By Sally Absher

It’s School Time in Tennessee! A hearty “Welcome back” to all of Knox County’s wonderful teachers and school administrators as you return to school this week! We wish you the very best for the 2016-2017 school year! Check The Focus often for news and updates you may not find in the other newspaper in town!


Back to School Bash – August 8, 2016

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will host the 5th annual “Back to School Bash” next Monday, August 8 at the Knoxville Expo Center, 5441 Clinton Highway.

The event is scheduled from 3-6 p.m., and will provide area families with free school supplies and health screenings. There will be activities, games, free food, and special programs. The event is free and open to the public.


KCS 6th and 9th Grade Orientations August 5

This Friday, August 5, from 8:30 a.m. until noon, KCS will hold student orientations for rising sixth and ninth graders to help transition those students into middle and high school. Orientations will be held at all middle and high schools where the students are based. Bus service will be provided. Please note that the Career Magnet Academy at Pellissippi State will hold its 9th grade orientation from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (bus service provided).

During orientation, transitioning students will have the opportunity to become acclimated to their new school environment, meet friends and review schedules and other information while being in a small-group setting prior to the return of the entire student body.

Students officially return to the Knox County Schools on Monday, Aug. 8, which is a half-day session for students.


Beaumont Magnet Academy Announces the First Elementary Theater Program

Windy Clayton, principal at Beaumont Magnet Academy is proud to announce that for the 2016-2017 school year, students will participate in the first elementary theater program in the Knox County Schools. Beaumont Magnet Academy is a magnet school that offers students across the county an opportunity to participate in a unique fine and performing arts program along with the standard KCS curriculums. The new theater program comes as an addition to an instrumental music class and dance class. Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade will rotate weekly through each of the performing arts classes.

The vision for the theater program is multi-faceted. It will include student exposure to plays and musicals, performances at three Exhibit Nights during the school year, and ideally, a musical production as the culmination of the school year. Students will also be instructed in vocal music as it relates to the theatre. Theatre and vocal music will connect to social studies and literature standards taught in the regular education classrooms, helping students make connections between content areas and to the world around them.

The Beaumont staff is thrilled to open this opportunity to students in Knox County and look forward to seeing all benefits that will develop from the introduction of the theater program.


Back to School at Emerald Academy

While most Knox County students are enjoying their last two weeks of summer vacation, Emerald Academy, Knoxville’s first and only public charter school, kicked off the 2016-2017  school year on July 27, as approximately 250 kindergarten, first, second, and sixth grade students headed back to school.

The school will eventually house more than 500 students – known as “scholars” – from kindergarten through eighth grade.

“From the time we began the application process for the school, our goal was always to get to middle school as quickly as possible to help close academic gaps for children in the city,” said Emerald Charter Schools board president Steve Diggs. “We had a very successful first year at Emerald Academy, and we are particularly excited to expand that growth to sixth grade scholars.

Emerald Academy is a tuition-free, publically funded but independently operated K-8 college preparatory school launched by Emerald Charter Schools and Emerald Youth Foundation.  The school is located in Mechanicsville at the historic Moses School Building.


Hardin Valley Elementary First Day Tradition

Hardin Valley Elementary principal Dr. Sunny Poe reports that the annual Hardin Valley Elementary tradition for the first day of school will take place this year on Tuesday, August 9, at 9:30 a.m. (August 9 is the first FULL day of school for KCS students).

The entire student body gathers in the front parking lot to watch the ringing of the original school bell from the old Hardin Valley School. A group of 5th graders are selected to assist with pulling the rope for the bell ringing, which signifies the start of the new school year.



See C2 this week for Knox County Schools’ 2016-2017 Calendar!