Number of students who are planning to attend IA drops from 148 to 119

Rick Wagner • Jun 25, 2014 at 11:33 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee stands at 119 confirmed students this fall for its new home in Blountville, compared to 148 who in late May planned to attend this fall and capacity for an estimated 185.

The 119 is the latest number of students for the school after a June 13 deadline for those who won lotteries earlier this year to confirm their intention to attend IA.

After the deadline, county education officials contacted those who did not respond by the deadline before removing them from the list.

The students include some from Kingsport as well as others from surrounding Northeast Tennessee areas.

"I anticipate we'll be well up to 150 to 160 before we start school," Director of Schools Jubal Yennie said.

"I anticipate some ebb and flow the first year" at Holston Middle School.

He said he expected students would be allowed to apply for available IA slots for about two weeks after school starts in August.

For now, those interested in applying can contact the central office at (423) 354-1001 or kristi.king@sullivank12.net.

In mid-July they can contact Holston Middle Principal Billy Miller at (423) 354-1500.

IA will not have a separate principal as it has during the past two years.

The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school will be moving from the former Brookside Elementary School in Bloomingdale to a school within a school at Holston Middle near Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Kingsport and the county partnered to open the program two years ago, but the city system pulled out at the end of this school year.

The school, formed with the help of $1 million in federal start-up money, has received accolades and praise from the likes of Apple, Gov. Bill Haslam and the Battelle Memorial Foundation, which administers the start-up money funneled through the Tennessee Department of Education.

Yennie said the updated enrollment numbers break down to 59 sixth-graders, 36 seventh-graders and 24 eighth-graders.

That compares to plans to serve up to 75 sixth-graders with three teachers, 60 sixth-graders with two teachers and 60 eighth-graders with two teachers, plus a STEM related arts teacher.

Other related arts would be provided by the Holston Middle faculty, and geometry is to be taught by a teacher from nearby Sullivan Central.

Of the 59 sixth-graders, 42 are within the Sullivan County system and 17 from other systems, nine from Kingsport, one homeschooled, four of unknown origin and one each from Bristol, Tenn., Hawkins County and Washington County, Tenn.

In seventh grade, 26 are from the county and 10 from other systems. Seven are from Kingsport and three of unknown origin.

And in eighth grade, 19 are from the county and five from other systems, two from Kingsport and three of unknown origin.

Among county schools, 22 confirmed students come from Colonial Heights Middle; 17 from Blountvillle Middle; 12 from Bluff City Middle; 11 each from Holston and North middles; eight from Sullivan K-8; four from Mary Hughes School and two from Holston Valley Middle School.

Back on May 21, IA officials said the lottery at IA chose 75 students for sixth grade, leaving nine who did not get a spot; 60 students for seventh grade, leaving seven without a spot; and 43 of 60 in eighth, meaning 17 slots were still available.

Rising seventh- and eighth-graders who already were in IA had priority in the lottery, as did siblings of those students.

Otherwise, students from outside Sullivan County, including Kingsport, were a lower priority after all county students had been accommodated.

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