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Beyond Reading, Writing and Math

Students experience a range of classes in addition to their academic core subjects. Special area classes are available on a rotating schedule. Each class has a comprehensive program that builds each year as students progress through Bright. Taught by specialized faculty, opportunities are provided for young learners to expand their horizons and experience a wide range of skills and expertise. Meaningful connections are formed between classroom content and the special areas experience through interdisciplinary projects.

Art

Fine Art is an integral part of the Bright learning experience. A fully-equipped art studio combined with gallery space to display student work provides the ideal setting for young, aspiring artists. Our program consists of three broad components: art history, media/material exploration, and technique/process instruction. Art history exposes students to different styles of art and introduces artists who demonstrate these styles. Sculpture, drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography are woven into grade level projects and are built upon each year. Through this cohesive approach, students develop a solid arts foundation which will continue to grow beyond Bright School. (Grades PK-5)

Thankful Davis

Art

Joined Bright faculty in 2014
B.S., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
M.Ed., Middle Tennessee State University

Library

When you enter the Bright library, there is a sense of warmth, joy and tradition. Our librarians promote reading, encourage investigation and assist in developing enthusiastic readers. Our students learn to enjoy reading and being read to, as well as browsing the shelves for great books to check out. On any given day, students eagerly walk through the library to return books or check out new ones. Each grade visits the library and benefits from instruction and a curriculum designed to teach students to access, evaluate, and interpret information from printed materials. Early childhood students participate in story time while lower grades study great authors and genres aligned with their classroom units of study. Our elementary students are introduced to the steps of research. Upper grades build upon the methods for interpreting information in order to graduate with the best possible training, so they can become life-long readers and skillful users of information in the 21st century. (Grades JPK-5)

Elizabeth Oakes

Librarian

Joined Bright faculty in 2011
B.A., University of Mississippi 
M.Ed., Christian Brothers University

Jan Vance

Assistant Librarian

Joined Bright faculty in 2016
B.S., Lipscomb University
M.L.S., Texas Women's College

Music

Our music program enables students to develop a kinesthetic and intellectual love of music through a hands-on approach. Students develop an appreciation for world music and our country’s heritage through folk songs and games.  Through folk songs and solfege, students lay the foundation for reading music. Students perform at our two school-wide programs, Thanksgiving and Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day. Our fourth and fifth grade students learn to play soprano and alto recorders and autoharps, and interested students may participate in a handbell choir. Within the walls of the music room, students have opportunities to sing, play instruments, learn to read music, and enjoy listening and understanding a large variety of music from classical to contemporary. (Grades JPK-5)

Stephanie Bowling

Music

Joined Bright faculty in 2015
B.S., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Physical Education

The P.E. program directs students toward a lifetime of physical fitness by creating an environment of age-appropriate child play that is motivating and fun. The curriculum is designed to communicate health and fitness knowledge, teach locomotor and non-locomotor physical skills, introduce sports skills, and create a positive attitude about life-long fitness. Appropriate health and physical activities are carefully designed for all ages allowing your child to build upon skills learned each year. From scooter races to parkour courses, each week in P.E. brings enthusiasm to our students about being healthy and staying fit for life.  Coach Connell and Coach McDaniel instill the idea of engaging an active lifestyle. Who are we? Bright Fit! (Offered daily for grades K-5; rotating for JPK and PK)

Jan Connell

P.E.

Joined Bright faculty in 1987
B.S., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 
M.Ed., Middle Tennessee State University

Jeff McDaniel

P.E.

Joined Bright faculty in 2015

Science

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we have been taught.” This quote by Baba Dioum, an environmentalist and forestry engineer, is the foundation upon which the Bright School science program is built. The program strives to educate and inspire every child. From the budding, curious first grade student to the actively inquiring fifth grade student, the desire is to develop caring citizens ready and eager to tackle tomorrow’s issues. (Grades 1-5)

Melanie Nestler

Science

Joined Bright faculty in 2016
Dipl. Ing. (FH), University of Applied Science Bremerhaven, Germany

Shop

Believing in acquired knowledge application, Bright's woodworking shop offers hands-on experiences literally! Each child has an opportunity to experience the process of taking raw wood and creating a work of art. Through this step-by-step process, students develop math skills and learn to use mechanical and spatial relationships. Students are introduced to shop in PK with basic, developmentally appropriate projects. As students grow and move from one grade to the next, their projects in shop also grow in degree of difficulty. There is strong integration between the shop projects and classroom curriculum. Through the projects they create in shop, they are building habits of attention, perseverance, patience, and self-control. (Grades PK-5)

Richard Parks

Shop

Joined Bright faculty in 2014
B.S., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
M.Ed., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Spanish

Envisioning our students as future global citizens, the Bright School Spanish experience provides vital foreign language exposure and experience at a young age. Our Spanish curriculum embraces a broad spectrum of communication skills. With rich curricular experiences, the program offers a vision of what students should know and be able to apply in all languages. The goal of the Spanish classroom experience is to develop positive attitudes and excitement toward learning the Spanish language. Through the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, students are able to broaden their awareness, acceptance, and understanding of Spanish and Hispanic culture.

In the early childhood grades, Sra. Rodriguez comes to each classroom to teach words in fun songs and games, enhancing understanding of a second language through storytelling, and to share her Hispanic culture. JPK has 20-minute lessons each day. Sra. Rodriguez meets with PK for 25 minutes and kindergarten for 30 minutes each day. In grades 1-5, Sra. Avendano teaches each grade in her classroom twice every six-day rotation. 

Cindy Avendano

Spanish

Joined Bright faculty in 2016
B.A., Universidad de las Americas Puebla

Claudia Rodriguez

Spanish

Joined Bright faculty in 2016
B.S., Universidad de las Americas, A.C.
M.S., Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Technology

Using the National Educational Technology Standards as our framework, Bright School’s technology curriculum builds a comprehensive set of computing skills for students and prepares them to use technology effectively in order to live, learn, and work in the 21st Century. Multimedia and Web 2.0 tools are used to engage students in creativity and collaboration. Basic keyboarding skills, software use, and research skills are practiced and complement the classroom curriculum. Students learn how to be responsible digital citizens as they evaluate information, cite online sources, respect copyright and fair use laws, and safely use the Internet. Technology empowers our students and facilitates the learning process at Bright School. While dedicated technology instruction occurs in grades K-5 in the computer lab, technology is integrated into the school’s curriculum through classroom activities and daily instruction. Interactive whiteboards are used in all classrooms to enhance learning. Students in fifth grade utilize netbooks to facilitate independent and cooperative learning. IPads for teachers and students in grades PK-4 are used for exploration and discovery in the classroom learning environment.

Renee' Kropff

Assistant Head of School, Operations, and Director of Technology
Phone: 423-305-6466

Joined Bright faculty in 1999
B.S., East Tennessee State University

Yoga/Character Education

School counselor Nicole Smith implements our character education program and incorporates yoga and mindfulness throughout out all of her services. She focuses on strengthening our students' emotional well-being and helps them develop their character that promotes being "wise and compassionate citizens of the world." With ongoing scheduled lessons, she is part every grade's curriculum and teaches skills and strategies that are specific to the developmental needs of each age group. Utilizing body movement and mindful activities, Mrs. Smith is committed to supporting our students' growth in having healthy and happy bodies, minds and hearts. 

Nicole Smith

School Counselor
Phone: 423-305-6468

Joined Bright faculty in 2006
B.A., University of Central Florida 
M.Ed., Winthrop University

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