By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools
The Knox County Schools just finished celebrating those who play an integral role in educating the whole child – our remarkable teachers who work tirelessly to make learning engaging and exciting for our students.
For the third consecutive year, the Knox County Schools once again collaborated with Great Schools Partnership, Knox County Education Association, Knox County Council PTA, Knoxville Chamber and a host of community and business organizations to embrace Thank a Teacher Week, a time to remind us to say “thank you” to our teachers in meaningful ways for the job they do all year long.
Although Thank a Teacher Week is five days, the good work our teachers do takes place throughout the year—and for their students, lasts a lifetime. As I visit classrooms and talk with teachers across our school system, I continue to be impressed by the unwavering focus on high quality education for all of our students. I want to convey my sincere appreciation for our teachers’ role in ensuring that every child has the opportunity to successfully reach their full potential.
…I continue to be impressed by the unwavering focus on high quality education for all of our students.
Our desire to deepen our focus on every child—the whole child—is leading us to increase our effort to personalize learning, guarantee excellence in the classroom and facilitate high quality student supports through several key objectives: Community Schools, identification of barriers to learning and implementation of interventions, employment of early-learning opportunities and the provision of intensive support to our high needs schools.
Through this work, we are focusing on the specific learning and support needs of every one of our students to ensure they are academically successful, college and career ready, economically competitive and personally fulfilled in an increasingly complex world.
It’s that complex world—our students’ future—that drives us to work diligently to provide them with the best education possible, and it’s exciting for me to see evidence of our hard work. Just last month, I spoke with many students at the Knox County Schools’ annual College and Career Fair. As I walked through the fair and stopped to speak with students, I witnessed their excitement and anticipation (and yes, some trepidation) about their futures. They shared their future plans, and some shared with me their hopes and aspirations—aspirations that they see as possibilities, in part, because of the incredible education that is taking place in our classrooms every day and because of the support these future leaders of our world receive at home.
We know that to educate the whole child, education in the classroom must be supported and embraced in communities and at home. The Knox County Schools has numerous services that can help parents and caregivers provide a supportive learning environment at home. Visit our web site at knoxschools.org and click on “Community” for more information.
Other tools for parents to support their students’ academic progress are the parent portal at knoxschools.org and TutorTN. TutorTN is a free online tutoring service for students of the Knox County Schools and others in the community. To access this free service, students should visit Tutor.com and log in using their Knox County Public Library card number. For information about obtaining a Knox County Public Library card, please visit knoxlib.org.
Our magnet schools provide yet another pathway to a challenging and engaging education that prepares students for their futures. These schools are incredibly diverse and rich with unique opportunities. Parents and students who are interested in transferring to a magnet school (or any school) can take advantage of the transfer window that is available now through February 17, 2015. To learn more about our magnet programs, parents can visit knoxschools.org, and click on “Departments,” and for more information about the transfer window, parents can contact our Enrollment and Transfers Office at 594-1506.
Additionally, we must be ever-mindful that providing students with rigorous experiences also means providing diverse learning opportunities such as art, music, foreign language, career technical education, service learning and much more to enrich learning beyond core academic courses.
As parents support their children’s education at home, our teachers and principals are continuing to keep their focus on their students in the classroom, and I applaud you all for that dedication. I will also continue to extend that focus on what we do in the Knox County Schools: Provide an excellent education for every child, and I sincerely thank parents and community members who support our important mission to provide Excellence for Every Child.
Dr. Jim McIntyre
Superintendent, Knox County Schools