School board discusses changes following teacher survey

Knox County school board discusses changes following troubling teacher survey

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The school board and Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre discussed the results of the teacher surveys at a BOE meeting on Tuesday evening. The school board and Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre discussed the results of the teacher surveys at a BOE meeting on Tuesday evening.
"We're going to give some choice to our teachers next year around whether they wish to have two unannounced observation classroom visits or whether they want to have one and one. One announced, one unannounced," Dr. McIntyre said. "We're going to give some choice to our teachers next year around whether they wish to have two unannounced observation classroom visits or whether they want to have one and one. One announced, one unannounced," Dr. McIntyre said.
"There's pretty much an overwhelming need for drastic and immediate change," Amhert Elementary School teacher Robert Taylor said. "There's pretty much an overwhelming need for drastic and immediate change," Amhert Elementary School teacher Robert Taylor said.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knox County Board of Education is making changes following the results of recent teacher surveys.

Those surveys show that most teachers feel they need more trust and power back in the classrooms.

The school board and Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre discussed the results of the teacher surveys at a BOE meeting on Tuesday evening, acknowledging that the surveys show a sense of low morale in the school district and the feeling that teachers are under appreciated.

"There's pretty much an overwhelming need for drastic and immediate change," Amhert Elementary School teacher Robert Taylor said.

The teacher surveys show that 70 percent of teachers feel that they do not have enough autonomy in the classrooms, with 69 percent saying they do not feel trusted to make professional decisions.

Dr. McIntyre outlined changes to address those concerns at the meeting. Those changes include eliminating some optional testing and adjusting the policies for classroom observations.

"We're going to give some choice to our teachers next year around whether they wish to have two unannounced observation classroom visits or whether they want to have one and one. One announced, one unannounced," Dr. McIntyre said.

Still, the problems may run deeper: in one of the comments on the surveys, a teacher wrote the school board and district leaders are out of touch with teachers, with one even mentioning feeling bullied by the superintendent.

Another calls their school an unhappy, depressive place.

"I'm not only a public school teacher, I'm a public school parent," said Taylor. "It's important to me our children find their schools to be happy places and they can enjoy learning."

Teacher work groups have recently sprung up in response to those issues, meeting with McIntyre three times so far to discuss their concerns.

Members of those groups told 6 News that those meeting are a step in the right direction.

"We've given some very stark criticisms of policies," Inskip Elementary Interim Principal Jessica Holman said. "We've been honest and open about our experiences in our schools."

The school board discussed other possibilities to improve conditions for teachers. Those include implementing a five percent pay increase for all teachers and sharing the recent teacher feedback with the governor and state education commissioner.

 

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