Kingsport Times News Friday, September 19, 2014

Local News Education

Innovation Academy principal says students upset by plan to move school

April 19th, 2014 9:24 pm by Rick Wagner

Innovation Academy principal says students upset by plan to move school

KINGSPORT — Of 15.5 teachers this year at Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, Principal Sandy Watkins Friday said she knows of only three considering going to the new IA STEM platform school location at Holston Middle School.

The Sullivan County school board Thursday night voted 5-0 with one absent and one abstaining to move IA into a "school within a school" at Holston near Tri-Cities Regional Airport. It would have eight teachers — three for sixth grade, two each for seventh and eighth, and one STEM- related arts teacher.

However that move and being allowed to use $250,000 in remaining grant money for IA must be approved by the Battelle Memorial Foundation and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.

IA is a STEM or science, technology, engineering and math program. It emphasizes problem- and project-based learning and cross-curricular learning, meaning that math, science, English and social studies, along with related arts, all integrate technology and interdisciplinary learning. All students receive a school-issued iPad.

"I have no idea what will happen because the school is transferring to Holston," said Watkins, who has been offered the role as lead teacher at IA when it moves to Holston.

"I have been offered that role. That doesn't mean I would accept that role," Watkins said.

"I know of only three teachers from our staff who are considering Holston," said Watkins, the former STEM coordinator for the county school system. "It's discouraging my own system doesn't understand STEM."

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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