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October 4th, 2021

Volunteer as an Educational Surrogate Parent for a Student with Disabilities

Caring individuals always make a difference in the lives of CMCSS students. The district is actively seeking community members who are able to represent the educational interests of students with disabilities.

All children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) under state and federal special education laws. Included in these laws is a mandate for the parents of children with disabilities to have the opportunity to actively participate in the educational decision-making process. Some children with disabilities may not have parents who can fulfill this very important role, leaving their educational planning solely to representatives from their local school system or other agencies. Federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and state rules, regulations and minimum standards require that an individual must be appointed to make decisions regarding the education students with disabilities must receive.

What is a surrogate parent?

A surrogate parent is a volunteer who is appointed by a local education agency to assist children who do not have parents or family members. The surrogate parent has all of the rights and can make all of the special education or early intervention decisions that are usually made by the child’s parents. Surrogate parents can review educational records; request and consent to evaluations and reevaluations; and challenge the recommendations of the education or early intervention agency by requesting informal and formal dispute resolution procedures. A surrogate parent does not have any rights and responsibilities for the child outside of the special education process.

When does a child require a surrogate parent?

A child with a disability requires a surrogate when:

  1. the parent (as defined in § 300.519) or guardian cannot be identified;
  2. the LEA, after reasonable efforts, cannot discover the whereabouts of a parent;
  3. the child is a ward of the State; or
  4. the child is an unaccompanied homeless youth as defined in section 725 (6) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a(6).

What are the responsibilities of a surrogate parent?

The surrogate parent acts as a substitute parent and is given the responsibility of determining the child’s educational experiences. A surrogate parent is not responsible for any financial costs or direct care of the child with disabilities. The surrogate parent represents the child in every step of the education process including identification, evaluation, and educational placement. The Surrogate Parent fulfills the parent role at all Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Team meetings and works to ensure that the child receives FAPE. A surrogate parent is also responsible for keeping confidential all information from the child’s educational, medical, or social services records.

Who can be a surrogate?

Any citizen of the United States of permanent resident who is at least 18 years old and has no conflict of interest concerning the child’s education may serve as an educational surrogate and must be of good moral character. The educational surrogate must act in the best interest of the student he/she represents. Furthermore, an educational surrogate may not be an employee of a public agency providing care, custody, or educational services to the specific child in need of educational surrogate representation.

How much time and money will this commitment take?

Surrogate parents are required to devote approximately three hours to the training provided by Clarksville Montgomery County Schools at least annually. After a student with disabilities is assigned, the educational surrogate reviews the student’s record well enough to understand the student’s needs, strengths, interests as well as their school history. Training is provided free of charge.

If you are interested in attending a training to become a surrogate parent, please email [email protected].


Child Nutrition Department June 9th, 2021

No Cost Curbside Meals for Summer 2021

The USDA approved for CMCSS to continue serving free curbside meal pick-up to all children 18 and under. The USDA stated that these free meals will be available through June 2022, or until funds run out.

Meals are available for all children 18 and under in Montgomery County, including children not enrolled in CMCSS schools.

Curbside meals will be available for pick-up at any of the traditional high school locations on Wednesday, each week, from 10:00 – 11:00 am. Families with multiple children can pick up all meals in one location. 

Children are not required to be present for curbside pick-up. The person picking up meals will need to provide the name of the child(ren) not present.


Substitute Positions January 26th, 2021

CMCSS Opens Applications for Teacher Residency Programs

Applications are now open for the Teacher Residency Programs within the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. The programs allow community members, current CMCSS employees, and high school seniors a non-traditional approach to becoming a teacher.

“It’s about investing in your own community with an apprenticeship approach to developing teachers,” stated Dr. Sean Impeartrice, Chief Academic Officer for CMCSS.

Residents work towards their licensure, degree, and/or certification while gaining first-hand experience as an Educational Assistant within the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. This experience provides instructional and non-instructional support to students while learning best practices for a career in education from a certified CMCSS educator.

Now in its third year of the program, CMCSS has partnered with several colleges and universities in the surrounding area, including Austin Peay State University, Nashville State Community College, and Lipscomb University. Residents incur no expenses for tuition or textbooks.

“We are proactively addressing the national teacher shortage,” said Dr. Phyllis Casebolt, Director of Federal Projects, including the Teacher Residency Programs. “These programs provide residents an opportunity to work with high-performing teachers while completing the requirements to earn a teaching license.  Wrap-around supports are in place to ensure the academic success of the residents.  Our district recognizes the positive impact of employees committed to meeting the needs of all students.”

There are three teacher residency pathways available for the 2021-2022 school year: Early-Learning Teacher Residency in partnership with Nashville State Community College and Austin Peay State University, Lipscomb Teacher Residency, and Lipscomb Middle Teacher Residency in partnership with Lipscomb University.

Applications for community members are due February 10, 2021. High School seniors must submit their applications by March 5, 2021. All applications and required paperwork can be found on the district website, www.cmcss.net/trp.

“I’ve always had a passion for teaching since I was little. This was an excellent opportunity that I could not pass up,” said Ms. Raquel Blackley, a Teacher Resident who is currently serving at West Creek Elementary School.

Each program’s eligibility criteria and requirements can be found on the district website, www.cmcss.net/trp, along with videos and links to frequently asked questions. For more information, email the Teacher Pipeline Facilitators at [email protected].


October 9th, 2020

TNPromise Scholarship Applications Due Nov. 2, 2020

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (October 7, 2020) – tnAchieves, the local partnering organization for TN Promise, which provides two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee, is looking for both high school applicants and mentors to assist seniors in pursuing higher education. In Clarksville-Montgomery County, both the number of students who have applied for the scholarship and the adult mentors has seen a significant drop in 2020. 

TNPromise Applicants

The deadline for high school seniors submitting a TN Promise application is November 2, 2020. Due to disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Tennessee high schools are significantly behind last year’s TN Promise application rate. High school seniors who are interested should complete the TN Promise application, submit a FAFSA, and apply to a college.

Tennessee high school seniors can submit a TN Promise application by visiting www.TNPromise.gov and applying online.

As indicated, the scholarship will provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee. Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees not met by Pell, Hope, or the Tennessee Student Assistance Award. As part of the program, students will be paired with a partnering organization, provided with a mentor who will support them during the college application process and complete the community service requirement. 

Mentor a High School Senior

tnAchieves, the local partnering organization for TN Promise, needs volunteers to serve as mentors for the Class of 2021. tnAchieves mentors will serve their community virtually, working with local students to offer support throughout the college-going process.

TN Promise allows any graduating high school senior the opportunity to attend a community or technical college tuition and mandatory fee-free. Many of the students will be the first in their family to attend college and may also need some additional, non-financial support. tnAchieves provides this support by pairing each scholarship applicant with a volunteer mentor. The program needs more than 9,000 mentors across the state!

tnAchieves mentors spend about one hour per month working with a group of students to help them achieve their college-going goals. In 2021, mentors will serve their students using tnAchieves CONNECT. tnAchieves CONNECT is a new virtual mentoring tool that allows mentors to remain connected to their students in a safe, online environment. It will also enable mentors to serve from their home and on their schedule!

Mentors remind students of important deadlines, serve as a trusted college resource and, most importantly, encourage students to reach their full potential. While the time commitment is small, the impact on the students can be life-changing. To learn more and apply, you can visit www.tnachieves.org/mentors/apply or contact Tyler Ford at [email protected] or (309) 945-3446