BOE Work Session Notes - March 15, 2016

The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held a work session on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.   Several key items were discussed, including:
  • A presentation by Jefferson Elementary students and staff on their "Thirst Comes First" global outreach project.
  • An update on TNReady testing, currently occurring throughout KCS, and
  • A review of a KCS budget proposal related to teacher compensation for 2016-17.
Work Session Audio
Detailed Work Session Notes
Mrs. Becky Mann, School Counselor at Jefferson Elementary School, shared information about the school's student-led global outreach project, "Thirst Comes First."  
  • The project was based on fulfilling the great need for clean drinking water in South Sudan, by raising funds for hand-dug shallow wells, which provide drinking water to families who live in remote locations.
  • For two years, Mrs. Mann has met with global partners, Fred Dearing (a missionary in South Sudan), and Danny Howe (director of missions at First Broad Street United Methodist Church).
  • Families in South Sudan who need wells typically must walk two to four hours each day to carry drinking water to their homes.
  • The Thirst Comes First project was student-led, with one student from each of the twenty-two Jefferson homerooms participating in the Global Project Leadership Team.  Thirst Comes First was the theme selected by this team.
  • Each well costs $1,500 and Jefferson students committed to raise sufficient funds to provide two wells to South Sudan, at a total cost of $3,000.  The average amount each classroom needed to raise to achieve this goal was $136.36.
  • The donation timeline for this project was January - March 4, 2016.  
    • A school-wide celebration, at which time the amount raised for the project was announced, was held on March 14, 2016 at 2:20 p.m. in the school's gymnasium.
  • Jefferson students raised approximately $3,600 for the project.  
    • The Jefferson PTA donated proceeds from a recent restaurant Spirit Night, increasing the total donation to $4,106.26.  
    • First Broad Street United Methodist Church donated approximately an additional $400, raising the grand total of the fund raising effort to $4,500 - enough to build 3 wells, exceeding the original goal by 50%!
At the same time students were raising funds for the Thirst Comes First initiative, the Jefferson community was also working to support Rock Springs Elementary School, which had $25,000 in library books destroyed by a water leak.
  • Through this situation, Jefferson students understood that water can save lives, but it can also destroy.  
  • To help meet the need at Rock Springs, Jefferson students collected and donated more than 700 books for the Rock Springs library.
Director of Performance Excellence Mr. Michael Hubbard gave a status report to the Board on TNReady assessments in Tennessee and Kingsport City Schools, which are currently underway.
  • The anticipated online testing structure was postponed for one year due to an unforeseen technological issue at the state level.
  • A switch to paper testing was initiated on a slightly delayed schedule, due to issues with printing capacities.
  • All state districts have now received testing materials, with testing scheduled to be completed before March 18, which is the final date of the testing window. 
  • Related to the changes in this year's testing, the Governor has proposed certain flexibility measures connected to teacher evaluation.
    • If at any point during the next three-years of TNReady testing, use of the 2016 student Growth Measure data causes the teacher's overall evaluation score to be lower than if it was not utilized, that data will be excluded from the teacher's evaluation score calculation.
    • If the 2016 Growth Measure results help a teacher earn a higher evaluation score, the score will be used.
Mr. Andy True, Assistant Superintendent - Administration, presented a review of teacher compensation-related proposals being considered for the 2016-17 school year.  
Components of the budget proposals include:
  • If approved, teacher step increases for 2016-17 would be determined by the average of a teacher’s 2015-16 classroom observation scores, removing TNReady/TCAP generated data (Achievement and Growth Scores) from salary calculations.
    • An exception would be that if a teacher's final TEAM Evaluation score (that includes TNReady/TCAP data) would have resulted in a higher step increase based on the original/current scale, the teacher would automatically receive the higher step increase.
  • Through the 2016-17 budget approval process, administration is also considering an increase to both the starting salary "floor" and the max-out "ceiling" of the KCS single-lane salary scale.
    • This would effectively increase the starting salary for new KCS teachers and raise the maximum level current teachers could reach over the life of their career with KCS.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be on Thursday, April 7, 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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