Monday, May 16, 2011

'Man of La Mancha' Auditions Set

Open auditions for the next Main Stage production at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center will be held this evening (May 16th.) The Summer musical at CPAC will be "Man of La Mancha," written by Dale Wasserman, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion. The local production is being directed by Kim Frick-Welker, with musical direction by Mendy Richards and choreography by Shane Langford. Auditions will be held at the Performing Arts Center – located at 10 East Broad Street in Cookeville -- at 6 pm. Call backs will be on Wednesday, May 18th at 6 pm. Production dates for the show are July 15th through the the 23rd. Auditions will include vocal selections from the musical and cold readings. The cast of characters include Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and some two dozen other characters. Officials say there will be some doubling of characters. For more information, you can call 528-1313.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Workshop To Address Barriers To Education

The belief that a one-size-fits all classroom doesn't have to be the norm is the theme at the Universal Design Workshop to be hosted June 17 at Tennessee Tech University. Universal Design for Instruction and Learning is a framework for designing educational environments that allow all students, including those with disabilities, access to curriculum including classroom materials, technology and assessments.

This workshop, hosted by TTU's Millard Oakley STEM Center, will provide an overview of the research behind Universal Design.

"This workshop will provide multiple and flexible instructional strategies to meet the diverse needs of secondary and post-secondary students with and without disabilities and will help attendees to develop an awareness of how to reduce barriers to curriculum," said Laura Graves, assistant professor in TTU's College of Education and workshop chairperson.

Keynote speaker Steve Fadden is vice president for Research and Institute Operations at Landmark College and director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training. He will lead several sessions:

*Overview of Universal Design, Effective Instructional Practices
*Assistive Technology to Promote Learning
*Transition Solutions for Students with Asperger's Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities.

Special speaker Sheryl Burgstahler, an affiliate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle, focuses teaching and research on the successful transition of students with disabilities to college and careers and on the application of universal design to technology, learning activities, physical spaces and student services in educational settings.

TTU representatives Helen Dainty, Chester Goad and Graves will present special sessions.

Dainty, assistant professor in TTU's curriculum and instruction department, has taught all levels of special education for more than 20 years and currently teaches pre-service teachers and graduate students working on licensure in special education. She is currently the president of TN- International Dyslexia Association and the principal investigator for SPED Institute and BASE-TN at TTU.

Goad, director of TTU's Disability Services and adjunct instructor, specializes in disability and public policy, teacher education, dyslexia and leadership. He is president-elect of TN-AHEAD and Region 3 vice president and public policy chairperson of the Tennessee Dyslexia Association.

Graves' specialty is modified special education where she teaches both pre-service and graduate students. She taught in the Tennessee public schools in both special and general education classrooms for 18 years. She serves on the board of the International Dyslexia Association and has presented at both state and national conferences.

Registration will be available online through May 31 for $75. Snacks and lunch are included in the registration fee. To register or for more information, visit

End Of Course Exams Begin This Week

The so-called End-Of -Course exams begin for high school students in the Putnam County school system this week.  The exams begin Tuesday, May 3, 2011 with the following schedule:

Tuesday, May 3: Algebra I*

Wednesday, May 4: English II (10th)*

Thursday, May 5: Biology I*

Monday, May 9: Algebra II

Tuesday, May 10: English III (11th)

Wednesday, May 11: English I (9th)

Thursday, May 12: U.S. History

For the corresponding course, the End-of-Course test grade will count 20% of the second-semester grade for the 2010-2011 school year and 25% of the second semester grade in subsequent school years (2011-2012 and beyond).

Meanwhile, the final day of the school year is less than three weeks away, and some parents are already looking at things to do over the summer. Educators say one possibility is the state-of-the-art labs at TTU's Millard Oakley STEM Center.  The STEM Center is offering 30+ hands-on, minds-on EXPLORATION workshop experiences for students entering the 5th though 12th grades this fall. EXPLORATIONS are open to students in public, private and home schools (at grade equivalent).

"The Millard Oakley STEM Center for the Teaching and Learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a facility dedicated to the highest quality educational opportunities and experiences in STEM subjects for children, teachers and families throughout the Upper Cumberland and Tennessee," said Gail Gentry, the STEM Center's outreach coordinator.

"The Summer EXPLORATION Workshops are exciting ways to get students interested, involved and engaged in topics and subjects that are shaping our daily world and future," she continued.

Workshops for 5th – 8th range from making and racing fuel cell cars, working with worms, launching rockets, roller coasters and physics, to building a radio, the chemistry of make-up, and more. Students entering the 9th-12th grades can choose from electronics and robotics, vertebrate anatomy and dissection, energy's myths and legends, art of chemistry, metal casting and model engineering, GIS & GPS systems, just to name a few.

The classes range in price from $30 to $195. Some workshops are one three-hour session on a single day (morning or afternoon), while others may cover two-four days; workshops are no longer than three-hours per day. Online registration available.

For more information about the STEM Center and its programs visit the center's website, (see the "Kids & Families" section) or contact Christina Hatley, 931-372-6573.