Knox County Schools wants to make sure that the work of teaching and learning moves forward in the upcoming school year, while also ensuring that the health and safety of our students, staff, and families is protected.
With that in mind, we're very thankful for all the feedback and information that has been provided by the Knox County community about reopening our schools. This effort was designed to provide guidance from all of our stakeholders and it will help Superintendent Bob Thomas and the Board of Education to make decisions about the fall semester. More information about our online survey; focus groups of teachers, students, principals, and parents; and the community task force is below.
In addition, our district has received guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education and Gov. Bill Lee throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are in constant communication with the medical experts at the Knox County Health Department. We will continue to work closely with these state and local partners as we prepare for the upcoming school year.
Our hope is to return to an in-person school setting in the fall, while also providing a virtual option for students who are not comfortable returning to the classroom. The input we have received will help guide our work as a detailed plan is developed that will provide the best and safest environment for our students and staff. Superintendent Thomas will present the plan to the Board of Education on July 15, and details about the plan will be shared after that meeting.
As we are working through this process, please know that district staff and school administrators are diligently working to ensure the education, health and well-being of our community. We will continue to provide updates along the way on our website, through mass notifications and on our social media channels as soon as they are available.
Thank you for your support!
To help us better understand the thoughts and concerns of our stakeholders for the upcoming school year, we have asked students, families, and KCS employees to complete a short survey.
Your feedback is important, so we want to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey!
Virtual School Survey
The district’s goal is to return to an in-person school setting in the fall. We are continuing to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 and to coordinate with the Knox County Health Department, the office of Gov. Bill Lee, and other state and local leaders. But we believe that a return to classrooms will lead to the best academic outcomes if we can do so while reasonably protecting the health and safety of our students and staff.
However, we recognize that in this scenario, some families would not be comfortable with a return to school. As a result, we will have a virtual option for those students. We are still finalizing the details of this program, but for planning purposes and in order to make decisions about staffing and resources, we need to know how many parents would most likely utilize this virtual option.
With that in mind, we asked KCS families to complete an online survey to say whether they would most likely utilize the virtual option. The survey is now closed, and we're grateful for everyone who participated. Your responses will be extremely important in helping the district plan for the future. When further details of the program are announced, families will be asked to enroll if interested.
Re-opening decisions will directly affect teachers, students, parents, and school administrators, and we want to make sure their voices are heard. The district has organized focus groups aimed at providing recommendations, answering questions and better understanding how re-opening decisions will play out in classrooms, in each of our grade bands and in the homes of our students and families. Information gathered from these focus groups will be shared with Superintendent Thomas and the Board of Education. Additionally, a group of childcare and youth-serving providers will also be providing feedback and input related to KCS reopening plans for the fall.
Teacher Focus Group(June 22 meeting with Superintendent)
West Hill Elementary
Adrian Burnett Elementary
Cedar Bluff Middle
Copper Ridge Elementary
Principal Focus Group(June 24 meeting with Superintendent)
East Knox Elementary
West Valley Middle
Student Focus Group(June 25 meeting with Superintendent)
Parent Focus Group(June 26 meeting with Superintendent)
Community Task Force
To provide an additional layer of communication, the district has a Community Task Force led by Dr. Jerry Askew, President of the Alliance for Better Nonprofits. Members of the task force will be charged with reviewing data from the survey and focus groups and will provide additional insights and perspectives on the proposed reopening options. Public meetings were held at 5 p.m. on June 24 and June 29 in the Sarah Simpson Professional Development Technology Center, 801 Tipton Ave., 37920.
Task force members are:
- District 1: Rev. Sam Brown, Pastor at Logan Temple
- District 2: Joan Grim, University of Tennessee Theory & Practice in Teacher Education
- District 3: Melanie Craig, PTSO Board Member
- District 4: Jonathon Fortner, President of Sequoyah Elementary Foundation
- District 5: Susie Carr, KCS Parent/PTSO Board Member
- District 6: Michelle Pickler, Community/School Volunteer
- District 7: Rob Cummings, KCS Parent/School Administrator
- District 8: Steve Hunley, Publisher/Local Business Owner
- District 9: Brannan Gillenwater, KCS Parent/Local Business Owner