BOE Work Session Notes - February 18, 2016

The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held a work session on Thursday, February 18, 2016.   Several key items were discussed, including:
  • A presentation and update on D-B EXCEL, outlining current enrollment, course offerings, highlights, and expansion/new facility plans;
  • An update on KCS work with the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence and continuous improvement efforts;
  • A report on the architect selection, fee negotiation process, and proposed contract for the proposed Regional Science and Technology Center;
  • A report on the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) "Conquering the Hill" workshop and "Day on the Hill" events, as well as highlights from the Tennessee General Assembly legislative session;
  • An update to the Board regarding days missed this winter due to inclement weather and discussion regarding potential calendar options to account for missed days.
Work Session Audio
Detailed Work Session Notes
Mrs. Shanna Hensley, Principal of D-B EXCEL, Dr. Carmen Bryant, KCS Chief Academic Officer - Secondary, and Dr. Lyle Ailshie, Superintendent, updated the Board on the status of D-B EXCEL, including enrollment figures, online course offerings, program highlights, and plans for a potential new location for the program.
  • The vision of D-B EXCEL is to provide students with an innovative, student-focused, personalized learning environment.
  • There are currently 227 students enrolled at D-B EXCEL for the 2015-16 school year, as opposed to 136 last school year.
  • Due to increased demand and continued expansion of the program, a new location for D-B EXCEL will be necessary, and has been investigated by the district.
    • To expand to a new location for the Fall of 2016, approvals for location, plans, and contracts will need to be secured this spring.
  • The desired new location for D-B EXCEL is the 3rd floor of The Press Building on Clinchfield/Sullivan Street.
    • The district is considering a 15-year lease that would include a purchase option.
    • The new location is estimated to provide space for approximately 300-350 D-B EXCEL students at any given time.
Dr. Lyle Ailshie provided an update on the status of the Regional Science and Technology Center, proposed for construction at Dobyns-Bennett High School.  
  • Items shared included details regarding architect selection, the fee negotiation process, and a potential contract for the project.
  • The architectural firm Perkins & Will, in association with Beeson, Lusk, & Street, has been selected for this project, with fee negotiations underway and the contract under review by the City Attorney.
    • Perkins & Will is an internationally recognized architectural firm that will utilize the local firm of Beeson, Lusk, & Street to assist in developing the project.
Mr. Michael Hubbard, Director of Performance Excellence, shared the system's work with the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE) and continual improvement efforts.
  • TNCPE supports the development of systematic organizational improvement using the Malcolm Baldrige improvement criteria, which KCS has implemented into its work processes.
  • KCS was the first K-12 public school system in Tennessee to win TNCPE's Achievement Award.
  • Since first becoming involved with TNCPE in 2012, 15 KCS employees have served as TNCPE examiners, supporting schools and businesses across Tennessee.
  • There are currently seven employees that have applied to become examiners in 2016.
  • TNCPE examiner training for northeast Tennessee will be hosted by KCS this summer, with an orientation on Tuesday, May 17, and a three-day training session on June 21-23, 2016.
Board President Mrs. Carrie Upshaw and Board Vice President Mrs. Susan Lodal led a discussion involving the full Board regarding the recent Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) "Conquering the Hill" workshop and "Day on the Hill" events, as well as the annual regional legislative breakfast.  They also provided an update on this year's Tennessee General Assembly legislative session.
  • Each year, members of the Board travel to Nashville to meet with legislators and discuss issues related to education in Tennessee.
  • The events provide an opportunity to develop relationships and understandings of the needs of public school systems, especially in relation to current issues and proposed legislation.
  • Mrs. Lodal also presented information on a variety of proposed bills, sharing details about work with the TSBA, which takes a legislative position on proposed education bills.
  • Members of the Board spoke favorably of the opportunity to share their views with our local legislators.
Mr. Andy True, Chief Administrative Officer, provided an update on days missed in the KCS 2015-16 school calendar due to inclement weather.  
  • Currently, KCS has missed five school days due to inclement weather.
    • KCS has also started school on a 2-hour delay on one day and dismissed early once.  However, since students attended beyond the minimum amount of allowed time on those days, they do not count toward days missed.
  • KCS "banks" extra time each day, as students attend class for 30 minutes beyond the state minimum requirements.
    • This results in a total of 13 days of banked time, which (by state code) can be used for professional learning and/or inclement weather.
  • When originally approved, the 2015-16 Calendar utilized two of these banked days for professional learning and allowed for four days to be used for inclement weather.
    • As KCS has now missed a total of five days due to inclement weather, the Board will need to act to either:
      • Approved the use of available banked time to account for time missed beyond the previously approved four days, or
      • Identify potential changes to add student attendance days to the calendar.
  • After discussing, the Board indicated that at this time, they did not desire to entertain a proposal to identify an additional student attendance day.  Instead, staff will prepare a proposal to utilize available banked time to account for the 5th day missed due to inclement weather.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be on Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 6 p.m.  The meeting will take place in the Tennessee Room of the Administrative Support Center (400 Clinchfield Street).
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