For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic altered the way meetings were conducted, the Knox County Board of Education added recognitions to its communications agenda during their meeting on November 18, 2021.
The recognition was a first for Knox County since the hiring of Superintendent Jeremy Ledford. A “North Star” award was created for those individuals that are making significant contributions towards the district becoming Top 10% in the state. “The North Star award points us towards that goal, and guides us in our work,” said Frank Shelton, Director of Communications, who explained the award at the meeting.
First recipients were teachers that modified the district’s curriculum to ensure that all elementary schools are teaching the same content, in the same grade level, at the same time. To help the Board and guests at the meeting understand the importance, Shelton provided a scenario.
“Let’s say you have Sally, a fourth-grade student, who starts at Central Elementary in August. In social studies, she begins to learn about economics. In October, Sally moves to Dewitt, where they are studying history,” said Shelton. He went on to present other moves that a student would make, then asked the superintendent, a former social studies teacher, what content did the student miss during all of the moves. “Geography,” said Ledford. “At no time did Sally finish an entire unit of study and even missed one entire unit due to the schedule differences between elementary schools,” said Shelton.
(For a listing and photos of the teachers recognized, a related story will be available on the KCPS news website.)
In reports to the Board, Superintendent Ledford provided members with updates on his progress in areas of human resources and leadership. He cited the completion of common walkthrough documents and corrective action plans. “It makes sure staff evaluations are fair and effective, with everyone using the same thing and same process.”
Scott Noel presented architect updates to the Board. One major advancement in the district’s construction projects is the completion of programming at Knox County Career and Technical Center. Noel explained that he met with administration and teachers to determine their needs as far as space and equipment. The programming meeting will allow Noel and others at Summitt Engineering to begin the process of assigning locations to each classroom while minimizing the loss of instruction due to the construction.
Conversation among Noel and the Board included the tennis courts on the property of Lay Elementary for Knox Central. Continued changes to the courts to ensure proper drainage is impacting the direction and pooling of water. The Board is now looking at slot drains being put into the court to route the runoff. Superintendent Ledford stated that he had concerns based on drawings that were presented that some of the drainage plans would cut through walkways. It was decided that a meeting would need to be held on-site to determine what impact the proposal to resolve the issues will make.
In the action items portion of the meeting, the Board took action to advertise for bids for mowing and chemical services for the calendar year beginning January 2022. Interested businesses in placing a bid for the services may contact the district’s maintenance shop for bid specs and a bid packet.
The Board amended the district’s attendance code to allow students to have a second chance if they accumulate excessive unexcused days and tardies during the first semester of school. Ledford stated that the district’s existing policy, and even the updates being presented for approval, were the top in the 13th region trying to enforce attendance. The changes would allow students a fresh start on January 1 to participate in sports, go on field trips, and participate in non-graded and non-academic events such as prom. While the change will not eliminate the student’s attendance history, it will provide a fresh start for them not to accumulate additional unexcused absences and tardies that would keep them from participating. The changes approved by the Board include no more than six unexcused absences and/or fifteen unexcused tardies during any attendance window, with the windows defined as July to December and January to June.
The top of athletics and ensuring an even playing field for all athletes was another topic of discussion for the Board. The board heard updates from the superintendent on a new district-level athletic handbook that would be used in all sports and all grade levels. “We had various coaches and schools using their own rules, and only a few using the existing handbook,” explained Ledford. The new handbook addresses athlete behavior and procedures for students and their families to take when there are concerns. The handbook was approved and became policy immediately.
Out-of-state field trips were also approved at the meeting. Knox County Middle School cheerleaders will participate in a regional cheer competition being held in Nashville, TN the weekend of November 19-21. Knox Central cheerleaders will travel to Disney from February 9-14 to participate in the UCA High School Nationals competition. Knox Central and Lynn Camp softball will be traveling to Myrtle Beach during spring break to participate in tournaments. Lynn Camp’s JAG (Jobs for American Graduates) program will take a trip to Washington, D.C. November 30 through December 3.
Other items approved include:
- Independent contract with a provider for visually impaired services for students.
- Acceptance of an offer of assistance from the Kentucky Department of Education in the amount of $34,490.
- A contract with Interpreting Services of the Commonwealth to provide sign language, as needed, for student/family meetings.
- A transfer of restricted capital funds to pay for approved expenditures of property insurance and debt on school buses.
An executive session was held and no action was taken.
Official minutes of the November 18 meeting included contracts approved will be available upon approval of minutes at the December 16 meeting. The December 16 meeting will be held at the Board of Education Annex at 6:30 pm.
Below is a copy of the agenda from the November 18 meeting and video.
A copy of the agenda is available as a PDF downloadable document and is embedded below.
Individuals who need this information in an alternative format may request accommodations by contacting the Office of Communications at 606-546-3157, ext. 2446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who are attending in person who need accommodations may request such accommodations in advance.
(Article updated on November 20, 2021, to provide a summary of board action.)