Our Voice, Our Community

Here at UnifiEd we love engaging with our community. Here are three podcasts where you can learn more about the work we’re doing in Hamilton County.

Donivan Brown on UnifiEd (May 2018)

Run time 7 minutes

In this clip from an interview on Moody radio, field fellow Donivan Brown discusses how the public can become more involved in public school.

Listen here

APEX Project with UnifiEd (March 2018)

Run time 44 minutes

In this interview on the Camp House podcast, the UnifiEd team and steering committee discuss the progress of the APEX project, from start to the culmination of the APEX Project Report.

Listen here

Fund Hamilton County’s Future! with UnifiEd (June 2017)

Run time 36 minutes

In this interview on the Camp House podcast, the UnifiEd team discuss the facilities and personnel needs of the Hamilton County School System.

Listen here

School Board Meeting Recording

Please watch the meeting by clicking the “play” button on the video below!

June School Board Watch Blog 2018

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the June 21st, 2018 regularly scheduled session of the 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 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed by HCDE through their Facebook page and the recording will be posted here on the UnifiEd blog afterwards.

View the full agenda and supporting documents >

Hot Topics:

    • A Work Session will be held at 4:00 before the regularly scheduled school board meeting that will have a discussion about the Equity Task Force. In addition, the Equity Task Force is a topic on the agenda during the regularly scheduled board session.
    • Superintendent Dr. Johnson will recognize the outgoing Student Representative, Tyrese Jones, of UnifiEd’s Student Voice Team. Mr. Jones will introduce the newly elected Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council Chairperson (SSAC) for the 2018-2019 school year. Elected by their peers, the SSAC Chairperson serves as the Student Representative to the Hamilton County Board of Education.

 

  • Board Policy 4.502 Parent and Family Engagement Revised- First Reading: The current Parent and Family Engagement policy is being revised to reflect changes in state law. The board must implement operation activities, programs, and procedures for parent and family engagement in all schools after planning with consultation with parents and families. In addition they must incorporate strategies for family and parent engagement into the Local Education Association (LEA) Needs Assessment and Plan Prioritized Goals and Strategies. These strategies will include ways for families to learn about their children’s studies and have access to their learning materials, improved parent, family, and teacher cooperation and communication, a commenting process for engagement plans, full access, information, and opportunities for ELL parents and families, and the appointment of a Parent and Family Advisory Council that will annually assess the effectiveness of engagement policies.

 

Recognitions, Presentations, and Delegations:

  • Lookout Valley Middle/High, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, and Hamilton County Collegiate High will be recognized for making the U.S. News and World Report list for best high schools in Tennessee.
  • The Principal of STEM School Chattanooga will be recognized for earning top honors in STEM Excellence Awards as the recipient of the STEM Innovator Award for 2018.
  • A presentation will be given to the Board on the status of the three-year action plan “Future Ready 2021”. Future Ready 2021 is a three-year action plan to provide every child access to great teachers, leaders, and resources. Key concepts for the plan were developed and shared by parents, teachers, children, administration, and the community at listening sessions throughout the year. The community listening sessions included more than 1,300 participants and produced more than 3,000 data points that helped focus areas of the plan and reflect the community’s values. This plan outlines broad goals and includes action steps and key performance indicators. The performance indicators will provide a scoreboard of how Hamilton County is progressing in each focus area and allow for regular updates to the board and community regarding progress.
  • There will be a presentation to the Board regarding updates and the status of the Opportunity Zone.

Field Trips:

  • Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts and Lookout Valley Middle/High School will send students to Washington, D.C. to learn social studies and about U.S. History and the capital.
  • Ooltewah High School, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper School, East Hamilton School, Red Bank High School, Sale Creek Middle/High School, Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Tyner Academy, and Brainerd High School will participate in sports related field trips.
  • Sequoyah High School will send students on a JROTC related field trip.

Bids/Contracts:

Board approval is sought for:

  • The contract to furnish labor and materials for electrical projects with funds to be provided by the Capital and Maintenance Budgets.
  • The contract for annual elevator inspection, repair, and the Preventative Maintenance Program with funds to be provided by the Capital and Maintenance Budgets.
  • The contract to furnish woodcarpet for the school system totally $1,765.00 with funds to be provided by the Operating and Capital Projects Budgets.
  • The contract to furnish and install VCT and rubber base with funds to be provided by the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Fund.
  • The contract to furnish and install aluminum walkway covers and canopies with funds to be provided by the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Fund.
  • The contract to relocate portable classrooms with funds to be provided by the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Fund.
  • The contract to furnish heating f at $3.50 per gallon with funds to be provided by the Operating Budget.
  • The contract to furnish propane fuel totalling $1.12 per gallon with funds to be provided by the Operating Budget.
  • The contract to furnish and install fencing with funds to be provided by the Capital Projects Fund.
  • The contract extension for the SY 2018-2019 School Nutrition Program for food and non-food supplies
  • The purchase EMS control equipment and supplies used for the operation of the HVAC equipment throughout the school system from Electronic Controls, Inc. and Automated Logic.
  • The renewal of the the contract with Harland Technology, a division of Scantron, for maintenance and support of ScanTools Scanners with funds to not exceed $30,000.00 and to be budgeted from the General Purpose Fund.
  • The renewal of the PowerSchool software maintenance, subscription and support contract with PowerSchool Group, LLC with funds not to exceed $229,606.50 and to be budgeted from the General Purpose Fund.
  • The renewal of the IBM SPSS software maintenance, subscription, and support contract with IBM Corp. with funds not to exceed $38,895.92 and to be budgeted from the General Purpose Fund.
  • The renewal of the ESRI software maintenance, subscription, and support contract with Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) with funds not to exceed $12,250.00 and to be budgeted from the General Purpose Fund.
  • The contract with Public Consulting Group for goal progress monitoring systems, support, and the Special Transportation Wizard for the 2018-19 school year for continued use by the Exceptional Education Department with the EastIEP program. The PCG IEP Goal/Objective Progress Monitoring System and Support agreement will be paid for out of the IDEA, Part B funds and will cost $11,025.00. The continuation of the Transportation Wizard will cost $4,919.91 to be paid for out of the IDEA, Part B funds.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding with Centerstone Mental Health Centers, Inc to provide school-based mental health services in Hamilton County schools for students exhibiting significant emotional and behavioral challenges. HCDE will not be asked to pay for or bill for any services and will only be referring students based on needs. All funding is handled by Centerstone.
  • The contract with the City of Chattanooga Dept. of Youth & Family Development Head Start/Early Head Start Program to establish working procedures in the provision of services to preschool children eligible for special education in compliance with Federal and Tennessee State laws and regulations. No funds are needed or requested with this agreement.
  • The contract with Nova Southeastern University for autism training, professional, and systemic development activities for exceptional education teachers and staff totalling $24,100.00 with funds to be provided by the General Purpose Fund.
  • The contract with Signal Centers, Inc. for the 2018-19 school year Adult Services Program with funds not to exceed $17,000.00 and will be paid with Exceptional Education General Purpose funds.
  • The contract with Mose and Garrison Siskin Memorial Foundation, Inc. totalling $380.800.00 with funds to be provided by the Exceptional Education General Purpose Budget. This amount is already budgeted and no additional funds are required.
  • The contract with Parkridge Medical Centers, Inc., dba Parkridge Valley Hospital for therapeutic services for the 2018-2019 school year. The cost of this contract will not exceed $20,000.00 and will be paid with IDEA Part, B funds.
  • The contract with Stellar Therapy, LLC  for billing and related administrative fees related to Medicaid reimbursement for speech, language, occupational and physical therapies, and BCBA services. This contract will be at a rate of 20% of received Medicaid reimbursement and is to be paid from the Medicaid Reimbursement Self Funded Account no additional funds will be needed.
  • The contract with Stellar Therapy, LLC for speech and language, occupational, and physical therapy services as required by Individual Education Plans and supervised by Exceptional Education Administrators. This contract will be paid with a combination of funds from Medicaid Reimbursement, IDEA Part B, and the Exceptional Education General Purpose Budget funds. This contract should not exceed $2,181,347.00.
  • The contract with Signal Centers, Inc. for the 2018-2019 school year. The cost of services is $666,288.00 and will be paid with Exceptional Education General Purpose funds. Extended school year for 2017-2018 will be reimbursed at a rate of $55.00 per half-day participation and $110.00 per full day participation per student; these services will be paid with IDEA, Part B funds.
  • The contract with Orange Grove Center, Inc. for the 2018-2019 school year. Funds will not exceed $1,369,000 for up to 45 students and will be paid with Exceptional Education General Purpose funds. These funds are already budgeted and no additional funds are requested.
  • The renewal of PPO Medical Reinsurance with Blue Reinsurance Insurance Company of Tennessee and HMO Medical Reinsurance with CIGNA with an increase to the current stop loss level to $350,000.00 for both renewals.
  • The contract renewal with EBS Consulting for employee benefits and risk management totalling $3,716.00 per month for consulting services and $6,951.00 per month for risk management consulting services.
  • The renewal policies with the Standard Group for Life and Long Term Disability
  • Property and Casualty Insurance renewal
  • The ratification of emergency/early approval for the new Ooltewah High School soccer field totalling $745,000.00 with funds to be provided by the 2016-17 Capital Funds.
  • The ratification of emergency/early approval for the Hixson High School track modifications totalling $987,900.00 with funds to be provided by the 2017-18 Capital Funds
  • The ratification of emergency/early approval for the purchase of Smallware for School Nutrition operations totalling $16,215.38 and to furnish and install serving lines for Lookout Valley Middle/High School and East Ridge High School totalling $153,890.54 with funds to be provided by the School Nutrition Budget.
  • The purchase of motor fuel for May of 2018 totalling $18,320.00 with funds provided by the Warehouse Inventory Fund.  

Budget Amendments:

  • Board approval is needed to amend the FY18 General Purpose Operating Budget for transfers between accounts. These amendments reclassify existing budget appropriations between the organizations:
  • Transportation Department
  • Transportation-Public Carriers
  • Information Services
  • Operation of Maintenance
  • Board approval is needed to amend the FY18 School Nutrition Budget for transfers between accounts. These amendments reclassify existing budget appropriations between various accounts for items such as personnel, social security, medicare, food supplies, sanitation, and so forth.
  • The Administration is requesting acceptance and approval of the State awarded $100,000 for the FY19 CTE Perkins Reserve grant application. This application is for Future Ready Institutes of Hamilton County providing new skills for youth and college and career preparation through the launching of 20 Future Ready Institutes within 13 different county high school sin the fall of 2018.
  • Board approval is sought for the outstanding contractual obligations totalling $231,141.69 at June 30, 2018, for carryover into the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Operations:

  • The Board will presented with the Hamilton County Department of Education’s Year-End Anti-Bullying Compliance Report for the 2017-2018 school year. There were a total of 203 reported and confirmed incidents of bullying and harassment, down from 322 cases by end of year 2016.
    • Staff Training: 2,171 employees were updated on bullying/harassment requirements and mandates, 3,458 completed Title IX compliance training, and 295 were trained in supportive school climate initiatives (ACES, Restorative Practices).
    • Student Training:  951 engaged in empathy-based Move2Stand Training, 19 high school teams (309 students) developed school-specific action plans during Superintendent’s Youth Summit, 239 students participated in Youth Conference with high school student facilitators conducting one break-out session, 1,439 5th graders signed “Kindness Matters” pledge; 232 recognized with “kindness award”, and 93 students trained as peer mediators; 35 documented mediations successfully conducted.
    • Community/Parent Engagement: 532 parents/community members, partners, etc., attended school strategies awareness sessions.

Administrative and Board Matters:

Board approval is sought for:

  • The approval for reinstatement of tenure status for the 2018-19 school year for the applicable teachers in the district.
  • The renewal agreement with Educator Software Solutions for the continuance of hosting, maintaining, and providing technical support of the customized Project Coach website (T-Eval), totalling $36,000.00 for the 2018-19 school year.
  • The use and maintenance agreement for the Smart Find Express system that is used to efficiency and cost effectively find substitute teachers for absentee teacher vacancies. This would total $34,129.60 annually and would be funded by the IT Department.  
  • The maintenance renewal for PeopleAdmin/SearchSoft Applicant Tracking System and the addition of new a product solution, Records Management for applicant and current employee resources and data. This would total $60,184.75 for the 2018-19 school year with funds to be jointly provided by the IT Department and Human Resources.
  • The adoption of Health/Wellness/PE textbooks as recommended by the Textbook Adoption Committee.
  • The use of Desktop Solutions, Simply Mac, and Stay Mobile as the three local, authorized dealers for MAC/iPad repairs for assistance with Apple products that are no longer under Apple warranty.
  • Board Chair, Dr. Highlander, will lead a discussion on Superintendent evaluation.
  • The acceptance of a donation from Commissioner Discretionary bond funds for the reimbursement of $7,950.00 to purchase Chromebooks for Hillcrest Elementary.

Legal Services: A total of $20,243.00 in legal fees was paid in the month of May to Benett & DeCamp, PLLC.

Events:

 

  • July 4, 2018 – Holiday, System Closed
  • July 19, 2018 – Board Meeting

 

 

The Devastating Impacts of Concentrated Poverty on Student Success

HCDE’s Equity Task Force has released data highlighting the striking link between the number of economically disadvantaged students in a school and those students’ success.

The data paints a dramatic picture.

We already know that students in schools of concentrated poverty face many challenges to success when they don’t receive the supports and resources they need. Seeing just how much that affects student success is sobering.

According to data from our school system, schools where half of the students are economically disadvantaged have a nearly 20% achievement gap in English Language Arts compared to students in schools with far fewer students living in poverty. That achievement gap gets 50% wider when 90% of students come from an economically disadvantaged background.

The achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students in both mathematics and overall ACT score tells a similar story.

The trend is clear – the higher the concentration of students living in poverty, the fewer students are finding success. If access to a quality education is to be the great equalizer that can allow individuals to break the cycle of poverty, we have to do better.