BOE Meeting Notes - April 4, 2017

The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Several key items were discussed, including:
  • A presentation on the Roosevelt Elementary School Student Leadership League;
  • A status report on the Global Education Program at Washington Elementary and Sevier Middle Schools;
  • Recognition of a former Sevier (current D-B) student for winning a statewide prize in journalism;
  • Recognition of four Sevier students for their performance at the recent National History Day competition;
  • Recognition of the Robinson student and MATHCOUNTS team their performance at the statewide MATHCOUNTS competition;
  • Recognition of the 2017 KCS school-level and district-level teachers of the year;
  • Consideration of a memorandum of understanding regarding KCS' participation in the Coalition for Better Schools;
  • Consideration of the textbook adoption list for CTE: Section B;
  • Consideration of a proposed budget amendment.
Tonight's reports and recognitions were broadcast live on the KCS Facebook Page! Click here to view this video from tonight's meeting.
Meeting Audio
Detailed Meeting Notes


The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Robinson Middle School students and MATHCOUNTS teammates Chandni Bhat, Sahil Gaba, and Neekon Nejad.  Chandni is an 8th grader and the daughter of Sunny Bhat and Kanchan Kaushik.  Sahil is an 8th grader and the son of Ashokkumar and Parveen Gaba.  Neekon is a 7th grader and the son of Mohammad Nejad and Fatemeh Yamani.


School Counselor  Alice Browder and teachers Megan Turner and Kim Riffe gave a report on the Student Leadership League at Roosevelt Elementary School.
  • The Roosevelt Student Leadership League provides an active, creative, engaging learning environment that promotes connections between students and their community, exposing students to possible career paths.
  • The League is comprised of 3rd through 5th grade students, recommended by their teachers, who show leadership potential and would benefit from real-world experiences that would also expose them to a variety of post-secondary opportunities.
  • The goals of the program include strengthening individual leadership potential, providing opportunities for personal growth, introducing students to career path options, and growing "soft skills" necessary for success in the workplace; e.g. eye contact, manners, etiquette, body language, communications, and teamwork.
  • Hands-on activities include visiting community sites (e.g., KPD, KFD, and the Chamber of Commerce) and planning/leading service projects.


Associate Principals Leila Hubbard (Sevier Middle School) and Sue Trent (Washington Elementary School) gave an update on Globalizing Education, the global education program being piloted this school year at both Sevier and Washington.  Global education programs are designed to prepare students for success in an interconnected world.
  • Global education makes learning relevant, authentic, and engaging, while providing students with a broader knowledge of the world and global citizenship.
  • Global themes are integrated into existing courses of study across all content areas.
  • At Washington, students have heard global guest speakers and participated in global service projects.  Future plans include incorporating a language of the month into WSIC broadcasts, integrating related arts with a global focus, adopting a school-wide global theme, and utilizing literacy instruction as a vehicle for incorporating global content.
  • At Sevier, professional development modules have been completed and site visits have been conducted to other global schools. Future plans include holding a school-wide global lesson week in early May.


Board Vice President Mrs. Susan Lodal recognized Blakely Gamble, a 9th grader at Dobyns-Bennett High School, for winning third place in the "Best News Story" category of the annual Tennessee High School Press Association (THSPA) Awards Day on March 6, 2017 at Lipscomb University.
  • Blakely's article about "One Kingsport" featured an interview with Mayor John Clark and Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie and was published in Sevier's newspaper, the Sequoyah Scribe, last school year when Blakely was in 8th grade.
  • Blakely is the daughter of Ben and Nancy Gamble.
  • The THSPA has member schools from across Tennessee and provides a forum for students who are interested in journalism and student publications. 
  • Sevier was the only middle school in Tennessee that participated in this annual competition.  All other competitors and teams were from high schools.
Board member Mrs. Carrie Upshaw recognized four Sevier students for placing 1st in their categories at the National History Day (NHD) competition at Tusculum College on March 6, 2017.  All four students will particpate at the State National History Day competition in Nashville on April 8.
  • John Ryan, son of Patrick Ryan and H. Sun Thomas, won in the Research Paper category for his paper entitled "The Pullman Strike of 1894, Taking a Stand for Workers."
  • Fathima Shaikh and Emma True won in the Group Exhibit category for "Equalizing the Playing Field:  Taking a Stand in Women's Soccer."  Fathima is the daugher of Aijaz Shaikh and Dr. Asra Tanveer.  Emma is the daughter of Andy and Annette True.
  • Gabe Tipton won in the Individual Performance Category with his presentation of "Kings Mountain: Taking a Stand Against the British."  He also won $50 for having the best Tennessee History project. 
  • John Mallick, 8th grade JSMS social studies teacher, supports Sevier students for these annual competitions.
  • NHD is a non-profit education organization offering year-long academic programs that engage over 500,000 middle and high school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest.
Board member Dr. Karen Reed-Wright recognized Robinson 8th grader Sahil Gaba and his MATHCOUNTS teammates for their recent performance at the State of Tennessee MATHCOUNTS competition on March 18, 2017.  MATHCOUNTS is a national program that provides students the opportunity to compete in four rounds of live math contests against and alongside their peers.
  • Sahil placed first in the oral countdown and second in the written round in the State competition.  He earned a spot on the Tennessee team and will be competing in the 2017 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition on May 13-16 in Lake Buena Vista, FL with three other students from Tennessee.  Only 224 students from around the nation compete at this top level.  
  • Sahil served as captain of the Robinson team that placed third overall in the State competition.  Other team members are 8th grader Chandni Bhat, 8th grader Ryan Herzog (son of Jeff and Shelly Herzog), and 7th grader Neekon Nejad.  The team earned the right to compete in the State competition by capturing 1st place at the Chapter level.  
  • Robinson has a strong history as a competitive MATHCOUNTS team.  They have earned 16 consecutive 1st place finishes at the Chapter level since 2002, ten top-four finishes as a team at the State level, and sent eight students to the national competition since 1994.
  • Lisa Bratton serves as coach for the Robinson team with Marsha Buck serving as the assistant coach.  Volunteer and community member Dr. Greg Rasmussen also plays a vital role in coaching the team.
  • MATHCOUNTS competitions include four rounds: individuals solving problems with and without calculators, teams solving problems with calculators, and individuals competing head-to-head for speed and accuracy without use of a calculator.
Board President Mr. Eric Hyche and  Dr. Carmen Bryant, Assistant Superintendent - Instruction, recognized the 2017 building-level Teachers of the Year and district-level Teachers of the Year.
  • Building-level winners for grades Pre-K - 4 are:
    • Michelle Carpenter, Pre-K special education teacher at the Palmer Center
    • Carla Casey, 2nd grade teacher at Jackson Elementary
    • Renee Polson, 1st grade teacher at Washington Elementary
    • Ryan Robbins, physical education teacher at Kennedy Elementary
    • Todd Wagner, kindergarten teacher at Adams Elementary
    • Amy White, kindergarten teacher at Roosevelt Elementary
  • Building-level winners for grades 5-8 are:
    • Marsha Buck, 8th grade science teacher at Robinson Middle
    • Jessica Chase, 5th grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary
    • Kathleen Donnellan, 7th grade language arts teacher at Sevier Middle
    • Kristen Duncan, 6th grade language arts teacher at Sevier Middle
    • Rachel Heaton, 6th grade language arts teacher at Robinson Middle
    • Heather Hobbs, 5th grade teacher at Johnson Elementary
    • William Miller, 5th grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary
  • Building-level winners for grades 9-12 are:
    • Amanda Blackburn, science teacher at Dobyns-Bennett
    • Jimmy Burleson, special education teacher at Dobyns-Bennett
    • Joshua French, social studies teacher at Dobyns-Bennett
    • Jennifer Gilbertson, CTE teacher at Dobyns-Bennett
    • Sam McCord, English teacher at D-B EXCEL
    • Joanna Nash, world history teacher at Dobyns-Bennett
    • Jenny Rogers, music teacher at Dobyns-Bennett
District-level Teachers of the Year are Todd Wagner (Adams, Pre-K-4), Marsha Buck (Robinson, 5-8), and Joanna Nash (D-B, 9-12). Marsha Buck has also been named a Teacher of the Year for the First CORE Region and will advance to Grand Division-level competition for Tennessee Teacher of the Year.


Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie reviewed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a new organization, the Coalition for Better Schools.  This organization is being formed by city school districts and their corresponding city governments (such as KCS and the city of Kingsport) to advocate and provide a voice in State legislative matters on issues of importance to municipal school districts.
  • The Coalition's goals include improving the delivery and quality of education to students in municipalities and LEAs, modeling effective communications between municipalities and LEAs, and working collaboratively with the Governor, Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Legislature, and other affiliated groups to enhance the growth of revenue sources available to municipalities and LEAs.
  • The group will work collaboratively on specific issues that are common to Tennessee municipal (city) school districts.
  • After review and consideration, the Board voted 5-0 to authorize KCS to enter into this agreement with the Coalition for Better Schools.
Supervisor of Federal Programs Dr. Lamar Smith reviewed information regarding textbook adoption for Career & Technical Education (CTE) for the 2017-18 school year.  
  • Blanket adoption for the CTE: Section B adoption cycle will allow the Dobyns-Bennett CTE department flexibility in assessing textbook needs for courses throughout the cycle.  
  • After review and consideration, the Board voted 5-0 to approve blanket adoption CTE textbooks: Section B.
Chief Finance Officer Mr. David Frye reviewed the proposed Budget Amendment #5 with the Board for consideration.  This amendment involves the funding of improved wireless connectivity/access to younger grades.  
  • E-rate funding will pay for 80% of the total cost for the elementary schools, while KCS will pay the remaining 20% and the cost of improved access at Palmer.
  • It is recommended to transfer $102,000 to the General Project Fund for elementary wireless upgrades and pay the remaining portion with E-rate funding.
  • Following review and consideration, the Board voted 5-0 to approve Budget Amendment #5 authorizing funding for upgraded wireless access for Pre-K and elementary schools.
The next meeting of the Board of Education will be a Work Session on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 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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