Month: April 2018

The Saturday Six “Meet the Coach” Edition – April 28, 2018


If you noticed a buzz around the Kingsport community this week, it very well may have been due to the naming of the new Dobyns-Bennett head football coach, long-time D-B assistant coach, Joey Christian.  Coach Christian was selected from a field of talented candidates to assume the reins as head coach of the Tribe.

This week in the Saturday Six, let’s learn more about Coach Christian, the new head of the Tribe… a dedicated family man, educator, and coach.

  1. Coach Christian is married to his wife Stacy, a first grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School.  They have two children… Chloe is a senior at D-B who will attend the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in the fall, and Carson, is a 7th grader at Robinson Middle School.
  2. Coach grew up in Surgoinsville, attending Surgoinsville Elementary and Middle Schools, then playing football at Volunteer High School, where he graduated in 1989.  Coach Christian played football for the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers for three seasons, 1989-1991, and graduated in 1993 with a B.A. in Business Administration.  In 1997, he earned his Master’s degree in Arts and Teaching, with a focus on secondary education.
  3. During his playing career, Coach’s preferred position was offensive tackle, which prepared him well for his tenure coaching the entire offensive line.  Christian believes that the success of any team’s offense lies in the hands of the offensive line, and he loves working with the young men who form this critical unit.
  4. For Coach Christian, life isn’t just about football.  It’s also about enjoying time with friends and family.  He loves to trout fish and enjoys taking family hikes.  The Christian family vacations include “going anywhere” and annual treks to the beach, in which the coach admittedly likes to “sit on the beach and do nothing!”
  5. When asked about the best lesson he ever learned from Coach Graham Clark, he responded that there were too many to list, but one thing that stood out in his mind was to always work hard for the kids.
  6. As he begins his new role leading the D-B Football program, Coach Christian’s coaching philosophy is three-fold:
    • Help each member of the team be the best at the fundamentals of the game.
    • Encourage each member to work hard and give 100% effort at every practice, in every scrimmage, and in every game.
    • Teach the players to approach the game with a mindset of being physical for each play.

Congratulations, Coach!  We can’t wait to kick off the 2018 season with you on August 17, 2018 as the Tribe hosts the defending state champion Greeneville Green Devils in J. Fred Johnson Stadium.  Roll Tribe!


The Saturday Six “Competition Excellence” Edition – April 21, 2018

Though it may be front and center in the minds of KCS children and educators these days, standardized testing is only one measure of how well prepared students in Kingsport City Schools are for the exciting and challenging futures that await them.  Both inside and outside the classroom, our students are participating in a wide variety of district, regional, and state-wide competitions to test their applied knowledge and skills.

How are KCS students pursuing excellence?  This week in the Saturday Six, we’ll take a look at the KCS Science Olympiad Teams and the Dobyns-Bennett Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC), who have been competing in various venues over the past few months.

  1. Teams from KCS participated in the Tennessee Science Olympiad that was held on April 7, 2018 at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  In order to compete at the state tournament, teams had to initially compete and place in district-level competition.  Kingsport City Schools did just that, sweeping through the regional competition to place three teams in the state tournament.
  2. Robinson Middle School’s Science Olympiad team won first place in the district competition and placed third overall out of 24 teams at the state event.  Fifteen students competed in 23 different events spanning all areas of science and engineering.  Students from Robinson placed first in two individual events – Rocks and Minerals, as well as Disease Detectives.  Robinson’s successful team was coached by Marsha Buck, Daniel Way, and Cameron Buck.
  3. Sevier Middle School placed second in the district event in their first year of team competition, while the team at Dobyns-Bennett also scored high enough to win the right to compete at the state-level tournament.  Sevier’s team was coached by Jessie Crowe and Brad Fissel, while the Dobyns-Bennett team was student-led and coached by D-B senior Hannah Jackson.
  4. The Science Olympiad was founded in 1984 to increase K-12 student and teacher participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  It is one of the premier science competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to 7,800 teams in all 50 states.
  5. Academic teams are not the only KCS groups faring well at recent competitions.  The Dobyns-Bennett Air Force JROTC unit has continued its award-winning journey by winning third place overall (Small Unit Division) in the 6th Annual Appalachian Region ROTC Championship.
  6. The D-B cadets also won first place in Overall Drill and Best Air Force Unit, and had first and second place finishes in every drill category at this competition!  The D-B AFJROTC unit, under the command of Colonel Eric Vogt and Chief Master Sergeant Melanie Blankenship, is considered one of the top 10% JROTC units world-wide.

Students at Kingsport City Schools are provided with many opportunities to demonstrate their academic prowess, work collaboratively toward a common goal, and achieve extraordinary results against well-trained peers.  Whether in academics, fine arts, athletics, or leadership, KCS students are succeeding and setting new standards for themselves and those students who will follow in their footsteps!

The Saturday Six “Student Leadership” Edition – April 14, 2018

Take a quick look around Kingsport City Schools, and you’ll see students of all ages accomplishing great things through leadership, hard work and collaboration.  If the words of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi are true that “Leaders aren’t born … they are made,”  what is it that is shaping these young leaders?

KCS makes it a priority to provide students of all ages with opportunities to develop their leadership potential.  One program in place at two elementary schools (Jackson and Johnson), The Leader in Me, is designed to help grow young leaders.  The Leader in Me, developed by Franklin Covey, is a program that “teaches leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.”

This week in the Saturday Six, let’s look at how leadership skills are developed through this program, student by student.

  1. At Jackson Elementary, students are empowered to take on leaderships roles very early in their school careers.  During the recent Kindergarten screening event, current Kindergarten students ushered pre-k students and their parents to classrooms and shared with them what it is like to be in Kindergarten.  Jackson students also serve in leadership roles as school tour guides, greeters, and bus monitors.
  2. The Jackson BRAVES Council and Junior BRAVES Council are comprised of students who assume leadership roles at school and in the community.  Currently, these Council representatives are leading a drive to support a local animal shelter.  Students who participate in the school’s EBA (Emotional Bank Account) Club lead celebrations for student and staff birthdays and seek other activities to “fill the buckets” of members of the Jackson Elementary School family!
  3. Jackson students even take the lead in their own learning.  Faculty and staff help students understand their growth as learners, how to set goals and monitor progress, and how to become active learners.  In the past, conferences with parents to discuss student progress were led by teachers.  Now, students take the lead in these conferences and lead the discussion regarding their growth and progress.
  4. At Johnson Elementary, all students are encouraged to “find their voice” and make meaningful contributions to the school and the community through shared leadership.  Students explore their talents and interests, developing ways in which they can uniquely contribute to the success of their class, school, and community.
  5. The “application station” at Johnson is a program in which tasks formerly performed by staff are now completed by students.  These include delivering Second Harvest Food Bank weekly food bags to classrooms, serving as morning and afternoon greeters, serving on the flag team, and assisting in cafeteria clean-up.
  6. Every Johnson student has a classroom leadership role.  Additionally, the four school-wide assemblies that take place during the year are now completely student-led and student-developed.  Students even take the lead in planning and hosting the annual volunteer appreciation lunch.  At Johnson, leadership is considered a right, not a privilege!

In Kingsport City Schools, student leaders are being developed every single day.  Children of all ages are learning to respect themselves, respect others, and take responsibility for their own actions.  By encouraging leadership development in every student, KCS continues to pursue its vision of being “Student Focused … World Class.”

The Saturday Six “KCS Teachers of the Year” Edition – April 7, 2018

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Data shows that the most significant influence on a child’s ability to learn and grow is the presence of an effective teacher.  Knowing this, Kingsport City Schools works hard to hire, retain, and develop the very best educators so that all of Kingsport’s children have access to excellent teaching.  Great teachers set the scene for great things to happen in the classroom.

This past week, KCS recognized some of our very best educators, as the 2018 Teachers of the Year were honored… this year’s best of the best!

The Saturday Six shines a spotlight on this year’s school and district-wide winners, recognizing them for their effort, their excellence, and their commitment to providing students a world-class educational experience.  Congratulations to the 2018 KCS Teachers of the Year!

Each year, the staff at every KCS school votes to select the teacher most deserving of their school-level Teacher of the Year award.  This recognition is especially significant, as it represents a peer-selected honor given by co-workers.  The school-level winners for 2018 year are:

Pre-K-4th Grade:  Jayson Arnold (3rd Grade, Washington), Carrie Conkin (4th Grade, Johnson), Randy Elam (Pre-K, Roosevelt), Ami Frye (4th Grade, Jefferson), Whitney Gibson (2nd Grade, Jackson), Sarah Hall (Pre-K, Palmer Center), and Patti Smith (1st Grade, Lincoln).

5th-8th Grade:  Jeff Frye (7th Grade Social Studies, Robinson), Leslie Hardin (7th and 8th Grade English/Language Arts, Sevier), Erica Johnson (7th Grade English/Language Arts, Robinson), John Mallick (8th Grade Social Studies, Sevier), PJ Ryan (5th Grade, Kennedy), and Amanda Senn (5th Grade, Adams).

9th-12th Grade:  Allison Berry (English, D-B), Carmen Brooks (English, D-B), Luke Douthat (Science, D-B), Jana Engle (World Language, D-B), Melissa Fields (English, D-B), Sara Shaffer (Digital Arts, D-B EXCEL), and Elizabeth Wilkins (World Language, D-B).

Once school-level winners are announced, a committee of educators and administrators then considers these phenomenal educators and completes the difficult task of selecting the grade-band winners for the entire district.  With so many excellent teachers, it is an incredibly difficult task.  This year’s district Teachers of the Year are truly outstanding.  Congratulations to the 2018 KCS District Teachers of the Year!4-7 5.jpg

Pre-K-4:  Ami Frye (4th grade, Jefferson) – Mrs. Frye has a total of sixteen years teaching experience, with eight years in her present position.  She is currently a Literacy Teacher Leader, Lead Mentor Teacher, and co-leader of the Literacy committee at Jefferson Elementary.  She has also served as a member of the Jefferson Leadership team.  She was awarded the Excellence in Leadership Award from Jefferson Elementary during the 2016-17 school year.  This is the second time Mrs. Frye has been selected as a District Teacher of the Year; the first was in 1995-96 at Gordon County Schools (GA).

5th-8th Grade:  Erica Johnson (7th grade English/Language Arts, Robinson) – Mrs. Johnson has a total of eight years teaching experience, with five in her present position.  She is currently serving as Canvas Team Leader, “We are RNR” Action team representative, and yearbook sponsor at Robinson.  She has served on the New Teacher committee, Language Arts department chair, and has been a member of the RNR Leadership team.  Mrs. Johnson was the recipient of the KCS “Learning Leader” Leadership Award during the 2016-17 school year.

9th-12th Grade:  Sara Shaffer (Digital Arts, D-B EXCEL) – Ms. Shaffer has a total of nine years teaching experience, with two in her present position.  She is currently serving as Canvas Lead Teacher, Project-Based Learning coordinator, and webmaster at D-B EXCEL.  Ms. Shaffer is also a member of the KCS STREAM Leadership team.  She was selected to participate in the Competency-Based Education pilot through the TN Department of Education, as well as the Tennessee Micro-Credential pilot.  She was selected to be a member of the 2017-18 Tennessee STEM Innovation Network’s (TSIN) Innovative Leaders Institute and was featured as a Teacher of the Month on the TSIN website.

Congratulations to all of the KCS Teachers of the Year!