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Goal 4: Enabling Student Learning

Objective II:
Provide an Instructional Setting Where All Students are Encouraged to Learn

The Knox County Schools will provide clean, safe, and well maintained facilities that allow for productive learning environments.  The district will develop and implement new quality design program standards established to produce facilities that provide a safe and effective learning environment and assist in fulfilling the established goals of the Board of Education.  The district will efficiently use and manage of facilities to be most supportive of student learning.

                                                                   STRATEGIC INITIATIVES                                                               

Provide a Safe and Secure Environment for Students and Employees 
The Knox County Schools will continue make the safety and security of its educational facilities a very high priority. The continued cooperation and support of the community and public safety officials is a key factor in keeping our students and staff safe.  School district leadership and safety personnel will continue to implement the recommendation of the committee of school safety experts convened in the fall of 2008 to assess the safety of our schools.  

The KCS will continue to be committed to the campus duties and responsibilities outlined in an agreement with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, and the Knoxville Police Department. 

The stated goals of the extensive agreement reached in March of 2009 are to:

•    Establish a positive working relationship in a cooperative effort to prevent juvenile delinquency and assist in student development;
•    Maintain a safe and secure environment on campus, which will be conducive to learning; and
•    Promote positive attitudes regarding the police role in society and to inform students of their rights and responsibilities as lawful citizens.

Create a 21st Century Learning Environment 
To develop 21st century skills, students need not only the curriculum but also an environment consistent with cultivating those skills.  Technology is a large factor in this environment, as today many students have to “power down” to come to class.  The KCS will strive to develop a technology infrastructure to support student learning.  Technology must be viewed as a means to provide opportunities and tools to aid student learning and support to both in and out of school. The KCS must find ways to use communication tools with which students are comfortable, such as cell phones and MP3 players.  Some classes are using technology and students’ skills with technology to great advantage, but best practices are not shared across the district. 

Transforming the technology environment includes addressing the instructional technology employed by teachers; moving away from desktop computers to more versatile laptops, or even mobile technology alternatives.  Each school will have a library/media center equipped with appropriate instructional equipment and technology to support coursework and learning standards.
Additional e-learning opportunities will be sought for high school students, either as stand-alone options or in combination with regular classroom instruction.  A balance of traditional and on-line methods of instruction will be used as both are important parts of a student’s educational experience.  Computer based assessments and Florida Virtual High School courses will undergo continued consideration by the district.  Online courses will serve students seeking both recovery and new credit.  Video conferencing currently exists in limited capacity as well and will be expanded where it is appropriate.

Develop a Strategically-Focused Technology Plan
The Knox County Schools will develop a strategically focused technology plan that includes a comprehensive inventory of the technology-based tools teachers need to bolster classroom instruction and promote learning.  A gap analysis will determine the resources – including funding – required to acquire and implement such technology.  The technology plan will also include an action plan for soliciting resources through public and private funding.The district will also develop a comprehensive inventory of the technology skills teachers need, and develop a professional development plan to provide teachers these skills.  Technology purchasing and approval will  continue to be centrally coordinated to optimize buying power, standardize specifications, and track instructional technology assets district-wide.    
•    Electronic Board Agendas 
To demonstrate its leadership on the technology front, the Board of Education will transition to “paperless” electronic Board agendas, using software to improve efficiency, transparency and streamlined workflow.
•    Technology coaches
Technology coaches will be located at regional offices to support teachers.  The KCS will deploy four coaches to support classroom instruction, and twenty technicians to solve information technology issues.  Limited coverage will be in place with four coaches deployed in 2009, but instructional technology support will be transitioned to a coaching or training model over time.

•    Develop a Hardware Replacement Cycle
A key component of the Technology Plan will be a clearly defined program for the replacement of technology assets.  Without a replacement cycle based on predictive analysis of failure rates and obsolescence, operations are interrupted due to unplanned costly repairs, frequent service outages, and insufficient resources to support old applications.  Currently, a significant proportion of technology purchases are made at the school level using private, community or grant resources.  Schools with limited community financial capacity that are not the beneficiaries of federal Title I grant funds are largely without the means to remain current in the procurement of instructional technologies.  A regular hardware replacement schedule would greatly increase the equity of technology recourses available to support student learning across the school district.    

The Knox County Schools will develop a replacement cycle to look at the average life expectancy for classroom and library/media center hardware, software applications, and district-wide infrastructure.  We will also review in detail the service level availability of the district’s technology infrastructure, including networking equipment, centralized servers, and school based applications. 

A standard replacement cycle time used in private industry is three years, that is, a third of all equipment is replaced every year.  Where budgetary pressures are extreme, the cycle is usually extended to no more than five years, or twenty percent of all equipment replaced every year.  Knox County Schools will identify a foundational level of annual technology replacement, and schools that sought additional hardware would have to identify the resources for their procurement.
Build Capacity to Assess and Analyze Facilities 
The KCS entered a partnership with the Public Building Authority (PBA) and the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) in 2006 to determine what maintenance was needed at each of the district’s schools, and to analyze and project the district’s long-term facilities needs. 

This partnership, known as the Partnership for Educational Facilities Assessment or PEFA, will be reenergized to look strategically at continuing to reduce the deferred maintenance, including setting priorities based upon the student population growth trends identified by PEFA.  In particular, the Knox County Schools, working through PBA, MPC and PEFA will greatly expand its capacity to analyze, model and predict student enrollment trends to support decision making.   
•    Develop a Plan for Disposition of Unused Facilities 

The Knox County Schools will evaluate facilities assets and consider with the disposition of unused facilities.  As good stewards of the public dollars, the KCS is obligated to keep facilities well-maintained and operating efficiently, or to dispose of those assets responsibly. 
•    Improve Energy Efficiency
Operating our facilities at peak energy efficiency saves money and is the environmentally responsible thing to do.  The Knox County Schools will continue to make investments, implement procedures, and explore “green” alternatives in order to increase energy efficiency.  

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