By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools
Dear Knox County Schools’ Families,
As we continue the fifth year of the implementation of our five-year strategic plan, I reflect upon some of the specific strategies we have put in place in the Knox County Schools to enable our students to be adequately prepared for college, career and life:
Multiple pathways and strategies to success – Creating pathways designed to meet the needs of struggling students and those who excel. Magnet programming, interventions, access to Advanced Placement (AP), dual enrollment and dual credit experiences, creation of a Career Magnet Academy in partnership with Pellissippi State Community College and the Knoxville Chamber, as well as the creation of an International Baccalaureate (IB) program are just a few examples of our work in this area.
- Small Learning Communities – Divides large populations of students into smaller groups to create a more personalized learning environment to better meet students’ needs.
- Freshman academies – Provides our ninth graders additional support as they transition from middle school to high school. Research shows if a student has a successful freshman year, he or she is more likely to graduate from high school.
- Graduation coaches – A critical form of support that helps ensure each student is prepared to graduate on time.
I will be updating the community on many of these strategies contained in our Strategic Plan during the third annual State of the Schools Address scheduled for Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at 6 p.m. at Hardin Valley Academy. More specifically, I will provide our community with an overview of academic progress in the Knox County Schools, give an update on implementation of our five-year strategic plan and outline our educational goals and aspirations for the coming year. This report to the community will give me an opportunity to share the work needed to prepare our students for transitions they will face as they engage in today’s global and competitive society. Please join us for this important update on public education in our community!
We are enjoying unprecedented levels of success in many areas in the Knox County Schools. For the first time since the Tennessee State Report Card began issuing grades in the year 2000, the Knox County Schools scored straight As in achievement. We have advanced from Cs to Bs in value-added in reading/language arts and science, and the district improved from a B to an A in math.
These are tremendous academic results for children, and I recognize these results could not have been possible without the outstanding work of our teachers and staff coupled with the support and input of our parents and community.
As we have engaged our community in a process to define the educational priorities for the next five years, one thing is very clear to me: You care. You are enormously invested in what’s best for our students, and together, we will continue to work to achieve our very ambitious goal of Excellence for All Children.
The next five years will be ever more critical to our reaching our goals of providing the best education possible for our students in a supportive and positive educational environment. I’m excited about our future.
Superintendent, Knox County Schools