Policy Update : TCAP Scores : Community Events

UnifiEd is breaking new ground in our community driven efforts to transform public participation in the Hamilton County school board meetings! For the last 7 months, we have campaigned for increased transparency and accountability in Hamilton County public schools through 4 simple reforms, and the school board has heard our call. UnifiEd will host a rally at the August 20th meeting in support of a revised public comment policy.  In May, the school board voted to revise the public comment policy, allowing the public to address the board by signing up to speak at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting. Community members will still be allowed to sign up 3 days prior, but it will no longer be a requirement. The final vote to pass the public comment policy change will occur at the August 20th meeting.The rally is a way for the community to actively participate in making Hamilton County the best school system it can be and thank the HCDE members for making public participation a priority. The meeting will be held at the Department of Education (3074 Hickory Valley Road) at 5:00 PM; the rally will begin prior to the meeting at 4:30 PM. We’ll provide the signs, you provide the support!

We are excited about the progress towards a more transparent and accountable school board and would love for you to join us for the August 20th school board meeting. Please contact your local school board member in support of UnifiEd’s #4simplereforms!

District and school wide TCAP scores were released for the state of Tennessee on Wednesday, July 29.  After analyzing the data, we have compiled the most revealing statistics about Hamilton County performance.

  • Hamilton County trails TN state averages in all areas except in Math for grades 3-8; however, in that category we were 1.1% above the state average.
  • Scores went up the most in grades 3-8 Math and in grades 9-12 Chemistry and Algebra II.
  • Reading scores for elementary and middle schools continue to drop throughout the county with the percent of students scoring proficient and advanced declining from 46.9% to 44.8%.
  • Biology I and Algebra I scores showed the biggest decline for high school students.
  • The gap in reading achievement between students who are economically disadvantaged and their more affluent peers is getting larger each year, with the achievement gap growing from 30.3 to 35.9 in the last three years.
  • 20% of elementary and middle schools improved in all subject areas while another 20% showed a decrease in all subject areas.
  • When looking at counties of similar size, we performed better as a whole compared to Davidson and Shelby County, but worse than Knox County.
  • Rivermont Elementary had the highest growth in all three subject areas in the county and the third highest growth rate in Science in the state of TN.
  • Overall, Hamilton County high school students performed better on TCAP assessments this year compared to last year.

With two years remaining on the Superintendent’s contract, the school board voted 8-0, with Greg Martin absent, on a 2-year extension of Smith’s contract running through July 31, 2019. Smith’s original contract was signed in 2011 with a starting salary of $163,500. In 2013, the school board voted to extend his contract by two years and included a $25,000 raise, putting his annual salary around $190,000. The current contract extension will be raising the Superintendent’s salary by nearly $9,000 with his total annual earnings coming to $198,966.47. Superintendent’s salary has increased by $35,466.47 since the signing of his original contract in 2011.The other major agenda item up for vote at the July 8th school board meeting was the Addendum to Independent Bus Driver’s Contract. This addition proposed to pay fuel reimbursement and operating costs equivalent to one day’s pay for every fourth day of school missed due to inclement weather. After debate and discussion, the added addendum failed in a 3-5 vote, the opponents claiming its passage would be unfair to other hourly school system employees who did not get that same pay benefit.

Community Events 
Pact for Public Education Press Event
10:30 AM, August 11th

This month we will be releasing our Pact for Public Education which is a community call to action that ensures every child in Hamilton County has access to great public schools. Come show your support by joining us for our Press Conference in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse (625 Georgia Avenue).  
School Board Meeting + Rally
Rally at 4:30 PM, Meeting at 5:00 PM, August 20th

Join us at this month’s school board meeting to support the final reading of the revised public comment policy. Before the meeting we will be hosting a rally thanking the school board for supporting increased transparency and accountability. The meeting and rally will be held at the Department of Education (3074 Hickory Valley Road).
Hardy Elem. Back to School Bash 
6:00 PM, August 27th

Join us in celebrating the beginning of the school year at Hardy Elementary’s Back to School Bash sponsored by Glass House Collective, Empower, and UnifiEd. You don’t want to miss the puppet show by Kids on the Block and violin performance from youth enrolled in Love Fellowship’s new music lessons.
The Howard School Reunion 
10 AM – 2 PM, Saturday August 29th

Calling all Howard Alumni! Celebrating 150 years of academics and progress, the Howard School All Classes’ Cookout will be held at Howard’s Gaston Stadium. This event is open to all alumni of Howard School and is free of charge. If you would like to attend the full weekend reunion click HERE to purchase tickets. 
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