POWELL, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre says he wants armed, uniformed, officers at every school.
That announcement was toward the end of his State of the Schools address at Powell High School. Many in the packed theater applauded in approval.
"With the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I think it would be valuable and in our interest to have an armed school resource officer, or armed school security officer at each of our schools," said Dr. McIntyre
Other security improvements he wants to see include updating all video monitors, as well as an access control strategy at every school.
He did address a number of other topics tonight, including classroom achievement. He says scores are up across the district.
The graduation rate is higher, improving from just 79% in 2008, to more than 90% last year. ACT scores from 2011 to 2012 increased from 20.4 to 20.6.
Dr. McIntyre also discussed what schools are doing with the much-publicized $7 million budget increase. He said that's gone toward creating a strong foundation in early grades, enhancing magnet schools, providing more enrichment opportunities for kids, and other areas for improvement.
In summary, there are four areas of priority in Knox Co. Schools:
- Enhance instructional improvement initiatives.
- Increase teacher pay. He says the Knox County teachers average salary ranks 37th in the state. Dr. McIntyre worries many of the best are leaving for other districts that pay more.
- School security
- Increasing the focus on personal learning, especially technology.
"Everyday, the world gets more and more competitive, and we've got to find a way to make our education give practical application so that when our kids get out of school, they know where they're going," said Karen Carson, the School Board Chair
The superintendent also introduced the 1:1 Technology Initiative.
He wants to see every student and teacher get one device, like a laptop or iPad, and to find successful ways to use instructional technology.
That will start at ten schools next year, with the hope that a demand from parents and the community, will increase the budget and supply.