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

The KCS Saturday Six – Sept. 17, 2016


The KCS Saturday Six honors Dobyns-Bennett Head Football Coach Graham Clark, who this week was announced as a 2016 inductee into the Tennessee Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  Here are six things you should know about Coach Clark!

  1.  Coach Clark has compiled an impressive 241 wins during his career as a head coach, with 222 of those coming as the head of the Tribe.  All those wins include 18 conference championships and an average of 9 1/2 wins a season!
  2. Coach Clark has been named the Big East Coach of the Year four times (1996, 1997, 2000, and 2002).  When you consider he was also named Hogoheege District Coach of the Year while head coach at Chilhowie High School in 1981, that makes a whopping five district coaching honors during his illustrious career!
  3. The honors haven’t stopped at the local level either.  Coach Clark has twice been named Northeast Tennessee Coach of the year and received the News-Sentinel 5A Coach of the Year award twice, as well.  He is certainly well known and respected all across Tennessee.
  4. Since being named head coach in 1993, D-B has never failed to qualify for the TSSAA state playoffs.  During that time, Coach Clark has led the Indians to 29 playoff victories, including three trips to the state final 4!
  5. With such a long and storied career at D-B, do you know where Coach Clark got his coaching start?  The answer to that question is Powell Valley High School, where he was an assistant varsity football coach from 1977-78.  He also coached at the college level at Appalachian State University as an assistant coach before taking the reins at Chilhowie High School in 1980.  After 11 years as an assistant at D-B, he is now in his 24th season as the head of the Tribe.
  6. Coach Clark will be formally inducted into the TFCA Hall of Fame during the TSSAA Championship Weekend at Tennessee Tech on December 2, 2016… A deserving honor for an extraordinary coach, leader, and gentleman.

Congratulations, Coach Clark, on this tremendous honor.  We are proud of you!

The KCS Saturday Six Homecoming Edition – Sept. 10, 2016

This was Homecoming Week at Dobyns-Bennett, and to help celebrate, the Saturday Six takes a look at the sights and sounds from the celebration.  What an awesome ending to a spirit-filled week!  #RollTribe

  1.  The D-B Spirit Shakers helped get Homecoming Friday off to a fantastic start, as they rocked it during the afternoon pep rally.
  2. Head Football Coach Graham Clark caps off the pep rally by awarding the coveted spirit stick!
  3. It’s time to kick it off in J Fred Johnson Stadium!
  4. Touchdown, D-B!
  5. It’s always a special time when the Homecoming Court arrives during halftime.
  6. Congratulations to the 2016 Football Homecoming Queen, Miss Tyla Phillips!


The KCS Saturday Six – September 3, 2016

Happy Labor Day Weekend from everyone at the KCS Saturday Six!

This weekend, we’re shining a spotlight on a unique and award winning community engagement program for our district, “Insight KCS.”  The initiative provides opportunities for local citizens throughout Kingsport to study the full scope of instructional programs and operations of Kingsport City Schools.  The program takes place over six sessions during the 2016-17 school year, with each session highlighting a different aspect of KCS operations.  It is a deep dive into the inner workings of the school system and reveals much about why a school system operates in the way it does.

Is Insight KCS something in which you might be interested?  Let’s take a look at the six sessions that make up the program so you can decide for yourself!

  1.  Session 1 – KCS Overview, Leadership, and Organizational Overview.  Insight KCS begins with a deep review of the district, including the KCS Guiding Tenets, history, structure, and strategic plan.  This session builds the foundation of who we are as a district and the philosophies that guide our work.
  2. Session 2 – Teaching and Learning.  This session explores the way teaching and learning takes place in KCS classrooms.  Participants will take on the role of students, experiencing literacy and math just like it occurs in classrooms across the district.  School tours will further deepen the level of understanding regarding the instructional methods that are taking place.
  3. Session 3 – The KCS Vision.  What are the “big picture” projects in which KCS is engaged?  Session three will focus on the major projects and initiatives that will take KCS to new heights, including our technology initiative, STREAM vision, D-B EXCEL, and the D-B Science and Technology Center.
  4. Session 4 – School Facilities and Operations.  What takes place in KCS schools and offices every day that allows exceptional teaching and learning to occur?  This session focuses on the necessary operational processes to ensure schools function well, such as school nutrition services, maintenance & custodial services, safety, and transportation.  In fact, participants will even board a bus to get a first-hand look at what students and drivers experience each day!
  5. Session 5 – HR and Finance.  What does it take to staff and fund a school system of over 7,400 students and almost 1,200 employees?  Session five explores all of the human resources and finance operations that take place each day, including a look at the KCS budget and hiring processes.
  6. Session 6 – Student Services and Community Engagement.  So much work takes place to provide a high level of service to the students and families of Kingsport.  The final session explores the many ways that KCS supports the needs of our community, including student service operations, nursing and health services, homeless education, and building strong partnerships with our families and community.

Interested in enrolling or finding out more about Insight KCS, winner of the 2015 TSBA Award for Excellence in Education?  Click here for more information.  Hurry!  Insight KCS begins on September 30, 2016.

The KCS Saturday Six – August 27, 2016

This week, the Saturday Six turns its spotlight on a program of KCS that not only provides a unique learning opportunity for students, but is also a tremendous asset for the Kingsport community.

WCSK Radio can be found at 90.3 on your FM dial (and also streaming online here), and serves as the radio voice of Kingsport City Schools.  “Educational and eclectic,” listeners to WCSK will here a variety of music genres throughout the day in addition to the Dobyns-Bennett student voices from the D-B Radio Club each weekday afternoon.  The opportunity for students to learn more about radio broadcasting also extends to the athletic fields, as WCSK also broadcasts D-B sporting events such as football and basketball.  We talk about wanting to provide world-class opportunities for our students, and WCSK certainly fits the bill, giving kids a chance to develop skills most often not available until the college level.

Led by long-time radio veteran Jeff Hall, WCSK also provides the local community a unique information and entertainment source 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  What will you hear when you tune in?  Let’s look at six things you’ll hear when you stream online or turn your radio dial to 90.3 FM.

  1.  A wide variety of music genres:  Depending on the time of day, you’ll hear an eclectic mix of music, including pop, classical, jazz, and even some classic rock.  It’s a perfect backdrop to the workday that never gets stale.  And the best part??  WCSK is the exclusive home of KCS school concerts and programs.  If a student group is performing across the district, chances are you’ll hear it broadcast on WCSK.
  2. The D-B Radio Club:  As the school day winds down, a group of nearly 40 students takes over the airwaves to broadcast their favorite tunes, as well as learn the craft of radio broadcasting.  Starting at 3 p.m. each weekday afternoon, the station becomes a lab of creative music and talk under the guidance of station manager Jeff Hall.  It’s a great opportunity for our students to build confidence and develop public speaking skills, while also possibly finding a love for a future career choice.
  3. Insights from educational and community stakeholders:  Each week, WCSK opens it’s microphones to have conversations with a wide variety of key individuals from our community.  You’ll hear from people like the KCS Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie, members of local government, and other individuals that are working to make a positive difference in our community.  You never know who might be the next interview subject, but odds are, it will be someone that is making a significant impact on Kingsport!
  4. Information, information, and more information:  Want to know what is happening throughout KCS and the Kingsport community?  You’ll find out by listening to WCSK!  Whether is an upcoming local event or a way that you can be involved in our local happenings, WCSK will have you covered.  Keeping you informed on all things Kingsport is a key priority for Jeff Hall and the entire student broadcasting team at WCSK.
  5. Educational Vignettes:  We like to say WCSK is “Educational and Eclectic,” and you will certainly learn some interesting information as you listen throughout the day.  Programs such as Pulse of the Planet, A Moment in Time, Science and the Sea, and Classics for Kids are aired throughout the day, providing a healthy dose of learning amid some great music.  The quality of these offerings adds yet another layer of enjoyment to the WCSK listening experience.
  6. A weekend FULL of special entertainment:  Did we mention that WCSK is fresh 24/7?  Weekends are chock-full of interesting programming, from early in the morning to late at night.  You’ll hear programs such as Music and the Spoken Word, Old Time Radio, Footlight Parade, Dick Robinson’s American Standards by the Sea, and Bluegrass Breakdown… a mix of programs that will keep you tuned-in all weekend long.

Give it a listen!  At any point of the day or night, tune in to 90.3 WCSK, or listen online here.  We think you’ll be glad you did!

Are you currently a WCSK listener?  If so, what do you think about the station?  Leave your comment below.

The KCS Saturday Six – August 20, 2013

Did you know that through extensive work and continual reflection over a long period of time, KCS has developed a set of beliefs, principals, and truths that both define our district’s focus and guide all work?  These are called the KCS Guiding Tenets, and they act as the foundation for all that happens throughout Kingsport City Schools.  This week, the Saturday Six looks at the Guiding Tenets and shares this important information with you!

  1.  The KCS Mission explains what we hope to accomplish as a district, and that is to provide all students with a world-class and student-focused education that ensures college and career readiness.  Our Vision describes our desired future, which is to be “Student Focused … World Class.”
  2. Six Core Values have been identified, which describe what we believe as a district.  We believe in:
    • Exemplary student learning.
    • A guaranteed and viable curriculum.
    • Collaborative professional learning communities.
    • Engaged families and the community.
    • Data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.
    • A culture of shared leadership.
  3. All of our work is centered on five Goals, which are the things we strive to achieve.  They are:
    • Goal One: Deliver world-class curriculum and instruction.
    • Goal Two: Provide committed and innovative educators.
    • Goal Three: Furnish safe, appropriate, and well-maintained facilities that support teaching and learning.
    • Goal Four: Ensure business operations effectively support teaching and learning.
    • Goal Five: Engage families and the community.
  4. There are also a set of items called Core Competencies, which define who we are as a district.  We are a district that:
    • Promotes and supports exemplary leadership through programming and succession planning.
    • Offers a rigorous, comprehensive, and engaging curriculum.
    • Engages students in learning through the use of transformative tools and innovative instructional practices.
    • Provides personalized professional learning opportunities for all employees.
    • Actively engages and serves our families and community.
    • Supports and sustains the organization with a performance improvement system.
  5. What do we do?  That is describe in our Key Practices.  We:
    • Plan, teach, assess, and evaluate to inform instructional practices through the use of the 4 critical questions (see below).
    • Incorporate problem-solving and innovation in teaching and learning.
    • Guide teaching and learning using internationally benchmarked standards.
    • Seek to understand and engage our families and community.
    • Recruit, retain, and develop highly competent educators.
    • Build leadership capacity within our educational community.
  6. And finally, our teaching and learning philosophy is focused on Four Critical Questions:
    • What is it we expect our students to learn?
    • How will we know when our students have learned it?
    • How will we respond when our students do not learn?
    • How do we respond when our students have mastered the content?

These Guiding Tenets serve as the road map for what goes on throughout all of Kingsport City Schools!

The KCS Saturday Six – August 13, 2016

Now at the end of the second week of school, things are in full swing across KCS when it comes to teaching, learning, and other events outside of class.  This week, we thought we’d update you on some of the key work and activities being done by our awesome students and staff… They have certainly hit the ground running!

  1.  This past Friday, the streets of Kingsport were aglow as the Dobyns-Bennett Student Council hosted the first “Glow Tribe Glow” 3K Run/Walk.  The event served as a fantastic community collaboration as both young and old came together to support the D-B Student Council.  Thanks to all that made this inaugural fund raising event such a success!
  2. Next week will be an exciting time for the students and staff at Jefferson Elementary, as Australian storyteller Paul Taylor will hold a 5-day residency at the school.  Taylor will work with students across the school to teach them more about Australian culture through music and storytelling.  What a great opportunity for the entire Jefferson community to experience new learning and cultures!  A huge thank you goes out to the Jefferson PTO for helping fund this project.
  3. It’s about time to kick it off in Kingsport!  Can you believe the first D-B varsity football game of 2016 will take place next week?  We hope you’ll come out to J. Fred Johnson Stadium to support this year’s football squad, band, cheerleaders, spirit shakers, students, and all the adults that help coach and support.  The season will officially kick off at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday evening against Tennessee High.
  4. Speaking of football, do you have your season tickets yet?  If not, all remaining season tickets will go on sale to the general public starting Monday morning at 8 a.m. at the D-B Athletics Office (in the dome lobby).  Get ’em while they’re hot!
  5. Before you head out to J. Fred on Thursday, why not drop by Robinson Middle School for an inner-city volleyball rivalry!  The Sevier and Robinson volleyball teams will take to the court starting at 4:30 p.m.  Come support both of our squads as they give it their all!
  6. And finally, you have a little time before the registration deadline, but we hope you’ll consider joining this year’s class of Insight KCS, a 6-session program during 2016-17 that will explore the full scope of education and operation of Kingsport City Schools.  The first class begins on September 30, but applications are now being accepted.  Click here for more information about Insight KCS!

Have a great weekend!!