APEX Action Teams Update – September 2018

The five APEX Action Teams have continued their work this month to build implementation plans for community-driven initiatives and projects that support the equity goals detailed in the APEX Project Report.

Each of the five APEX Action Teams has met at least four times so far. Their meetings occur every six weeks with small group meetings in between each regularly scheduled session if needed.

Each group was presented with two focus areas determined by community feedback during the listening phase of the APEX Project. They have gone through facilitated discussions that provided a historical context to the work in order to inform their decision making process when narrowing their focus areas.

Along with identifying an issues focus, each team has continued to refine their ideas for equity initiatives that will accomplish their issue area’s goals.

In the remaining months of 2018, each team will build out a detailed work scope and implementation plan for their initiatives, which range from community-level organizing efforts to collaboration with HCDE to partnerships with existing programs in schools.

Eager to learn more? Click for an update on the progress of each group.

Supporting the whole child >

Supporting the people in our schools >

Racial & socioeconomic desegregation >

Funding & Budgeting >

Community Engagement & Empowerment >

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September 2018 School Board Watch Blog

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the September 20th, 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:

  • Superintendent, Dr. Bryan Johnson, will be requesting the Board vote to formally adopt the Future Ready 2023 Plan to codify the work of the Board and district leadership as they’ve collaborated with the community to chart the desired course for students, teachers, leaders, and the community. The plan outlines five action areas: Accelerating Student Achievement, Future Ready Students, Great Teachers and Leaders, Effective and Efficient Operations and Engaged Community. Each of these areas have key performance indicators, strategies, and action steps that will be implemented over the plan’s five-year duration. In addition, Dr. Johnson will update the Board on the progress towards the goals within this plan on a monthly basis.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • The Principal at East Brainerd Elementary will be recognized as the 2018 Tennessee Principal of the Year. This award is given annually to a school leader for outstanding service in education and exceptional leadership that drives overall improvements in his or her school. The East Brainerd Elementary principal has also been named one of the nine finalists for the 2018-2019 Tennessee Principal of the Year that will be announced on October 4th.
  • The Chief Schools Officer will recognize McConnell Elementary, East Ridge Middle, and Loftis Middle schools for earning a Level 5 in all content areas, the highest level of student growth, in the recent Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) for the 2018 school year.
  • In order to provide the School Board with up-to-date information on strategies being implemented and progress towards the goals outlined with the Future Ready 2023 plan, district leadership will provide a monthly report describing the work being done. This month the board will hear updates on areas within Accelerating Student Achievement, Great Teachers and Leaders, and Effective and Efficient Operations.

Field Trips:

  • Battle Academy for Teaching and Learning and Spring Creek Elementary will send students to attend 4H Camps.
  • Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper, Red Bank High School, Central High School, Hixson High School, and Ooltewah Middle School will participate in music related field trips.
  • Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts will send sixth grade students to Alabama to study at Nature’s Classroom.
  • East Hamilton School, Sale Creek Middle/High School, Soddy-Daisy Middle School, and Signal Mountain Middle/High will send eighth grade students to Washington, DC for learning opportunities and to explore the nation’s capital.
  • Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper, Hixson High School, and Sale Creek Middle/High School will participate in sports related field trips.
  • Ooltewah High School, Sale Creek Middle/High School, and Soddy Daisy High School will participate in JROTC related field trips.
  • Sale Creek Middle/High School will send students to participate in the Advance Art College Trip and Workshop.
  • Soddy-Daisy High School will send students enrolled in Student Council to participate in the Southern Association of Student Councils Conference.
  • Hixson High School will send students to attend FFA Chapter in Indiana

Bids/Contracts and Conferences:

Board approval is sought for:

  • Renovations for the Lookout Valley Middle/High Tennis Court totalling $279,000.00 with funds to be provided from the 17/18 Capital Projects Fund.
  • The lease agreements and security charges for Graduation 2019 totalling $54,884.47.
  • The purchase of Edgenuity K-12 Courseware, Pathblazer Solutions, and Professional Development for Parkridge Valley Academy School. The total amount requested is $28,950.00 which will be funded by their school based Title I funds.
  • The purchase of Reading Plus Software Programs from Taylor Associates Communications, Inc. The program creates personalized learning experiences by combining advances in reading research with a user-centered design while providing real-time reporting and data analysis at the district, school, class, and student levels. This will total $25,000.00 for the 2018-2019 school year and funding will be provided through school based Title I Federal Programs budgets.
  • The addendum to the MOU with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee for the Project SEARCH Program. The MOU outlines the roles and responsibilities of the parties as they work in partnership to increase opportunities for students with disabilities. The addendum is needed to outline an access agreement regarding the liability insurance for interims and HCDE employees as requested by BCBST. No funds are needed or requested with this agreement.
  • The renewal of the multi-year contract with DecisionED: Software and Support, including IBM Cognos Enhanced Consumer Support. This will total $161,860.00 with funds to be provided by the General Budget.
  • The Central High School track modifications totalling $787,400.00 with funding to be provided from Capital Funds.

Additional approval is sought for:

  • Sending 18 individuals from the 13 different institute schools to attend The National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) conference, a national model for best practices for career academies providing professional development, resources, technical assistance, and so forth. This will total $29,745.00 with funding to be provided by the NSFY Grant obtained by Future Ready Institutes.

Budget Amendments:

  • Board approval is needed to amend the FY19 General Purpose Operating Budget for the reclassifying of existing budget appropriations between various accounts for:
    • Contracts with the Exceptional Education- System Wide
  • Board approval is needed for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2019 for the following budget amendments:
  • The Safe Schools Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $1,028,103.00
  • The School Improvement Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $107,608.00
  • The Work Based Learning Grant, totaling $3,918.00
  • Coordinated school health, with transfers between line items.
  • The Read To Be Ready Coaching Network Grant, totaling $10,000.00.
  • The Read To Be Ready Summer Grant, with a net decrease of $200.00.
  • The Carl Perkins Vocational Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $40,145.00
  • The Therapy Services Self-Funded Program, with an increase of $406,612.00
  • JROTC Competitions Self-Funded Program, totaling $6,360.00
  • The Nursing Services Self-Funded Program, with an increase of $32,000.00
  • The Maintenance Recyclables Self-Funded Program, totaling $16,170.00
  • The FRI Externship Self-Funded Program, totaling $53,280.00
  • The Character Education Self-Funded Program, totaling $12,894.00
  • The Future Ready Institutes Self-Funded Program, totaling $6,400.00
  • The Character Education Donations Self-Funded Program, totaling $6,500.00
  • The FRI Tyner Academy Self-Funded Programs, totaling $62,500.00
  • The CO Flower Fund Self-Funded Program, totaling $8,360.00

Board Policies:

  • Second Readings – These revisions are presented for Board approval via a second and final reading:
    • Board Policy 4.601 Grading System- Second Reading: This updates the current grading policy to reflect percentage of TCAP in student grades for both 3-8 and high school at 15% of the student’s grade. If TCAP raw scores are not received before the last day of school, the results will not be included in student grades.
    • Board Policy 5.114 Personnel Records- Second Reading: This updates the current personnel records policy to include a clause stating that no administrator or supervisor may offer an employment reference or a letter of recommendation for any employee or former employee of HCDE unless he or she directly supervised the employee or former employee within the preceding 12 months.
    • Board Policy 6.309 Zero Tolerance Offenses- Second Reading: This updates the current zero tolerance offense policy adding in language that states any student who “commits aggravated assault or commits an assault that results in physical contact with any teacher, principal, administrator, any other employee of the school, or school resource officer, shall be expelled for a period of not less than one calendar year.” The director of schools can modify this expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.

Administrative and Board Matters:

  • Board approval is sought for:
    • An award granted to the HCDE Future Ready Institute at Tyner Academy funded by EPB for $250,000.00 ($62,500.00 x 4 years).
    • The MOU between EPB and HCDE Future Ready Institutes that provides guidelines for the donation from EPB made to the EPB Institute of Technology and Networking at Tyner Academy.
  • Legal Services: A total of $20,000.00 in legal fees was paid in the month of August to Bennett & DeCamp, PLLC.



  • October 6: Teacher Professional Development – no students
  • October 9-13: Fall Break
  • October 16- December 1: Schools choose one extended day (3.5 hours) for Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • October 18: Board Meeting