The Saturday Six “I Love School Because…” Edition – February 17, 2018

During Valentine’s Day week, the spirit of love seems to be ever-present, and it was no different throughout Kingsport City Schools.  But instead of just focusing on candy hearts and “Will you be mine?” messages, KCS students also took time to think about why they love school.  The responses were incredible!

This is one of those weeks where The Saturday Six asks for a little latitude on the “Six” part of our blog title.  Let’s take a look at some of the fantastic messages (waaaay more than six!) from KCS students, as they tell us why they Heart school.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  February 22nd is Digital Learning Day across the U.S.  Next week, we’ll take a look at how technology is being used to transform the learning environment for KCS students.

The Saturday Six “Sons and Daughters of Douglass” Edition – February 10, 2018

(photos courtesy http://www.sonsanddaughtersofdouglass.org)

From 1913 to 1966, Kingsport’s Douglass High School served as a shining example of community and excellence, educating generations of children and serving as the centerpiece of the Riverview Community.  It stood as the largest African-American high school in upper east Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and southeast Kentucky, leaving a legacy that positively impacted countless students and families.  The Sons and Daughters of Douglass continue to celebrate that tradition by both remembering the history of the school and supporting the Kingsport students of today.

This week, let’s look back on the heritage of Douglass High School and learn more about the vital role it played in the history and development of the City of Kingsport.

  1. Built on the corner of Center Street and East Sevier Avenue, the Douglass School was named after Frederick Douglass, the great African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.  Douglass once famously stated that it is “easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  The school, it’s staff, and the entire Douglass community certainly reflected this mindset.  Prior to the construction of the Douglass School, the original public African-American school in Kingsport was the Oklahoma Grove School, beginning in 1913.  Overcrowding and the growth of the African-American community forced several moves that resulted in the building of the Douglass School in 1929.  It was built partially with money from the Rosenwald Fund, which was started by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald to help build improved black schools across the South.
  2. You’ll likely recognize the name V.O. Dobbins, who in 1942 moved from his position as a science and math teacher to become Douglass principal.  Mr. Dobbins went above and beyond in his support of the school, starting a free lunch program and even growing and canning vegetables for children to eat while at school.
  3. Strong academics were a hallmark for the school, providing students with the education needed for life-long success.  Douglass teachers and staff were well known for fostering a family atmosphere that created an environment for learning.  Additionally, Douglass was accredited by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, ensuring that graduates would be in good standing when moving on to colleges and universities.  The academics taught at Douglass represented a continuation of educational excellence for African-American students in the community!
  4. In addition to academics, Douglass High School was well known throughout the state for excellence in a variety of athletic and extra-curricular programs.  The basketball and football teams were both powerhouses in the region, and the school also featured highly regarded band, chorus, and theater programs.
  5. Douglass High School closed its doors for the final time on June 8, 1966.  In the Fall of 1966, Douglass students then began attending Kingsport City Schools, marking a time of significant educational and social transition in the history of the community.
  6. The spirit of Douglass lives on through The Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc.  Its goal is to, “Lead (Douglass) school graduates and former students with the ‘Tiger Spirit’ that forever binds them with their African-American heritage in Kingsport, and to remind that the school’s rich tradition and neighborhood pride are to be passed on to future generations (by Virginia Ellis, 80 Years of Enlightenment).”

Today, the spirit of Douglass High School continues to shine brightly, connecting Kingsport’s past with its future.  You are encouraged to learn more about The Sons and Daughters of Douglass, the history of Douglass High School, and the heritage of South Central Kingsport by visiting www.sonsanddaughtersofdouglass.org.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  It’s Valentine’s Day week!  In a spirit of love, next week’s Saturday Six will feature KCS students who answer the age-old question of “What do you love about school?”

The Saturday Six “Meet the Superintendent” Edition – February 3, 2018

Dr. Jeffrey Moorhouse

It’s been an exciting week for Kingsport City Schools!  Amidst all the great academic work, athletic accomplishments, and snow forecast watching, our new Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Moorhouse, began his tenure leading KCS on Friday, February 2.  Dr. Moorhouse comes to Kingsport via Greeneville City Schools, where he served as Director of Schools since 2015.

This week, the Saturday Six introduces you to our new leader, taking a look at his history, experience, and expectations for KCS!

  1. Dr. Moorhouse’s professional experience covers a wide range of settings, including teaching at the elementary, middle, high, and college levels and serving as an administrator in both school and district positions.  He’s been a school administrator in Unicoi County, South Carolina, and Hamblen County (TN), including an 11-year tenure as principal at Morristown West High School.  In 2015, Dr. Moorhouse made the shift to district administration, taking the role of Director of Schools in Greeneville City Schools.
  2. An honors graduate from Johnson County High School in 1987, Dr. Moorhouse holds a Bachelor’s degree from Milligan College (1991), a Masters of Arts in Teaching from East Tennessee State University (1992), and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from ETSU (2002).
  3. While Director of Schools in Greeneville, the district was repeatedly honored by a variety of organizations.  The district was recognized as an AP Honor District, a top district in Tennessee in the annual Niche Rankings and by Business Insider, and was ranked 9th in the United States by the Center for Digital Education for innovative uses of technology.  Under his leadership, Greeneville City Schools also received the College Board’s Gaston Caperton Award… one of only 130 districts in America to be recognized for exemplary work in increasing opportunities for underrepresented student populations.
  4. Dr. Moorhouse also has a long history of successful program development focusing on student achievement and opportunity.  He has led work on an expansion of industry certification programs, created an elementary behavioral intervention and transition program, led the development of a virtual learning academy, as well as creation of a program of college visits and tours involving a medical school, law school, and veterinary school to expose students to professional school opportunities and expectations.
  5. If you ask Dr. Moorhouse, he will likely list his family as his greatest accomplishment, including his wife and two college-age daughters.  When Dr. Moorhouse isn’t at work or involved with one of the many professional organizations in which he is a member, you may very well find him reading, fishing, trap shooting, playing golf, or just generally being outdoors!
  6. What will be Dr. Moorhouse’s priorities as he begins his superintendency of KCS?  Building relationships, being able to positively impact students and families, and supporting the current successful work of the district are the items most frequently mentioned when he’s been asked that question since being selected as superintendent.

To help welcome Dr. Moorhouse to Kingsport, the community is invited to a reception in his honor on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 5:15 p.m. in the KCS Administrative Support Center Tennessee Room (400 Clinchfield Street, 3rd floor).  The reception will take place immediately prior to the February Board of Education meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  From 1913-1966, Douglass High School played a vital role in the life and development of Kingsport.  When it closed in 1966, Douglass was the largest African-American high school in Upper East Tennessee.  The school’s heritage lives on today through the Sons and Daughters of Douglass.  Next week, we’ll learn more about this important organization and how it continues to support the students of Kingsport.

The Saturday Six “D-B YES!” Edition – January 27, 2018

What happens when a brainstorm collides with a perceived community need and students with a passion for service?  You end up with exciting programs such as the The D-B YES! club, of course!

Back in 2015, Roosevelt Elementary school counselor Alice Browder and Jackson Elementary family liaison Jaclyn Clendenen saw the potential for a unique peer mentoring program, in which Dobyns-Bennett students would connect with KCS elementary students that could benefit from having an older, positive role model.  Since that time, junior and senior students who are members of the D-B YES! club have left school for a period of time during the day to travel to elementary schools and mentor younger students.  It’s a terrific opportunity for elementary students to receive guidance and support from a new friend who can relate to them on a more personal level.

The program has been a booming success!  All across the district, students are making meaningful connections with their peers with incredibly positive results.  This week, let’s look at six bits of info about the D-B YES! program.

  1. Since beginning in Fall 2015, over 300 Dobyns-Bennett and D-B EXCEL students have participated in YES! and mentored a younger KCS student.
  2. Giving an average of 15 hours a semester, the total number of hours volunteered by D-B students through the YES! club is quite impressive… 2,250 hours in 2015-16, 3,450 hours in 2016-17, and an anticipated 3,900 hours this school year!
  3. Over 350 elementary students throughout KCS have received mentoring and support from a YES! mentor.  The relationships established have made a significant difference for so many children!
  4. Currently, D-B YES! mentors are in all KCS elementary schools, impacting lives all throughout the district.
  5. Student meentees benefit greatly from the relationships developed with their high school peer mentors.  These benefits extend far beyond the friendships developed, and include improved attendance, social and communication skills, academic achievement, and self esteem.
  6. Benefits are also felt by the high school student mentors.  They share they have felt an increased sense of pride, an increased awareness of education as a possible career path, and have gained volunteer hours for organizations such as Beta Club, TN/VA scholars, and TN Promise.

Want to learn more about the D-B YES! program?  Contact Roosevelt school counselor Alice Browder for more information at abrowder@k12k.com.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Kingsport City Schools has a new leader, as Dr. Jeff Moorhouse is set to begin his tenure as KCS Superintendent.  Next week, the Saturday Six will introduce you to the innovative and charismatic educator that will serve as the 9th Superintendent in the history of Kingsport City Schools.

The Saturday Six “STREAM” Edition – January 20, 2018

As second semester hits fill stride, the Saturday Six turns its attention to a key academic focus for KCS, the district STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Vision.  Led by the KCS Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) team, STREAM specialists Wendy Courtney and Andrea Fissel, and KCS educators across the district, students at all levels are designing and engineering solutions to problems that directly connect them to the real world of the future.  These experiences prepare them not only for future learning, but also for careers that have not yet been invented.

What does the STREAM work look like in KCS?  Let’s explore six aspects of the STREAM Vision that are preparing students for an exciting future!

  1. Students across KCS are exploring the world of coding via a partnership between KCS and Bootup.  These programming experiences support a deep level of planning and problem solving to accomplish a variety of tasks.  Teachers at all levels are working together to provide cohesive transitions as students grow and advance to higher grades.
  2. Robotics programming is expanding at schools across the district.  Originally starting at D-B with the US FIRST robotics program, middle and elementary schools are now exploring robotics through the FIRST Lego League competition.  There are even underwater robotics teams starting at D-B and D-B EXCEL this year!
  3. The KCS STREAM specialists are working with teachers in the development of project-based learning for students.  These classroom learning opportunities provide hands-on experiences that provide real-world connections and deep levels of student understanding.
  4. New Science Standards are on the way in Tennessee and extensive professional development is occurring to make sure teachers are fully prepared to support student achievement.  Curriculum maps will be developed to guide classroom learning and ensure the transition to the new standards is a smooth and successful one.
  5. Science collaboratives are taking place to provide a deep level of integrated instructional planning.  This work helps to connect STREAM learning to all areas of the curriculum, such as literacy.  In doing so, STREAM becomes an embedded aspect of many classroom learning experiences.
  6. STREAM instruction in KCS is truly a team effort!  By working together, individuals such as teachers, STREAM coordinators, Instructional Design Specialists, principals, and district-level C&I staff are continually developing a wide-reaching and engaging STREAM instructional platform that will serve students well.  By focusing on STREAM, KCS is preparing students for success today, tomorrow, and beyond!

Want to keep up to speed on all the exciting STREAM happenings across the district?  Stay connected through Twitter by following @KCS_STREAM.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Students from Dobyns-Bennett High School are taking an active role in developing their own leadership skills while also serving other students across the district.  We’ll learn more about the D-B YES! program and how peer mentoring is making a difference in the lives of our students.

The Saturday Six “Spring 2018 Preview” Edition – January 13, 2018

Welcome to 2018!  The Saturday Six is back from its Winter Break and looking forward to a fantastic start to the new year.

As the start of construction on the Regional Science and Technology Center at Dobyns-Bennett signifies, it looks to be a year of great growth and excitement across Kingsport City Schools.  2018 looks to be packed full of new experiences, opportunities, and reasons to celebrate the great things happening across KCS.

This week, the Saturday Six takes a look at what to expect during the coming year.  Let’s preview some highlights of what is to come during 2018.

  1. The biggest news to kick off the start of the semester is the naming of the new KCS Superintendent.  At a special called meeting on Monday, January 22, 2018, the Kingsport Board of Education will vote on a contract to name Dr. Jeff Moorhouse as the 9th Superintendent in KCS’ history.  The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Administrative Support Center Tennessee Room (400 Clinchfield Street) and the public is invited to attend.  Dr. Moorhouse comes to Kingsport after serving as Superintendent of Greeneville City Schools.  Welcome to KCS, Dr. Moorhouse!
  2. Construction is underway on the Regional Science and Technology Center at Dobyns-Bennett and will hit fill stride as foundational work sets the stage for vertical construction.  Did you know that a 24/7 live camera has been positioned that will provide a view for the duration of the project?  Click here to stay up to speed on the construction progress by viewing the live stream.
  3. This Spring will mark yet another milestone in the history of the KCS musical program, as the D-B Orchestra and Band will travel to the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City for a special performance.  The trip will take place from March 15-21 and include the band participating in the famous New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  And during that same time, the D-B Chorus will be attending the Music for All National Choral Festival in Indianapolis, an incredible achievement and honor.  World-class students sharing world-class talents in world-class venues!
  4. Speaking of the arts, there will be MANY incredible performances taking place in schools in the coming months.  Click here to view the KCS Events Calendar so that you can stay up to speed and come enjoy our talented students.  One particular item of note early in the semester is the D-B Dramahawks performance of The Wizard of Oz, which will take place January 26 & 27 at 7 p.m. in the Nancy Pridemore Theater.
  5. Please be aware of a few calendar items for the Spring semester.  Schools will be closed on Monday, January 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and again on February 9 for parent/teacher conferences.  Spring Break will begin with a teacher in-service day on March 16 and continue through the next week, March 19-23.  The last day of school will be a half-day on May 24.
  6. As always, Dobyns-Bennett Graduation will be a magnificent way to wrap up the school year, as we honor the accomplishments of approximately 500 D-B seniors.  It’s a community celebration that is not to be missed, and you’re invited!  Mark your calendar now to join us in J. Fred Johnson Stadium on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 9 a.m.

So much will happen over the next five months!  Make sure to follow along on our website (www.k12k.com) and social media (wearekcs.com; twitter.com/KCS_District; facebook.com/KptSchools) to catch all the action.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Students across Kingsport are doing some incredible things in the area of Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, the Arts, and Math (STREAM).  We’ll take a look at the fantastic learning taking place in KCS classrooms!

Dobyns-Bennett/Regional Science and Technology Center Construction Update

Dobyns-Bennett Construction Traffic Patterns 12-26-17

When Dobyns-Bennett students and staff return to school on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, vehicle and traffic patterns will be adjusted due to the start of construction on the Regional Science and Technology Center.  This project will take approximately 15 months to complete, with the result being a 70,000+ square foot facility that will house game-changing science and technology education for KCS students.

A variety of materials have been distributed to students and staff to help with the transition back to school on January 9th:

  • Click here to view a webpage (also available at the KCS website at http://www.k12k.com) that contains a map, photos, updates, and an FAQ related to construction and logistics.  This webpage will be the main catalog of information until the project is completed in Spring 2019.
  • A special Twitter account has been created to make you aware of construction updates and alerts.  Follow “DBHS Construction Project” at @KCS_RSTC.  This will be used for instant news and info.
  • The map above outlines the new traffic patterns and drop-off/pick-up points.  Please note that Midland Drive will no longer connect with Legion Drive in front of the Pridemore Theater.  Those traveling north on Midland Drive must enter either the faculty parking lot next to Civic Auditorium or the Maroon Student Parking Lot.  Traffic entering campus on Legion Drive may drop off in front of the Theater, then circle back at a new roundabout, exiting campus to the west on Center Street or Auditorium Drive.  The drop-off roundabout on Tribe Way (near the Dome ramp/along the baseball field) will continue to be operational for student drop-off/pick-up at this time.

An important note to remember:  The temporary “Main Entrance” to D-B during construction will be at the CTE entrance.  The current front door to D-B will be behind the construction entrance and not accessible to school visitors.  All visitors and those wishing to sign-out students should enter at the CTE building (accessed from the stoplight at Center Street/Park Street).

Certainly, there will be inconveniences as construction progresses.  However, the end result of a state-of-the-art science and technology facility will be worth those “pardon our dust” moments along the way.  Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we build the future of education in Kingsport!

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.