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District Gives Update On Special Education Initiatives

On Dec. 4, Assistant Superintendent of Student Success Jason Myers provided a report to the Board of Education about the KCS Way, the ongoing initiative from Knox County Schools to improve and enhance services provided to special education students and families. This effort grew out of the work of the KCS Special Education Task Force, which provided a series of recommendations to the Board of Education in August.

Mr. Myers gave an update about three areas where significant steps have been taken:

  1. While the Task Force has completed its work, the district subsequently created a Special Education Council, which includes former members of the Task Force and will provide feedback related to the district’s Special Education efforts. The district has also created a Student Success Leadership Council, which will identify opportunities for meaningful improvements in all areas of the Student Success division, including supports for English Learners, whole child programming, and behavior support.

    On Nov. 27, both councils held their first meeting, and they will meet again on Dec. 13. The district is grateful for the members of these councils, and their commitment to providing feedback and insight to support our work of continuous improvement.


  1. The district has also partnered with ESS South Central LLC, a firm that will provide special education support staff on a contract basis. Mr. Myers reported that as of Dec. 4, the Special Education and Human Resources teams have worked with ESS to fill approximately 30 teacher assistant vacancies in district schools. Survey data received earlier this year made it clear that staffing was a key barrier to success in this area, and we are confident that these employees will make a difference in outcomes for students.

  2. On Dec. 1, KCS announced that Chelsea Price has been hired as the district’s student success advisory and improvement officer, a new position created to provide insight into our change process in the Student Success Division. In her role, Ms. Price will be responsible for looking at best practices, always with an eye toward continuous improvement and the quality of our student and family experience. She most recently served as an attorney with the Held Law Firm, and she has already begun working for the district.


“Knox County Schools is committed to making our special education department a model for the entire state,” said Myers. “The actions we are announcing today were made possible by a team effort that includes families, educators, and administrators, and I’m very grateful for their efforts. Our work is only beginning, but I believe these steps demonstrate our focus on making tangible progress on behalf of special education students and families.”