Kennedy Newsletter for Families

September 2023 Edition

Principal's Post

Coming up: Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Visit

Kennedy Families,

We are coming up on something big! We have applied to be named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. We want to be one of the highest performing schools in the world; and this process provides a roadmap to achieve this goal for our community.

On September 9th all families will receive an email with an individual survey code to report about our school. Then, we will have two Blue Ribbon Assessors with us for two days to review our data and take an in-depth look at our school. They look at 9 Indicators.

  • Student Focus and Support.
  • School Organization and Culture.
  • Challenging Standards and Curriculum.
  • Active Teaching and Learning.
  • Technology Integration.
  • Professional Community.
  • Leadership and Educational Vitality.
  • School, Family, and Community Partnerships.

Please be on the look-out for this important email. We are trying our best to get the word out and hear from every family. An 80% positive rating is needed in each category for us to move on to the next step. Be on the look out for this important email. It's not SPAM! :)

I will include an example of the letter you will receive below.

The mission of John F. Kennedy Elementary is to grow students as leaders who Help Others, Overcome Challenges, have a Willingness to Learn, and Lead with Respect. Hear us H.O.W.L.!

Proud to serve you and the Lynn Garden Community,

Janice Irvin, Ed. D.

Proud Principal

Kennedy Elementary

Sample Letter:

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School Safety Update: Welcome Officer Reid!

We are so pleased to announce that Kennedy Elementary now has a full time School Resource Officer (SRO)! Officer Scott Reid joins our staff with over 25 years of experience in Law Enforcement. He has jumped into elementary school life with both feet and can often be seen helping in the cafeteria, escorting students to class, and directing traffic outside. Welcome, Officer Reid!

Family Teacher Conferences


Friday, September 15th

Our goal is to meet with all families. We would like students to be involved in these conferences and lead their own conferences when able. Students can talk about their academics and their behavior as it relates back to the H.O.W.L. Expectations.

Attendance is important! AND we are famous! :D

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PTA News!

Please take a few minutes to read over our PTA Minutes. If you'd like to have your business of family name on the back of our PTA shirts please click this link!
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Important Dates:

9/4 - Labor Day NO SCHOOL

9/5 - Teacher In-service Day NO SCHOOL for students

9/15 - Parent Teacher Conference Day NO SCHOOL for students

9/18 - Active Shooter Drill (all JFK Employees)

9/21 - Incident Command Drill (Office Staff)

10/2 - 10/6 - FALL BREAK

10/10 and 10/11 - Blue Ribbon Schools Visit

10/17 - JFK Health Screenings

Food City Card Linking

Please remember to link your Food City card to John F. Kennedy Elementary! When you do this Food City donates a percentage back to our school and sends us a check. It all adds up! We recently received a check from Food City for over $1,200 for last school year. Help us beat that total this year by linking your Value Card! Thanks in advance!

Hint: You can even have other family members do this if they shop at Food City!

We're Instagram Official!

We're live and getting better at posting!!! :)

Follow us on @kcs_kennedy

It's an honor to serve you and your family!

Kem Couch - Award Winning KCS Secretary

Stephanie Hoeppner - Office Assistant

Lorrie Linkous, R.N. - Nurse

Telehealth visits are with Ballad Health and will allow your child to see a Nurse Practitioner through a virtual visit. This service gives us the ability to test for strep and flu here at school. This service can be very beneficial especially if you are unable to get an appointment with your child's healthcare provider. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns and I will be glad to help.

Debbie Allen - Family Liaison

Kim Oaks-Blair - School Counselor

Dustin Ford - Associate Principal

Janice Irvin - Principal

Kennedy Constants (these are the same each time)

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Kennedy Policies and Procedures (Included each month)

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Attendance, Absences, and Tardiness

Every Coyote is urged to form excellent habits regarding attendance and promptness. A good start every day helps foster a positive attitude. Should your Coyote be absent, please call our school office to let us know the reason (857-2700). Children should arrive to their classrooms no later than 8:30. Students are counted tardy if they are not in their classrooms by 8:30.


Please only send healthy snacks as a birthday treat for your child's class. We cannot accept cupcakes, cakes, or homemade items. Please make arrangements with your child's teacher before sending in healthy treats.

Flowers, balloons, etc. should not be sent to the office for students. Please give these sweet gifts at home.

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Breakfast and Lunch Programs

Kennedy Elementary was the lucky recipient of a grant that allows our Coyotes to eat a "no cost" breakfast and lunch each day. Please have your Coyote to school by 7:55 if she or he needs to eat breakfast with us. Eating here is encouraged-- our food is really good.

Our online payment system for school lunches has changed. Please see the information below or CLICK HERE to visit the KCS School Menus/Payments page.

Ice-cream day is Friday and must be purchased ($1)

Healthy chips can also be purchased ($1)

Bus Transportation

Students who live more than 1 mile from school are eligible for bus transportation. Our buses are 14, and 20. If your child's transportation plan needs to change, please call the office prior to 2:30 PM (earlier is always better) so we can make sure that message gets to your Coyote.

The number to the transportation garage is 423-578-1820, if needed.


  1. During AM drop off, please stay in your car and allow your child to exit independently.
  2. During AM drop off, please unload at all 4 numbers/lanes. No need to stop at the bottom of the hill.
  3. During AM drop off, students can walk into the cafe from 7:45-8:30.
  4. In the afternoons, 4th and 5th grade cars (side parking lot) please turn RIGHT after you pick-up. Leave a lane open for emergencies.
  5. In the afternoons, PLEASE USE YOUR CAR TAG! :) There is often a glare and I cannot see faces until you are right beside me. This helps our line move as quickly as possible.
Please keep in mind when dropping off and picking up your child you will need to drive completely around our school to get in line. Please do not cut through even if there are no cars coming at that time. Our traffic pattern is "one way" during drop-off and pick-up.

Drop-off starts at 7:45am for K-5 and begins promptly at 8:30am for PreK students.

K-5 Students arriving after 8:30am must be walked to the front door by a family member.

Communication & Class Dojo

As a school, we voted to start using the ClassDojo app last year. This year we will fully implement the use of this app. It's an awesome tool for us to share events and pictures with you of your child doing great things!

Contact us!

857-2700 - Main Office

857-2704 - Cafe, Karen Mullins

857-2702 -Nurse Linkous

378-2340 -Fax

1500 Woodland Avenue

Kingsport, TN 37665


Our school-wide expectations are used in all areas of our school.

They are:

H- Helping Others

O- Overcoming Challenges

W- Willingness to Learn

L- Leading with Respect

Hear us HOWL!

In addition to these expectations we use Positive Discipline with Lifeskills at Kennedy Elementary. We know that a part of growing our students as leaders includes citizenship and character. We believe our students are the best in Tennessee.

Food City Card Reminders

Please remember to link-up your Food City card with Kennedy Elementary. When you do this Food City donates a percentage back to our school and sends us a check to be used towards our school. It all adds up! Thanks in advance!

Hint: You can even have other family members do this if they shop at Food City!


Each month we have fire drills, and other drills as mandated by state law. These are recorded. During drills students are instructed not to talk. Additionally, our school is also equipped with an AED (automated External Defibrillator).

Health and Medical

Our school nurse is Lorrie Linkous, RN. If your child is ever sick and you aren't sure if they are well enough to attend, you can always bring your child in to be checked by her. Many Kennedy faculty members have used her office in this capacity.

Additionally, we have a tele-medicine program where a child can be seen via a camera and equipment in Nurse Linkous's office. They can receive antibiotics through this program if needed! We encourage you to use this program! It's awesome!


As a general rule, Kennedy Elementary does not assign homework every night. We do encourage you to read with your child at least 20 minutes each night (about three story books with the littles!). If your child is older/able, they can read out loud to you on the way to practice, while you make dinner, or on your way to the grocery. Reading each night adds up! Please add this to your daily routine!

Lost and Found

Please, please, please put your child's first and last name/telephone number in your child's coat! We have a mountain of homeless coats by the end of the year! If you are wondering, we donate homeless coats to Higher Ground at the end of the year so they can go back into our Lynn Garden Community where needed. Please visit our Lost and Found periodically.

Opportunities for Coyotes

AM Tutoring

Big Brothers Big Sisters (all grades)

Chorus (all grades)

DBYes (DB student mentors)

HOWLers (Boys, 4th and 5th)

Kiwanis Club Readers (volunteers)

Multi-Tiered Student Support (MTSS) - time set aside to catch up academically

Ladies of Lynn Garden (Girls 4th and 5th)

Lego League

Lynn Garden Leaders (4th and 5th Grade Student Council)

Speech Services for approved students

Spelling Bee (3rd, 4th, and 5th)

Snacks/Water Bottles

Everyone knows a hungry brain can't concentrate and learn. No need for our Coyotes to be hangry! Healthy snacks and water bottles are not only welcomed, they are encouraged! Please remind your Coyote that only water should be in their bottles. Examples of good snacks- Goldfish, cheese sticks, pretzels, and apples.

Testing Policies

For your information and scheduling purposes, a schedule of tests administered to our Coyotes is included on our district website under the "Parents" tab. You will also receive a school flier prior to the administration of standardized tests. Kennedy families will receive results of our TNReady/TCAP testing as soon as they become available (this past year it took several months).

Our KCS Website can be found here:

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Zones of Regulation

The Zones of Regulation®: A Curriculum Designed to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control (2011, Social Thinking Publishing) is a curriculum comprised of lessons and activities designed by Leah Kuypers, M.A. Ed., OTR/L to help students gain skills in the area of self-regulation. The lessons and learning activities are designed to help the students recognize when they are in the different Zones (states of alertness/moods/feelings) as well as learn how to use tools (including sensory supports, calming techniques, and thinking strategies) to regulate the Zone they are in.

In addition to addressing self-regulation, the students will be gaining an increased vocabulary of emotional terms, skills in reading facial expressions, perspective on how others see and react to their behavior, insight on events that trigger their behavior, calming and alerting strategies, problem solving skills and much more. You can connect this work to parenting as home. We are excited to help our Coyotes stay in the Green Zone!

Taken from Zones of Regulation Content

Zoning and Tuition

If you don't live in Lynn Garden but you would like your child to attend/continue attending Kennedy, you will need to apply for a zoning exemption every year. Applications for the 2021-2022 school year will be available on our website starting in March 2022.

If you have any questions feel free to contact Jim Nash ( via email or by calling (423)378-2100.