Knox County, Tenn. (WVLT ) -- The Knox County school system is previewing several new initiatives as kids go back to school this year.
Parents can know track their kid's buses, and the historic Belle Morris Elementary School has been expanded to cut down on over-crowded classrooms. And the district is working towards a new goal: Giving students more one-on-one attention.
"We've got a new website and parent portal which are great new tools for our parents and community to get information about the Knox County Schools. We've also got some great things happening in the classrooms, so we're trying to build on that success. We're looking forward to having a great school year this year," said Knox County School Superintendent Jim McIntyre.
The school system is continuing work on their five-year strategic plan.
The 49-page plan outlines goals for the district as well as future initiatives. One of this year's priorities is taking a look at the feasibility of transitioning to a balanced calendar. It would cut summer vacation down to six weeks. Knox County hopes it would also cut down on "Summer learning loss," when students lose skills they learn through the school year.
This year the first students will attend the Knox County School system has opened up a Career Magnet Academy at Pellissippi State Community College, the first of its kind for the state of Tennessee. The CMA is geared toward preparing students in career pathways as well as teaching standard coursework like math and science.
The academy is teaching advanced manufacturing, homeland security, sustainable living, and teacher preparation. McIntyre said the CMA will offer a seamless transition for students as they leave high school and go into college and their chosen careers.
"We're preparing kids for future jobs that are high skilled, high demand, and high wage careers," McIntyre explained.
Students will learn in smaller class sizes, and will have a more 'hands-on' approach to their field of study. Classes are being held on the Pellissippi State campus and coursework will allow students the opportunity to earn an associates degree by the time they graduate high school. One hundred and 27 students are currently enrolled.