By Sally Absher

Second Annual Redeeming Red for Dyslexia Day

This Thursday, Oct. 15, is World Dyslexia Day. Decoding Dyslexia-TN’s Julya Johnson and County Commissioner Jeff Ownby are celebrating Knoxville’s 1 in 5! Come join in the celebration – meet near Calhoun’s at Volunteer Landing in Knoxville at 7:15 pm. The Henley Street Bridge will be lit up in RED lights to honor our children who have dyslexia.

Redeeming Red is the theme of World Dyslexia Day. Why Red? According to the World Dyslexia Day – Knoxville Facebook event page, “Because as parents we often SEE RED when our children are misunderstood. Our children also see RED INK all over their papers. In 2013, Alabama dyslexia Mom Christie Aitken decided we need to redeem this color that is so often negative, and instead make it a positive one for our kids.”

“Every child who attends will receive a comic book from Knoxville’s New Krypton Comics and McKay’s Booksellers, and Commissioner Jeff Ownby is providing glow sticks (both while supplies last). We are also expecting appearances by some SUPER HEROS!”

Redeeming Red for Dyslexia Day events are also being held in Nashville, Clarksville, Williamson County (Franklin), and Wilson County (Lebanon).


KCS Magnet Showcase this week

The annual Knox County Schools Magnet Showcase will be held this Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, 6-7:30 p.m., at The Standard, 416 W. Jackson Avenue. The showcase gives students, parents and community members an opportunity to learn about all nine magnet schools in the District.

At the showcase, each magnet school will have information available about the school’s program, eligibility and more. Students and parents can also complete transfer applications with the assistance of representatives from the Knox County Schools Enrollment and Transportation departments. Transfer request forms are also available online and at magnet school locations.

Free parking for the Magnet Showcase is available beginning at 6 p.m. at the Jackson Avenue parking lot, which is located directly across from The Standard.

Magnet schools provide unique learning opportunities in specific areas or themes not offered in full at other Knox County Schools. Magnet programs are committed to increasing educational opportunities for students while promoting students’ interests, abilities and talents. For more information and a full list of Magnet Schools, see


Great Schools Partnership donates $81,050 to pilot “Blended Online Academy” at Central High School

Last week, Great Schools Partnership (GSP) President Buzz Thomas presented a $20,000 check (the first of four payments of approximately $20,000 each) to Central High School to launch a pilot blended learning academy.

The academy reportedly will target a variety of students, from those who need recovery credits to those wishing to surge ahead with AP and dual enrollment courses for both high school and college credit.

The academy will offer courses produced and filmed by Central’s faculty as well as courses offered by outside institutions such as Pellissippi State Community College. Central’s goal is to double the number of students taking college-level courses and increase their graduation rate to 90% during the two year pilot.

Thomas told The Focus, “Central is the first Knox County high school to create a curriculum that combines both live instruction with online instruction to maximize their course offerings and customize their instruction to the needs of their kids.  We’re not absolutely certain it will turn out to be a good idea, but as part of our Research and Development work, we want to give Mike Reynolds (one of East Tennessee’s best principals) the chance to try it out.”

Reynolds was principal at Fulton and Farragut High Schools before coming to Central.

Thomas also said that the new academy could not have happened without the support of Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, The Knox County Commission, and Superintendent Jim McIntyre. GSP receives about $2 million each year from Mayor Burchett and County Commission for Research and Development.


Teacher Supply Depot Saturday October 17

KCS teachers and teaching assistants will have the opportunity to pick up free classroom supplies through the KCS/PTA Teacher Supply Depot. School nurses are also invited to shop for supplies for school clinics. Those planning to shop at the Teacher Supply Depot must bring a KCS ID or another form of identification to be admitted. The hours are 7 am to noon.

Located at 709 N. Cedar Bluff Rd. in the former Cedar Bluff Intermediate School, the Teacher Supply Depot is a joint venture of the Knox County Education Association and the Knox County Schools.  In its 14 years of service, the Teacher Supply Depot has benefited more than 10,000 Knox County Schools’ professionals and has provided more than $2.6 million worth of materials made possible through the support of local businesses and community members.

This is the second of four planned Teacher Supply Depot shopping days. The remaining two are scheduled for Saturday, January 23, and Saturday, April 2, 2016.