IA sets hours for next school year, when program expands to grades 6-8

Rick Wagner • May 16, 2013 at 11:12 PM

KINGSPORT — Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee will have a school day that runs from 7:25 a.m. to 2:25 p.m., city school officials said Thursday night.

They also said efforts are under way that might lead to orchestra joining a new band program at the STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — school.

With the deadline for existing students to keep their slots and new students to apply for the lottery a week from today, Kingsport Assistant Superintendent Dory Creech and spokesman Andy True gave the city Board of Education an update on IA, a joint operation of Kingsport and Sullivan County schools that applies STEM across all curriculum, including English and social studies.

Applications for city and county students are available at the IA website, www.ianetn.org, and Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said the latest developments would be added to answers for frequently asked questions online.

The grades 6-7 school, in the county’s old Brookside Elementary, is expanding to grades 6, 7 and 8 in August. That means each system will add two eighth-grade teachers to handle 40 students each, for a total of 240 student slots.

Creech said the county and city agreed to the 7:25 to 2:25 school day, which allows time for students to get back to home or base schools in time for athletic practices.

As for orchestra, she said the unnamed county band director will be certified for orchestra and officials are working to see if that director or a city orchestra instructor could be used at IA for orchestra. Also, IA Principal Sandy Watkins said the band director might be available three periods a day instead of the two talked about at the last IA governing board meeting, Creech said.

BOE President Randy Montgomery said city and county system officials should meet with the IA band director to be sure the band program has continuity for both the city and county band programs.

Ailshie said the city system would continue the practice of making instruments available to students who can’t afford them.

Because IA related arts, including band, were offered at home or base schools in either the city or county systems this school year, both systems are providing a related arts teacher for IA for 2013-14. Kingsport’s is a Project Lead the Way teacher and the county’s is a digital media teacher.

For physical education, the city will provide a teacher two days a week and the county a half a teaching position.

As for KCS students committed to returning for 2013-14, as of Thursday True said nine rising seventh graders and 14 rising eighth graders from IA have committed.

In the lottery applications, the city had 132 applying for positions in fifth, sixth and seventh grades. Those break down to 72 applying for 40 available city fifth-grade slots, 20 for an unknown number of open seventh-grade slots and 32 for an unknown number of open eighth-grade slots.

Officials won’t know how many open seventh- and eighth-grade slots are available until the May 24 deadline.

True said Sullivan County applications in the tally system as of Thursday were 42 for 40 sixth-grade slots, 16 for open seventh-grade slots and five for open eighth-grade slots.

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