Knox County Board of Education
Knox County Commission
Joint Education Committee Meeting

December 18, 2019


The Knox County Board of Education and Knox County Commission Joint Education Committee met on December 18, 2019 in the 1st Floor Boardroom of the Andrew Johnson Building at 912 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, Tennessee. The meeting could be viewed in its entirety on the video located on the Knox County Board of Education webpage at All supporting documents were posted with the agenda on the website.
Board of Education Committee Member Evetty Satterfield, Co-Chair  
Board of Education Committee Member Virginia Babb  
Board of Education Committee Member Terry Hill  
Board of Education Committee Member Susan Horn  
Commission Committee Member Larsen Jay, Co-Chair  
Commission Committee Member Richie Beeler  
Commission Committee Member Carson Dailey  
Commission Committee Member Evelyn Gill  

   1   Welcome
  As Co-Chairs of the 2018-2019 Joint Education Committee, Commissioner Larsen Jay and Board Member Evetty Satterfield welcomed committee members and expressed appreciation for their attendance.
   2   Election of Co-Chairs
  Ms. Babb made a motion to re-elect Commissioner Jay and Board Member Satterfield as Co-Chairs for 2019-2020. Ms. Hill seconded the motion.

Vote:  8-0 Passed
   3   Quick Review of 2018-2019 Joint Education Committee Meeting Topics
  Topics covered by the 2018-2019 Joint Education Committee included Basic Education Program (BEP) funding and Knox County Schools Human Resources.
   4   AI -6130    Overview of Knox County Schools Career & Technical Education Program and Early Post-Secondary Opportunities
  Knox County Schools (KCS) Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jon Rysewyk, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Shannon Jackson and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Dr. Keith Wilson presented.

Dr. Rysewyk reviewed Early Post-Secondary Opportunities (EPSOs). EPSOs included a course or exam that gave students a chance to obtain post-secondary credit while still in high school. He stated that EPSOs ensured students were ready to take full advantage of funding available through the Tennessee Promise and succeed in education and training after high school. Dr. Rysewyk shared that students needed more than just an ACT score of 21 to be successful and the State of Tennessee had set a goal to have 55% of the population obtain a post-secondary degree or certificate by the year 2025.

Dr. Rysewyk explained that EPSOs included both dual credit and dual enrollment. Dual credit allowed students to complete a single course to earn academic credits recognized by both their high school and a higher learning institution and dual enrollment allowed students to take courses concurrently at two separate institutions. Other EPSOs included Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge International (Cambridge) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, as well as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and industry certifications. Mr. Jay asked what EPSOs had the most student participation. Dr. Rysewyk indicated that dual enrollment opportunities with Pellissippi State Community College and Advanced Placement courses had the highest participation.

Dr. Rysewyk also reviewed ready graduate indicators for high school students which included scoring a 21 or higher on the ACT or completing 4 EPSOs or completing 2 EPSOs plus earning an industry certification or completing 2 EPSOs plus a designated score on the ASVAB AFQT (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery/Armed Services Qualification Test). He shared Knox County Schools' vision to have every high school offer robust CTE programming, offer at least one advanced academic program (i.e. AP, Cambridge, IB), plan for intentional dual enrollment options, and also have increased exposure and preparation for both in feeder middle schools.

Ms. Jackson reviewed advanced academic opportunities and stated their purpose was to prepare all students for post-secondary coursework and shift the philosophy that these opportunities were for the many not the few. She shared detail regarding West High School's IB Programme and said that during a time when No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was in place, West High School missed the required graduation rate by a small percentage and also ranked on a national list of best high schools. As a result, the school faculty wanted to ramp-up academics for all students and after getting approval through a parent vote, faculty vote and Board of Education vote, West became the first KCS high school to offer the IB Programme. In order to establish a 6th-10th grade feeder pattern, Bearden Middle School later sought approval to offer the IB Middle Years Program (MYP). Ms. Jackson said the MYP had helped raise the IB Programme numbers to approximately 87-88% of all students participating. She referenced a University of Tennessee retention study that indicated students exposed to an advanced level of rigor in high school stayed in college more often than other students.

Ms. Jackson also reviewed Advanced Placement and Pre-AP programs. These programs had been around the longest and at the current time Bearden, Farragut and Karns High Schools had all been accepted into the Pre-AP program. Ms. Jackson noted that any school could apply and that Pre-AP was not an honors course, but was about everyone having exposure and opportunity. Information regarding the application process was shared and it was noted that different AP programs worked well with CTE, so KCS was looking for good marriages in those areas. Dr. Rysewyk stated that KCS wanted every high school to have an advanced academics identity, as well as strong CTE pathways. He indicated that principals were currently looking at options within their communities and also doing some exploratory scouting trips. Ms. Jackson shared that feeder schools were being asked to work together and reported that Holston and Vine Middle Schools were working with the staff of Austin-East High School to look at the IB Programme, while Carter and South-Doyle schools were looking at Cambridge. She said it would take time, but the administration wanted to give schools the space they needed to make these important decisions.

Ms. Babb pointed out that some advanced programs required students to sit for an exam, which could be expensive for students and their families. Ms. Jackson noted that KCS was currently allocating Title IV funding to assist schools with those needs. Ms. Gill asked how it might work at Austin-East High School and Ms. Jackson stated that KCS was currently covering AP exam expenses at Austin-East and it would be no more expensive to cover other required exams. Ms. Hill asked for the current percentage of West High School students graduating with an IB diploma. Ms. Jackson reported West had 35 full diploma candidates which was about 10% of the graduating class and that many more students were taking IB classes. She stated that it was ultimately about instilling student confidence and giving them the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills. Mr. Jay asked if a school could do more than one advanced academic program. Ms. Jackson said that was possible, but they were encouraged to establish a concentration.

Dr. Wilson reviewed information regarding industry certifications. There were currently 16 career clusters with multiple programs of study within each cluster. KCS participated in a wide-range of industry certifications some of which were requested by vendors who set the standards. Dr. Wilson said it was important for a CTE teacher to have training and KCS wanted a strong alignment between courses and industry certifications. He noted that some CTE courses were AP and also dual enrollment and when looking at ready graduates, industry certification numbers were not dramatic now, but with the full 9th through 12th grade progression, those numbers would grow. Dr. Wilson reported that KCS had 754 industry certifications earned in 2017-2018 and the number had grown to 990 for 2018-2019 with 29 distinct certifications. He provided the committee with a snapshot of an industry certification in the architecture/construction cluster and reviewed information regarding the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curriculum. Dr. Wilson noted that an NCCER certification was widely sought and even what was currently offered at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Mr. Jay asked if CTE programs were being aligned with available jobs. Dr. Wilson said they were, but also explained it was a work in progress with a campaign happening at all levels for both educators and students in a variety of ways. He stated that KCS had partnerships with Resource Valley and Knoxville Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (KPHCC) and offered support to their after-hours program and KCS was also participating in trade fairs and other opportunities. Dr. Wilson also noted that cybersecurity was going to be huge over the next 10 years and KCS was working to broaden and align programs in that area as well. He stated that Carl D. Perkins federal grant funds also allowed KCS to improve and support pathways and programs and look at indicators of success.

Ms. Babb asked what an industry certification did for a student. Dr. Wilson said it depended, but some were transcripted to take hours off of a college program. He said that not all were created equal and therefore KCS must focus attention to keeping standards first, while being cognizant of the time required to obtain an industry certification. Ms. Hill asked Dr. Wilson to provide some detail about industry certifications in the area of health science. He stated that a KCS student could actualy earn their CNA certification and KCS had already seen lots of students graduate with their CNA. Dr. Wilson reported that pharmacy techs, EKG techs and even personal trainers were successful in the area of health science industry certifications. Ms. Satterfield asked if it would be good for each high school to have a CTE identity. Dr. Wilson said that it may not be best to have a single CTE identity, but to identify the demands for the region to make pathway decisions. He said that often students chose courses based on the teacher, so KCS was looking to help students create a profile to address their decisions. Dr. Wilson said 15-year-olds were not being asked to decide on a future career, but being given knowledge about what was available and how to use data to inform decisions.

Ms. Babb said it seemed ideal to get 9th and 10th grade students into a pathway and asked what was being done to prepare middle school counselors. Dr. Wilson reported that KCS was working with counselors to use a new platform and make a push for college/career awareness. He noted that lots of middle schools were hosting parents night events to share current information and a career fair was being worked on to maximize communication. KCS was also trying to figure out sustainability of courses and prompt vertical alignment. Ms. Satterfield asked how transient kids were being assisted. Dr. Wilson said getting students the credits they needed to graduate had to be the first priority. It was noted that there were also challenges regarding CTE for special education students.

Dr. Wilson concluded the presentation by thanking the Knoxville Chamber and Pellissippi State Community College for being great partners with KCS Career and Technical Education.
   5   Discussion on 2019-2020 Joint Education Committee Meeting Topics
  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019 (Topic: Career & Technical Education)
  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020 (Topic: KCS Comprehensive Facilities Review)
  • Wednesday, April 15, 2020 (Topic: TBD)
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2020 (Topic: TBD)
  In January 2020, the committee would be provided with a comprehensive review of KCS facilities and in April the Knox County Schools budget. Mr. Jay asked if committee members wanted discussion regarding the KCS budget to be specifically about how funding aligned to the Board's strategic plan. Ms. Hill noted she would like an update on projected spending and revenues as well. School safety and security would be the topic of discussion for the committee's July 2020 meeting.
   6   Other Business
  No other business was discussed.
   7   Adjourn
  The meeting was adjourned at 5:29 p.m.


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