The Saturday Six “Spring Break Musical” Edition – March 24, 2018

(Photo Credits:  Jennifer Golden, Jeff Fleming, David Golden, Jenny Rogers)

This past week may have been Spring Break for Kingsport City Schools, but hundreds of KCS students were hard at work in locations all across the nation, displaying incredible academic, athletic, and musical talents during their vacation.  For almost 350 Dobyns-Bennett students, it was an opportunity to showcase their musical abilities in some of the most storied venues in America.

This week in the Saturday Six, let’s look at how the D-B Chorus, Orchestra, and Band spent their Spring Break.  Their travels took the groups to Indianapolis and New York City!

  1. The D-B Varsity Choir was one of only 12 choirs in the entire nation invited to perform at the Music for All Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The group performed at the historic St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, one of the most historic venues in downtown Indianapolis, dating back to the mid-1800’s.
  2. While in Indy, the group participated in master classes and rehearsed with renowned choral conductors.  The festival included a concert by the combined choir of all festival participants (over 500 members) at the historic Hilbert Theater on Indy’s Monument Circle.
  3. With this appearance, it is believed that Dobyns-Bennett is the only high school in the world that has had a band, orchestra, and a choir to all perform at a Music for All Festival.
  4. Speaking of the Band and Orchestra, almost 300 student hit the road to New York City for a weekend of performances.  The weekend started with the band and orchestra presenting an evening of Irish music in historic Carnegie Hall, featuring Irish tenor and member of Celtic Thunder Emmett Cahill.
  5. On Saturday, March 17th, the D-B Color Guard joined the group in marching in the annual NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  The parade is one of the oldest parades in America… There have been St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City since the 1760’s!
  6. In addition to the marching band, the parade performance was highlighted by orchestra and color guard members carrying a variety of national and state flags, making this one of the most unique and inclusive events in which D-B has performed.

It was truly a special week in the history of D-B music.  Congrats to the talented students, adults, and supporters that made these incredible trips possible!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  The weather may not reflect it, but the calendar says it’s Spring!  Next week, we’ll preview the rest of the KCS Spring semester and look at the incredible things that are coming up on the calendar between now and the end of the school year.

The Saturday Six “Video Blog” Edition – March 17, 2018

For the past 147 episodes, the KCS Saturday Six has brought you a wide variety of news and information about the people and programs of Kingsport City Schools.  It has become a regular fixture at http://www.wearekcs.com and on the KCS social media platforms each weekend.  But have you found the companion We Are KCS Video Blog on the KCS YouTube channel?  It’s yet another way to learn more about the exciting and talented students and staff that are working so hard to achieve great things.

This week, the Saturday Six takes a look at this video series and the accomplishments that it highlights.  Let’s explore six of our favorite We Are KCS Video Blogs, and check out the entire vlog library by clicking here.

  1. Episode 18:  The D-B Robotics Program – With the help of D-B faculty and a variety of community stakeholders, The Dobyns-Bennett CyberTribe is a learning volumes about engineering while competing against some of the best FIRST Robotics teams in the nation.
  2. Episode 17:  TRIBE Games Swimming – KCS student-athletes are working hard and finding great fun and success as the entire community comes together to celebrate the human spirit!
  3. Episode 16:  D-B a Capella Groups – Talented vocal groups from D-B have recently returned from a prestigious national competition, having secured a first-ever championship!
  4. Episode 13:  KCS 4th Grade Career Expo – What will the future look like for Kingsport’s children?  Elementary students from across the district explored a wide range of career options at the first-ever KCS 4th Grade Career Expo.
  5. Episode 11:  The KCS School Resource Officer Program – Did you know that there are multiple full-time Kingsport Police Department officers working to keep our schools safe?  Learn more about the men behind the badge that fill this critical role for our school system.
  6. Episode 10:  Coding in KCS Elementary Schools – Students today are preparing for careers that have not yet been invented.  Coding helps all students become better problem solvers through technology and teamwork.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  This coming week is Spring Break for Kingsport City Schools, but hundreds of KCS students are still working hard to display their incredible talents during their week off.  Next Saturday, we’ll shine the spotlight on the D-B choral, orchestra, and band programs that hit the road to perform in some of the country’s most prestigious settings during the vacation.


The Saturday Six “Athletics” Edition – March 10, 2018

KCS students demonstrate their incredible abilities in a wide variety of ways… in the classroom, playing an instrument, creating an artistic masterpiece, or through service to others.  Hundreds of student athletes also display their talents through a variety of sports and activities.  Their commitment to developing a strong work ethic, dedication to team building, and quest for excellence is inspiring and exciting to see.

This week, the Saturday Six takes a look at what has been happening athletically across Kingsport during the winter, as well as looking forward to this Spring’s sports season.

  1. The Dobyns-Bennett Girls and Boys Basketball teams both had outstanding campaigns, totaling 53 varsity wins and appearances in the Region 1-AAA tournament.  The Lady Indians finished 24-10 and were Big 7 Conference runners-up, while the Boys wrapped up the year at 29-8, winning the District 1-AAA title and finishing 2nd in the region.  With great talent returning next season, the future looks incredibly bright for both squads!
  2. The D-B Swimming and Diving team had another successful campaign, with many athletes progressing to the state championships in Knoxville in February.  Four athletes placed in the top 16 at state, including Kynadi Lane, who finished 5th in the 1 meter diving competition!
  3. The D-B Wrestling team capped a phenomenal season by progressing all the way to the TSSAA Class AAA State Dual Wrestling Championships.  Individually, D-B Senior Cade Salyers finished 6th in the state in the 285 lb. weight class.  Outstanding!
  4. At the middle school level, both Sevier and Robinson Middle Schools had tremendously successful winter campaigns.  These programs form the foundation of our athletics programs, and both the Girls and Boys Basketball teams, Swimming, and Wrestling teams made great strides in both in-competition success and player development this year.
  5. Perhaps the biggest recent news involving KCS athletics is the announced retirement of D-B’s Hall of Fame Head Football Coach Graham Clark.  Coach Clark ends his 25-year tenure leading the Tribe as the winningest coach in school history, with not only an incredible list of accolades, but having positively touched the lives of hundreds of individuals.  Click here to see the full story regarding Coach Clark’s retirement.
  6. Spring sports have already begun!  Softball, Baseball, Boys Soccer, Track & Field, and Tennis are already underway.  Don’t forget that a one-stop-shop for all information and news regarding KCS Athletics can be found at https://athletics.k12k.com/.  This website contains photos, schedules, information, and records for all of KCS athletics programs.  You can also follow along on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KCS__Athletics.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Have you found the We Are KCS Video Blog yet?  This innovative communication method highlights the people and programs of KCS and has seen some significant updates during this school year.  We’ll take a look at several of the new blog videos that shine a spotlight on some incredible students and programs.

The Saturday Six “Read Across America Day” Edition – March 3, 2018

Though reading is certainly a focus on every day of the school year, this past Friday had a unique significance as it was “Read Across America Day.”  Held annually each year on the birthday of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, KCS celebrates all-things-literacy on this special day with a wide variety of school and classroom-based events.  It is definitely a day to focus on the importance and love of reading!

This week, let’s take a look at some key information related to literacy and focus on some sights from across the district as KCS celebrates Read Across America Day.

  1. In addition to teaching technical reading skills, KCS teachers focus daily on developing excited readers.  This week has been no exception, as a special focus on the love of reading has been evident in schools across the district.
  2. A key component to the KCS literacy development lies in engaging students in a high volume of complex and engaging texts.  With support from teachers, readers are guided to texts that spark a love for reading that will carry them through adulthood.
  3. Is having young children read daily important?  Studies show that a student that reads 20 minutes a day will read 1.8 million words per year and is likely to score in the 90th percentile on standardized assessments.  A child that reads only one minute per day will read approximately 8,000 words per year and is likely to score in the 10th percentile on standardized assessments.
  4. Reading promotes achievement in all subjects, not just English.  Children who are good readers tend to achieve better across the curriculum.  Additionally, reading is a much more complex task for the human brain than watching TV.  Reading strengthens existing brain connections, as well as building new ones.
  5. Does reading achievement have a significant impact on society?  You bet.  In data provided by the United Way, the cost of illiteracy to business and the taxpayer is estimated to be $20 billion per year.  Yes, that was billion… with a “b.”
  6. Did you know how Read Across America Day started?  It was first celebrated in 1998 as a brainchild of the National Education Association in an effort to celebrate reading.

Bonus fact:  One of Dr. Seuss’ most famous books, The Cat in the Hat, was written because of a challenge to publish a book using 400 words that were given to him.  Those words were believed to be the most important words for 1st graders to recognize.  Geisel wrote the book, which was an instant success, in just nine months using only 225 words from that list.

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Student athletes all across KCS have been doing some amazing things in the past few months.  We’ll take a look at what has been accomplished and preview the spring season that’s on the horizon.

The Saturday Six “Digital Learning Day” Edition – February 24, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018 was digital learning day across the United States.  Though this is a special day designated each year to highlight how technology is transforming education, you could argue that the efforts of Kingsport City Schools students and educators make every day “Digital Learning Day” across KCS.  The environment in KCS classrooms is truly cutting edge, with student having access to a worldwide web of information and educational experiences.

This week, the Saturday Six takes a look at how technology is changing the face of education in Kingsport.

  1. The KCS STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Vision reflects the guiding philosophy that charts the path for all such work across the district.  Based on research and best practices, the vision incorporates a wide range of activities and initiatives to support this academic focus.  It’s purpose is to reach every child and to provide opportunities for students who exhibit an interest or aptitude in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics.
  2. For the past two years, all KCS elementary students have had the opportunity to learn how to code.  This experience helps students develop deep problem solving skills while building foundational computer programming experience.  If you want to learn more, check out this recent We Are KCS video blog that highlights this engaging activity.
  3. If you aren’t already familiar with the term “MATE,” you are likely to learn much more about it in the coming weeks and months.  Marine Advanced Technology Education is quickly becoming an integral part of KCS STREAM education, as students are actively working to design and build underwater robots.  In fact, through a partnership with Streamworks, Kingsport will host it’s first MATE competition in April.  Make plans now to attend the Tennessee Regional Underwater Robotics Competition at the Kingsport Aquatic Center on April 28, 2018.
  4. Don’t be fooled… “LEGO League” is not about building cool structures with interlocking bricks.  KCS elementary and middle school students are building robots that perform tasks and complete challenges, even competing in Kingsport’s first LEGO competition back in December.  This exciting hands-on approach builds a fundamental knowledge base related to technology and robotics, helping prepare students for…
  5. The high school Project Lead the Way class works with a wide range of community partners to design, engineer, fabricate, build, and program a FIRST Robotics competition robot.  The D-B “Cyber Tribe” team uses these skills as they compete with other schools across the state and southeast.  The Cyber Tribe has been ranked as high as #2 in the state of Tennessee and has quickly become know as a creative force across the region.  Want to learn more?  Check out dbcybertribe.com.
  6. On a day-to-day basis, no technology has changed the educational environment more than the KCS 1-to-1 (1:1) program.  This vision has provided a technology device to all KCS 4th through 12th graders.  Shortly, all students will be utilizing chromebooks for this purpose, giving them a reliable and cost-efficient option to access information both at school and at home.  It has been a game-changer for KCS students in the way they access information and go about learning academic content.

Today’s children are preparing for jobs and careers that have yet to be invented.  What will the future hold?  No one knows for sure, but through the use of technology, the future for KCS students is boundless!

Next week in the Saturday Six:  Another big educational day is on the horizon, as Friday March 2 is Read Across America Day!  Next week, we’ll explore all-things literacy throughout KCS.

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.