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Just a few days ahead of an important vote, some Knox County teachers are finding common ground with KCS administrators.

On Wednesday, the Board of Education will vote on the final draft of the 5-Year Strategic Plan for Knox County Schools. KCS has spent the past several weeks soliciting input from the community about that plan, including educators.

Students, Parents, and Educators of Knox County (SPEAK) spent last week building a list of recommendations for the strategic plan at the board's request.

During Monday night's Board of Education meeting, school leaders reviewed the latest draft of the strategic plan, which including some of SPEAK's suggestions.

"Things like flexibility and autonomy in the classroom, things like high quality professional development, and community schools, and making sure that we focus on the arts and music," listed Superintendent Dr. Jim McInytre. "Those are all things we agree with completely, and are actually in the strategic plan in one form or another. In some cases, we've taken the exact language that SPEAK recommended and incorporated it into the plan."

"I think it's very positive that the school board acknowledged the contribution of the volunteers of SPEAK who put together our response to the strategic plan," said Knox County teacher Dave Gorman. "We worked really hard on it, so it was good to be acknowledged for the hard work that went into that."

Gorman and other members of SPEAK have asked the board to delay their vote, in order to allow the newly-elected board of education members to take their seats and participate in the vote.

After a sometimes-contentious relationship in the 2013-2014 calendar year, Gorman said he sees progress in the relationship between administrators and teachers.

"It reminds me of a middle school dance with the boys on one side of the room and the girls on the other side of the room," he said. "And they're kind of sizing each other up to see who's going to make the first move. And there's a cool song playing, so I think its positive that were both in the same room and, you know, maybe ready to dance. So, well see."

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