School Board Meeting Recap: September 2015

Last night, the School Board voted to elect a new Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Tennessee Legislative Network (TNL) Representative. Donna Horn and Jonathan Welch were nominated for Chairman. Jonathan Welch was elected to replace George Ricks as the new Chairman with a 6-3 vote. Donna Horn and David Testerman were nominated for Vice Chairman. Donna Horn was re-elected as the Vice Chairman with a 5-4 vote and David Testerman was re-elected as the TNL Representative with a 9-0 vote.

School Board Members discussed the the appropriation of funds for new computers which will fill requirements for students taking the new TNReady standardized tests at the end of the school year. They also discussed the need for additional teaching and assistant principal positions after collecting the 10 day and 20 day enrollment numbers from public schools.

The last topic discussed was the decision to go forward with hiring a structural engineer to inspect school stadiums at six area high schools. The vote was a result of continued discussion surrounding the recent condemnation of East Ridge High School’s Stadium. This vote will allocate $10,000 for inspections and allow the district to prepare a timeline for repair.  The School Board Members did not disclose the other six schools included in the inspection, but Lookout Valley High, Hixson High, The Howard School, Ooltewah High, and Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences were on previous lists.  Superintendent Rick Smith suggested the demolition of East Ridge’s stadium happen in December after football season is over. The School Board has scheduled a Facilities Meeting for October 15 at 5pm at the Department of Education to discuss next steps for stadium improvements.

The School Board voted unanimously to approve everything in the consent agenda. For more information, read the latest edition of our School Board Watch Blog.

School Board Watch Blog: September 2015

In this edition of UnifiEds School Board Watch Blog, well take a look at the agenda for the September 24th quarterly Hamilton County School Board Meeting. The meeting will be held in the Hamilton County School Board Meeting Room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road. The Board Meeting is set to begin at 5:30 PM. We will be there live tweeting. Follow along on Twitter: @UnifiEdHC, #HCSchools.

Items of Interest: 

  • Elections: This month the the Board will elect a new chairman, vice chairman and a Tennessee Legislative Network (TLN) representative to serve one-year terms. The current chairman is George Ricks (District 4) and the current Vice Chairman is Donna Horn (District 7).  Join us for this months meeting to learn more about the election process and meet the new Chairman and Vice Chairman of Hamilton Countys School Board. 
  • Project Inspire Grant: This grant ensures the continuation of the teacher residency program which places a STEM undergraduate major with a high quality instructor in schools to train for future hire in high-needs areas.  
  • Appropriation of fund balance for computers:  This amendment appropriates $625,000 to purchase computer devices and furniture needed by schools to enhance instructional time and to be ready for the first round of TNReady testing this year. 
  • East Ridge High Stadium: Since the closure of the East Ridge High School Stadium, the Assistant Superintendent would like the board members to consider replacement of the stadium and to conduct a structural review on other existing stadiums of similar age and construction type. 
  • Additional teaching positions: One month into the school year, HCDE is looking to hire 13 full-time teachers, 1 part-time teacher, and 2 assistant principals.  

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click HERE.

On the consent agenda* for Thursdays Meeting, the board is scheduled to approve:

Education and Leadership Support

1. Field Trips

  • Hixson Elementary, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Brown Middle, and Battle Academy will participate in environmental science related field trips.
  • Central High, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Soddy Daisy High, Ooltewah High, and Signal Mountain Middle/High will participate in arts and culture related field trips.
  • East Ridge High, Soddy Daisy High, Sequoyah High, and Ooltewah High will participate in JROTC related field trips.
  • Signal Mountain Middle/High and East Hamilton School will participate in sports related field trips.

Business and Finance 

1. Bids 

  • Purchase of forklift for warehouse (funding source: Amended General Purpose Operating Budget for $22,295),  ACT Explore and ACT Plan Test Kits for eighth and tenth grade students (funding source: Office of Accountability and Testing for $83,750), contract for Actuarial Study (funding source: Internal Service Fund for $15,000), and motor fuel (funding source: Warehouse Inventory Fund for $26,064).
  • Ratification of early approval to Furnish and install electric convection boilerless steamer at East Ridge High School (funding source: School Nutrition Budget for 12,848.65), hire an additional warehouse helper, and furnish serving lines at Orchard Knob Middle School (funding source: School Nutrition Budget for $65,887) and Sequoyah High School (funding source: School Nutrition Budget for $50,426).

2. Conferences and Consultants

  • Staff Development Workshops for Hixson Middle School – The requested consultant will work collaboratively with administrators and teachers to empower them to incorporate research-based instructional methods and best teaching practices in Reading/Language Arts (funding source: School Based Focus Grant for $16,500). 
  • Teachers Development Group for Hixson Middle School – The requested consultant will work collaboratively with administrators and teachers to empower them to incorporate research-based instructional methods and best teaching practices in Mathematics (funding source: School Based Focus Grant for $13,350). 
  • A+ Educators, LLC for OLPH School – This program will provide teachers with manageable guidance on aligning and selecting instructional resources based on Current Tennessee State standards in Reading and Mathematic (funding source: School Based Federal Title I Private School Budget/Title I Part A 1120 for $25,246).

3. State Financial Reports

  • The fiscal year 2015 State Annual Financial Report is being submitted to the Board in place of the June monthly statement. The report presents the June 30, 2015 year-end results.

4. Contract for NSF Project Inspire Grant 

  • This grant awards HCDE with $432,400 for a five year period to support the continuation of the teacher residency program. This will allow HCDE to place a STEM undergraduate major with a high quality clinical instructor in specific residency site schools to train for future hire in our high-needs areas, particularly in Math and Chemistry classrooms.

5. Safe Schools Grant

  • This grant will award HCDE $156,190 to maintain law enforcement presence at Hixson and Orchard Knob Middle Schools, provide part-time personnel to continue character educator support, enhance learning through behavior support and bullying prevention, and train and support student leadership teams in conflict resolution/peer mediation.

6. Budget Amendments

  • Federal and Self-funded – Title III Immigrant Grant 2015 carryover with an increase of $3,000, focus Schools Grant totaling $97,178, and National Science Foundation Project Inspire with transfers between line items and net increase of $11,588.
  • General Operating – Carl Perkins IV Reserve Self- Funded Program totaling $22,500 and E-Rate Technology Self-Funded Program totaling $100,000.

7. Appropriation of Fund Balance for Computers

  • This amendment appropriates $625,000 from the Unassigned Fund Balance to purchase computer devices and furniture needed by schools to enhance instructional time and to be ready for the first round of TNReady testing this year.

Human Resources

1. Additional Teaching Positions are needed to address several immediate needs based on 10th and 20th day enrollment counts:

  • Big Ridge Elementary: one full-time certified primary teacher 
  • Calvin Donaldson Elementary: one full-time certified primary teacher 
  • East Brainerd Elementary: one Assistant Principal and two teachers 
  • East Lake Elementary: two full-time certified primary teachers
  • East Ridge Elementary: one full-time certified intermediate teacher 
  • Howard High School: one Assistant Principal and one U.S. History teacher
  • Ooltewah Elementary School: one full-time certified primary teacher
  • Ooltewah High School: two full-time certified teachers
  • HCDE District Wide: one half-time certified ESL teacher and two full-time classified ESL interpreters

Campus Support 

Second and Final Reading of Board Policies:

  • Board Policy 6.600 Student Records –  Due to the new requirements for student records policies under the 2014 Data Accessibility, Transparency, and Accountability Act, it is necessary to revise the current policy for student records to comply with the new requirements. These limit access to student records for confidentiality reasons unless needed for legitimate educational interest.
  • Board Policy 6.601 Student Records Annual Notification of Rights – Due to the new requirements for student records policies under the 2014 Data Accessibility, Transparency, and Accountability Act, it is necessary to adopt a new board policy regarding student records annual notification of rights. This information will notify parent(s) of students and eligible students of each students privacy rights and will be given to the students parent(s) or the eligible student at the time of enrollment.
  • Board Policy 6.602 Student Records Inspection & Correction Procedure – Due to the new requirements for student records policies under the 2014 Data Accessibility, Transparency, and Accountability Act, it is necessary to adopt a new board policy regarding student records inspection and correction procedures that will allow parent(s) of students to inspect, review, and request corrections to the students education records upon written request.
  • Board Policy 6.604 Student Surveys, Analyses, and Evaluation – Due to the new requirements for student records policies under the 2014 Data Accessibility, Transparency, and Accountability Act, it is necessary to adopt a new board policy regarding student surveys strictly prohibiting the collection of data regarding student political affiliation or voting history, religious practices, and firearm ownership.

Board Matters 

1. Naming of a Portion of a School Facility – Soddy Elementary Schools committee has voted to recommend that their media be named in honor of former principal, Thomas Jefferson Bond, Sr.

2. East Ridge High Stadium – Since the closure of the East Ridge High School Stadium, the Assistant Superintendent would like the following to be considered: 1) replacement of the stadium including cost, schedule, and scope of work and 2) conduct a structural review on other existing stadiums of similar age and construction type.

*(Consent Agenda) These items are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Board and will be approved by one motion. If any Board member objects to including an item on the consent agenda then that item shall become a separate action item for discussion.