Month: September 2017

The Saturday Six “KCS Library” Edition – September 30, 2017

One of the most important resources available to all KCS students is their school library.  School libraries are full of high quality books and materials that open the door to a vast world of learning for students on a daily basis.  But what is the key to unlocking those adventures and guiding students in that learning adventure?  The KCS library media specialists!

This week in the Saturday Six, let’s take a look at six things you might not know about KCS libraries and library media specialists.

  1. KCS Libraries have partnered with the Kingsport Public Library and the Tennessee STEAM Festival in Knoxville to host a community “STEAMfest” on October 7, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Glen Bruce Park.  This unique event will allow students of all ages to experience Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math at various stations.  There will be activities for kids, snacks, and FREE giveaways for all participants!
  2. KCS Library Media Specialists (LMS) were recently honored by being able to present at the Tennessee Association of School Libraries Conference in Murfreesboro, TN.  The LMS’ collaborated to offer three presentations to others LMS professionals from across Tennessee.  “Rockin’ with Robots in your Makerspace” showcased how KCS is using robotics to teach coding in school libraries.  The “STEAM in the Community” presentation highlighted the upcoming STEAMfest.  “Take this Code and Shelve it: Implementing a Coding Curriculum” gave details of how the KCS LMS’ have undertaken teaching of a new coding curriculum within their classes.
  3. Did you know that in Tennessee, an individual must have a Master’s degree in Library Information Science in order to be qualified for the position of Library Media Specialist?  This is one of only a few teaching positions that requires this advanced degree.
  4. KCS Library Media Specialists are leading the way in computer programming training for students across the district.  These professionals have received intensive training on teaching coding to students in grades K-8.  Coding not only teaches 21st Century technology skills, but also allows students to problem solve and engage in higher-order thinking.  KCS Library Media Specialists have done an excellent job of fostering these skills in students at a very early age.
  5. All KCS Libraries house a “Maker Space.”  A Maker Space is a location in which individuals with shared interests (especially in computing or technology) can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.  The Maker Space holds a variety of different materials for this purpose.  Some of the most popular items include Legos, K’Nex, Makey Makey circuit boards, a Dash robot, PlayDoh, building materials, iPads, and computers.
  6. The KCS Libraries and Library Media Specialists have received a number of awards and certifications in recent years.  These recognitions include three National Board Certified teacher designations, four Certified Tennessee Electronic Libraries Trainers, all LMS’ receiving training in selection and resource curation, several American Library Association accredited school designations, three Library of Congress primary resource trained professionals, and the 2017 Tennessee Association of School Libraries Innovative Elementary Librarian … WOW!

As you can see, the KCS Library Media Specialists play a critical role in the development and support of the KCS teaching and learning process.  Thanks to this great group of individuals who work hard on a daily basis to support exemplary student learning!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  The KCS Board of Education is poised to approve a 2018-19 School Calendar at their scheduled meeting next Tuesday.  We’ll look at the major components of that schedule next Saturday!

The KCS Saturday Six “Transportation” Edition – September 23, 2017

Each and every school day, 39 buses travel all across the City of Kingsport with the singular mission of transporting thousands of children safely and efficiently to their school.  It is a monumental logistical task that is skillfully accomplished by the women and men of the KCS Transportation Department.  But how do they do it?  What is involved in accomplishing this mission?

This week in the Saturday Six, let’s take a look at six tidbits related to the Kingsport City Schools Transportation Department.

  1. How many miles do you think KCS buses travel in a year?  Those 39 buses are driven by a staff of 44 full and part-time drivers, covering over a half-million miles within the Kingsport city limits each year!
  2. Those bus routes don’t just take place before and after school.  Mid-day runs take place to accommodate new Pre-K classes at Roosevelt and Washington Elementary Schools.  There is also a full-time shuttle between the main Dobyns-Bennett campus and D-B EXCEL to allow students to access programs and educational opportunities at both locations.
  3. You may have seen discussions in the news recently about seat belts on school buses.  Did you know that KCS is the only school system in the eastern end of Tennessee to have seat belts on all buses and as a part of school board policy?  It’s just one more commitment KCS has taken to provide the safest environment possible for students!
  4. KCS transportation is responsive to the ever changing needs of our students and schools.  Two new routes have been added since the start of the school year to alleviate overcrowded buses and to shorten the length of bus rides to some of the more distant outlying areas.
  5. Great training is a critical piece of the KCS transportation mission.  Our “New Driver” training has been praised by State officials, who provide feedback about how well new KCS drivers are prepared when they test for their CDL licenses and endorsements.  KCS has also been invited to share this driver training program to set a standardized training program in the local 14 county TAPT (Tennessee Association of Pupil Transporters) district.
  6. KCS transportation also helps support the terrific community partners that serve our students.  After-school runs take place to three different Boys & Girls Club and Girls, Inc. locations from eight different KCS schools.

Thanks so much to the men and women of the KCS Transportation Department for the key role they take in supporting our students and families!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  We’ll take a look at the great things happening all across KCS in our libraries and media centers!

The KCS Saturday Six “Insight KCS” Edition – September 16, 2017


Do you ever wonder what is involved in operating a school system of over 7,700 students?  What “Student Focused … World Class” looks like on a practical, day-to-day basis?  Or about practical decisions and operations, like how transportation drives over a half-million miles in a year or how Dobyns-Bennett feeds over 2,000 meals twice in about about five hours every school day?

Now is your chance to find out!  For the fourth year, Kingsport City Schools is hosting “Insight KCS,” a community education program that explores the full operations of our school system.  You are invited!  Taking place over six sessions during the 2017-18 school year, Insight KCS will highlight a different aspect of system operations, each month.  From teaching and learning… to student services… to facilities operations… you can learn all about how KCS works and what goes into a wide variety of decisions.

Insight KCS starts on Friday, September 29, and applications for this year’s program are now being accepted.  Interested in learning more about this unique and award-winning activity?  Here is what you will experience if you are a member of this year’s Insight KCS class:

  1. Session 1 (Sept. 29) – 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 (Oct. 27) – 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 instruction just like it occurs in classrooms across the district.  School tours will further deepen the level of understanding regarding instructional methods that are used on a daily basis.
  3. Session 3 (Nov. 17) – 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 Regional Science and Technology Center.
  4. Session 4 (Jan. 26) – 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 (Feb. 23) – HR and Finance.  What does it take to staff and fund a school system of over 7,700 students and approximately 1,250 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 (Apr. 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.

Think you might be interested in attending Insight KCS, winner of the 2015 TSBA Award for Excellence in Education?  Click here for more information.  Hurry!  Insight KCS begins on September 29, 2017.

Next Week in the Saturday Six:  The KCS Transportation Department travels over a half-million miles a year.  How do they do it?  We’ll learn more next week…

The KCS Saturday Six “Athletics Website” Edition – September 9, 2017

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On Friday, September 1, 2017, Kingsport City Schools launched its latest effort to more effectively communicate with stakeholders, as the KCS Athletics Website went live.  This one-stop shop for all-things athletics is a joint project of the KCS Athletics and Communications departments, and serves to keep our community informed regarding all aspects of the district’s athletics programs.

Located at, the site will keep fans of our student-athletes and programs up to date on schedules, results, and so much more.  This week, the Saturday Six takes a look at the new website and highlights key aspects of this new communications tool!


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  1. It’s not just about Dobyns-Bennett!  Sure, the new site has all the information related to the Indians athletics programs, but it also keeps you up to speed on Sevier and Robinson athletics, as well.  We feel strongly that we are truly “One Tribe,” and the website is a key component to sharing information about the entire district athletics program.  As the KCS Athletics Director Larry Shively often states, “All arrows are pointing in the same direction!”9-9 3
  2. On the hunt for a schedule of games or event details?  The website provides full team schedules, as well as a calendar with daily event listings.  Have a free afternoon and looking for something to do?  Check out the “Upcoming Events” calendar and come support the Tribe!9-9 5
  3. Each KCS athletic team now has it’s own home on the web.  Team pages include team and coach photos, schedules, rosters, and more!  Find your favorite D-B, Robinson, or Sevier team and follow their progress all season long! 9-9 4
  4. Do you have an athlete and need a medical authorization form or other athletics paperwork?  The website has you covered!  All of those necessary documents are just a click away, under the “Athletic Forms” tab.  Downloadable PDFs are available 24/7, whenever you might need them!9-9 6
  5. Looking for a historical fact about one of our athletics teams?  Ever wonder, for instance, how the D-B football team fared in 1945?  The KCS Athletics website has you covered!  The archive of records is impressive, and serves as a historical vault for information.  And in case you are now curious, Ed Shockey’s Tribe went 10-0 in 1945 and won the State Championship! 9-9 7
  6. Need quick information regarding Athletics social media, tickets, or facilities?  The “Quick Links” section is a handy place to get fast information you might need.  Keep this section handy when looking for directions to a game or for info on when that football season ticket payment is due!

We hope you will enjoy the new KCS Athletics website and use it to stay connected with our student athletes.  It’s one more way we are striving to better engage our families and community… #RollTribe!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  The award-winning “Insight KCS” program is getting ready to start its 4th year.  Learn more about this community education program and how you can be involved!

The KCS Saturday Six “Attendance Awareness” Edition – September 2, 2017

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Though attendance is always an important topic on which to focus, September is “Attendance Awareness Month,” highlighting the life-long benefits of making sure children are in school each day, as well as potential negatives if they are not.  Attendance is critical for success in school and in life, beginning at a very early age!

Building foundational skills and habits as early as Pre-K or Kindergarten will help children do well academically, physically, and socially throughout their entire lives.  Through ensuring that students are at school each day, consistent and ongoing learning can take place to prepare children for life-long success.  Even missing just a few days a month can add up to a tremendous amount of lost instructional time over the course of a school year.

This week, the Saturday Six looks at key factors related to school attendance, and why it is so important for a child’s long term success in life!

  1. Children can suffer academically if they miss 10 percent of school days, which adds up to about 18 days per year.  Even if it is just one day few of weeks, that adds up over time, and can happen before you realize it!
  2. It doesn’t matter if absences are excused or unexcused.  All absences represent lost time from the classroom and a lost opportunity to learn.
  3. To support good attendance for younger children, it helps to set a regular bedtime and morning routine.  Make sure children get 9 to 11 hours of sleep.  Some helpful tips include preparing for mornings by laying out clothes and packing backpacks the night before.
  4. For older children, help set homework and bedtime routines that allow for 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep.  Make sure that when the lights go out, so do cell phones, video games and computers.
  5. Above all, set an example for your child.  Show him or her that attendance matters to you and that you won’t allow an absence unless someone is truly sick.  In addition, it helps to not ask older students to help with daycare and other household errands during the school day.
  6. For children, school is their first and most important job.  They are learning about more than math and reading.  They are also learning how to show up for school on time every day, so when they graduate and get a job, they will know how to show up for work on time every day!

Help make sure students are in school each day.  It will make a huge impact on their opportunity for success in school and in life.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  September 1, 2017 marked the launch of the brand new Kingsport City Schools Athletics Website.  We’ll take a tour of the site and show you how to stay connected with all-things KCS Athletics!