holly Pring was Middle School Classified Employee of the Year and Ravenwood High School cafeteria worker Dave Burnham was the High School Classified Employee of the Year.

Head to to see videos of each honoree being surprised by Golden and the prize patrol.

Improvements to bus tracking app

Williamson County Schools’ Stopfinder mobile app is getting an upgrade. 

The WCS Planning and Zoning Department has been working with bus routing vendors to improve the app, which allows families to track their student’s bus and create push notification alerts. As a result, users can expect more accurate information.

In addition to tracking the bus, families can use the app to check schedules. As new bus stops are added, pick-up and drop-off times may change.

Families who are not already using the app may contact the district’s planning and zoning department to request a Stopfinder activation link. Once the subscription is activated, parents may download the free app, sign in to view bus schedules and create alert zones on the map. The subscription may be shared with other parents and caregivers.

For more information about the app, visit the Stopfinder Parent Guide on

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