KCS updates: Covid, rewards, coupon books

Josh FloryOur Town Students

Knox County Schools in August launched a dashboard with districtwide Covid data for staff and students, with the goal of providing families and employees with transparency regarding cases within our schools.

Since then, the district has received additional feedback asking for school-level Covid data, and the Board of Education recently voted in favor of making this information public. With that in mind, the district’s dashboard has been updated and the first school-by-school numbers were published on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Several factors should be noted in connection with these numbers:

  • The dashboard does not include Covid data for Pre-K students or staff
  • Because of its limited enrollment, data from the Fort Sanders Educational Development Center will not be included
  • All data will be reported in ranges, in order to protect individual privacy. In addition, any school that has a student population of 250 or less will start at a case range of equal to or less than 15
  • Absences reported for each school are total numbers, and are not limited to Covid-related absences.

The district is working with the Knox County Health Department to compile these numbers and share them with the public. However, this is a complex process, and additional details regarding the data collection and reporting process can be found here. As we work to provide transparency, the district would urge families to take the following actions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to support in-person learning:

  • Provide relevant information to contact-tracing officials from KCHD
  • Make sure that students stay home when they are sick and when they are asked to isolate / quarantine by public health
  • Ensure that eligible family members are vaccinated
  • Consider the use of masks for students who attend school in person.
Nine district schools earn “Reward” designation

The state of Tennessee has released designations related to school achievement, and nine schools from KCS were honored this year as “Reward” schools. The Reward designation recognizes schools that are improving in terms of achievement and growth for all students and student groups. The nine schools that achieved the designation within KCS are:

  • Blue Grass Elementary
  • Copper Ridge Elementary
  • Corryton Elementary
  • Farragut Intermediate
  • Hardin Valley Elementary
  • Rocky Hill Elementary
  • Sequoyah Elementary
  • Shannondale Elementary
  • Northshore Elementary

“The 2020-21 school year was extremely challenging due to the disruptions caused by Covid-19,” said Superintendent Bob Thomas. “Educators and students across the district have worked incredibly hard to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, and I am very pleased that these nine schools were recognized for their efforts.”

In addition to the Reward designation, eight district schools were taken off the list of those needing “Targeted Support and Improvement.” It also appears that some schools which would have otherwise achieved Reward status – particularly at the middle and high school levels – missed that designation because they did not meet the state threshold of testing 95% of students.

Meanwhile, three schools within KCS were designated for “Additional Targeted Support and Improvement” while a fourth school was designated for “Comprehensive Support and Improvement.”

Fundraiser will direct more money to schools

KCS launched its annual Coupon Book fundraiser on Thursday, Sept. 9, and this year’s campaign will provide an even bigger boost to individual schools.

The sale runs through Sept. 29, and the cost of books is still only $10. This year, the full purchase price from each sale will go to the school of the student who sells it, up from previous years. Books can be purchased from a student, or directly at the school.

“The Coupon Book fundraiser is a great way to provide support directly to KCS schools and to build a positive culture for Knox County students,” said Superintendent Thomas. “We’re excited that the full $10 purchase price will now be directed to schools, and we’re grateful for the students, families and business partners who are supporting this year’s campaign.”

Josh Flory is a multi-media specialist with Knox County Schools and writes the blog Hall Pass for the KCS website.

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