APEX Action Teams: 2018 Progress & 2019 Plans

It’s time for an end-of-year recap of the work 100+ community members have been doing through the APEX Action Teams throughout 2018! The five teams have each created plans for a different initiative that they will launch in 2019 focused on equity in our schools.

“Community Engagement & Empowerment” APEX Action Team

To increase parent engagement in schools, this team will pilot a parent workshop series with various engagement activities, knowledge building, and trainings based on parents’ and students’ needs. Details & next steps >

“Funding Our Future” APEX Action Team

To illustrate inequities of funding across schools in our county, this team plans to work with pilot schools to facilitate and document an exchange day between schools in different neighborhoods. This team also plans to create an educational tool for the community about funding needs and the school budget. Details & next steps >

“Racial & Socioeconomic Desegregation” APEX Action Team

In order to increase community awareness of the impacts of school segregation, this team is developing a program that combines cultural competency training with a storytelling campaign. Several community members will receive training in anti-racism, history, and current statistics around local desegregation and equity issues before creating a curriculum for workshops they will take into the community. Details & next steps >

“Supporting the People in our Schools” APEX Action Team

In order to give students a voice in issues that matter to them and build engagement, this team is piloting a “Student Voice Ambassador” program Lookout Valley Middle High. Led largely by a LVMHS student who has been an active member of the team, this program will give students a structured way to share input with school leadership. Details & next steps >

“Supporting the Whole Child” APEX Action Team

In order to better support students’ mental and emotional health, this team is working to create a workshop focused on restorative justice, emotional health, and trauma-informed practices while incorporating the arts. A team of community members, including youth, will be trained by experts in these fields to assist with shaping the workshop and training facilitators to deliver this program once complete. They hope to pilot the program in the East Chattanooga area. Details & next steps >

Participatory design project

Representatives from each of the APEX Action Teams are currently working with local artists to create a video and other materials that highlight their experience collaborating with the community throughout 2018 to plan the equity-focused initiatives launching or being piloted in early 2019. Stay tuned for an event invite to hear more about this work!

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December 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 December 13th, 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:

  • The Chief of Opportunity Zone and Chief Schools Officer are requesting approval for the following schools to have Open Enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year:
    • Dalewood Middle School
    • Howard Middle School
    • Lookout Valley Middle/High School
    • Red Bank Middle School
    • Rivermont Elementary School
    • Soddy Daisy Middle School
    • Woodmore Elementary School

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • The Hamilton County Department of Education will recognize three students from Orchard Knob Elementary, East Lake Academy, and Ooltewah High School for winning the 2018 Hamilton Shines Billboard Art Contest. Mayor Jim Coppinger recognized these three students at their school and presented each a plaque, pin, and a poster rendition of their billboard. The artwork will be displayed on a billboard in the community located near each winner’s school. The purpose of the Hamilton Shines Billboard Art competition is to encourage students to express themselves, be creative, and affect change in the community by reducing littering through education. The Hamilton Shines Billboard Art Contest is co-sponsored by the Scenic Cities Beautiful Commission in cooperation with the Hamilton County Schools.
  • Superintendent, Dr. Bryan Johnson, will be updating the board each month on strategies being implemented and progress towards the goals outlined with the Future Ready 2023 plan. The plan outlines five action areas: Accelerating Student Achievement, Future Ready Students, Great Teachers and Leaders, Effective and Efficient Operations and Engaged Community. This month, the board will be updated on Engaged Community.
  • The President of HCEA will address the board.

Field Trips:

  • Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts will send members of Destination Imagination to compete in the DI Global Finals.
  • Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper School will participate in a music related field trip.
  • East Ridge High School, Red Bank High School, Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Ooltewah High School, Soddy Daisy High School, and Hixson High School will participate in sports related field trips
  • Hixson High School will send students to attend FFA Vet Science competitive events at UT Martin.


Board approval is sought for:

  • The Request for Qualifications for engineering services for the CCA HVAC replacement with funds to be provided by the Capital Projects Fund.
  • The repair, sanding, painting, and refinishing of gym floors with funds to be provided by Operating and Capital Budgets.
  • The lease agreements and security charges for Graduation 2019 totalling $54,884.47.
  • The purchase of fuel for the month of November totalling $30,064.00 with funds provided by the Warehouse Inventory Fund.

Ratification of Emergency/Early approval is sought for:

  • The Charter Coach Carrier for the Howard High School Football Team totalling $2,140.00.


  • Board approval is sought for the contract with Public Education Foundation and Principal Leadership Academy (PLA) in the amount of $100,000.00. Funding for this agreement will come from the General Purpose Budget. The PLA provides training, mentoring, and support over the course of one year (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019) to Assistant Principals interested in moving into a Principal role.

Budget Amendments:

  • Board approval is needed for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2019 for the following budget amendments:
  • Title III Immigrant Grant – English Language Acquisition Discretionary, with transfers between line items
  • Priority Schools State Grant, with transfers between line items
  • CampK Program, totaling $237,811.00
  • FRI Externship Program, with transfers between line items
  • Additional approval is sought for:
    • The Coalition of Large Area School Systems (CLASS) Retainer Agreement with Millsaps Gowan Government Relations. This item is in the budget as an ongoing expense. The agreement is to continue Hamilton County’s membership in the CLASS group and to pay membership dues to cover the professional services of Millsaps Gowan Government Relations. Millsaps Gowan provides services such as electronically forwarding relevant newspaper articles, analyses, and important governmental announcements. Millsaps Gowan also provides legislative and state administrative advocacy services including tracking legislation, representing CLASS interests in the legislative process, exploring legislative opportunities to advance the CLASS agenda, monitoring actions of the state board of education, and providing timely communications to member systems. This will total $37,500.00 annually for membership.
    • The appropriation of funds previously committed to Education Telecommunications Projects to the Telecom-Contracted Services in the amount of $500,000.00. These funds will be used to complete intercom and speaker systems associated with the telecommunications project.

Administrative/Business Matters and Chief Staff Updates:

  • Karen Glenn will update the board on the Hamilton County Department of Education’s 2018-2019 1st Quarter Bullying Compliance report.
  • Board approval is sought for:
    • New grant funded positions for Calvin Donaldson Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle, and The Howard School to begin work at the beginning of January, 2019. These positions will focus on academic improvement and social emotional support services. The grant period is December 2018 – September 2019 with anticipated renewal for at least two additional years. The positions are:
      • The Calvin Donaldson Elementary:
        • One Full-Time Student Success Advocate (aka Behavior Management Specialist)
      • Orchard Knob Middle:
        • One Part-Time School Counselor
        • Two Part-Time Educational Assistants for Math and Literacy
      • The Howard School:
        • One Full-Time Transition Academy Teacher
        • One Full-Time Bilingual Educational Assistant for Transition Academy
        • One Part-Time Interventionist
    • The services of MGT Consulting Group with a lump sum fee of $337,915.00 for  building assessment and Franklin Architects with a lump sum fee of $33,500.00 for schematic security upgrade solutions. HCDE issued a “Request for Proposals” for a system wide building condition assessment and front entry security upgrade schematic design. The information gathered in the building assessment will be presented as a long range capital plan. The security upgrades will be later developed and placed in bid packages to complete the work.
    • The services of MGT Corporation for the lump sum of $149,930.00 for existing capacity and future growth study. HCDE issued a “Request for Proposals” for system wide capacity and future growth study. The objective of this is to assess the long-range trends of community demographics and growth. The study should provide long range plans to identify future growth areas and needs for new facilities. Deliverables should include a growth analysis by area as well as a 10 year projection.
    • Funding for a Track and Field Complex at Howard High School in the amount of $5,969,036.00, provided from County Bond Funds.

Board Policies:

Board Matters:

  • Board approval is sought for:
    • Textbook committees to work on selecting curriculum resources. The committees will work over the course of the next three months to bring the best available instructional resources for approval at the April 2019 Board Meeting.
    • The agreement between Chattanooga State TCAT and HCDE for the temporary use of the Hamilton County High Building.
  • Legal Services: A total of $21,950.00 in legal fees was paid in the month of November to Bennett & DeCamp, PLLC.


  • To see a full calendar of events in the month of December, click here.