BOE Meeting Notes - September 3, 2015

The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, September 3, 2015. Several key items were discussed, including:
  • A report by a John Sevier Middle School student on his award-winning performance in the National History Day competition.
  • An update on the upcoming TNReady state assessments.
  • The introduction of new KCS employees.
  • The review and approval of 16 KCS teachers recommended for tenure.
  • A review of an agreement to utilize a product that will assist in ensuring compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
  • The review and approval of Bylaws and the Charter for the Kingsport City Schools Foundation.
  • A review of school calendar development for the 2016-17 school year.
  • A summary of the 2015 KCS accountability results, including proficiency percentages and annual measurable objective targets.
  • A report on the 2015 International Society of Technology in Education conference.
Please note: Continuing with tonight’s meeting, following the Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance delivered by a KCS student, each meeting will begin with a specific focus on the students and programs of KCS. Reports will be provided by students and staff highlighting student work and achievements, innovative classroom practices, and information of interest to parents. Following the Student/Parent Interest section of the meeting, a short recess will be held prior to the business portion of the agenda. KCS students, parents, and community stakeholders are invited and encouraged to attend!
Work Session Audio
Detailed Meeting Notes
Call to Order

The Pledge of Allegiance was led tonight by Gowri Tumkur and her brother, Rohan Tumkur.  Gowri and Rohan are both students at John Sevier Middle School. Gowri is in the 8th grade and Rohan is in the 6th grade. They are the children of Anil and Deepika Tumkur.

Student-Focused Report

Gabe Tipton, a 7th grade student at John Sevier Middle School, presented a report regarding his participation in the recent National History Day competition.

  • Gabe advanced to the national finals for his performance in the competition.
  • National History Day (NHD) is an academic program for students in grades 6-12 in which a topic is individually chosen, researched, analyzed and interpreted. Findings are then presented through a website or as an exhibit, performance, documentary, or original paper.
  • The 2015 NHD theme was “Leadership and Legacy in History.”
    • Gabe chose to do an individual performance on the leadership and legacy of Alexander the Great.
    • Beginning in March 2015 and continuing through June, Gabe successfully performed at the district, state and national levels, eventually being named the sixth place winner out of 14 national middle school performances.
    • He is the first student from John Sevier to perform successfully at all three levels of the NHD competition.
    • Gabe is the son of Matthew and Rebekah Tipton, and thanks his mother and the faculty of John Sevier Middle School for their valuable assistance in this competition.
Parent Information Report

Mrs. Emily Helphinstine, Coordinator of Literacy Programs, Ms. Pam Stidham, Coordinator of Math Programs, and Mr. Michael Hubbard, Director of Performance Excellence, provided an overview of the 2015-16 state assessments, with concentration on the new TNReady assessments.

  • Starting this year, Tennessee students in grades 3-12 will transition to using the TNReady assessment, rather than the TCAP tests that have been utilized in the past.
  • Students will be assessed in the subject areas of Math, English/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.

Mrs. Jennifer Guthrie, Chief Human Resources Officer, introduced new KCS employees to the Board.

  • All KCS employees new to the district since last year's BOE recognition were honored this evening.
  • A reception immediately prior to the Board meeting was held in their honor and in honor of current KCS teachers being recommended for tenure.
Business Items

Mrs. Guthrie presented for approval by the Board a slate of sixteen teachers who have met all requirements and are being recommended for tenure.

  • Per state guidelines, teachers who have at least five years of experience and have received an overall TEAM score of 4 or 5 in the previous two years are eligible to receive tenure.
  • After review and consideration, by a vote of 5-0, the submitted list was approved for tenure.
  • The teachers approved for tenure this evening are:
    • Dobyns-Bennett High School
      • Travis Free
      • Ben Godsey
      • Nick Lingerfelt
      • Jon Tully
      • Col. Eric Vogt
    • Robinson Middle School
      • Sandra Kerney
      • Christy Lewis
      • Leslie Reynolds
    • Sevier Middle School
      • Amanda Cox
      • Lisa King
      • Rachael Wagner
    • Kennedy Elementary School
      • Jennifer Pangle
      • Ryan Robbins
    • Roosevelt Elementary School
      • Brett Herron
      • Kristy Walters
    • System-wide
      • Beth Lee

Mrs. Jennifer Guthrie reviewed an agreement with Five Points, a web-based program that will assist KCS in compliance and reporting with respect to the Affordable Care Act.

  • The service and agreement covers tracking of employee hours, any required IRS or employee reporting/notifications, and some consulting services.
  • After consideration and discussion, the Board elected to defer action on approving the agreement until further documentation could be reviewed.
Dr. Ailshie and Mike Billingsley, Kingsport City Attorney, presented a charter and bylaws for the Kingsport City Schools Education Foundation, Inc. to the Board for review.
  • The purpose of the Foundation is to further the growth and development of KCS and to support the students, staff, and programs of the Kingsport City Schools to achieve and maintain a world class school system.
  • Foundation activities may include charitable fundraising for the promotion and advancement of KCS, encouraging financial support for the district, and receiving, accepting, retaining, administering, investing and distributing gifts donated to KCS.
  • By a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the charter and bylaws for the KCS Education Foundation, Inc.

Mr. Andy True, Chief Administrative Office, presented a review of the ongoing development of the 2016-17 KCS school calendar.

  • In preparing potential calendar options, a historical review of KCS calendars was explored, reviewing calendar components, such as typical start dates and holiday breaks.
  • To best meet the educational needs of students and teachers, the Board places an emphasis on approving a calendar that provides as many instructional days as possible before mandated assessments, while separating the school year in two equal semesters at the winter holiday break.
  • Other common KCS calendar components traditionally include a week-long fall break, two full weeks at the winter holiday break, a week-long spring break, and a graduation day prior to Memorial Day.
  • Based on the physical calendar and traditional KCS calendar components, the school year typically starts during the first week of August.  In 2016-17, this would potentially fall on Monday, August 1. 
    • Due to this factor and the relative lack of options based on the physical calendar dates, priorities, and mandates, the Board requested additional input from the KCS community prior to a final decision in October.
    • A calendar survey will be developed and distributed to KCS stakeholders during the month of September, gathering input on priorities and preferences.  This information will be compiled and presented to the Board at their October meeting.
  • It is anticipated that a final proposed calendar will be presented to the Board for approval and adoption at the October 1, 2015 meeting.

Mr. Michael Hubbard, Director of Performance Excellence, provided a summary of 2015 accountability results, including proficiency percentages and AMO targets.

  • Results reflected relatively steady TCAP achievement proficiency percentages from 2013-14 to 2014-15, while TCAP end of course proficiency percentages showed significant gains in most categories.
    • In particular, proficiency percentages in HS Chemistry, English II and Biology were ranked 7th, 8th, and 10th respectively in the state.
    • For the second year in a row, the KCS students with disabilities subgroup ranked first in the state in Algebra I. In addition, this subgroup also ranked 5th in the state in proficiency in English II and 7th in the state in English III.
    • The Black, Hispanic, and Native American subgroup ranked 7th in the state in English II.

Mr. Eric Hyche, KCS Board member, gave a report on the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference.

  • Mr. Hyche attend ISTE in the Summer of 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.
  • The presentation include a look at a wide variety of emerging educational technologies, including:
    • Tools for teaching programming.
    • Robotics and physical computing.
    • Using Minecraft for education.
    • and educational programming developed by Google.
  • To view Mr. Hyche's full presentation, please click here.
The next meeting of the Board of Education will be a work session on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 6 p.m.  The work session will take place in the Tennessee Room of the Administrative Support Center (400 Clinchfield Street).
Read and follow our blog, "We Are KCS" to learn more about the great people and programs of Kingsport City Schools.  Check it out at