Month: December 2017

Happy Holidays from the Saturday Six! – December 30, 2017


Though the Saturday Six is taking this week off for the holiday break, everyone at Kingsport City Schools wishes you Happy Holidays!  We hope you are enjoying this special season with family and friends.

The holiday artwork above was designed by Dobyns-Bennett freshman Erin Colhoun.  Erin’s creation was selected as the 2017 KCS Christmas Card cover, which was distributed to elected officials (state and local), community members, members of local Boards, and other administrative personnel.  Erin is the daughter of Frederick and Lenore Colhoun and is a student in Mrs. Juanita Mitchell’s drawing class at D-B.  Well done, and thank you, Erin!

The Saturday Six “First Semester Recap” Edition – December 23, 2017

Happy Holidays!  It’s difficult to believe, but with the arrival of the KCS Winter Break, the first half of the 2017-18 school year has drawn to a close.  So much has happened during these past few months… It has been a busy and exciting semester!

This week, the Saturday Six pauses to look back on all that has taken place since the start of the school year.  From celebrating the Kingsport Centennial, to breaking ground on the new Regional Science and Technology Center, to announcing the new KCS Superintendent (Welcome, Dr. Jeff Moorhouse!!), 2017 was a great year in the history of KCS.  Let’s review some of the major items from the first half of the year.

  1. The school year started on a high note, as KCS kicked things off by honoring the third class of the KCS Hall of Fame.  This keystone award recognizes former employees that have most impacted the Kingsport educational community during their careers with KCS.  In 2017, five KCS retirees with over 140 years of combined educational experience were honored with this prestigious designation.  Congratulations to Mrs. Celia Bachelder, Ms. Mabel Doggett, Mr. Rick Everroad, Mr. Waldo Smith, and Mr. Howard Young.
  2. KCS celebrated the 100th birthday of Kingsport all throughout 2017, but a signature event took place on August 26 with KCS involvement, as the Centennial Park was dedicated to the Kingsport community.  A key feature of the park is a display of tilework highlighting the history of transportation in Kingsport, created by KCS students.  Some of those students even joined the celebration by cutting the ribbon to officially open the park.  As a bonus, KCS collaborated with Sullivan County Schools and Saint Dominick School to create a free downloadable Centennial Celebration coloring book. It’s still available by clicking here!
  3. A wide variety of communications continued this year to better inform the Kingsport community of all the great things taking place throughout KCS.  Have you been watching the WeAreKCS Video Blog?  It’s a great way to learn more about the work of students and educators.  Look for even more program highlights in the coming year!  This fall, we’ve highlighted:
  4. The Saturday Six blog highlighted groups of individuals key to the success of KCS, including our dedicated school librarians and bus drivers.  Along with so many other individuals, these women and men bring their very best each and every day to support the physical and educational well-being of over 7,500 Kingsport children.  Their work is central to what makes Kingsport City Schools so great!
  5. It’s never too soon to start planning ahead.  This fall, the 2018-19 KCS Calendar was unveiled.  The first day for students will be Monday, August 6, 2018, kicking 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, and will conclude on Thursday, May 23, 2019.  Dobyns-Bennett graduation will take place on the morning of Saturday, May 5, 2019.
  6. December has been a whirlwind of activities across the district, with MANY concerts and holiday celebrations taking place.  Did you know that the voice of Kingsport City Schools, 90.3 FM WCSK Radio, was there to record and rebroadcast many of these events?  Let WCSK be the soundtrack of your holiday season by listening to 90.3 on your FM radio dial.  Better yet, click here to access the on-demand listening option.  Ten (!) holiday concerts are available for online listening at any time!

Great things are in store for the students, staff, and families of KCS in 2018.  We’ll see you in the new year!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Just like the rest of KCS, the Saturday Six will be taking a couple of weeks off to celebrate the holidays.  Look for the next edition on Saturday, January 13, 2018.

The Saturday Six “Regional Science and Technology Center” Edition – December 16, 2017


On Thursday, December 7, 2017, a groundbreaking ceremony took place at Dobyns-Bennett High School to launch construction of the Regional Science and Technology Center (RSTC), an initiative that will forever change the face of education in Kingsport.  The center will include over 70,000 square feet of lab and classroom space that will provide the environment necessary for high levels of academic learning.  It’s a setting necessary to most fully prepare students for the next generation of 21st century careers.

This week in the Saturday Six, we take a look at the RSTC, what to expect during the construction period, and how it will impact and differentiate Kingsport when it comes to science and technology education!

  1. At its core, the mission of the RSTC is to create a culture that inspires innovation through science and technology.  There are five key academic goals that will frame this work:  Supporting scientific inquiry and discovery; Fostering creativity and problem solving; Offering meaningful career opportunities; Providing application-based experiences through an integrated curriculum, and; Utilizing the power and flexibility of technology.
  2. Visioning work on the Regional Science and Technology Center began in May 2016 with a session involving D-B staff members and focusing on design and programming.  Key work since that time has included conceptual design and programming (July 2016), schematic design (August/September 2016), and design development (November 2016).
  3. What will be in the RSTC?  The new three-story facility, located on the front of Dobyns-Bennett (facing Ft. Henry Dr.), will house 18 science and technology labs, six student work spaces, two teacher work spaces, one TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) lab, one large research lab, four small research labs, a student cafe, and an administrative office.
  4. When complete, the new facility will raise the capacity at D-B to support 2,500 students at 85% utilization.
  5. Physical construction on the new facility will begin during the 2017 Winter Break, with expected completion by Spring Break 2019.  With construction taking place during normal school operations over the next 15 months, adjustments to parking, traffic, and visitor entry will be necessary.  Full details are being distributed to parents and the community in the coming days.
  6. How can you stay up to date on the progress of the RSTC?  Regular updates will be communicated to the Kingsport community throughout construction and will be posted on a dedicated KCS website.  Additional updates will be provided on a new RSTC Twitter account @KCS_RSTC.  Follow along for all the latest updates!

Its an exciting time for D-B, KCS, and all of Kingsport.  The Regional Science and Technology Center will be a game-changer for Kingsport students!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  We’ll close out first semester by looking back at some of the highlights of what has taken place throughout KCS in the first half of the year.

The Saturday Six “D-B EXCEL Makerspace” Edition – December 9, 2017

The transformation of learning environments is always ongoing throughout Kingsport City Schools, as new and innovative educational experiences provide incredible opportunities for KCS students.

D-B EXCEL offers an inspiring curriculum, empowering culture, and cultivating real-world learning applications. Students are not only challenged by the rigor of D-B EXCEL’s coursework, they are also exposed to 21st century skills which are are critical for advancement in both their education and careers. In order to help D-B EXCEL achieve this mission of providing an innovative approach to personalized learning, the D-B EXCEL Makerspace was created.

The Makerspace was constructed to give students the opportunity to design, create, and innovate through project and problem-based learning.  In the Makerspace, students have access to numerous design and presentation possibilities.  These experiences will guide students toward demonstrating mastery and proficiency of 21st century skills and standards in all content areas.  Through the Makerspace, students expand their learning opportunities, experience the real-world, and explore innovative ways of thinking.

What’s in the DBE Makerspace?  Let’s check it out!

  1. Digital Arts Classes – Serving as DBE’s primary elective focus, students utilize current technology tools to produce digital arts products that reflect and demonstrate curricular learning.  While Digital Arts standards form the core of the work in this lab, the location acts as the platform for teaching effective use of all technology equipment for other academic classes, as well.
  2. 3D Printing – The Makerspace allows for extensive use of the lab’s 3D printers, where students can design and print objects reflecting their learning.  The lab utilizes cutting edge products such as Autodesk Fusion 360, Ultimaker, and Makerbot Replicator and 3D Scanner.
  3. Digital Photography & Videography – Extensive student work is produced through the development of high-tech photography and videography productions.  Using a green-screen and technology tools, learning is presented in engaging and eye-popping fashion.  In this area, you’ll see tools such as high-tech Nikon cameras, a GoPro camera, a Canon photo printer, and even a DJI Phantom Drone including a camera.
  4. Graphic Design – Design skills are developed through the production of online and printed materials.  Students utilize the latest technology tools in their productions, such as Adobe Creative Suite, Wacom drawing tablets, a digital scanner, and even a full-size color HP Poster Printer.
  5. Mac Computer Lab – To be truly innovative and cutting-edge, students need to have the best technology available for design work.  To accomplish this, the Makerspace contains 10 iMac desktop computers and 15 MacBook Pros!
  6. Project-Based Learning – At its core, the Makerspace exists to provide an environment that is engaging and centered on content learning.  Cross-curricular experiences cover all academic content areas, where students demonstrate learning mastery through the production of items such as history posters, children’s books, and video products.  It is true 21st Century project-based learning and a tremendous opportunity for engaging student learning!

Next Week in the Saturday Six – Construction is about to begin on the Regional Science and Technology Center on the campus of Dobyns-Bennett High School.  We’ll look back to the ceremonial groundbreaking, as well as explore what is to come in this incredible new facility.

The Saturday Six “Special Education” Edition – December 2, 2017

As its core mission, Kingsport City Schools strives to provide all students with a world-class educational experience.  This is especially true regarding special education services provided throughout the district.  The KCS Special Education Department oversees all programming for students eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). Special Education services are provided in the least restrictive environment for students (ages 3-22) through a continuum of options. Teachers and administrators work collaboratively to develop individualized educational programs that provide support ensuring students can successfully access the academic, social, and emotional opportunities available at school.

This week in the Saturday Six, let’s learn more about all that is involved with KCS Special Education services!

  1. At its core, the KCS special education teachers and staff concentrate on five key areas of focus:
    • Identifying students with a need for specialized programming and support, creating opportunities to reach each child’s potential by setting high expectations.
    • Providing activities and an atmosphere conducive to the development and improvement of social and emotional well-being.
    • Encouraging, educating, and supporting all stakeholders to be actively involved in the educational process.
    • Promoting collaborative practices across educational settings for all KCS staff, community partners, and families to ensure continuity of programs and services.
    • Providing curricular programs and activities that provide continuity and help students prepare for successful transitions within and from the school environment.
  2. The KCS “Child Find” service is used to locate, identify and evaluate children (ages 3 to 21) who may need specialized programming and support in an education setting.  This is for children who reside within the Kingsport City School district, including those who may be homeless, migrant, homeschooled or attending a private school.  Educational needs are determined through parent interviews, with medical documentation when necessary, and evaluation of the student.  Areas evaluated may include, but are not limited to, vision, hearing, speech and language, motor, cognitive, and adaptive development.  Following evaluation, if a child is determined to be in need of special educational services or a 504 individual accommodation plan, an individual plan of services will be developed.
  3. What services are provided to children?  KCS special education services include:
    • Early Intervention Classrooms
    • General Education Classrooms
    • Speech and Language Therapy
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Physical Therapy
    • Vision Services
    • Audiological Services
    • Medical Support
    • Behavioral Support
    • Classroom Accommodations/Modifications
    • Specialized Learning Environments
  4. One unique program unique to KCS is “Tribe Games.”  Tribe Games were started several years ago with the mission of providing athletic competitions for individuals with moderate to severe disabilities.  KCS has a long-standing tradition of athletic excellence, and special education teachers within the district wanted students with disabilities to have the same opportunities to compete with one another in a fun, safe, and supportive athletic environment.
    • Tribe Games consist of three annual events (bowling, swimming and track & field).  On average, approximately 140 student athletes from across the district come together to compete with one another.  At each event, BUDS, or peer tutors, also come to assist students in the competition.  All together, there are over 200 individuals that attend each event as either an athlete, BUD, coach or administrator.
    • Kingsport Athletics have always had a tremendous amount of support from the local community and the same is true for Tribe Games.  Texas Roadhouse (Stone Dr. Kingsport) provides free meals at every event for all participants (including coaches, volunteers and BUDS).  Texas Roadhouse employees, including Manager Dave Batts, also attend each event and serve food to participants.  Daniel Kilgore, a former standout athlete in Kingsport now playing in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers,  contributes a significant amount of resources and time to ensure each event is a first class experience for all involved.
    • In addition, there are many others who contribute to the success of Tribe Games: Kingsport City Schools, The Palmer Center Foundation, Kingsport Chamber, Food City, Varsity Trophies, B&E Collision, Simply-Tee-Rific and Allen Greene Photography.  We are truly grateful to live in a community that supports ALL of our students!
  5. The use of new and engaging technology also supports the world-class efforts taking place.  Through an IDEA Discretionary Grant, KCS was able to purchase MILO, a humanoid robot designed to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or in need of social emotional supports.
    • Milo is intended to be interesting and approachable for students.  He can walk, talk and even model human facial expressions.  Milo never gets frustrated or tired.  He consistently delivers lessons in a way that evokes student responses.  This recurring positive experience creates an environment in which learners can learn and thrive.  By working with Milo on a regular basis, students improve their social and behavioral skills and gain the confidence needed to succeed academically and socially.
    • Students working with Milo learn to tune-in on emotions, express empathy, act more appropriately in social situations, self motivate, and generalize in the population.
    • Currently, Milo resides at Washington Elementary School and works with eight students as often as three times a week.
  6. KCS special education teachers perform amazing work with our students!  What motivates them in their work?  Let’s ask!
    • “My main goal as a high school special educator is to prepare my students to be successful in life after high school and to be contributing members of society. Through the work of our Transition School to Work program, students are now career-focused and are being equipped with the skills they need to be successful in a work setting. I am encouraged and reminded of the importance of this work each time I go into a store and see our students working. They are excellent employees and are always proud to show off their work. The culmination of this hard work is evidenced by many of our students being offered a paid position within the company or business they’ve been training with. Words cannot describe the level of joy associated with seeing a student reaching their potential and accomplishing their goals.” – Jimmy Burleson, Teacher
    • “As an OT in the school system, I am motivated by the uniqueness each child possesses, by helping identify what the child can do, and by helping the child be the best he or she can be. Through this process, these children are teaching me, too.”​ – Kayla McCord, Occupational Therapist
    • “What motivates me the most about working with my students is the opportunity to make a difference through helping them communicate. I can help a nonverbal student have a voice though the technology of a communication device. I can help a student with Autism understand social communication, so that he is able to be successful on the job. I can help a student with language deficits to answer questions and find success within the classroom.   It’s the thought of giving these students the ability to achieve and grow by having a voice and the means to communicate that drives me!” – Andrea Bunton, Secondary Speech Language Pathologist
    • “As a teacher of students with different abilities, I am motivated by the notion of realism and idealism driven by innovation. Students motivate my teaching as I motivate their learning. Essentially, we are all learning together through boundless mindsets. I set the expectations high in my classroom and adjust to meet students where they are through innovative strategies. This practice creates an environment of responsiveness to help students with different abilities reach their potential. Serving them in that capacity and watching them exceed expectations to be as successful as possible… that’s what motivates me every single day inside and outside the classroom.” – Morgan Saunders, Teacher 

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Exciting things are happening in KCS through the use of cutting-edge technology.  We’ll look at the Makerspace at D-B EXCEL to learn about some great tools students are putting to use!