In many ways, Hamilton County is a Southern success story of reinvention, innovation, and change. But not every child in our community today gets the education they need to ensure they can share in our community’s prosperity. Inequities across the school system remain a great untackled issue for our community. The time is now to turn this problem around to achieve universal excellence for all students!

A child’s chances for success shouldn’t be dictated by which school they attend, yet issues of inequity in our community today create greatly varied futures for students. These issues include school zoning, concentrated poverty, sub-par buildings, lack of advanced class offerings, ineffective discipline practices, lack of access to technology, high absentee rates, and graduates unprepared for work and life.

The “Action Plan for Educational Excellence,” or APEX, Project will ensure a brilliant future for all students in our community by putting equity at the forefront of conversations and decision making.

The Process

  1. The APEX Project’s steering committee has represented the diverse identities and experiences of our community and served as accountability and leadership oversight throughout the project.
  2. More than 2,650 community members identified issues of inequity across the Hamilton County public school system and envisioned solutions to those problems through a public survey period.
  3. A team of researchers analyzed the survey responses to identify the 25 most commonly cited issues and solutions. Those solutions were made into an interactive voting experience, outfitted in a little red school bus, and toured around Hamilton County to public spaces for two weeks. Nearly 1,500 community members voted on their top priorities among the 25 solutions originally identified by the community.
  4. The 10 highest prioritized solutions (below) now form the basis of the APEX Policy Platform. Take action to help ensure each of these solutions is implemented by the many decision makers and stakeholders impacting our schools — join the Equity Collective!

Downloadable version of the APEX Project Pocket Guide >

The solutions below are categorized by the groups that can take action to implement them. There are an equal number of solutions per group because every individual and entity shares responsibility for ensuring a great education to every child in this community. 

Elected Officials

  • Funds must be provided to make all school facilities safe and healthy learning spaces, and there must be a long-term plan to keep them that way
  • There must be funding to recruit, support, and keep the best teachers

Hamilton County Department of Education administration and leadership 

  • Teaching and programs must provide personalized support, especially to those with special needs and minority identities (like English-language learners and LGBTQ+ students)
  • A plan must be developed to end socioeconomic and racial segregation in schools


  • Students and teachers must have a voice in the issues that matter to them to support better relationships and engagement
  • Students mental and emotional health needs must be supported

Community Members

  • Community members must demand the end of socioeconomic and racial segregation in our schools
  • Parents and community members must embrace opportunities to support schools and children

Community Organizations

  • Mentoring, field trips, and early childhood education initiatives must be expanded
  • Local organizations and businesses must support and provide resources to our schools

More about the APEX Project’s timeline and process >


Understanding Educational Equity

Click through these slides to better understand just a few of the inequities across Hamilton County schools. These are issues we know from demographic data and test scores, but each stat represents very real stories for students and families in our community.

What’s your experience with these – and other – issues of inequity? Keep scrolling to find out how to get involved!

Resources to explore educational equity
Learn about some common themes and check out case studies and articles on our equity resources page >

Get Involved!

This plan must represent the diverse experiences and ideas from across our county to be successful, so we invite all voices to be heard. How you can be involved:

Share Your Voice

EdTalks are small group discussions where we get your perspective to define equity issues and gather ideas for solutions. That means we need as many voices at the table as possible!
Attend an EdTalk >


Get your friends and neighbors involved! Learn how to build networks that can take action and make change. More >


Become a facilitator for community conversations. Learn how to lead discussion and gather feedback in small group meetings. More >


Contributions enable the work we do every day to support a brilliant future for Hamilton County’s students!
Donate now >