The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Several key items were discussed, including:
- Recognition of KCS schools receiving the top designation of Level 5 on the 2021 Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS);
- Recognition of Johnson Elementary and Adams Elementary schools for being named 2021 Reward Schools by the Tennessee Department of Education;
- Approval of a tenure recommendation for a KCS educator;
- Approval of temporary paid COVID-19 related leave;
- An extension of the current mandate requiring face coverings in KCS facilities through October 19, 2021 (with all current opt-out provisions);
- Approval to enter into a cooperative purchasing agreement for school technology equipment;
- Approval to purchase interactive flat panel displays using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds;
- Approval of a change order regarding the Dobyns-Bennett High School cooling tower replacement project;
- Approval of several Board policies on first reading;
- An update on KCS technology;
- A review of a draft 2022-23 KCS School Calendar;
- A discussion regarding the broadcasting of future Board meetings and work sessions;
- A review of several Board policies for consideration at the October BOE meeting; and
- An update on the KCS Strategic Plan currently in development.
CALL TO ORDER
The Pledge of Allegiance was led this evening by Isabelle and Peter Jackson. Isabelle is a kindergartener and Peter is a 2nd grader at Lincoln Elementary School. They are the children of Jonathan and Kaitlin Jackson.
Board Vice President Julie Byers recognized six KCS schools for receiving the top composite score of Level 5 on the 2021 Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS).
- TVAAS measures student growth year-over-year and, along with student achievement scores, helps provide a fuller picture of student performance.
- The schools scoring at this top level were:
- Dobyns-Bennett High School
- Adams Elementary School
- Jefferson Elementary School
- Johnson Elementary School
- Kennedy Elementary School
- Roosevelt Elementary School
Board Member Todd Golden recognized two KCS schools for being designated as Reward Schools by the Tennessee Department of Education.
- Reward status is the top designation a school can earn in Tennessee.
- These schools were identified as improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and student sub-groups. Reward School status is a key designation under Tennessee's school accountability system.
- The two KCS Schools named as 2021 Reward Schools are:
- Johnson Elementary School
- Adams Elementary School
Chief Human Resources Officer Jennifer Guthrie presented a tenure recommendation for the Board's consideration.
- Sevier Middle School Teacher Tina McMurray has met the requirements for tenure and is recommended for approval.
- After review, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the tenure recommendation for Mrs. McMurray.
Mrs. Guthrie presented a recommendation to the Board regarding temporary COVID-19 related leave for KCS employees.
- The recommendation is to approve up to eight (8) days of paid leave to be utilized if work is missed due to the employee having:
- A confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 with proof of a positive PCR or antigen test result; or
- A healthcare provider note with COVID-19 diagnosis listed; or
- A positive test result from a COVID-19 home test (with documentation).
- The additional leave would be effective August 2, 2021 through December 31, 2021.
- After review and discussion, the original proposal was amended to remove a requirement that employees be fully vaccinated to receive the additional leave. With this amendment, the additional leave was approved by a vote of 5-0.
Dr. Andy True, Assistant Superintendent - Administration, presented a variety of data for the Board to review as they considered whether or not to extend the mandate requiring face coverings in KCS facilities.
- At a called meeting on Friday, August 27, 2021, the Board voted to implement a mask requirement for students, staff, and visitors (with opt-out provisions) through September 28, 2021.
- Dr. True reviewed data regarding KCS attendance, positive cases, and mask opt-outs for the 21-22 school year.
- After review of the information and discussion, the Board voted 4-1 to extend the current mask mandate (with all current opt-out provisions) through the next Board meeting on October 19, 2021.
David Frye, Chief Finance Officer, presented a recommendation for KCS to enter into a cooperative purchasing agreement with Sevier County Schools to utilize competitive pricing for school technology equipment.
- The use of cooperative purchasing agreements provide districts the opportunity to utilize competitive pricing and increased efficiency in the purchasing process by decreasing the amount of time between product requisition and when materials are received by the district.
- After review and discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to enter into the cooperative purchasing agreement.
Mr. Frye reviewed a proposal to purchase interactive flat panel displays for use in KCS classrooms.
- The request would utilize the previously approved cooperative purchasing agreement with Sevier County Schools to purchase 110 Boxlight ProColor 75" displays from Central Technologies, Inc.
- The total cost of the purchase request, which includes displays, stands, and other services, is $297,550. Funding for the purchase is available from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund II (ESSER).
- Following a review, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the purchase.
Mr. Frye presented a change order for consideration, related to the replacement of the cooling tower at Dobyns-Bennett High School.
- The change order addresses revised pricing for the project which, due to federal wage requirements, increases the project cost by $87,857.43. With the wage requirements, the total cost of the project is now $1,411,857,43.
- After a review, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the change order.
Dr. True presented four Board policies for potential revision, and one new policy for consideration.
- 4.213 - Family Life Education
- State law now requires that all Boards adopt a policy on family life curriculum. Previously, only districts in counties with higher teen pregnancy rates had to comply with this requirement. Because this is a new requirement for many districts, TSBA has created a model policy.
- 4.603 - Promotion and Retention
- The TSBA recommends that the Board adopt an updated version of policy 4.603, as the Board’s current version of this policy is currently missing provisions required by state law (e.g. parental notification for students in grades K-3 who are not meeting the expectations of grade-level standards in reading as well as the specific circumstances under which students may be considered for retention after February 1st).
- 6.200 - Attendance
- Public Chapter 223 changes the tiers of the progressive truancy plan. Under this new law, Tier I applies to all students. TSBA has updated this policy to align with these changes.
- 6.405 - Medicines
- TSBA has updated policy 6.405 to clarify the process for allowing students to self-administer asthma medication during school hours.
- 6.409 - Child Abuse and Neglect
- TSBA has updated model policy to align with new state law requirements on reporting child abuse.
- Following review and discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to approve new policy 4.213. This policy will be considered through a 2nd reading at the October Board meeting (consent agenda).
- The Board voted 5-0 to approve revised policies 4.603, 6.200, 6.405, and 6.409.
Andy Arnold, Chief Technology Officer, provided an update on KCS technology to the Board.
- The report reviewed current technology areas of focus, as well as the department's mission, vision, and goals.
- Click below to view the full technology presentation.
Dr. True presented a draft 2022-23 KCS School Calendar for initial review and discussion.
- The 2022-23 calendar draft is largely similar to historical KCS calendars, with a proposed school start date the first week of August, a full-week Fall Break in October, a three-day Thanksgiving holiday break, a full two-week winter holiday, and a full-week Spring Break (aligned with the 2023 Easter holiday).
- One specific point of discussion this evening was related to a consideration of shifting Fall Break one week earlier than traditionally presented, to align with the Dobyns-Bennett football bye week (Oct. 3-7, 2022).
- The Board will continue to consider a final decision on the 2022-23 KCS School Calendar with a projected vote at its October business meeting.
Along with the calendar, the Board will approve the 2022-23 Designated Holiday schedule for the district. That proposed schedule is included below for your review.
Dr. True led a Board discussion regarding current Board communication, including how information from Board meetings and work sessions is shared with the community. The topic of the broadcasting of Board meetings and work sessions is one in which the Board desired to review.
- Current communications methods include:
- Email distribution of notes (with all presented materials and photos) immediately following the meeting/work session.
- Posting of meeting/work session notes, presented materials, and meeting audio on the KCS website.
- Radio re-broadcast of the meeting/work session on WCSK 90.3 FM in the days following the meeting/work session.
- Regular interviews with Dr. Moorhouse and Board members on Board-related issues on WCSK 90.3 FM.
- The Board requested that further investigation of potential broadcast platforms take place, including a review of potentially needed technologies and processes that would be necessary to provide such communication in a beneficial and high quality way.
Dr. True presented four Board policies for potential revision, and one new policy for consideration at the Board's October meeting.
- 3.205 - Security
- Districts must now include cybersecurity in their safety plans. This will be included in the state-level template and districts are tasked with identifying how to keep these networks and technologies safe from cyberattacks and other cybersecurity threats and incidents. TSBA has updated the model policy to include a provision on this topic.
- 5.117 - Procedure for Granting Tenure
- Due to the cancellation of TNReady tests during the pandemic, there are no teacher evaluation scores from the 2019-2020 school year. Public Chapter 2 from the Special Legislative Session clarifies that the two most recent evaluation scores can be used when determining tenure.
Additionally, Public Chapter 378 changes the requirements for providing notice of nonrenewal to teachers. This notice must now be sent to teachers by certified mail, overnight carrier, or email so that it will be received within five business days following the last instructional day. TSBA model policy has been updated to align with both of these legal changes.
- 5.200 - Separation Practices for Tenured Teachers
- Previously, state law gave the Commissioner of Education the authority to suspend a teacher's license if he/she broke a contract with a local board of education. Under this new change to state law, this authority now rests with the State Board of Education. TSBA has updated this policy to reflect that change.
- 5.201 - Separation Practices for Non-Tenured Teachers
- TSBA has updated model policy 5.201 based on the previously mentioned changes (to 5.200): (1) to the way that notice of nonrenewal is provided to teachers; and (2) the fact that the authority for suspending a license now rests with the State Board of Education.
- 5.202 - Separation Practices for Non-Certified Employees (NEW)
- Boards are required to maintain a policy that covers the dismissal of non-certified employees (TCA 49-2-301). However, this is currently missing from the KCS policy manual. TSBA recommends adopting a version of the model policy to be in compliance with state law.
During tonight's Superintendent's Report, Dr. Moorhouse introduced Dr. Melissa Matarazzo to the Board to share information regarding the KCS Strategic Plan development process that has been underway for the past several months.
- Dr. Matarazzo shared a variety of information with the Board, including the current state of the plan development.
- Please click below to view strategic plan information presented this evening.
The next meeting of the Board of Education will be a regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Tennessee Room of the Administrative Support Center (400 Clinchfield Street).
For more information on KCS, visit www.k12k.com
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