Month: October 2017

The WeAreKCS Video Blog – Coding @ Jackson Elementary

It’s new!  It’s improved!  The WeAreKCS Video Blog is back!

The “vlog” is one more way to learn all about the great things taking place around Kingsport City Schools.  In this edition, we take a look at how elementary students are using coding to develop high-level technology and problem solving skills.

The Saturday Six “KCS Data” Edition – October 28, 2017

It’s that time of year!  Every fall, a wide variety of data is released to school systems as a result of the previous school year’s student assessments.  Like most systems, Kingsport City Schools takes a deep look at this information to determine where our students are progressing in their academic journey.  But perhaps more importantly, this data is analyzed to determine where we can improve efforts to help all students reach the highest possible levels of achievement and growth.

This week in the Saturday Six, we’ll take a look at several data points that provide information about how KCS is progressing on our desired journey to “world class!”

  1. The ACT continues to serve as the benchmark assessment for high school students in Tennessee, and KCS has again registered one of the highest scores in the state.  Scoring at 22.4, the district had the seventh highest ACT average composite score in Tennessee and the highest of any district in our region!
  2. KCS has placed a priority on supporting students in stretching themselves academically.  One key way this is occurring is through the offering of 24 Advanced Placement courses at Dobyns-Bennett, providing students with rigorous coursework that will well prepare them for future studies.  As AP participation continues to increase, KCS was one of only four districts in Tennessee to have over 70% of AP students score a three or higher on the 2017 AP exam.
  3. The 2017 TNReady test data has revealed some high levels of success in subject areas across the district.  For instance, KCS had the third highest U.S. History proficiency rate in Tennessee on the 2017 TNReady test and the highest rate in the entire eastern region of the state!
  4. U.S. History wasn’t the only subject where KCS finished third in Tennessee and tops in the eastern region… KCS Algebra II students also achieved this mark!
  5. KCS students had the seventh highest Algebra I proficiency rate in the state on the 2017 TNReady Test.  This is especially significant considering these scores do not even include a high percentage of high achieving middle school students who took Algebra I in the spring.  These scores are accounted for in middle school math scores.
  6. Finally, KCS students taking End of Course exams cracked the top-15 in Tennessee in a wide variety of subjects:
    • High School Social Studies – 3rd
    • High School Math – 8th
    • High School English/Language Arts – 10th
    • High School Science 12th
    • English I – 9th
    • English II – 12th
    • Biology – 12th
    • Chemistry – 15th

KCS administrators, teachers, and students will continue to analyze data as it arrives, seeking new insights and opportunities for improvement!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  The Kingsport Police Department partners with KCS to help provide the safest possible environment for students and staff.  To celebrate these efforts by the KPD, Wednesday, November 1 is “KCS Backs the Blue Day” across the district.  We encourage all of Kingsport to wear blue on Wednesday as a part of saying “thank you” and recognizing all these women and men do for us.  Next week, we’ll take a look at the ways KPD helps support Kingsport City Schools!

The Saturday Six “Fall Break” Edition – October 21, 2017

Though students and many staff members took advantage of Fall Break to enjoy some much deserved rest and relaxation, it was still a busy week across Kingsport City Schools.  Many KCS employees were working hard to prepare, serve, and improve our educational community while our facilities were a little less crowded.

What goes on across KCS during a student break?  This week, the Saturday Six goes behind the scenes to take a look at some of the activity and work that has taken place during Fall Break 2017!

  1. As part of the continual effort to improve student learning, the KCS Technology Department was hard at work installing new wireless access points in all elementary schools.  This major project will help ensure that the KCS Technology Vision is fulfilled at all levels and that students have the best possible access to an engaging curriculum!
  2. When over 7,500 students are not in our schools, it’s a great time for the KCS Custodial & Maintenance departments to tackle a wide variety of upkeep items.  Floors were waxed, maintenance took place, and staff worked hard to clean and keep facilities in tip-top shape.  These women and men are a prime reason why KCS has such great learning environments!
  3. Some children continue to call KCS home over break.  Facilities that host Early Childhood Learning Centers and School-Aged Childcare were bustling with activity and learning this week!
  4. A break is also a great time to take care of larger physical projects in schools.  For instance, Adams Elementary received some office and music classroom improvements in the form of new walls and office furniture.  A definite improvement in these important areas!
  5. Learning certainly doesn’t stop over break, even for the adults of KCS.  Professional development activities took place in Kingsport, and several teachers and administrators even gave up part of their vacation to attend important learning opportunities outside of Kingsport.
  6. And while classes may not have taken place this week, business operations across the district kept right on rolling.  From schools to the Administrative Support Center, offices remained active to serve the needs of the community.

We hope you had a great Fall Break 2017.  We’ll see you back at school on Monday morning, October 23rd.  It’s hard to believe there are only 4 1/2 weeks until Thanksgiving and only 41 days until Winter Break!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  This is a time of year when teachers and administrators spend much time reviewing and analyzing a wealth of incoming data.  Next week, we’ll look at six highlights regarding KCS student growth and achievement data.

The Saturday Six “KCS Principals” Edition – October 14, 2017

Did you know that October is “National Principals Month” in the United States?  It’s an opportunity to stop and recognize all the great work that is done on a daily basis by the women and men that lead our schools.

In Kingsport, we are blessed to have a phenomenally talented group of school leaders guiding our students and staff.  They are vital to the success of our schools and shape the educational environments that ensure student success.  In fact, research shows that after great teachers, a principal has the greatest effect on student achievement… and KCS has the best of the best!

This week, the Saturday Six takes a look at the team of KCS principals and celebrates all they do for our students, families, and community!

  1. First, let’s introduce you to the KCS principal team!
    • Palmer Early Learning Center – Dr. Amy Doran
    • John Adams Elementary – Mrs. Christy Free
    • Andrew Jackson Elementary – Dr. Krissy Turner
    • Thomas Jefferson Elementary – Mr. Mike Fulkerson
    • Andrew Johnson Elementary – Mr. Stacy Edwards
    • John F. Kennedy Elementary – Dr. Janice Irvin
    • Abraham Lincoln Elementary – Mrs. Suzanne Zahner
    • Theodore Roosevelt Elementary – Dr. Kelli Seymour
    • George Washington Elementary – Mrs. Heather Wolf
    • Ross N. Robinson Middle – Dr. Jim Wernke (interim)
    • John Sevier Middle – Dr. Holly Flora
    • Dobyns-Bennett – Dr. Chris Hampton
    • D-B EXCEL – Mrs. Shanna Hensley
    • Cora Cox Academy – Mrs. Julie Malone
  2. The KCS principals collectively possess hundreds of years of educational experience and training from some of the most respected educational institutions in America.  Our principals hold Masters, Educational Specialist, and Doctorate degrees from colleges and universities such as Appalachian State University, Tusculum College, East Tennessee State University, the University of Tennessee, Milligan College, Lincoln Memorial University, Cumberland College of Tennessee, Elon College, Johns Hopkins University, Carson-Newman College, Middle Tennessee State University, and Indiana University.
  3. What do KCS principals love about their job?  When asked, the resounding answer is “students and teachers!”  To quote one KCS principal, “Each morning, the students energize me and help to get my day started off on a bright note.  My favorite place to be is in the classroom, engaged in the learning, with teachers and students.  I am so grateful for a wonderful school family!”
  4. A key role of a school principal is to align the many efforts of a school community to ensure student success.  It’s a tireless job that takes great leadership skills, long hours, and an unyielding focus on children.  As one KCS principal noted, “I love being a principal because in everything I do, from the tiniest of decisions to strategizing for big goals, I get to be a champion for ALL kids!
  5. Principals keep their eye on both the little details and the big picture for both students and staff.  A principal said it best when she commented, “Our educators are outstanding because they focus on taking care of the ‘whole child’. We have students who are creative, smart, and will one day be leaders in our community.  As a principal, I am able to see the tapestry of work and love that comes together to create our student-centered school culture.  I’m proud to work alongside our faculty and staff!”
  6. KCS principals not only excel in their schools, but have also been recognized in Tennessee and across the nation for their work!  Robinson Principal Mr. Brian Partin is currently serving as President of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and Sevier Principal Dr. Holly Flora has served as President of the Tennessee Principals Association.  Wow!

This week, we pause to celebrate and give a huge “THANK YOU” to the KCS principals that give so much of themselves for the children of Kingsport.  You are greatly appreciated!!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  KCS may be on Fall Break next week, but the work of the district continues, even when students are away! The Saturday Six will take a look behind the scenes at what goes on across KCS during a scheduled student vacation.

The Saturday Six “2018-19 KCS Calendar” Edition – October 7, 2017


Though the start of the 2018-19 school year is still ten months away, the Kingsport Board of Education has already approved the calendar for next year.  This is done as early as possible so parents and students have as much time as possible to plan accordingly.  This week, the Saturday Six takes a look at the major components of the 2018-19 KCS Calendar.  It’s never too soon to start getting prepared for next year!

  1. The first day for students will be Monday, August 6, 2017.  This will kick off an instructional year that includes 178 student days, with 89 days each in the fall and spring semesters.  The first student day of the Spring Semester will be Tuesday, January 8, 2019, following a teacher in-service day on January 7, 2019.
  2. There are four major breaks during the course of the school year… Fall Break, Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break.  The dates for these in 2018-19 are:
    • Fall Break:  October 15-19, 2018
    • Thanksgiving Break:  November 21-23, 2018
    • Winter Break:  December 24, 2018 – January 4, 2019
    • Spring Break:  March 25-29, 2019
  3. In addition to the formal breaks, there are several long/holiday weekends throughout the school year.  Students and staff will not attend school on Monday, September 3, 2018, Monday, January 21, 2019, or Friday, April 19, 2019.
  4. Once again, KCS will offer two opportunities for Parent-Teacher Conferences during the school year.  Friday, September 14, 2018 and Friday, February 8, 2019 are set aside for these important meetings.
  5. Professional learning for teachers and staff is a vital component to making sure students have the best opportunity to learn.  Several in-service days are set aside for this important work, including two days in the middle of each semester.  Teachers will have these in-service days on Friday, October 5, 2018 and Friday March 15, 2019.
  6. The last student day of school will be an abbreviated day on Thursday, May 23, 2019.  However, the unofficial end to the year will take place with Dobyns-Bennett graduation on the morning of Saturday, May 25, 2019.  This annual event is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. in J. Fred Johnson Stadium and is the ultimate celebration of the students and educators of D-B and KCS.  We hope you will consider joining us for this capstone event!

Click here to view the approved 2018-19 KCS School Calendar!

Next Week in the Saturday Six:  October is National Principals Month, and KCS is blessed to have a world-class group of principals leading our schools.  We’ll shine the spotlight on these women and men that play such a vital role in the Kingsport educational community.