They start out in a carpool with children from two or three other families, depending on the day, and that gets them to Blountville Middle School.
From there, they ride a shuttle bus to Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, a STEM platform school.
“We’re here,” father Ron Wimmer said after an open house at IA where the county director of schools discussed the school’s future. “We are IA fans and we’re here.”
Living 45 minutes away from the school can be an issue. When the school was closed at 11 a.m. last week because of snow, the father was in Kentucky and it took mother Beverly Wimmer more than two and a half hours to pick up son Toby Brown, 13, and stepdaughter Amasa Wimmer, 12. Both are seventh-graders at IA, having started out in sixth grade.
But the Wimmers said they like the school because their children are challenged more than they would be at Bluff City Middle School or other middle schools.
The Wimmers were among about 100 people who attended an open house at IA Thursday night and heard Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennie talk about the future of IA, which after this year will go from a Kingsport- Sullivan County joint program to a county school.
For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.