About the School

Sewanee Elementary is located atop the mountainous Cumberland Plateau in the southeastern part of Middle Tennesse. Sewanee Elementary School serves grades K-5 in the Franklin County School Distrct.

Demographics 2020-2021 (from https://www.tn.gov/education/data/data-downloads.html)

Student population - 190

Asian - <5%
White - 92.1%
African American - <5%
Hispanic or Latino - <5%


The History of Sewanee Elementary

Our Philosophy

Welcome to Sewanee Elementary School, a community school that embraces parental and community involvement.  Our wonderfully creative and enthusiastic staff believes in preparing every child not only academically for the next step in their education but also socially, emotionally, and physically.  To this end, Sewanee believes in teaching across the curriculum and teaching outside the four walls.

At SES the arts are an integral part in the education of the whole child.  Throughout the school year, every grade is involved in a musical skit in which they not only are learning acting and music, but also, history, culture and public speaking.  Each year our students participate in several county wide art competitions as well. With support from our PTO, the Nashville Opera annually visits.  Our very involved PTO even organizes what has become a very successful book swap at the end of each school year.

We strive to find opportunities for students to take an active role in the life of the school.  Each year during American Education Week our students dress as their favorite book character/author to encourage and share the love and joy of reading.  Throughout the year students participate in a Famous Persons Wax Museum or other such academic endeavor.  We have an annual staff that is student oriented.   Our weekly assemblies offer a time to sing together, recognize students, and to welcome special guests.    

At SES science does not begin and end in a textbook.  Our Science Fair is unique to this area.  The kindergartners and the first graders complete a joint project while the students in grades two through five put together individual projects and must be prepared to defend them when interviewed by the judges.  We have a nature trail that ties in nicely with our studies of the environment.  Sewanee’s fourth and fifth graders occasionally participate in the National Geographic’s Geography Bee and we have a fifth grade math team that participates in a county-wide math competition.  

A great example of intertwining the arts, the traditional curriculum, and teaching outside the four walls is Friday School.  Now in its thirty-seventh year (1977), Friday School welcomes volunteers from Cowan to Monteagle to come together to share their talents and areas of expertise with the students.  Spread out over four Friday afternoons, the students have the opportunity to take classes such as ecology, Spanish, gardening, nature hiking, arts & crafts, and tennis.  The students would rather have Friday School than a snow day!

In an effort to keep the students mentally and physically fit, SES offers an intramural program many mornings before the school day begins.  Also, the students and parents are encouraged to participate in the internationally recognized Walk to School Day.  We are proud of our outstanding athletes who compete in the nationally recognized Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick competition or on our basketball team.  We are pleased by our students’ victories but, more importantly, we are proud that both the boys’ and girls’ teams play with heart, desire and good sportsmanship.

Volunteers are an important resource in all that we accomplish.  On any given day throughout the school year, an extraordinary group of parents, retirees, college students and community volunteers can be found working with students, reading in small groups, assisting students with their math, or helping our students to appreciate the environment that surrounds our school.  

At SES we are proud to be a school with a family atmosphere, where everyone pulls together for a common goal; the education of our children.

Program Indicators

Sewanee Elementary School serves students from preschool through grade five. The educational opportunities at Sewanee Elementary are vast and varied. In addition to the standard academic courses, there is instruction by certified teachers of music, art, library science, physical education, and guidance counseling.

Classroom teachers use an array of creative teaching techniques, as varied and diverse as their own personalities. All students are encouraged to write creatively at every grade level ? poetry, short stories, plays essays, and daily journal writing, and many classes participate in essay and poetry writing contests. Oral communication is also emphasized with intermediate students participating in weekly poetry recitations, projects presented to classmates and peers, portfolios presented to students and parents, and choral recitations at weekly assemblies. At the yearly Science Fair, community professionals interview students to determine their level of knowledge. Hands-on Science activities are frequently utilized with outdoor educational experiences to enrich textbook curriculum. There is a great emphasis on map skills, geography, and a sense of place. Teachers often take advantage of professional expertise in the community, inviting guest speakers from The University of the South and the surrounding area to enrich and enlighten the students whenever appropriate. Students are given opportunities to complete advanced levels of class work and homework as indicated by individual needs and learning styles. Small group instruction is used within the classroom to research and explore topics of high interest and to engage in problem-solving activities. Sewanee Elementary teachers are committed to education of the total child, while providing for individual differences.

Music education is provided to all students two times a week for 55 minutes by a Music Specialist. The primary method of instruction is Orff-Schulwerk. Students integrate speech, movement, instrument playing and singing to experience being musicians. Musical programs are presented for the school and community during the school year, with all students being involved in at least one performance. Students alternate attending Art and Music every six weeks.

All grade levels participate in two fifty-five minute Art education classes every week featuring a cross-integration of visual arts with social studies/history, science, math and language arts. The content of the visual arts program is based on the four disciplines of art: artistic perception, creative art process, art history, and art criticism. Through these four disciplines, students progressively learn that their multi-sensory experiences help them perceive and identify the visual elements of art (line, shape, color, value, texture, form, and space) and the visual principles of design (unity, variety, emphasis, balance, proportion, pattern, and rhythm). Students learn to experiment with art techniques, tools, and materials, and a wide variety of art medias in coloration with art appreciation through historical and cultural context. Students, also, progressively learn about exploring art ? perceiving, analyzing, comparing, contrasting, evaluating, and judging their own and others' artwork. Positive attitudes are reinforced through thoughtful responses, as well as through group evaluation. Student work is prominently displayed throughout the school to demonstrate to visitors the talent of student artists at work. The Art Education Program at Sewanee Elementary strives to help students cultivate a continuing love of art for expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas, and to realize a higher quality of life in society as a result of their understanding and appreciation of the arts. Refurbished in 2005, SES boasts one of the best art rooms in the area.

Sewanee Elementary School has a library collection of over 9,000 books for our students and teachers to use for reading enjoyment and research needs. Computers with internet access are also available to supplement research. Our library consists of a main public room with tables and chairs, a small conference room for small group instruction, a librarian's office, a workroom, and the Rachel Gibson Reading Room which is available for small groups to read in a cozy, home-like atmosphere. All of our books are bar coded and the Athena library software is used to manage our circulation and cataloging systems. All students have one scheduled period of library instruction each week at which time grade level appropriate skills, such as dictionary, encyclopedia, and atlas and almanac skills are taught. Students also have a 15 minute time slot in which to check out books each week, and the library is available for students and teachers at other times during the week when the librarian is not conducting classes.

Physical Education is an integral part of the total educational process at Sewanee Elementary School. The focus of the program is to prepare and motivate all students to engage in activities that promote health and physical well being. Physical Education is offered twice each week for forty-five minutes for all classes. Personal health and wellness are a part of each physical education lesson with a purpose of establishing a desire in children to maintain fitness and wellness throughout their lives. The Fitness Gram is used to assess the major components of physical fitness (aerobic capacity, muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility). Our students also participate in national programs such as The American Heart Association's "Jump Rope for Heart", the NFL's "Punt, Pass and Kick," P.E. Central's "P.E. Challenge," and "Walk to School" day. A school wide "field day" is held each spring to emphasize the importance of recreational physical activity in our daily lives. Students are also given the opportunity to participate in intramural sports activities (flag football, indoor soccer, floor hockey, basketball, and volleyball) outside of the regular school day. The goal of our Physical Education program is for children to enjoy being active, learn important fitness concepts, develop good social skills, and maintain a positive self-concept.

A certified Guidance Counselor conducts weekly guidance classes for all students as well as small group and individual counseling sessions. The primary program used for classroom guidance is the Second Step Program. SES hosted a training session for Second Step for kindergarten through third grade teachers; during which time all elementary guidance counselors in the county were also trained. Supplementary material is taken from the Peaceable Schools Program, which is endorsed by the State Department of Education, the Right Choice Program that is approved by our local Board of Education, and other materials, focusing on specific topics relevant to the participants. Educational, personal/social, and career development are the three domains addressed with the students. Parent consultations and teacher consultations are also encouraged.

A Speech Pathologist is assigned to the school to serve the needs of students in Speech Therapy and Language Development. These services are given twice a week to those students who qualify.

A full-time Resource teacher is on campus to provide one to one and small group instruction for students with special needs. Services are tailored to meet the individual needs of the students as indicated by individualized educational programs (IEP's). The resource teacher focuses on character education, prevocational skills, use of math manipulatives, and incorporation of SRA corrective reading, SRA connect math, and SRA reasoning and writing programs. The Resource teacher also meets with classroom teachers to assess student needs, arranges meetings with parents to evaluate the need for special services that may help their child, and makes arrangements for testing and review of services.

In the intermediate wing, a well-equipped science lab is available. Stocked to facilitate the science curriculum, it contains a television, DVD player, computer, several microscopes as well as a multitude of supplies. The walls are painted with science-related murals. In addition to this indoor resource, a nature trail has been developed through a Howard Hughes grant to offer students an outdoor science experience.

Sewanee Elementary is also equipped with a Computer Lab, complete with twenty-five Dell computers and a printer. Teachers may use the Computer Lab as they wish on a "sign up" basis. All classrooms have at least two computers for teacher and student use. Computers have Internet access to enable students to participate in long distance learning and research.

The South Central Human Resource Agency out of Fayetteville, TN sponsors a Foster grandparent program. Sewanee Elementary benefits greatly from this program with our foster grandparent, Madeline Prince. She works with several students who need daily one-on-one caring and helps with their academics.

Extra Curricular Activities

Extra curricular activities at Sewanee Elementary School take many forms. All children are given many opportunities to participate in various programs.

Each spring our fifth graders have the opportunity to participate in a county-wide math competition sponsored by the Board of Education.

The PE program offers intramural sports programs are open to all students and take place before regular school hours. In addition there is the PE challenge, Jump Rope for Heart, along with Punt, Pass, and Kick.

The countywide basketball program is available to fourth and fifth grade students. They are involved in a 20 game schedule with the other area elementary schools.

Additional activities include the Geography Bee, Annual Staff, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the school wide music programs in which all students are encouraged to participate. The fifth grades have an opportunity to participate in an after school enrichment program and a Math team. A Spanish club is offered as well and volunteers from the Univ. of the South teach Spanish.