January 8, 2021

From the Supt.
Happy New Year, Panthers!

2021 is off to a great start. Our students and staff have been busy learning and will wrap up first semester next Friday, January 15. The governor recently relaxed the rules around spectators at our extracurricular activities, and we look forward to having more family and friends cheering on our teams starting tomorrow. We will continue to offer free live-streaming of our events, so everyone is able to cheer on our Panthers!

The school board will have their regular meeting on Monday. At this meeting they will consider moving forward to Tier 2 for our facilities use plan. This will allow youth teams and other small groups to practice or have meetings in our school buildings. Masks and social distancing will still be required.

We are also excited that our next set of bids has been let for our middle school building project. On January 28, the sealed bids will be opened and recommendations for the contracts will be presented at the February 8 board meeting. More information can be found on our website.

Remember that any school cancellations or delays will be announced through our notification system. Directions on how to subscribe can be found below in this newsletter. KCSD is planning to have traditional snow days at this time if the weather is too bad to have school.

Below you will find this week's numbers regarding COVID. Our data has improved since December, and we appreciate our families continuing to practice healthy habits.

May this be our best year yet!

Cassi Pearson, KCSD Superintendent

309 W Main Street, Knoxville, IA 50138

o: (641) 842-6551


Big picture

New Staff

Welcome to Hannah Vander Veer who is the new Executive Assistant at the Knoxville Community School District Administration Office.

Hannah is a 2012 Knoxville High School graduate. She attended Central College and studied Communication Studies. Hannah's husband Jamie is a 7th grate math teacher at KMS. They have a 3 month old daughter, Ada.

Covid-19 Reporting Form

In an effort to better respond to families and streamline the reporting of COVID-19 cases, the Knoxville Community School District has created a new Google form for parents to use. We ask that parents or guardians complete this form if their child has tested positive or has been exposed to a positive case.

You may access the form at this link:

In addition to completing this form, we ask parents/guardians to contact their students’ coaches or sponsors if they are involved in 7th- through 12th-grade extracurricular activities.

Finally, please note that anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19, but has not developed any symptoms, may return to school after Day 10 of their quarantine. These students will not be able to participate in extracurricular activities until after Day 14, but they can come back to school and attend activities—they just cannot participate until after Day 14.

We appreciate your support as we work to serve the needs of our students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Big picture

Friendly (Non-Covid) Reminders From the Nurse:

9th grade students: a dental exam is required for 9th grade. Please: turn in a dental form for your 9th grader by January 15, 2021 if he/she has had an exam and you have not turned in a form; call your dentist and ask them to fax the completed form to school. An exam within the past year will work. If your child hasn't had an exam for awhile, now is the time to make an appointment. Thanks!

3rd grade students: a vision exam is required. Please turn in a vision exam form for your 3rd grader by January 15, 2021 if he/she has had an exam and you have not turned in a form. Call your eye doctor and ask them to fax the completed form to school. An exam within the past year will work. If your 3rd grader has not had an eye exam, now is the time to make an appointment. Thanks!

Kindergarten: An eye exam and a dental exam are required for Kindergarten. If you have not turned in the forms, please do so. Call your dentist and/or eye doctor to have them fax the forms to school. If your child hasn't been to the dentist or eye doctor, please make the appointments now. Thanks!

Kindergarten Grinch Day

Kindergarten started a fun new tradition this year! On Monday, December 21st, we had our first “Grinch Day.” Each class got to watch part of the movie, decorate a heart cookie, and make a fun Grinch hat….with a different Kindergarten teacher! In typical years, we would have the kids switch rooms to visit another K classroom and teacher. However, with Covid making this year a little different, we decided to have the kids stay in their rooms and the teachers rotated! They were all excited to have a visit from a neighboring teacher. We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Hy-Vee, for donating almost 100 heart shaped sugar cookies for the kids to decorate! We appreciate their kindness and support. Check out the fun photos-masks were only taken off to eat the cookies. We also hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year, and like everyone else, are ready to see the good that 2021 has to bring!
Big picture

Makerspace at West Elementary

Students at West are experiencing something new this year. Every week or so, they have "maker space" with Mrs. Collins. Makerspace provides an inquiry-based learning opportunity for kids to problem solve. They create incorporating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) concepts and use their imagination in a variety of ways to problem solve.

Students learn to solve problems by following the following process:

  • Ask - What is the problem?

  • Plan - Think about how to solve the problem.

  • Create - Work to solve the problem.

  • Improve - Think about the lessons learned and how to problem solve better next time.

This week, Kindergarten students are working in pairs to build a home for bears using toothpicks and marshmallows. First and second-grade students are programming robots by coding a sequence of commands including looping strands. Students are learning that perseverance, problem-solving, and teamwork are important!


New Staff

Welcome to Monica Marshall who is a new associate at Northstar Elementary.

Monica was born and raised in Knoxville. She graduated in 1996 from KHS. Monica is married with 4 boys and a 5 month old grandson. She loves working in her flower garden, antiques, reading and traveling with family.

Welcome, Theo!

We are very excited to introduce you to a new staff member at Northstar Elementary! Theo is a miniature goldendoodle who has completed extensive training and testing to become a therapy dog. He is registered, insured, and is hypo-allergenic. Theo will be working in our school to help improve the lives of our students academically and emotionally. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of having a therapy dog in school including:

  • Cognitive- stimulates memory and problem solving, builds confidence in reading

  • Emotional- improves self-esteem, decreases stress, and increases sense of family within the school

  • Physical- reduces blood pressure, lifts mood, increases attendance, and stimulates the senses

Theo will begin his work on January 25th by attending Mondays where he will mainly be housed in Ms. Lee’s office. He will be introduced in classrooms, be available during individual and small group sessions, and will be available for read aloud time in the classroom. After Theo has had some time to adjust to his new work schedule, we will look at adding additional days to let him attend guidance class.

8th Grade Language Arts

The eighth grade language arts classes are reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963. The story is about an African-American family living in Flint, Michigan traveling to the racially divided city of Birmingham, Alabama toward the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The students have enjoyed the story as well as completing research projects about the Civil Rights Movement that include a Civil Rights timeline and a travel brochure. Students learned about good researching habits as well as determining the mood of the story. It was wonderful to see students make connections of civil rights that were being fought for then to the racial equality that is still being fought for today.
Big picture

New Math Curriculum

The math department has adopted a new curriculum this year, Illustrative Mathematics (IM). The goal of the curriculum is to allow students to discover concepts of mathematics collaboratively and therefore improve their individual critical thinking skills. IM focuses on applying mathematical concepts rather than skill building. While the curriculum is challenging for students, the applications allow for some fun real life conversations within the math classrooms as well as activities that get the students moving while learning. Some of the biggest benefits noticed by teachers include increased level of vocabulary and depth of mathematical conversations, making connections between topics, improved ability to explain reasoning, and the willingness to try something challenging. As with anything new, there have been some bumps along the road as both students and staff transition to IM, but overall the department feels that this is a positive move for our students.

Below is a photo of one of the Algebra classes working together to make human box and dot plots based upon their shoe size.

Big picture

Activities Spectator Update

After consultation with Marion County Public Health and a review of data, KCSD will not restrict the number of fans that can attend our home extra-curricular events. This plan will start on Saturday, January 9 with high school basketball.

Requirements for fans wishing to attend our home events:

  • Masks are still required.

  • Groups of spectators must social distance.

  • If you do not feel well - stay home.

For those interested, there will still be a free livestream option to view our home high school events.

We will continue to monitor our data and make adjustments as needed to ensure the health and safety of our students, families, and community.

Other pieces of information about upcoming events involving our athletes:

  • HS girls and boys basketball at Albia tonight (Friday) - attendance is restricted to 2 tickets per participant.

  • HS wrestling at PCM tomorrow (Saturday) - no fans are allowed.

  • HS bowing at Sigourney tomorrow (Saturday) - no opposing school fans are allowed.

  • HS boys swimming at Des Moines East tomorrow (Saturday) - no fans are allowed.

Livestream links for basketball at Albia tonight, wrestling tomorrow at PCM, and home basketball tomorrow against Newton can be found here:

Upcoming Home Events

  • Sat, Jan. 9: JV1/V G/V B BB v. Newton, 12:00 PM @Knoxville High School

  • Sat, Jan. 9: JV1/JV2 B/JV2 G BB v. Newton, 12:00 PM @Knoxville Middle School

  • Mon, Jan. 11: JV1/V G/V B BB v. Pella Christian, 5:00 PM @Knoxville High School

    • Color Guard performance at both Varsity halftimes

  • Mon, Jan. 11: JV1/JV2 BBB v. Pella Christian, 5:00 PM @Knoxville Middle School

  • Thu, Jan. 14: 8/7 BBB v. Centerville, 4:15 PM @Knoxville Middle School

  • Sat, Jan. 16: JV/V G/B BW v. Pella, 12:30 PM @Oskaloosa (Statesman Lanes)

Big Wins this past week!

  • Our boys basketball team is off to a 5-0 start!

    • They defeated Centerville this week to get to 4-0 in the conference!

The Knoxville Store

In partnership with Ramaeker Enterprises Inc., we are excited to offer the Knoxville Store - the online apparel store for Knoxville Panther gear! This link can be found on our school website: and then click on the "Knoxville Store."

This store features apparel/gear with items from our new brand system with logo marks that have never been on the market! These are exclusive Knoxville Panther items you will only find here!

Some items on this store will stay from month to month - some items will change so that there are constantly new items to choose from for Panther fans!

Orders will be processed twice a month - on the 15th and at the end of the month and Ramaeker Enterprises will email you when your order is ready.


Get schedules for all extra-curricular middle school and high school activities by going to and then clicking on "Activities Calendar". You can even sign-up for email notifications so whenever we make a change to a schedule - you can be notified immediately.

Follow the Knoxville Activities Department on Instagram! @knoxvilleactivities

News from the Transportation Department

Winter Reminders

We would like to remind parents and students to be aware of slick spots when approaching, loading and unloading the bus. Take small steps and don’t run to the bus.

Here is the link for Hard Surface pickup stops and times if needed this winter. This can also be found on the District website under Transportation.


  1. Wait quietly for the bus, stay a safe distance from the road.

  2. Keep out of the Danger Zone, which is 10 feet all around the bus.

  3. Stay in your seat.

  4. Don’t put anything out the window.

  5. Keep your school bag and other belongings out of the aisle.

  6. Keep your mask on at all times.

  7. No food or drink on the bus.

  8. Respect the driver and other bus riders.

  9. Wait your turn to get on or off the bus.

Brenda Dunkin, Transportation Director & Bill Burkhart, Mechanic

Sign Up To Receive Alerts

Sign up and/or update your subscription to receive alerts regarding school cancellations/delay and/or activity changes, you will need to subscribe to this service through GovDelivery. You can choose to receive text messages, email messages, or both. Please don’t delay, sign up today:

From the Kitchen

Big picture

2020-21 KCSD Academic Calendar

Big picture
Big picture
Free Winter Coats

KCSD Admin. Office

The Panther Press is a weekly collective newsletter for parents & community members. If you have an article or flyer to share, please submit to for consideration. We love to hear from you so please send us your submissions and feedback. The regular weekly deadline is Thursday at noon.

Stay connected by frequenting our website or following us on social media!

Rate us on!

Big picture

Have you Downloaded the KCSD App?

The Knoxville Community School District launched its newly designed website and mobile app in June. The website provides a seamless user experience, allowing visitors to more quickly access important information and updates.

In addition, KCSD launched its first-ever mobile app, available for download on both iOS and Android devices. The app includes push notifications for alerts, news, events, schedule changes and more.

The app allows our families, students and community members to receive push notifications for news, events, schedule changes and more! Download it today!