PANTHER PRESS

October 2021

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KHS Students Support Helping Hands During Homecoming Week

During homecoming, Knoxville High School students were able to collect and donate more than 2,500 canned goods and other items, along with a $200 donation to Helping Hands! This donation will help families and individuals in the community this fall and winter.

KCSD Launches Website for Project Updates

The Knoxville Community School District has launched a new website to provide community members frequent updates on its new middle school construction project. It features regular updates, photos and videos as crews continue to make progress.


The new school is being built just to the north of Knoxville High School, and the two buildings will be connected. The project was made possible through a voter-approved bond issue vote in March 2020.


Construction on the new Knoxville Middle School officially kicked off with a groundbreaking on March 24, 2021. The new building, set to be complete towards the end of 2022, will be two stories and deliver a 21st century learning environment for students. It will feature two gymnasiums, an indoor walking track and a new weight room.


To view the website for the latest updates, visit https://www.kcsdprojects.org.
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KCSD Receives Grants for Internet Connectivity, Mental Health Supports

The Knoxville Community School District has received three state grants that will provide important resources to students this school year and beyond.


The Iowa Department of Education and Governor Kim Reynolds named KCSD as one of 64 districts statewide to receive funding through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II). The program is part of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act passed by Congress last December.


The $100,000 grant will allow the district to provide mental health support and wraparound services to students and families. The state distributed the funds based on districts’ enrollment for the 2020-21 school year and prioritized districts that planned on using the money to deliver direct mental health services to students. Grant funds may be used for activities like youth mental health first aid training, suicide prevention and related programs.


Using this grant, KCSD staff members will have more opportunities to address the social-emotional health needs of students. Many of these needs have arisen due to the multitude of challenges families have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months.


Additionally, KCSD received $54,907 in funds from the Iowa Department of Education as part of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief for Homeless Children and Youth. These funds will secure resources and additional help for students who have been identified as homeless using the federal McKinney-Vento definition. Last school year, KCSD had over 30 students qualifying for this program.


In August, KCSD was also notified of an $83,600 CARES grant to provide technology access to students. Although Knoxville students are back in school for full-time in-person learning, it can still be very difficult to complete assignments, work on projects and prepare for quizzes and exams without being able to get online at home.


Through these three grants, KCSD will be able to address critical needs that have been front and center in the district community since the pandemic began. The district will continue to search and apply for additional grants in support of its students and families.

KCSD Offers Sponsorship Opportunities for Home Events

Here in the Knoxville Community School District, our students benefit from the support and partnerships found throughout our community.


Now, we are inviting local businesses and organizations to sponsor spaces throughout our schools and athletic facilities. It’s a great opportunity to promote a business, support our students and play a critical role in the success of our athletics and activities programs.


The first available sponsorships were for the Knoxville High School gym and baseball field. The district received a great response for both opportunities.


Next, we will open up sponsorship opportunities for the softball field (November 1-15), middle school gym and middle/high school weight room.


We ask that all bids be placed in a sealed envelope, with the name of the district space you would like to sponsor indicated on the outside of the envelope. Please address the envelopes to Craig Mobley, 309 West Main, Knoxville, IA 50138. All envelopes should be delivered by 4:00 p.m. on the final day bids are accepted for each space.


For more information on all the sponsorship opportunities available this upcoming school year, please visit our district website at www.knoxville.k12.ia.us. We look forward to working with our community on this exciting initiative to support our athletic and activities programs.
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Board Candidates Discuss Issues at October 13 Forum

Candidates for school board took part in a forum to discuss key issues pertaining to the Knoxville Community School District on Wednesday, October 13, at the Performing Arts Center. It was also aired live on the radio station 95.3 KNIA-FM.


The forum, moderated by Dr. Bob Leonard, featured candidates Jason Everly, Larry Scott, Monica Sullivan and Dave Woodcock. Each answered questions and had an opportunity to discuss why voters should select them to serve on the board.


The board plays an incredibly important role in the health and direction of our local schools. Board members operate as a governance team for KCSD and ensure effective leadership for quality instruction and equitable student learning. They also contribute to our positive district culture, maintain oversight on how we use the resources provided to us and advocate for our schools and the students we serve.


In so many ways, KCSD benefits from the engagement and support of our entire community. We are grateful for the opportunities our students receive as a result of this activity. We invite everyone in our district community to learn more about the candidates for school board and find out about all the ways they can get involved and contribute to a bright future for our students.

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Drake Professor Speaks with Students, Families About Gene-Based Medicine

Drake University Professor Dr. Pramod Mahajan visited KHS the evening of Thursday, October 7. All in attendance enjoyed the rare opportunity to engage in a conversation with an expert in gene-based medicine in a whole class, Q&A format.


Students and adults asked and Dr. Mahajan answered questions about topics like laboratory protocols, genetic types and other features in the human genome, public health, vaccine development and approval, stories of adverse reactions to medications caused by genetic type, and gene-based variation individuals have for the intake, transportation, metabolism, and excretion of medications. The application of knowledge about individual genetic types to the practice of medicine is often called precision medicine or gene-based medicine.

Attendance at the event included seven of eight home school students, three KHS students, Stacy Picard (Home School Assistance Program Coordinator), one parent and Ryan Richardson (KHS Biology Teacher).


Dr. Mahajan and students working in his Drake Laboratory developed a series of biotechnology labs. Mr. Richardson and Stacy Picard both completed training in those lab protocols and the equipment needed to work with DNA.


In these labs, students work with their own DNA to determine their own combination of genes for tasting the herb cilantro. Some people taste cilantro as spicy and enjoy its addition to salsas and other foods. Others taste cilantro as tasting like a bar of soap!


The two-hour evening event was part of Dr. Mahajan's larger effort to increase equity in STEM education.

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KCSD to Launch Business Partner Spotlight

KCSD will be sharing how students are gaining valuable experiences outside the classroom through its Business Partner Spotlight.


The effort will tell the stories of students who are driven to improve their work-based skills as they continue their education. The district also looks to highlight the local businesses supporting its students.


In the near future, KCSD will be posting stories of these student experiences to its Facebook page.


“Our students who are working with local employers and learning critical skills are truly dedicated to their craft. We’re thrilled to launch this initiative to recognize their efforts,” said Cassi Pearson, KCSD Superintendent. “Thanks to our partnerships with local businesses, our students are getting the training they need to serve as the next generation of skilled workers. It’s a true win-win situation that positions our entire community well for the future.”


Knoxville students take part in a wide variety of learning opportunities outside of the classroom, providing them with valuable skills, knowledge and insights. This comes in many forms, including extracurricular activities, volunteering and even employment across numerous industries.


A key point of pride for KCSD is the fact that so many of its alumni stay in the Knoxville area community, working for local employers or starting small businesses of their own.

Online Book Fair: October 25-November 7, 2021

Find the links to each school's book fair store below:


West Elementary

Northstar Elementary

Knoxville Middle School

KCSD Quick Links

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Knoxville Community School District Central Office

The Panther Press is a monthly collective newsletter for parents & community members. If you have an article or flyer to share, please submit to knoxville@kcsd.k12.ia.us for consideration. We love to hear from you so please send us your submissions and feedback.

The Knoxville Community School District and Board will not discriminate in educational programs on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, marital status, socioeconomic status or genetic information. The Board and the District will not discriminate in employment opportunities on the basis of age, race, creed, color, gender, gender orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability. Further, the District and the Board affirm the right of all students and staff to be treated with respect and to be protected from intimidation, discrimination, physical harm, and harassment.


The Board and the District require all persons, agencies, vendors, contractors, and other persons and organizations doing business with or performing services for the District to subscribe to all applicable federal and state laws, executive orders, rules and regulations pertaining to contract compliance and equal opportunity.


Inquiries or grievances related to this policy may be directed to the District Equity Coordinator Linda Russell, Director of Human Resources at 309 W Main, Knoxville, IA 50138, 641/842-6551 or linda.russell@kcsd.k12.ia.us. Students who feel they have been discriminated against are encouraged to report it to the school district Affirmative Action and Title IX Coordinator. The Affirmative Action and Title IX Coordinator is Linda Russell, Director of Human Resources. The District Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Coordinator is Brian McNeill. Any person having inquiries concerning the District’s compliance with this federal non-discrimination law can contact him at (641)842-3315 or brian.mcneill@kcsd.k12.ia.us. These individuals have been designated by the District to coordinate the District’s efforts to comply with federal and/or state non-discrimination laws. Inquiries may also be directed to the Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, 400 East 14th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, (800)457-4416; to the Office for Civil Rights Chicago Office, United States Department of Education, Citigroup Center, 500 West Madison Street, Suite 1475, Chicago, Illinois, 60661, (312)730-1560; or to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chicago Office, 500 West Madison Street, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois, 60661, (800)669-4000. Inquiries may also be directed to the Director, Iowa Department of Education, Grimes State Office Building, 400 East 14th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.