The Saturday Six “Thanksgiving” Edition – November 26, 2016

11-22-1This week, the Saturday Six pauses to reflect on the many things with which we have to be thankful.  We are blessed live, work, and learn in a community that cares deeply about our children and providing them the best possible educational and life experiences.  There is much to be thankful for!

  1. We are thankful for the over 7,700 children from Pre-K through 12th grade that fill our schools each day.  These bright and valuable treasures are the future of our community, and it is an honor to work every day to provide them a world-class education that will positively shape their futures.
  2. We are thankful for the talented faculty and staff members of KCS that give their all for students of KCS.  Whether its providing that extra individual attention a student may need or developing creative and innovative ideas that are student focused, the women and men of KCS are truly world class!
  3. We are thankful for the families that support the students and schools of KCS.  By having truly engaged parents, guardians, and families, authentic partnerships are forged that maximize the potential for all students.
  4. We are thankful for a community that supports our students, staff, and schools.  For almost 100 years, the citizens of Kingsport have placed a high level of value and trust in KCS.  The support of education and activities sets KCS apart and helps provide a truly exceptional school experience.
  5. We are thankful the leadership of our schools, district, local government, and community that guide and support the vision of KCS.  Kingsport is blessed to have leadership throughout Kingsport that recognizes the importance of having world-class school system and ensures KCS remains on the path to greatness.
  6. What are you thankful for this holiday season?  Leave a comment so that your suggestion can be a part of this week’s Saturday Six!

The Saturday Six “Health and Wellness” Edition – November 19, 2106

Kingsport City Schools certainly strives to provide a world-class educational experience for all students.  But did you know that extensive work also takes place to support an environment that develops good health and wellness throughout the district?  Misty Keller, the KCS Coordinator of Coordinated School Health, guides that work with the goal of establishing healthy life habits for students and staff.  Research is clear that healthy bodies help maximize academic achievement… It’s a win-win!

But in what ways does KCS support good health?  This week, the Saturday Six looks at six programs that encourage healthy lifestyles for students and staff.  Want to learn more?  Check out this video that highlights the health and wellness initiatives taking place all across KCS!

  1. Active Classrooms – By utilizing the concept of active classrooms, teachers across KCS are putting into practice the research showing that active students are able to focus and achieve at high levels.  In select classrooms, children have the opportunity to use special equipment that allows them to pedal, glide, balance, and move while doing their academic work.  While on the surface this may seem like a distraction, the opposite is actually true!  The stimulation energizes the students and primes them for increased focus and learning.
  2. Telemedicine – In today’s world, having the opportunity to visit a physician during the school day can be a difficult task.  However, the KCS telemedicine program uses technology to help provide convenient access to medical care.  Using the internet and  specialized instruments in school clinics, students can be remotely examined by qualified medical personnel that are physically in another location.  It is an innovative option for parents that wish to ensure that their children have convenient access to cutting-edge healthcare.
  3. Water Bottle Refill Stations – Thanks to the support of the KCS Coordinated School Health program and also through water bottles provided to each KCS student by Healthy Kingsport, KCS schools now have unique water bottle refill stations to establish healthy drinking habits.  These stations provide a quick refill of cold water, providing a convenient alternative to sugary drinks.  Electronic counters on each station show that since being installed, these stations have provided tens-of-thousands of bottles to KCS students, staff, and visitors!
  4. Healthy Lunch Options – The KCS School Nutrition Services department works daily to provide nutritious, tasty food to thousands of students and staff.  In addition to the typical school lunches, a trip to a KCS cafeteria will reveal a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, and other nutritious meal options.  It is not unusual to see both students and staff lined up at a KCS salad bar at lunch time, making healthy choices about how to fuel their bodies!
  5. Go Noodle – What happens when technology meets physical fitness?  Go Noodle!  The online video library utilized in classrooms all across KCS provides a wide-reaching resource to get kids up and moving. Whether on a short movement interlude during the academic day or on days when the weather won’t allow students to go outside, Go Noodle leads children in physical activities that are fun and highly engaging.
  6. In addition, there are a wide variety of activities and opportunities to get up and moving throughout the school day.  Before school running and walking clubs like the Morning Mile encourage students in many schools to start their day with physical activity.  Grants and resources from organizations like Project Fit America have provided highly engaging active playground equipment.  And intramural programs across the district give students an opportunity to participate in a variety of different sports and activities.

The opportunities to develop a healthy, active learning community are always evolving.  In fact, the combination of activity, creativity, and physical play have all come together at Jackson Elementary using a new resource, Imagination Playground.  This innovative program allows students to use materials to design and utilize their own play spaces.  It’s just one more way that KCS is always looking to support and develop healthy life habits!

The KCS Saturday Six “D-B Band” Edition – November 12, 2016

This weekend, the Dobyns-Bennett Band concludes their competitive season at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, IN.   This event features the best-of-the-best high school marching bands from across the country, and in the world of music, is the true national championship.  D-B has advanced to the semi-final round in all of their championship appearances, including this year.  Later today, they will compete for the opportunity to be a part of tonight’s elite finals competition.

This week, the Saturday Six looks at six things to know about the Dobyns-Bennett Band program!

  1. With a membership that often approaches 400 members, the D-B Band is consistently the largest marching band in Tennessee… Even larger than the Pride of the Southland Marching Band at the University of Tennessee!
  2. While you will often see the D-B Band at events across Kingsport, it’s national reputation for quality has provided opportunities to perform around the country.  In recent years, the band has performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, at Carnegie Hall, and in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade.
  3. As one of the most successful music programs in Tennessee and America, the walls of the D-B music building are lined with national awards, recognitions, and trophies.  Most recently, they were named winner of the Bands of America Regional competition in Winston-Salem, NC, the fourth straight year to capture that award.  They also finished third overall at this year’s BOA Atlanta Super Regional, winning the top prize for Outstanding Music Performance among all bands!
  4. Under the direction of Band Director Lafe Cook and outstanding staff, the D-B Band is the only band in Tennessee to have received both the prestigious Sudler Flag of Honor and the Sudler Shield from the John Philip Sousa Foundation.  The Flag of Honor recognizes high school band programs internationally for sustained excellence in concert performance, while the Shield does the same for marching band excellence.
  5. Members of the band don’t stop performing once they graduate from D-B.  You’ll find former D-B musicians performing at colleges and universities such as Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, Julliard, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, East Tennessee State University, and many other major college programs, such as the University of Tennessee!
  6. While the backbone of the band program is certainly the talented young musicians and staff that work so hard to perfect their craft, there is an army of supporters that also gives their all for the success of the program.  The D-B Band Boosters is a large organization comprised of parents and community supporters that labor year-round to provide the physical, logistical, and financial support needed to have a world-class program.  To find out more about the band or the boosters, check them out at

We would also be remiss if we didn’t point out that the D-B Band program builds on incredibly solid middle school programs at Robinson and Sevier Middle Schools.  Headed by Hunter Mullins (Sevier) and Kim Hutchinson (Robinson), students in grades 6-8 are not only taught solid music fundamentals, but are also grounded in the KCS musical culture of commitment and excellence.  #OneTribe

Will the D-B Band qualify for the finals tonight at the Bands of America Grand National Championship?  To find out, follow along on the D-B Band Facebook page, the D-B Band Twitter account, and the live BOA blog at

The Saturday Six “KCS Backs the Blue Part 2” Edition – November 5, 2016

What a great day Tuesday, November 1 turned out to be!  KCS celebrated our first “Back the Blue” day across the district, honoring and thanking the women and men of the Kingsport Police Department for all they do to keep our schools and community safe.  This week, the Saturday Six wanted to share a variety of images from that great day, while highlighting six things that occurred.


  1. Back the Blue Day began with a breakfast provided for KPD officers and staff, held at the Kingsport Justice Center.  In fact, there was even a second breakfast held on Thursday morning to say thank you to the officers in platoons that were off on Tuesday.  We are privileged to have such a great group of individuals protecting our community.
  2. Throughout the day, patrol officers visited all KCS elementary schools to perform school walkthroughs and were greeted with a wide variety of “thank yous” and shows of appreciation.  The relationships and positive interactions between officers, students and staff were incredible to see!
  3. It was a blue day all across Kingsport City Schools!  Students and staff wore blue in a sign of unity and support for KPD.  It was an impressive display of solidarity for our officers.
  4. At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, John Sevier Middle School Principal Dr. Holly Flora and JSMS Student Council President Marcus Briggs presented a report on the KCS School Resource Officer program.  SROs are present each day at Dobyns-Bennett, Sevier, and Robinson Middle Schools, providing on-site support.  Our SROs are fantastic and greatly appreciated!
  5. In fact, the four KPD SROs received a steady dose of support throughout the day at D-B, Sevier, and Robinson.  Officers Sean Cornett and Justin Humphries (D-B), Brad Conkin (Sevier) and Rick Marshall (Robinson) were all placed in the spotlight by their schools, showing just how much their daily protection is appreciated!
  6. The day concluded with the Board of Education presenting a formal resolution to the Kingsport Police Department designating November 1 as “KCS Backs the Blue Day” across KCS.  KPD Chief David Quillin, Public Information Officer Tom Patton, and SROs Sean Cornett, Brad Conkin, and Rick Marshall accepted the honor on behalf of the KPD.  It was a fitting conclusion to an incredible day supporting our police!

Use the hashtag #BacktheBlue on KCS social media to find all the images from this great day!

The Saturday Six “KCS Backs the Blue” Edition – October 29, 2016


This week, the Saturday Six highlights “KCS Backs the Blue Day,” which will take place in Kingsport on Tuesday, November 1, 2016.  This special day will highlight the exceptional support provided by the Kingsport Police Department.  All KCS students, staff, and families are encouraged to wear blue on Tuesday, November 1 to show appreciation for what the KPD does for us each and every day! #BacktheBlue

  1.  The Kingsport Police Department has both a formal and informal presence in our schools each and every day.  Four full-time School Resource Officers serve in our secondary schools (two at Dobyns-Bennett High School and one each at Sevier and Robinson Middle Schools), while other KPD officers conduct daily walk-throughs and maintain visibility in all other KCS schools.  The presence of these officers provides a specific reminder and level of support to our schools that can’t be understated.  These officers, as well as all KPD officers that are present in our buildings on a daily basis, ensure the safety and security of our students, staff, and visitors.
  2. Who are the four School Resource Officers that are placed full-time at D-B, Robinson, and Sevier?  Left to right:  Officer Sean Cornett (D-B), Officer Justin Humphries (D-B), Officer Rick Marshall (Robinson) and Officer Brad Conkin (Sevier).
  3. How will “KCS Backs the Blue Day” be celebrated throughout KCS on November 1?  The day will start with KCS providing KPD officers and staff a thank-you breakfast and conclude with a formal recognition presented to KPD leadership by the KCS Board of Education.  During the rest of the day, officers are invited to drop in at all KCS schools for a variety of school-based appreciations.  And of course, all KCS students and staff are encouraged to wear blue on Tuesday as a visible reminder of how much we appreciate all the ways the Kingsport Police Department serves our school system.
  4. Did you know that even though there are not specific School Resource Officers at our elementary schools, that doesn’t mean that these schools don’t have a healthy police presence?  Odds are that if you stop by a KCS elementary school during the day, you are likely to find a KPD officer walking through the hallways, dropping into classrooms to say hello, or even interacting with students in the cafeteria.  This not only helps to keep our schools safe, but also develops positive relationships between students and law enforcement officers.
  5. KPD officers also work closely with KCS teachers and administrators in the development of school emergency response planning.  These plans are in place should an emergency ever happen, and having trained and knowledgeable officers helping to craft and practice these is an incredibly valuable resource.  With KPD’s guidance, our students, staff, and community know that our schools will be in the best possible position should an emergency unfortunately occur.
  6. Through a Memorandum of Understanding, there are formal goals that have been developed related to KPD’s presence in our schools.  These include…
    1. Helping maintain a safe and secure environment on each campus conducive to an educationally-stimulating atmosphere, serving as a means of reducing the possibility of criminal activities and disturbances.
    2. Establishing a more complete liaison with school personnel in a cooperative effort to prevent juvenile delinquency.
    3. Promoting positive attitudes regarding the police role in society and informing the students of their rights and responsibilities as lawful citizens.
    4. Fostering educational programs and activities that will increase students’ knowledge of and respect for the law and the function of law enforcement agencies.
    5. Reducing the potential of criminal offenses committed against persons and property.
    6. Working with school personnel to develop closer contact, better communication, and increased respect of the students.
    7. Helping develop positive and constructive relationships in the schools and school community.

Please join us in helping to “Back the Blue” on Tuesday, November 1, 2016.  Watch KCS social media and #BackTheBlue for updates, photos, and many recognitions of thanks to the women and men that put their lives on the line each day to keep us safe.  KCS Backs the Blue!

The Saturday Six – October 22, 2016

10-22-16-1This week, the KCS Saturday Six has the honor of recognizing the 2016 inductees to the Dobyns-Bennett Alumni Association Hall of Fame.  We are consistently humbled by the great individuals that have been a part of the Tribe, and this year’s honorees exemplify all that is great about D-B.  Current D-B principal Dr. Chris Hampton said it best when he commented that we are privileged to walk in such tall shadows.  So true, when you consider what these graduates have accomplished during and after their time at D-B.

Congratulations to this year’s Hall of Fame class!  You represent all that is great about Dobyns-Bennett.   Here are this year’s six (plus one) inductees.

  1. Thomas Coughenour (Class of ’60)
  2. Denver Crawford (Class of ’41)
  3. Darrell Crawford (Class of ’48)
  4. Dr. William Locke (Class of ’62)
  5. Dr. Thomas Milhorn (Class of ’55)
  6. Dr. Thomas Rogers (Class of ’73)
  7. John Whited, Jr. (Class of ’57)

Click here to learn more about the D-B Alumni Association Hall of Fame, including information about past inductees and how to nominate individuals for enshrinement in next year’s class!

The KCS Saturday Six – October 14, 2016

Each and every day that school is in session, the KCS Transportation Department works hard to transport thousands of Kingsport’s children safely to and from school.  Safety is priority #1, and parents depend on our drivers and staff to deliver precious cargo… A job they enthusiastically and skillfully perform every day!

October 17-21 is the annual National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) School Bus Safety Week.  As we focus on ways to maintain a safe transportation environment, let’s look at six facts about bus safety and the KCS Transportation Department.

  1.  More that 40 buses operate on KCS school days, completing approximately 140 different bus runs.  How many miles do those buses cover in a day?  The fleet drives approximately 2,500 miles every day.  That’s almost 450,000 miles each year!
  2. For many years, all KCS buses have included seat belts as an extra measure to keep children safe.  This measure is a key piece of the KCS transportation plan, and continues to be included in new bus purchases.
  3. KCS bus drivers not only work with students on a daily basis on the importance of staying safe, they also hold extra safety sessions at schools during the course of the school year.  Drivers bring their bus to elementary schools to hold sessions on school bus safety and bus emergency evacuation.
  4. Remember, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW to pass a school bus with its stop sign extended.  The flashing lights and stop sign serve as a warning that students will be entering or exiting the bus.  The law in Tennessee law states that vehicles must stop for school buses loading and unloading except for oncoming traffic on roads with a physical dividing median or other separation.  Keep everyone safe!  Stop when you see that red indicator.
  5. One other area of constant attention for drivers is what’s often called “The Danger Zone.”  This is a 10-foot radius around the outside of the bus and is the most likely place where students could get hurt during pick-ups and drop-offs, as children in the Danger Zone are more difficult to see by motorists.  Experts advise that this should be an area of particular focus and care for both drivers and students riding the bus.
  6. Help spread the word about school bus safety during the 2016 National School Bus Safety Week!  This year’s theme is #StopOnRed!

Thanks to the great drivers of the KCS Transportation team!  They work hard to make sure that almost a half-million miles of bus transportation are safe and secure.

The KCS Saturday Six – October 8, 2016

Each and every day, the students and staff of Kingsport City Schools demonstrate excellence in so many ways.  This week in the Saturday Six, we highlight several outstanding KCS individuals that exemplify “world class!”

  1. dsc_0328 Each year, The National Merit Scholarship Corporation honors the best of the best high school students in America by recognizing them as National Merit Scholars.  These students rank in the top 1% of all U.S. high school seniors, and will compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million.  Four outstanding Dobyns-Bennett students have been named as prestigious National Merit Semi-Finalists this year:
    1. Kendall Bonner, daughter of Richard and Tracy Bonner.
    2. Joelle Jarjoura, daughter of Chad Jarjoura and Amy Khoury.
    3. Samatha Maness, daughter of Michael and Karen Maness.
    4. Jon Chandler Woods, son of Jon and Melissa Woods.
  2. dsc_0325Additionally, four other D-B seniors have been named National Merit Commended Students.  This designation places them in the top 5% of all U.S. high school seniors, and is an outstanding accomplishment.  Congratulations to:
    1. Jamie Bass, daughter of Tim and Christi Bass.
    2. Jordan Guest, daughter of Chet and Jennifer Guest.
    3. Isaac Ick, son of Kurt and Tonya Ick.
    4. Rachel Summers, daughter of Becky Summers.
  3. dsc_0324In addition to being named a National Merit Commended Student, D-B senior Isaac Ick was named the 2016 Northeast District winner of the Student Recognition Award from the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA).  This honor goes to an outstanding student in our region who has achieved distinction in the areas of academics, community leadership, and engagement.  Isaac is president of the Beta Club Service Honor Society, was the Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society representative for his junior class, and is a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Panel.  He is also an active volunteer with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, “Tractors for Tita” movement, S.H.O.U.T.! (Students Helping Others Understand Tomorrow), and is also active with the Future Business Leaders of America at both the local and State level.
  4. In recognizing the retiring Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey at a recent Board of Education meeting, D-B Senior Braeden Christian (a student in Juanita Mitchell‘s Advanced Drawing class) was honored for his artistic talents by creating a one-of-a-kind pen and ink drawing for the Lieutenant Governor.  Braeden’s personalized work was recognized by the Board and greatly appreciated by Lt. Gov. Ramsey!

  5. dsc_0323The outstanding instructional talents of KCS Instructional Design Specialist Theresa Feliu have also recently been recognized, as Mrs. Feliu has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  The honor awards the top mathematics teachers in America and includes a $10,000 prize from the National Science Foundation to be used at the teacher’s discretion.  In addition, Mrs. Feliu recently attended an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. which included professional development opportunities, guest speakers, and a tour of the White House.
  6. dsc_0321Finally, three D-B athletics programs were rewarded for their outstanding work in support of the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau.  These programs have gone above and beyond to support the tournaments hosted locally by the KCVB.  Congrats and thanks to the to the D-B baseball, wrestling, and girls basketball programs!

The KCS Saturday Six – October 1, 2016

Did you know that in recent years, Kingsport City Schools has embarked on a mission to reduce energy use throughout the district?  Through facility improvements and upgrades to old and inefficient items, KCS expects to save approximately $6 million over a 15-year period.  How much is the district saving and how is this occurring?  Let’s look at six facts about the KCS energy efficient schools initiative!

  1.  In partnership with Energy Systems Group, KCS was awarded a low-interest loan to fund $5.1 million in facilities upgrades, which will be repaid entirely through energy cost savings over 15 years.  Many of these upgrades replaced items that needed improving or had reached the end of their original lifespan.
  2. What improvements took place?  Since 2012, construction has included installation of energy efficient lighting throughout the district, water conservation improvements, energy management controls, replacing old HVAC units, and improving windows, ceilings, lighting, and the HVAC at the Palmer Center.
  3. How much has been saved?  Since construction almost four years ago, the district has realized over $1.5 million in energy savings, funds that both save the taxpayer and can be used for more critical purposes.
  4. The improvements are projected to annually save 4.6 million kWh of electricity across the district… Enough electricity to power 400 homes!
  5. It’s not just power savings, either.  Improvements to the district’s water system are expected to save six million gallons of water each year.  That’s enough water to full 120,000 bathtubs!
  6. And this project goes beyond just energy cost savings.  The new HVAC, lighting, window, and water improvements are projected to save the district approximately $3 million in maintenance and capital improvement costs.  Wow!!

KCS Saturday Six – Sept. 24, 2016

You’ve found the We Are KCS blog on social media, but do you keep an eye on the other KCS social media platforms?

This week, the Saturday Six reminds you that all week long, you can get a glimpse into what is taking place in our schools and see the great things being accomplished by our students and staff.  There is no better way to learn all about KCS than by being one of our social media followers!  Check us out on Facebook at or Twitter at

This week, let’s look at six great tweets found on the KCS Twitter page this week!9-24-39-24-29-24-19-24-69-24-59-24-4