Month: February 2016

The Saturday Six D-B EXCEL Edition – February 27, 2016

To provide you some key information and possibly bust some myths that may still be out there, the Saturday Six focuses on the KCS D-B EXCEL program this week.  D-B EXCEL (DBE) is a program that provides high school students a unique and innovative way to achieve high school credit (and a Dobyns-Bennett diploma) through a blended-learning approach, utilizing both technology and face-to-face instruction.

  1.  D-B EXCEL is not the alternative school!  DBE provides students of all types a unique way to earn D-B credits.  There is no “typical” DBE student… They are students that seek a smaller learning environment; students that for whatever reason desire a flexible high school schedule; students from the main D-B campus that want to take a class online in order to free up schedule space for additional coursework at D-B.  The DBE student is one that seeks a different path than the traditional high school environment.  Myth:  DBE is a location for students that are remanded to an alternative location for behavior reasons.  Fact:  There are students at D-B EXCEL for a wide variety of reasons, depending on their own specific circumstances or desires.
  2. D-B EXCEL offers a variety of scheduling options.  Students at DBE can take courses in the environment that best suits their individual needs.  Full-time blended-learning students take their classes online at the DBE facility, but with the ongoing support and “shoulder-to-shoulder” guidance of a teacher in the classroom.  Some students are full-time virtual, taking all of their courses online, either at the DBE facility or at home.  Other students are part-time blended/part-time virtual, depending on the level of support and scheduling flexibility that is needed.  It all depends on the individual needs of the student… This truly is an individualized approach to learning!
  3. It’s not just the physical learning environment that is individualized.  By providing a learning platform that is specifically unique to each child, students even have the flexibility to speed up or slow down the learning process.  The pace of learning depends on the needs of the individual student… meaning the student can work quickly through content that is already known and spend longer on items where more support is needed.
  4. Many students from the main D-B campus are taking advantage of D-B EXCEL course offerings.  D-B students are now able to take a wide variety of classes online, which then frees up a slot within the student’s existing schedule. This flexibility provides students the ability to take additional D-B classes of their choosing (which they otherwise would not have the ability to take), as well as obtain additional high school credits.
  5. Learning and opportunities do not stop with the “academic” coursework.  Through partnerships in the local business community, DBE students can participate in the “Earn and Learn” program.  This unique opportunity provides valuable work and vocational skills training that will support the growth of the learner.  The opportunity to gain valuable work experience while in high school is a key component of D-B EXCEL’s learning program.
  6. D-B EXCEL is growing!  Along with a steep increase in enrollment, academic supports have continued to expand.  Currently, the staff at DBE includes two math teachers, two English teachers, a science teacher, a social studies teacher, two part-time special education teachers, and a college & career liaison.  The staff is able to provide a deep level of instruction and support to DBE students, both in-person and online.  And with the growth in enrollment comes a need for additional space!  D-B EXCEL is current working toward transitioning to a new state-of-the-art physical facility to support this unique program, with the goal of relocating during the fall/winter of 2016.

Want to learn more about D-B EXCEL?  Is it right for your family?  Find out more by contacting Principal Mrs. Shanna Hensley at

The Saturday Six – February 20, 2016

It started with ice and snow and ended with 60 degree sunshine.  Yep… That sounds about right for a crazy February week in East Tennessee!

  1.  A tip of the cap to the students and staff at Jefferson Elementary for reaching out to neighbors in need.  Recently, the library at Rock Springs Elementary was damaged due to a water leak, resulting in a loss of many books.  The students at Jefferson stepped forward and collected over 700 books to donate to our friends in Sullivan County and also coordinated with Scholastic to obtain a financial donation.  Way to go Jefferson Jaguars!  You set a great example for us all.
  2. The John Sevier Middle School Sequoyah Scribe is at it again!  This week, the Sevier student newspaper learned they were a finalist in six different award categories by the Tennessee High School Press Association.  Pretty impressive stuff, considering they are competing against high school student newspapers from across Tennessee.
  3. This past Wednesday, students all across KCS took part in celebrating Digital Learning Day.  This event highlights the many ways that technology is transforming teaching and learning in our schools.  It’s not just using technology because it’s cool and new… It’s using new and engaging tools to connect students to higher levels of learning.  The day featured a variety of events and activities that used cutting edge tools to bring excitement and engagement into classrooms all across the district.  What a great time to be a part of KCS!
  4. Do you or someone you know need to apply for zoning or tuition for the 2016-17 school year?  Applications are now being accepted for next year, and may be completed by clicking here.  Remember… Even if you were enrolled through tuition or a special zoning situation this year, you must complete the application again to request accommodation again next year.
  5. Did you happen to notice that we missed another day for inclement weather this week?  As a bit of information, with Monday’s dismissal, KCS has now missed five days this year due to weather.  When the calendar was originally approved, our Board authorized four days for such a purpose, using the 30 minutes of extra classroom time our students attend each day beyond State minimums.  At this week’s Work Session, the Board indicated that since the banked time actually provides for additional days beyond the four days originally approved, they do not anticipate adding additional student attendance makeup days to the 2015-16 Calendar at this time.
  6. Tonight, the Dobyns-Bennett Girls Basketball Team will have a chance to make history and win their first district championship.  Let’s turn out big to support the Lady Indians in their quest for the title.  See you at Volunteer High School tonight… Game time is at 6 p.m.

The Saturday Six – February 13, 2016

Well that sure was an interesting week…

  1. After a week of wacky winter weather, it sure would be nice if Spring would hurry up and arrive.  This past week featured a snow day, a 2-hour delay, and an early dismissal… a trifecta of inclement weather situations!  HUGE compliments go out to the students, staff, and families of KCS for keeping a focus on teaching and learning during such a crazy week.  It’s always dangerous when you start complimenting specific groups, because you often unintentionally leave someone out,  but we also have to mention…
  2. What a terrific job by the KCS Transportation staff this week!  The drivers, led by Director of Transportation Tommy Starnes, were absolute rock stars this week.  Often facing challenging conditions, their performance was exemplary and displayed a tremendous amount of cooperation, flexibility, teamwork, and skill.
  3. The KCS Maintenance and Custodial Staff continued to shine.  As winter weather consistently threw challenges toward our facilities, the KCS staff worked long hours to clear, prep, and ensure students and staff had the best environment to teach and learn.  These are unsung heroes that keep our facilities in tip-top shape, and we thank them for their tremendous efforts!
  4. Did your child eat two meals at school on Friday?  It may not immediately pop to mind, but unusual weather and schedule changes can wreak havoc on the School Nutrition Services staff that works so hard to prep and serve two meals a day to thousands of KCS students.  Our staff rolled with the punches and made sure that every child that needed a healthy meal was able to receive one, with a fantastic level of professionalism and skill.  Thank you to our SNS workers!
  5. Online TNReady and TCAP assessments were also part of this unusual week.  Due to technical issues on Monday at Measurement, Inc. (the company tasked with implementing the Tennessee Department of Education’s online student assessments this year), all online testing for 2016 that was underway was halted and will now be replaced by paper/pencil assessments.  KCS students had not yet started testing when the issues occurred, though students, teachers, and staff had done great work to be prepared (both educationally and technically) for this year’s tests.  They will now have a chance to show off all that great learning with pencil in hand, when the new testing window opens in late February.  KCS will distribute final revised testing dates in the coming days.
  6. One final weather-related item of business, regarding the KCS Junior Band and Orchestra Clinics.  Due to the inclement weather on Friday, 2/12/16, both the Band and Orchestra Junior Clinics were postponed.  They will now take place on Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20.

The Saturday Six – February 6, 2016

This week’s Saturday Six highlights a variety of exceptional KCS students and employees, as there are so many accomplishments of which to take note!

  1.  This week, the 2016 KCS Building-Level Teachers of the Year were announced.  The list is phenomenal, and truly highlights the exceptional educators that work in our district each day.  This year’s winners include:
    • K-4th Grade
      • Sarah Hall (Pre-K Special Education, Palmer)
      • Caylor Harrison (4th Grade, Jackson)
      • Kelly Hernandez (Special Education, Johnson)
      • Pam Kindle (2nd Grade, Kennedy)
      • John Luppe (Physical Education, Washington)
      • Pattie Seabolt (2nd Grade, Lincoln)
      • Kristy Walters (3rd Grade, Roosevelt)
      • Charlotte Williams (3rd Grade, Jefferson)
    • 5th-8th grade
      • Lisa Bratton (8th Grade Math, Robinson)
      • Amanda Cole (5th Grade, Adams)
      • Jenny Jensen (7th Grade Science, Sevier)
      • Iva Rice (7th Grade Science, Robinson)
      • Liesel Watkins (7th Grade Math, Sevier)
    • 9th-12th grade
      • Jana Engle (German, D-B)
      • Kevin Fielden (Social Studies, D-B)
      • Andy Irvin (Social Studies, D-B)
      • Kris Krautkremer (Biology, D-B)
      • Nick Lingerfelt (Special Education, D-B)
      • Vicky Livesay (Special Education, D-B)
      • Cindy Norris (Health Science, D-B)
  2. From this exceptional list of educators, three individuals were named as the overall KCS Teachers of the Year and will now continue on to vie for the Tennessee Teacher of the Year.  Congratulations to:
    • Amanda Cole, KCS Elementary School Teacher of the Year
    • Caylor Harrison, KCS Middle Grades Teacher of the Year
    • Kris Krautkremer, KCS High School Teacher of the Year
  3. At this week’s Board of Education Meeting, four fantastic KCS students were honored for receiving a perfect score on the 2015 TCAP Writing Test.  This is an extraordinary accomplishment and worthy of recognition!
    • Sophie Dawson, a 6th grade student at Robinson Middle School (5th grade student at Jefferson when earning this perfect score).
    • Libby Russum, a 6th grade student at Robinson Middle School (5th grade student at Jefferson when earning this perfect score).
    • Allison Glynn, a freshman at Dobyns-Bennett High School (8th grade student at Robinson Middle when earning this perfect score).
    • Emily Baker, a senior at Dobyns-Bennett High School (junior at DBHS when earning this perfect score).
  4. In case you missed it, this past week was National School Counseling Week, recognizing the individuals that give so much to help ensure that students have the social and emotional wellness support needed to succeed in school and in life.  We can’t thank these individuals enough for providing these vital supports and for caring so much for our students.  The KCS Video Blog featured this fantastic work, and is worth a view!  (Click here to view)
  5. A note regarding 2016 TNReady Assessments – Next week features the start of the 2016 TNReady testing window for students in Tennessee, which, for the first time, will be fully online.  Students, teachers, and even KCS technology staff have been working for quite some time to make sure this is a positive experience that will accurately reflect the learning that is taking place in KCS classrooms.  This is a great time to make sure students get those full nights of sleep and healthy breakfasts so that they are primed and ready to roll!
  6. One more notice, this time regarding the end of the 3rd Nine Weeks and Report Card distribution… Due to the recent snow days and to help balance the calendar, the KCS Board of Education has moved the last day of the 3rd Nine Weeks to Thursday, March 10, 2016.  Report Cards will now be distributed on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

The We Are KCS Video Blog Episode 4 – KCS School Counselors

In recognition of National School Counseling Week and in honor of the terrific KCS School Counselors, Episode 4 of the We Are KCS Video Blog features an interview with Adams Elementary’s Ashley Marlow, exploring the variety of supports being provided to students all across Kingsport.