#GivingTuesday with UnifiEd

Get into the spirit of generosity this holiday season and join us for #CHAgives on December 1st, our city’s first year participating in the global giving event, #GivingTuesday! UnifiEd is excited to be apart of this philanthropic global movement celebrating generosity and community service. Since its founding in 2012, #GivingTuesday has partnered with 68 countries to raised over 87.2 million dollars for nonprofits, community initiatives, organizations, and more.

On the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a day for charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world to come together to give through social media and collaboration. It is a day that connects communities and encourages individuals to take action, empower those around them, and create lasting, positive change.

Causeway and United Way of Greater Chattanooga have partnered to promote #GivingTuesday in Chattanooga for the first time through their #Chagives campaign. Everyone in our city is encouraged to donate to local charities, nonprofits, organizations, and other social causes to make our city the best it can be. Chattanooga has set a goal of reaching 30,000 volunteers and donors to give to local efforts.

UnifiEd is asking for your help on December 1st! By donating to our cause, you are supporting our work in making education the best it can be in Hamilton County. Every great city needs citizens who are knowledgeable, innovative, and engaged, and an education system that supports the success of its people.

UnifiEd is a community led movement of parents, students, teachers, and citizens who want every child to have the chance to attend great public schools. Over the past year we have launched a student voice team, a teacher fellowship program, and our Pact for Public Education which has engaged thousands of Hamilton County residents to form a strong coalition dedicated to public education advocacy work. Please donate here to help ensure every child in Hamilton County has a brilliant future.

School Board Recap: November

During the November 19th School Board Meeting, board members voted to approve all agenda items. The meeting began with presentations recognizing Principal of the Year, National Merit Semifinalists, Tennessee Association of School Librarians, and Exceptional Education Staff. The School Board also heard from three different community members during delegations from the public.

Kevin Lusk from Chattanooga Hamilton County Medical Society spoke about the importance of making Hamilton County school campuses tobacco-free. The current School Board Policy permits smoking outside on school campuses after school hours but always prohibits smoking in public seating areas including stadiums and bleachers.

Dan Liner from Hamilton County Education Association spoke about teacher working conditions in the schools. Sherry Baierl from the Nurse Education Committee spoke about the importance of having AEDs in all public schools in cases of cardiac arrest.

School Board member Rhonda Thurman pulled two items for discussion from the agenda; the donation acceptance request from County Commission and the 2016-17 school calendar. School Board members discussed the new policy requiring County Commissioners to gain approval from the School Board for any discretionary spending coming from last year’s bond funds. Thurman also discussed the possibility of altering the agreed upon school calendar for next year. Ultimately, the School Board voted 8:1 to approve the calendar. Additionally, the Board voted unanimously to approve the renaming of the new Ganns Middle Valley Elementary School to “Middle Valley Elementary School”.

During closing discussion, School Board members recognized the increasing number of parents contacting the district to opt-out their children from standardized testing. The Department of Education’s attorney explained that the School Board did not have the authority to waive testing for students. State law requires school districts to have at least 95% of students taking standardized tests to assess the quality of education for its public schools. In response, School Board member Karitsa Mosley asserted the Board did have the ability to waive TNReady scores from impacting student overall grades on their report cards.

For more information about the November agenda read our School Board Watch Blog. The School Board has a Work Session scheduled for Thursday, December 10 at 5:00pm and a regularly scheduled quarterly session on Thursday, December 17 at 5:00pm. Both meetings will be held at the Department of Education.


School Board Watch Blog: November 2015

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we’ll take a look at the agenda for the November 19th regular session Hamilton County School Board Meeting. The meeting will be held in the Hamilton County School Board Meeting Room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road and is set to begin at 5:30 PM. We will be there live tweeting. Follow along on Twitter: @UnifiEdHC, #HCSchools.

Items of Interest:

  • Donation Acceptance Request: Hamilton County Commission is now required to receive approval from School Board members when using discretionary spending funds left over from last year on Hamilton County public schools. This month, the administration is requesting the acceptance and approval for a donation of $3194.03 from the commissioner discretionary bond fund to purchase a Paxton Door security system for Hixson Middle School. No additional funds are being requested from HCDE.
  • Naming of new Middle Valley Elementary School: In June, construction began on the new Ganns Middle Valley Elementary School. When complete, the new school will serve students from the current Ganns Middle Valley and Falling Water Elementary Schools. District 3 School Board member Greg Martin is asking that the name “Ganns” be removed from the school title. If approved, the new elementary school will be renamed Middle Valley Elementary School.
  • Demolition of North Grandstands at East Ridge High: The School Board is scheduled to approve the demolition of the North Grandstands on the football field at East Ridge High School. The demolition will cost $84,680.00 and will be carried out by Modern Day Wrecking.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click HERE.

On the consent agenda for Thursday’s meeting, the board is scheduled to approve:

Education and Leadership Support

Field Trips

  • Falling Water Elementary, East Ridge Elementary, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Hixson High School, and Hixson Middle School will participate in arts and culture related field trips.
  • Sequoyah High School and East Ridge High School will participate in career and technical education related field trips.
  • Signal Mountain Middle/High School will participate in sports related field trips.

Business and Finance

1. Bids

  • Request for approval for the contract with SchoolMessenger as the new emergency notification company in Hamilton County when the contract with Blackboard Connect expires on December 31, 2015, (funding source: General Funds for $85,000.00).
  • Request for approval to furnish and install the Cooling, Freezing, and Warming Equipment for Ooltewah High, Hixson Elementary, CSLA, and Wolftever Creek Elementary to the Hamilton County School Nutrition Program, (funding source: School Nutrition Budget for $23,514.59).
  • Request for approval for the demolition of North Grandstands on the football field at East Ridge High School by Modern Day Wrecking for $84,680.00.
  • Request for approval of the utilization of architectural/engineering and design firms on an “as-needed basis” for HCDE projects, (funding source: these services are considered “Professional Services” and do not require to be bid or quoted).
  • Request for approval of the purchase of additional MecLab Mechatronics Training Systems, (funding source: CTE Perking Grant for $9,995.00).
  • Request for funding Geometry with Agile Assessment for The Howard High School ESOL students, (funding source: Title III for $8,443.00).
  • Request for approval for the contract with Reading Plus, (funding source: Federal Title I budget for $6,000.00).
  • Request for the increase of funds for the contract between STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand) and Hamilton Department of Education, (funding source: Tennessee Department of Education for $3,300).
  • Request for approval of lease agreements and security charges for graduation 2016 at UTC McKenzie Arena, Tivoli Theatre, and Memorial Auditorium, (funding source: Hamilton County Board of Education for $41,640.00).
  • Request for approval for the purchase of motor fuel from Sweetwater Valley Oil, (funding source: Warehouse Inventory Fund for $26,336).

2. Financial Reports

  • The monthly financial statement compares actual year-to-date expenditures to the original adopted budget and the year-to-date amended budget through November 19, 2015.

3. Donation Acceptance Request

  • The Administration is requesting acceptance and approval for a donation of $3194.03 from the Commissioner Discretionary bond fund to purchase a Paxton Door security system for Hixson Middle School. No additional funds are being requested from HCDE.

4. Budget Amendments

  • Federal and Self-Funded: The School Improvement Grant for Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy Charter School (CGLA) will increase funds by $14,068, the School Improvement Grant for the iZONE District will increase funds by $59,539, and the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) will increase funds by $102,838.

Human Resources

  • Full-Time School Nurses HCDE is in need of three additional positions due to increases in health care procedures that require the support of a school nurse.
  • All certified and full-time classified employees were given an opportunity to vote on one of two calendar options for the 2016-17 school year. A total of 2,188 votes were submitted, and a request for the approval of Draft #1 for the 2016-17 school year has been submitted.

Board Policy

Second and Final Reading

  • Food Service Employee Health Policy – the purpose of this policy is to ensure all food service employees notify the “Person In Charge” if they experience any conditions (ex. diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, sore throat with fever, or lesions) listed so that the appropriate steps are taken to prevent Foodborne illness or communicable diseases

Board Matters

  • Request from District 3 asking that the name Ganns be removed and the school be renamed Middle Valley Elementary School.


  • November 25-27, 2015 – Thanksgiving Holiday (schools and central offices will be closed)
  • December 10, 2015 – Board of Education work session board room 5:00 PM
  • December 17, 2015 – Board of Education quarterly session board room 5:00 PM
  • December 17, 2015- Last day of classes before winter holidays