During the work session, members of the five-person BOE joined students of various grade levels for book presentations. The books go to school libraries on behalf of the board: President Susan Lodal, Vice President Karen Reed-Wright, Eric Hyche, Todd Golden and Carrie Upshaw.
Pre-K students received copies of “The Snurtch,” by Sean Ferrell and Charles Santoso, while elementary students got “Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Invention,” by Chris Barton and Don Tate. Middle school students received illustrated copies of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay. Dobyns-Bennett High School students got “I Am Half Sick of Shadows,” a mystery by Alan Bradley, and D-B EXCEL and Cora Cox Academy students received “Salt to the Sea,” a World War II historical novel by Ruta Sepetys.
On other matters, the board:
— Received a technology report from Technology Director Scott Pierce. It included an update on the 1:1 device-to-student ratio program that is transitioning from laptops to Chromebooks. Currently, he said, the system has 4,047 student Chromebooks and 4,647 laptops, with new Chromebooks going to fifth through seventh grades in 1016-17, fourth and ninth grades in 2017-18 and fourth, ninth, 11th and 12th grades in 2018-19.
He said future projects include beefing up wireless networks at the middle and high schools, buying more teacher laptops, installing a secondary WiFi for backup Internet in case the main system fails during online standardized tests and standardizing classroom instructional technology.
— Received a Policy Committee Report from Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True and Golden. Most of the suggested new or revamped policies are to reflect Tennessee or federal law, including background investigations on new employees and separate policies for teachers, as well as a change that will no longer allow neutral or positive recommendations for employees involved in sexual misconduct with students and going to other school systems.
— Received a communications report from True and Marybeth McLain, communications editor. True gave an overview of publications, marketing, event planning and facilitating, system promotions, research and development, crisis management, internal district support, support and coordination with outside groups and external community support. He said the annual School Expo did well at the Farmers Market, instead of its longtime Fort Henry Mall location, which was unavailable because of construction, and could use that venue again for 2018.
McLain said since its July 2015 launch, the current KCS website has had 6.7 million hits and aims to be photocentric and updated often. As for social media, the system does Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, with 9,900 Facebook likes and 6,010 Twitter followers.
— Received an update on the forthcoming KCS Annual Report from McLain, who said the sixth annual calendar report was at the printer and will be mailed in late January or early February. It includes information about the district and individual schools, with this year’s cover the D-B EXCEL grand opening.