KINGSPORT – Declaring that Tennessee has moved the goal posts on K-12 achievement standards to make high school diplomas meaningful, Gov. Phil Bredesen warned parents Tuesday that they should not be shocked if their child is no longer academically proficient when new standards are set later this week by the State Board of Education.

Bredesen said the changes were essential given that state tests indicate 80 percent of all students are proficient in math, but only 21 percent of students score mathematically proficient on the National Assessment of Education Progress test.

Theres only one reason that could be, and that is, our tests our way too easy, Bredesen said, while urging the public and lawmakers not to backslide on tougher standards as he leaves office in six months. To hand someone a diploma who does not have the skills to go out and be successful in college or at one of these (high-tech) companies is not doing anybody any favors or helping us to succeed.

It may be uncomfortable, but I know you really want what is best for your child. And your child is out competing against a lot of people who have these skills, some of whom are in this country, and some who are in another country.

Bredesen, delivering the keynote for Kingsports Straight to the Top Conference at MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center, applauded Kingsport and Sullivan County for being the quick to realize this fundamental connection between a truly educated workforce and a stable local economy.

Site selection consultants used to dismiss Kingsport as a part of the rust belt with a lot of old industry, Bredesen said. Nobody says that today. This is a part of our state that has really transformed its economy in some really fundamental ways ‚¬¦ and is training a 21st century workforce. Kingsport and Sullivan County are gaining national recognition for that. The academic village model is something that is being talked about around the country.

To highlight the nexus between education and economics, Bredesen indicated that a major manufacturing prospect Tennessee is currently pursuing is adamant they will not even interview someone without two years of education beyond high school, adding that 80 percent of jobs today now require a minimum two years of college. Since 2002, Kingsport and Sullivan County have offered every high school graduate free tuition to Northeast State Community College.

For a long time in our country a good job was a place you went to work right after high school ‚¬¦ I suspect Eastman (Chemical Company) was one of those over the years, Bredesen said.‚  With the mobile society we live in today, the very best protection is not getting on at Eastman early on, it is to have the skills it takes to go wherever you want and be able to get the kind of job that supports a family and lets you live the American dream.

Meanwhile, Eastman CEO Jim Rogers, who introduced the Governor, noted his companys commitment to education, with 200 employees who are trained to work in more than 100 local school systems.

I may not be an expert in this area, but I am a customer of the work you do, Rogers told educators and administrators in the room. What you do is extremely important to us. And we hope you are going to deliver the graduates who give us a competitive leg up.

Earlier in Tuesdays session, former Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and current Lecturer in Public Management at the Harvard Kennedy School likewise commended Kingsport for helping residents to punch their meal ticket and thereby encouraging trust in the larger direction of local government.

How does a city become a viable, memorable city in a region and compete in the global economy, Williams asked. What are the ingredients? Most are spelled out in a common understanding in terms of building convention centers like this one or having great sports facilities or bringing in some entertainment to your city. But where all of us are impressed with Kingsport is that you are doing all of these things, but you are also looking at education and understanding the role of education in economic development. I think that is the genius of Kingsports plan.

Summing up the conference, Mayor Dennis Phillips noted that the leadership of Kingsport is not going to fail, and this is only the beginning of what we hope to accomplish.


KINGSPORT – Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Timothy Webb, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Dr. Charles Manning and Dr. William Sanders, creator of the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, outlined powerful changes coming to the K-12-Higher Education arena during the first day of the Straight to the Top Conference.

I would like to give you an architects view of what Race to the Top, First to the Top, is supposed to be about, Webb said. I begin with what if in 4 years every child that engages the public education system has the benefit of, privilege and civil right of being instructed by highly qualified teachers in every classroom.

To build these effective organizations, led by highly qualified principals and administrators, Tennessee is rapidly embracing a system in place since 1992 – TVAAS, which Webb called the the most robust education data system in the world.

Simply put, TVASS measures actual gains in knowledge year-over-year, regardless of what point the child falls on the achievement scale.

I go to bed every night with a spider in my bed, and that spider is, what if we dont, Webb said. But failure is simply not an option. Being nearly proficient in math or writing is simply not an option.

In addition to harnessing the power of TVASS to both measure knowledge gain and predict future results, Webb added that the Tennessee Board of Education is about to make the most important decision that body ever made in terms of setting new, higher standards of proficiency later this week.
There are tough times ahead there will be a little bit of chaos, but we will come out of this stronger with high school graduates who are truly ready for college and able to compete on an international basis with graduates from China and India.

At the same time, Webb pledged that the $500 million Race to the Top award would not be spent in a way that leaves the burden for local government to fund when the grant expires in four years.

Meanwhile, Manning commended Kingsport and Sullivan County for being ahead of the game in recognizing that K-12 must build a seamless bridge to higher education.

This really is a remarkable community in what is had done and it has now been recognized by an icon of education in the (Harvard University) Innovations in American Government Award, Manning said. You all have really made the connection between K-12, higher education and building a stronger workforce and you recognized that it is the C and B students who are going to stay right here.

In his term at the podium, Dr. Sanders outlined three critical issues in the use of Value-Added data.

First, K-12 administrators should never allow a student to be placed in a classroom led by a weak teacher for two years in a row. Second, the predictive data provided once three years of information are available on a student are proven valid when it comes to determining students who are failing, students who are achieving and students who need to challenged even more with harder classes. And Sanders insisted that school systems must work to ensure that top teaching talent is equitably distributed throughout the system, not just dumping all of the weaker teachers in a single school building.

At the same time, Sanders contended that existing resources are sufficient if teachers will pull individual student data regularly to adjust mid-course to those kids who are either struggling or not sufficiently challenged.

Although working with Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and other states, Sanders said teachers are yet to seize on the ability of TVASS to truly measure progress and predict future student outcomes.

We have to use the predictive aspects to maximize the chance this kid has to get to the new higher standards that are being rolled out, Sanders said. At the same time, as we push these kids up, you going to have more STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) graduates by continuing to place the kids who are ready in these more challenge classes at an earlier point.

Since Tennessee adopted the TVASS system 18 years ago, Sanders said his system has been attacked early and often by educators and statisticians alike, and has been proven valid every single time.

Nobody has developed a better, more accurate value-added longitudinal analysis than what undergirds TVASS, and we need our educators to trust the information so they can make better education decisions in the classroom and at the principal level, he said. And weve got to do a better job of tracking the kids who are not coming from households with college graduates to encourage them to stay on a higher track.

Day 2 of the Straight to the Top conference at MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center will feature presentations by former Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, who is the William H. Bloomberg Lecturer in Public Management at the Harvard Kennedy School, a roundtable discussion on Great Teachers and Great Leaders and presentations by Will Pinkston with the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), and a keynote address by Governor Phil Bredesen and Eastman Chemical Co. CEO Jim Rogers on the critical connection between academic excellence and economic success.

KINGSPORT – Top education innovators from Tennessee and beyond
will highlight cutting-edge thinking on K-12 and higher education reform
during the Straight to the Top Conference kicking off Monday, July 26,
2010 at the MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center.

Set in the context of Tennessees successful Race to the Top award and
Kingsports notoriety in higher education garnered with the Harvard
Innovations in American Government Award, the conference highlights
Kingsports decade-long focus on the nexus between education and
economic stability.

It is a tremendous honor for Kingsport to host this conference and
spread the word that Kingsport and Tennessee are on the cusp of an
innovation explosion, leading the way to a stronger, integrated and far
more relevant relationship between K-12 and the higher education
system, Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips said Thursday.

A sampling of topics includes a presentation by Dr. William Sanders,
creator of Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System that measures growth
in student learning instead of static test scores. Dr. Sanders will be
discussing how TVASS can be used as predictive tool in guiding classroom
planning and directing instructional dollars.

"Tennessee has an unprecedented opportunity with the resources provided
by Race to the Top," Tennessee Education Commissioner Timothy Webb said.
"The investment in our students now means a more educated workforce for
the future of our state. This is possible only through support from our
businesses and organizations, like those joining us this week in

Offering two tracks, the Straight to the Top conference will focus on
both K-12 and higher education. Kingsport recently earned the
Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard Universitys
Kennedy School of Government recognizing Kingsports decade-long drive
to increase higher education access through the Educate & Grow
scholarships available to any high school graduate, as well as the new
downtown Academic Village offering instruction provided by both public
and private colleges and universities.

At the same time, Kingsports K-12 system is working diligently to
become a data-driven, results-oriented organization that integrates
early college coursework into the high school curriculum.

In todays challenging global economy, the quality of a communitys
local workforce is invaluable to ensuring a communitys long-term
livelihood and economic success, said Stephen Goldsmith, director of
the Innovations in Government Program at Harvard Kennedy School. As a
2009 Innovations in American Government Award winner, the city of
Kingsport has demonstrated an impressive commitment to revitalizing its
community through a host of creative measures that municipalities
nationwide can adopt to similarly achieve their economic potential.

Mondays Straight to the Top sessions will focus on strengthening early
college instruction and talent recovery, while a concurrent session
focuses on integrating early college coursework into K-12 studies.
Mondays sessions will also highlight Tennessees upcoming
teacher/principal evaluation requirements and the work of Tennessees
Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee.

Tuesdays sessions will feature Gov. Phil Bredesen, Commissioner Webb,
Eastman CEO Jim Rogers and Anthony Williams, former Mayor of Washington,
DC and current William H. Bloomberg Lecturer in Public Management at
the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. These sessions will focus on
Leveraging Academic Excellence for Economic Success as well as providing
insight into Kingsports development of the Educate & Grow
scholarships and Academic Village.

Also Tuesday, Commissioner Webb will moderate a panel discussion on
developing Greater Teachers and Leaders featuring Brad Leon, Executive
Director, Teach for America, Dean Bob Rider of the University of
Tennessee and Gera Summerford, President – Tennessee Education

To learn more about the Straight to the Top! Conference please
navigate the provided links below.

Home | Registration
| Hotel
& Travel
| Program |
| Sponsors
| Contact


KINGSPORT – A wide swath of Rock Springs Road area water customers will have service interrupted Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. ranging from near Moreland Drive all the way out to West Valley Drive while city crews work to repair a major water line leak. At best, residents can expect very little water during the outage period, although Remington House and the dental arts office on Lockport Circle will be unaffected by the outage.


KINGSPORT – FunFest 2010 is here, which means block parties, festivals and parades.‚  When these events happen, obviously the city shuts off the section of the street for the event.‚  Please refer to the following link to view a comprehensive list of the FunFest 2010 street closures.

To view a comprehensive list of FunFest 2010 street closures, please click here.



KINGSPORT ‚¬Tennessee Department of Transportation contractors will be conducting repairs of the bridge on State Route 126 (Wilcox Drive) over the Holston River through October 31, 2010.‚  This work will require lane closures and temporary traffic control devices.‚  However, motorists should be aware that traffic delays are possible, particularly at peak hours, throughout the construction period. As always, motorists are asked to use extreme caution in work zones.


KINGSPORT – The City of Kingsport, Kingsport City Schools, and Northeast State Community College are please to announce that they will be hosting the 2010 Tennessee Conference – Straight to the Top!. The conference will held at MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center on Monday, July 26 and Tuesday, July 27, 2010. Other sponsors include: Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, SCORE – State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Tennessee Department of Education and Eastman Chemical Company.

The aim of the conference is to focus on strategies for achieving economic stability through education excellence. The conference will consist of several information packed sessions lead by special guest speakers.

Speakers include: Tim Webb, TN Education Commisioner
Anthony Williams, former Washington D.C. Mayor
Phil Bredesen – Governor of Tennessee

Sessions will be broken into two different tracts. These tracts are K-12 workshops and Higher Education workshops, which will focus on the achieving excellence in the relative feild of education. ‚ 

Both educators and economic development professionals will learn proven strategies to help guide them through the rapidly changing environment of education reform as it relates to economic stability. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity!

Tickets are $99 per person or $75 perperson for groups larger than 4. For more information or to register, please visit our website at



KINGSPORT ‚¬ Kingsport City Schools is pleased to announce that John Adams Elementary School will offer a three- and four-year old preschool/daycare tuition program beginning in the 2010-11 school year.

This program will offer a curriculum that is composed of developmentally appropriate practices in a nurturing and positive environment in order to enhance the learning and development of each individual child. Tennessee state preschool curriculum standards will be followed as licensed instructors prepare students both socially and academically for kindergarten.

Students do not have to be zoned for Kingsport City Schools or John Adams Elementary to attend. The program will offer full- and part-time care options. Hours of operation will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The monthly tuition rates are: •$590.00/mo. for Full Time
•$365.00/mo. for Part Time-3 days a week
•$250.00/mo. for Part Time- 2 days a week
•$400.00/mo. for Part Time/Half Day

Space is limited and early registration is required. Parents interested in learning more about the program or who would like to register their child are encouraged to contact Regan Pierce at (423) 384-4985 or by email at



KINGSPORT – Garbage, trash and recycling will run on regular schedules during the Fourth of July Holiday, although all city offices will be closed Monday in observance of the holiday. Closures include the Demolition Landfill, Public Library and Senior Center. All parks and green spaces, including Bays Mountain Park, will be open on regular schedules.


KINGSPORT – The Kingsport Fourth of July Parade will be held on Monday, July 5th at 10:00am and will last until 12:00pm (noon).  The parade will start at the intersection of Wateree Street and East Center Street and continue on E. Center Street to Fort Henry Drive and conclude at J. Fred Johnson Stadium on Fort Henry Drive.  Paraders will begin assembling at 8:00am at Wateree Street and East Center Street from Sullivan Street to Wilcox Drive.  The parade will include roughly 3,000 people, over 20 professional floats, 75 horses and 200 vehicles.  The parade is sponsored by the American Legion Hammond Post. No. 3.  Be sure to get there early to get a good spot.