The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. Several key items were discussed, including:
- Recognition of Dobyns-Bennett High School National Merit Commended students;
- Recognition of Dobyns-Bennett High School National Merit Semifinalist students;
- Allowing the mandate requiring face masks in KCS facilities to expire;
- Approval of the 2022-23 KCS School Calendar and Designated Holiday Schedule;
- Approval of several Board Policy revisions;
- Approval of the KCS ESSER spending plan proposal;
- A report on maintenance and facilities work that took place during Summer 2021; and
- An update report on options for broadcasting of Board meetings and work sessions.
CALL TO ORDER
The Pledge of Allegiance was led this evening by Lara Kibbe and Kaileigh Siddons. Lara is a 12th grader at Dobyns-Bennett High School and the daughter of Chris and Mary Kibbe. Kaileigh is also a 12th grader at Dobyns-Bennett. Kaileigh is the daughter of Deken and Jennifer Siddons.
Board member Dr. Brandon Fletcher recognized several Dobyns-Bennett High School students who have been identified as Commended Students through the National Merit Scholarship Program.
- Nine (9) Dobyns-Bennett High School students have been named as Commended Students in the 67th Annual 2022 National Merit® Scholarship Program, a program designed to identify and honor the top high school students in the United States.
- About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2022 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2022 competition by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screening of program entrants. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
- The Dobyns-Bennett Commended Students are:
- Benjamin Allen
- Solomon Blair
- Kerri Coen
- Mason Craft
- Henry Homoky
- Jerome Jarjoura
- Neekon Nejad
- Nick Sadeghi
- Rishita Vutukuri
Board member Melissa Woods recognized the Dobyns-Bennett High School students who have been identified as Semifinalists through the National Merit Scholarship Program.
- Six (6) Dobyns-Bennett High School students have been named as Semifinalists in the 67th Annual 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program, a program designed to identify and honor the top high school students in the United States.
- These six students will compete with the top high school students in the nation for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered in spring 2022.
- Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screening of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
- The National Merit Semifinalists are:
- Mallika Digavalli
- Conner Hall
- Anna Harris
- Noah Lee
- Alexandra Ponasik
- Emily Shao
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. On September 28, 2021, the Board voted to extend the requirement through October 19, 2021.
- Dr. True reviewed updated 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 elected to not extend the mask mandate, resulting in the expiration of the current mandate. A motion to extend the mandate failed due to lack of a second.
Dr. True presented a draft 2022-23 KCS School Calendar for 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).
- After a review and discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the 2022-23 KCS School Calendar and the 2022-23 Designated Holiday Schedule.
- The calendar approved this evening includes a revision to the draft proposed at the September work session. Fall Break will be located on October 3-7, 2022.
Dr. True presented five Board policies for potential revision, and one new policy for consideration.
- 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 (5) 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.
- 6.409 - Child Abuse and Neglect
- TSBA has updated model policy to align with new state law requirements on reporting child abuse. An additional revision is recommended based on change to law, deleting a clause regarding notification to parents.
After review and discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the proposed polices.
After being pulled from the Consent agenda, Dr. Rhonda Stringham, Assistant Superintendent - Instruction, reviewed the KCS Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) proposed spending plan.
- This plan is to be submitted to the Tennessee Department of Education for approval.
- After review and discussion, the Board approved the proposed spending plan by a vote of 5-0.
David Sewell, Supervisor of Maintenance and Custodial Services, presented a report on a variety of maintenance and custodial work that has recently been completed across KCS.
- Employees from the KCS Maintenance and Custodial departments engage in a variety of projects and ongoing upkeep to maintain facilities and learning environments at a high level of standard.
- Click below to view Mr. Sewell's full presentation, including photos from various projects across KCS.
Dr. True updated the Board regarding the topic of broadcasting Board of Education meetings and work sessions to the community.
- At the September 28, 2021 Board meeting, 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 updated the Board on information gathered to date, including potential broadcasting methodologies (audio only, audio/visual) and the initial review of technology, equipment, and upgrades that would be necessary.
- During the discussion, the Board indicated a desire to pursue a broadcast platform that would include both audio and video.
- Future recommended steps for the KCS communications department will be to finalize a technical and operational proposal for Board consideration, including the specific equipment, personnel, policies/procedures, and timing needed to facilitate such broadcasts.
- Following the presentation, the Board indicated a desire for further discussion and review at the October work session.
The next meeting of the Board of Education will be a work session on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 6 p.m. The work session will take place in the Tennessee Room of the Administrative Support Center (400 Clinchfield Street).
For more information on KCS, visit www.k12k.com
, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, download our mobile app for Apple/Android devices or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools
), Instagram (@kcs_district
), Twitter (@KCS_District
), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools
), and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools