By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools
We’re excited to enter into the new school year with an enhanced direction. After nearly 12 months of intensive and productive public engagement and discussion, the Board of Education unanimously adopted the Knox County Schools’ new five-year strategic plan this month. The plan is a blueprint that reflects our aspirations for the future of the school district and the educational interests and priorities of our community.
Important dialogue from teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders helped steer the dialogue about the strategic plan and influence our goals for the next five years:
GOAL 1: Focus on Every Student
Our passion for high-level student learning drives all of our work. We will focus on the specific learning and support needs of every one of our 57,000 individual students, to ensure that they are academically successful, college and career ready, economically competitive and personally fulfilled in an increasingly complex world. We promise to personalize learning, guarantee excellence in the classroom and facilitate high quality student supports so that every student can come to school ready and excited to learn.
GOAL 2: Invest in Our People
Our students can only achieve at their highest levels when our teachers, leaders and staff also excel in their work. We will consistently build the capacity of our people by encouraging them to serve as a community of learners and leaders, so together we can all strengthen our skills and learn new ones. We commit to supporting our staff every step of the way, treating them as the respected professionals they are, and celebrating their remarkable accomplishments in educating our students.
GOAL 3: Partner with Our Stakeholders
We believe that our district is more capable of preparing our students for a bright future when we benefit from the talents, resources and support of our broader community and all the stakeholders within it. We will more closely collaborate with all our partners to form “One Big Team” working for our students, inviting and earning stakeholder feedback, so we can continue to know more and do better and elevate our commitment to customer service and professionalism.
Our future, then, will revolve around a Culture of Excellence
We are proud of the progress our students have made but recognize that if we are to achieve our ambitious goals, we must collectively create a pervasive culture of excellence, where every school is a great school, every student is supported and successful, every staff member is a steward of excellence, and every stakeholder is productively engaged. Only then will every child have the opportunity to successfully reach his or her highest potential, regardless of whatever challenging circumstances he or she may face.
We look forward to more discussion as we begin implementing the plan, and I invite you to learn more at www.knoxschools.org.
The new school year also spotlights changes we’ve made over the summer on behalf of our students, families and communities:
We believe families will appreciate the changes to our website, knoxschools.org. The transition to the new website, however, means existing parent portal accounts are no longer available. The first step to setting up new and improved parent portal accounts begins this month, and you will be able to set up your accounts in early October. In the meantime, you can access your students’ grades, attendance and other information through your student’s portal account. Please visit knoxschools.org and click on “Popular Links” to get more information about the parent portal.
Community Eligibility Provision
This school year, all students in 52 Knox County schools, regardless of economic status, will receive breakfast and lunch at no charge through the Community Eligibility Provision, a nationwide program funded and directed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). For a list of the 52 schools, visit knoxschools.org and search “Community Eligibility Provision.”
Career Magnet Academy at Pellissippi State
On Aug. 11, 127 freshmen scholars stepped into our innovative new high school. Located on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College Strawberry Plains, the school—currently dubbed the Career Magnet Academy at Pellissippi State—offers broader access to critical career and technical education opportunities for students, leading to careers in high demand, high skill and high pay fields.
We are proud of the progress our students have made but recognize that if we are to achieve our ambitious goals, we must collectively create a pervasive culture of excellence…
The new school year also means the “Original Knox County Schools Coupon Book” is soon available for sale. The book provides funds to meet school needs identified by parents, teachers and school administrators. The coupon book campaign is September 4-22.
Also mark your calendars for Thank a Teacher Week, September 29-October 3. We set aside a week each year to recognize our teachers and school staff for the invaluable service they provide children all year.
As students return to classrooms, I hope you share my enthusiasm about the bright future of the Knox County Schools, as we all work together to achieve our mission of Excellence for Every Child.
Dr. Jim McIntyre
Superintendent, Knox County Schools