If you’re a Knox County family looking for choices outside of your zoned school, there are plenty of options – but time is running out.
The KCS transfer window lets families apply to as many as three schools outside of their zone. The deadline to submit applications is 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Applications can be submitted on the district website and are granted based on available space at the requested school. All requests for general transfer are electronically assigned a number using a lottery-style process. School assignment is made in order of the assigned number, within certain ordered priorities.
Brian Hartsell, transfers supervisor for KCS, said the reasons people seek a transfer vary from school to school, and from grade level to grade level. In elementary school, he said, the biggest motivating factor is convenience, particularly in connection with transportation and day-care needs.
Middle and high school transfers are often driven by programming opportunities or a simple matter of preference and perception about what school is best for a particular student.
Hartsell said the district aims to notify families by April 1 about the status of a transfer request, and emphasized that families seeking a transfer don’t need to submit three choices.
“Only apply for those schools that you’re willing to attend,” he said. “You’re not obligated to fill in all three lines on the transfer application.”
Knox County has several schools that offer magnet programming or a particular instructional emphasis:
Austin-East Magnet High School (emphasis on performing arts)
Career Magnet Academy (emphasis on dual-enrollment credit)
Fulton High School (emphasis on communications)
L&N STEM Academy (emphasis on science and technology)
West High School (International Baccalaureate program)
Bearden Middle School (International Baccalaureate program)
Vine Middle Magnet School (emphasis on science and technology)
Beaumont Magnet Academy (emphasis on fine arts and honors)
Green Magnet Academy (emphasis on science and technology)
Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy (emphasis on media and communications)
Windy Clayton, principal at Beaumont, said that out of approximately 560 students at her school, more than 250 attend from outside the zone. Beaumont has a magnet arts focus that is integrated into every student’s curriculum and also features magnet programming for honors students.
The school is divided into five “families” that include a blend of students from each homeroom, providing students with opportunities throughout the day to connect with other Beaumont Family members.
Students attend lunch, recess and encore classes – which include theater, dance, instrumental music, visual arts and PE – with their Beaumont Family and pursue goals related to positive behavior. Clayton said the system helps build a sense of togetherness and has been popular with parents.
“Our main magnet focus is the arts, and all of our students have opportunities to experience success through arts integration while still focusing on differentiated academic instruction,” she said. “You are part of this Beaumont Family.”
Magnet schools aren’t the only transfer options. Katie Lutton, principal at Holston Middle School, said some families have asked to attend Holston because of a general sense that good things are happening, while others have been drawn to specific programs at the school, including the show choir and jazz band.
Holston has worked to build community around those activities, hosting events such as a Veterans’ Day celebration that was open to the public and featured performances by Holston musicians.
Lutton said that whether a student lives inside or outside the school zone, her goal is to make them feel part of the Hurricane family, with a sense of belonging and purpose.
“I feel very strongly that whoever walks in our door, that’s our kid,” she said.
For more information about the KCS transfer program, visit the KCS FAQ page.
Josh Flory is a multi-media specialist with Knox County Schools and writes this blog, Hall Pass, for the KCS website.