November 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 November 15th, 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:

  • Student board members and the officers of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) will speak about the Youth Summit they attended earlier this year and discuss their roles as officers of the SSAC.

 

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • HCDE will recognize The Howard School teacher, Jessica Hubbuch, as a chosen member of the inaugural Tennessee Teacher Ambassador Network. Through a very rigorous selection progress, Hubbuch rose to the top as an exemplary teacher to serve in this role. She will be be closely partnering with division leaders at the Tennessee Department of Education, engage around high priority work at the state level, serve as part of an advisement group, and communicate frequently with colleagues and stakeholders, statewide, to inform local policy and practice.
  • Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, Normal Park Museum Magnet, Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts, CSAS Lower, CSAS Upper, Lookout Mountain Elementary, Nolan Elementary, and Signal Mountain Middle/High will all be recognized for achieving Reward status. Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. Reward schools are those that are improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and student groups.
  • HCDE will recognize Sale Creek Middle High School and Signal Mountain Middle High School for athletic achievements.
  • 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 Future Ready Students.

 

Field Trips:

  • Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper will send high school students to Madrid, Spain for language immersion and cultural enrichment.
  • East Hamilton School and Signal Mountain Middle/High School will participate in sports related field trips.
  • Red Bank High School will participate in a JROTC related field trip.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will send members of the middle school science bowl team to  compete in the Middle School Science Bowl Competition.
  • STEM School Chattanooga will send members of the robotics team to compete in the Rocket City Regional Robotics Competition, the Smoky Mountain Regional Robotics Competition, and the FIRST World Championship.
  • Chattanooga High, Center for Creative Arts will participate in a music related field trip.
  • Brown Middle School will send students enrolled in the Beta Club to participate in the State Jr. Beta Club Convention.

 

Bids/Contracts:

Board approval is sought for:

  • The purchase of electrical material for Howard Middle School totalling $107,201.12 with funds to be provided from Capital Funds.
  • A list of architectural/engineering and design firms for HCDE projects to be used on an “as-needed basis”. These are considered “Professional Services” and as such are not required to be bid or quoted. This list is presented annually to the Board for approval, with updates as may be necessary.
  • The purchase of resources from Pioneer Valley Educational Press Inc. (DBA Pioneer Valley Books) for 2018-19 school year. The goal is to provide student instructional and Professional Development texts and resources district-wide to schools. This purchase will be in excess of $25,000.00 with funding to be provided through Federal and/or State grants, school based Title I Federal budgets, General-purpose funding, self-funded grants, and school/district donations.

Ratification of Emergency/Early approval is sought for:

  • The addition to Snow Hill Elementary School totalling $5,448,000 with funding to be provided by Capital Funds.

 

Budget Amendments:

  • Board approval is needed for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2019 for the following budget amendments:
  • School Improvement Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $600,000.00
  • Priority Schools State Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $921,886.00
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (Year 2), with transfers between line items and a net increase of $2,500.00
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (Year 5), with transfers between line items and a net increase of $2,500.00
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (Year 1), with transfers between line items
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (Year 5 ELA), with transfers between line items and a net increase of $10,000.00
  • CTE Perkins Reserve New Skills For Youth Grant, with transfers between line items
  • Additional approval is sought for:
    • The budget amendment for the Priority Schools Principal Incentive State Grant for FY2019 totaling $79,200.00. Four priority school principals are eligible for the recruitment bonus and two priority school principals are eligible for the retention bonus.
    • The use of ArbiterSports as the vendor for sports official management. Through a cooperative agreement, scheduling, managing, and paying and completing 1099 tax forms for school sports officials would be handled by ArbiterSports for a fee of $1.50 per transaction. The fee would be paid from the account for the particular sport who hired the official. Each school will establish an account with ArbiterSports and fund that account at the beginning of each sports season by writing a check based on estimating the number of officials needed for the season. ArbiterSports will transfer payment from the school’s account to the official’s account upon authorization from the school. Any excess in the school’s account at the end of the season would be refunded to the school or used to fund the next sports season. All tax reporting (1099s) would be the responsibility of ArbiterSports.

 

Administrative Business Matters:

  • Board approval is sought for:
    • The property line adjustment to Alpine Crest Elementary. The adjustment will move the neighboring property line one foot east of an existing retaining wall and will move HCDE’s property line approximately one foot west of an existing sidewalk that connects to North Cliff Lane. The adjustment will allow the neighbor to maintain the wall and grounds west of the wall. It will also provide school access to the existing sidewalk.
    • CSX to provide an electrical service easement at Howard High School. The easement will not affect school operations or future development. The electrical service is required to power improvements to the railway that borders Howard’s
    • property. CSX has offered $10,500.00 for the easement.

 

Board Policies:

 

Board Matters:

  • Board approval is sought for:
    • A parent request to review the zero tolerance suspension appeal decision for their child.
  • Legal Services: A total of $20,000.00 in legal fees was paid in the month of October to Bennett & DeCamp, PLLC.

 

Events:

 

  • November 21-23, 2018: Thanksgiving Holiday (Schools Closed; Central Office Closed from November 22-23, 2018)
  • December 3, 2018: Partnership Advisory
  • December 13, 2018: Board Meeting

 

 

School Board Meeting Recording

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

October 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 October 18th, 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 Equity Officer is seeking approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Telemedicine Services to be provided at East Lake Elementary, East Side Elementary, The Howard School, Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, and DuPont Elementary. Erlanger Children’s Hospital will provide School Based Health Clinic Services through their Telemedicine Program and will provide clinical supervision of nursing services provided to the students. HCDE will hire full time nurses at each of the these 5 schools.

 

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • 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.
  • The Chief Schools Officer will recognize the schools that earned reward status. Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee and are those improving in overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and student groups.
  • 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 Accelerating Student Achievement.

 

Field Trips:

  • Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper, East Hamilton School, Red Bank Middle School, Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Hixson High School, and Ooltewah High School will participate in music or arts related field trips.
  • Red Bank High School and Brainerd High School will participate in sports related field trips.
  • Sale Creek Middle/High School and Sequoyah High School will participate in JROTC related field trips.
  • Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts will send members of the D.I. team to participate in a team building retreat.
  • Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper, Signal Mountain Middle/High School, East Hamilton Middle High and Ooltewah High School model UN members will attend the Southeastern High School Model United Nations Conference.
  • Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Lower will send students enrolled in fifth grade to study at a 4H Center.
  • Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts will send students enrolled in fifth grade to study the gilded age at the Biltmore House.
  • East Ridge Middle School and Brown Middle School will send students to Washington, D.C.
  • Lookout Valley Elementary School will send students to study environmental science at Camp Jekyll.
  • Big Ridge Elementary School will send students enrolled in 5th grade to participate at the Rock Eagle Environmental Center.
  • Hixson Middle School will send members of the Jr. Beta Club to participate in the Jr. Beta Club Convention at the Opryland Hotel.
  • Soddy Daisy High School students enrolled on the Forensics Team will compete in the Science Hill High School Forensics Tournament.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will have students enrolled in the Environmental Club participate in the National Ocean Science Bowl, Hurricane Bowl at the Gulf Coast Research Lab.
  • East Hamilton School will send students to attend the Virtual Enterprise competitive events.
  • Sequoyah High School will send students to attend the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Nationals.

 

Bids/Contracts and Consultants:

Board approval is sought for:

  • The agreement with Stellar Therapy Services, LLC to provide nursing services reimbursement for HCDE. Stellar Therapy will provide clinical supervision of nursing services provided to students with parental consent for Medicaid billing purposes only.
  • The amendment to the Exceptional Education Speech/Language Services Private and Home School Agreement for the provision of speech and language services to
  • Private and Homeschool students. The State Department of Education updated the private school proportional allocations which is the reason for the amendment. The services will be paid for from the IDEA, Part B Grant totalling $408,892.23, the IDEA, Preschool Grant totalling $9,390.95, and the IDEA Carry Over Amount totalling $22,497.00 with all funds not to exceed $440,781.00.
  • The modifications to the Brainerd High School track totalling $858,000.00 with funds to be provided from Capital Funds.
  • The purchase of motor fuel for September totalling $17,432.00 with funds provided by the Warehouse Inventory Fund.

Additional approval is sought for:

  • The consulting agreement with Berit Gordon and the Opportunity Zone office totalling $7,500.00 from the Priority Schools State Grant. This will help teachers will develop and employ strategies that equip them to implement a blended model of English language arts instruction that combines the benefits of classic literature with the motivational power of choice reading.
  • The continued partnership and ongoing work with Ellen Lewis. Mrs. Ellen Lewis, a literacy expert in working with schools that serve students in disadvantaged backgrounds, will provide training to teachers working with students performing below grade level. Mrs. Lewis’s work will include ten full days of onsite training, revision, editing and proofreading work totalling $22,000.00 provided through state funding.
  • The use of funds acquired by the New Skills for Youth Grant to be used in cooperation with experts from the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) to develop a 3 year action plan for all Future Ready Institutes. In the spring of 2018, HCDE was awarded a New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant totaling $75,000 to be used in first year development of the Future Ready Institutes of Hamilton County. The funds to partner with NCAC will total $29,200.00 for the development of a 3 year action plan as well as professional development with students and teachers to be guided through the action planning process.

 

Budget Amendments:

  • Board approval is needed for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2019 for the following budget amendments:
  • Title I, Improving Basic Programs, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $1,846,674.00
  • ESSA Consolidated Administration, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $40,000.00
  • Title II, Teacher & Principal Training & Recruitment, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $379,358.00
  • Title II, Diversity Innovation Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $15,523.00
  • Homeless Education, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $16,000.00
  • Title I A, Local Neglected, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $119,335.00
  • Title III, English Language Acquisition, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $125,679.00
  • Title III, Immigrant Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $9,620.00
  • Title I D, Delinquent, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $19,265.00
  • Title IV Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $674,897.00
  • Family Resource Centers, with transfers between line items and a net decrease of $1.00
  • IDEA Preschool, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $22,460.00
  • 13. IDEA Part B, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $1,000,086.00
  • Coordinated School Health Self-Funded Program, totaling $6,200.00
  • Board acceptance and approval of the following grant applications is requested. If the requests are approved, a budget amendment will be brought to the School Board for the actual amount awarded:
    • HCDE – Tennessee: State of the Arts, funded by TDOE & CMA
    • Foundation for $200,000.00. This initiative seeks to leverage Tennessee’s rich history in the arts to launch a statewide program focused on expanding students’ access to high-quality music and arts education.
    • UTC – NSF: Research experiences for teachers, funded by NSF for $598,145.00. This initiative provides high school teachers in HCDE’s Future Ready Institutes with research experiences with UTC faculty in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

 

Chief Talent Officer:

  • The Chief Talent Officer is requesting approval for a professional services agreement with Teach For America for $250,000.00. The agreement will be funded from Priority School grants and will not impact the General Fund budget. The term of this Agreement will begin upon Board approval and will expire on June 30, 2023. Teach For America is a national leader in recruiting, selecting, training and providing ongoing professional development to individuals committed to serving as classroom teachers to enhance student achievement. They have also committed to assist in the recruiting of Teach For America alumni to live and teach in Hamilton County. Teach For America will serve as an alternative staffing source for teachers and will provide 15 teachers per year for the Priority Schools through the term of the agreement.

 

Administrative Business Matters:

  • Board approval is sought for the proposed amended Differentiated Pay Plan for 2018- 2019. The changes do not impact the budget since they are funded through State Priority School grants and a Federal Partnership grant. The amendments to the plan include a retention bonus for hard-to-staff subjects at Orchard Knob Middle School, Dalewood Middle School, Howard High School and Brainerd High School (one year pilot), and a priority school principal leadership retention and recruitment incentive.

 

Board Policies:

 

Board Matters:

  • Board approval is sought for:
    • The appointment of management personnel to represent the board in collaborative conferencing. These appointments are the Superintendent, the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Schools Officer, the Chief of Staff,  a Principal, and the Chief Talent Officer
    • The acceptance of the donation from Commissioner Discretionary bond funds for the reimbursement of $5,000.00 to purchase band and orchestra instruments for Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts.
  • Legal Services: A total of $20,000.00 in legal fees was paid in the month of September to Bennett & DeCamp, PLLC.

 

Events:

 

  • October 19: Dr. Report Cards
  • November 2-4: TSBA Convention
  • November 15: Board Meeting

 

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 >

There is still time to get involved in one or all of these groups — Sign up here!

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.

Events:

 

  • 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

 

 

A Project Worth Sharing: Project Inspire’s Role in Elevating Equity-Minded Leaders

A Project Worth Sharing: Project Inspire’s Role in Elevating Equity-Minded Leaders

It’s a warm spring day in May. School is just about to let out for the year, but there’s still some learning yet to be done at Ooltewah Middle.

Children move from station to station. Today, they get to experience what it would be like to be a student with a different level of ability than their own. One child hobbles on crutches, building empathy for how her classmate with a broken foot might feel. Another experiences the challenge of reading words in a mirror, to simulate what it might be like for a student with dyslexia. All the while, their two teachers, one of them Project Inspire resident Hannah Pell, support the 20 or so children in the class.

Hannah Pell works with a student on crutches

Project Inspire, a program of the Public Education Foundation, specializes in taking professionals who have earned degrees in areas other than education and equipping them to teach in the classroom. It is appealing to those who desire a career change, those who obtained a degree in something they later decided they’d rather not pursue, or just those looking to sow back into their community through the service of teaching.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Hannah and learn more about what made her want to become a teacher, how Project Inspire helped to make that a reality, and the ways in which she’s already giving back to the community we all share.

Tell us a little about your background. What did you do before you began to teach, and what made you want to become a teacher?

I originally went to school to be a physician’s assistant and while I was shadowing a couple different physicians assistants I just kind of realized that they weren’t able to form the kind of relationships with patients that I had envisioned when I thought about going into medicine and helping people. So I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but I did have some experience working at an after school program and being able to form relationships with kids there.

And I worked at a chiropractor’s office while I was still figuring things out. I thought, “I don’t think I really want to be a PA, but I don’t really know what I want to do.” And I realized when kids would come into the office with their parents I really liked explaining things to them, answering questions they had about equipment, or just different things in the office. So that’s when I kind of started thinking about the idea.

What did you do then?

After I graduated college I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and I had applied for Project Inspire, but I didn’t know if I should be a teacher or not. But I went to Colombia, South America and I taught English and science for the semester after I graduated and I just really fell in love with it, especially just the relationships that I was able to form with students. So I was like, “Yes! I could definitely see myself doing this.” And then the next summer I started Project Inspire.

A poster on the wall of Hannah’s classroom

What was your experience in Project Inspire like?

The way the residence program works is we took classes the first 2 months, in June and July, and came to the classroom in August. From the very first day, my [mentor] teacher let me do some different things, like leading warmups, or introducing certain activities, but we weren’t teaching full time until the end of the fall, which was a great way to ease into it.

It’s a special opportunity because you have a lot more time, since you’re not teaching all the time and immediately taking on all the responsibility of teaching, to form deeper relationships with students. It helps you realize how important those relationships are when you’re teaching and trying to motivate students to learn and get them excited.

The Hamilton County community has been talking a lot about issues around equity for our students. What does equity mean to you?

As a teacher, when I think of my immediate role towards equity in the classroom, one aspect is that every student should have an entry point in the activities that we are doing. For example, a lot of times I’ll carry around back pocket questions, which are designed to give students who struggle an entry point into the curriculum without feeling lost. This ensures that every student has access to a really engaging curriculum with high standards across the board while providing students who struggle a way to enter into those harder and more rigorous critical thinking activities.

I think student voice is also very important, so I try to do activities that give students an opportunity to express their thinking about something before we go into a new unit. For example, asking kids what they think about electricity or what their experience has been with it. Exposing them to real hands on activities and letting them think about the process, rather than just giving them worksheets and trying to lead them to the one correct answer. Actually helping them to discover things and express their own feelings and ideas about things.

A student reaches for a top shelf while in a wheelchair

How do we make sure that students and teachers have a real voice in the issues that matter to them?

I like to go off the idea of giving students the ability to express their own thinking. I don’t just want them to give me the answer that they think is the right answer, I want to truly know their ideas about things and what they think. So the first thing we need to do in the classroom is to create that space – to know that it’s okay to really say what they feel and what they think and to explore that.

And it’s not just in the classroom, but also in the relationship between me as a teacher and my students. I think the most important thing I can do as a teacher is give students a voice, just to tell their story. And so I try to be very intentional about forming relationships with my students, and carve specific spaces for students to do that.

As far as teacher voice, that’s one thing I feel less certain about – how to jumpstart that and how to really know where that fits in. That’s something I’m still more curious about – how do I really do that in a way that’s going to be effective?

A student tries to tie their shoe with one arm

This was a great day for us to spend some time with you in your classroom, because you did an activity today showing how students have varying needs. Can you take a moment and tell us a little bit about the activity today, and the intent behind it?

One of our standards that we covered earlier in the year was assistive versus adaptive technologies, and how these technologies help support people who have certain needs. Today we did an activity where students got to experience using different assistive technologies. One of the examples was simulating the loss of an arm, so they had to do different activities with one arm like zipping a zipper and writing their name. Then they would rate how hard the activities were on a scale of one to five.

Another activity was vision impairment, so students had to practice pouring a glass of water with special glasses that made their vision blurry, or practice reading braille without being able to use their eyesight. We had wheelchairs and crutches to simulate those disabilities with students as well.

The goal of the activity was to not only learn why we have assistive technologies or how they can help, but really to put them in the shoes of the people who have to use these technologies, to make them more empathetic toward people who are using these technologies, and further their understanding and their perspective.

Students use a mirror to simulate what it might be like to have dyslexia

Thank you for modeling empathy both for your students and our community.

You’re welcome. And I’m excited to learn more about exploring these issues on the inequities in our school system, and how I as a teacher can help.

 

Editor’s note: The interview transcript was lightly edited for clarity.

Learn more about Project Inspire

Project Inspire: Changing Education for Good

We all know that the single most important factor in children’s success in school is having a great teacher at the helm of their classroom. That’s why Project Inspire draws diverse candidates into the teaching profession and arms them with the tools to help change lives in our local schools!

Project Inspire, a program of the Public Education Foundation, takes people from a variety of professional backgrounds outside of education who have a desire to teachand readies them for a career in the classroom. The two-year program includes a course of study as well as extensive classroom experience with a mentor teacher, and culminates in a Master’s degree in education and a placement in a local school.

We recently featured three stories of residents on YouTube and other social media outlets. We’re sharing their stories to highlight the exciting results the program achieves and to underscore the impact a well-equipped teacher can have on ensuring a great education for every child in our community.

School Board Meeting Recording

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

APEX Action Teams Update

The APEX Action Teams have been hard at work in our community in the past four months. The purpose of each group is 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 three 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 begun to focus 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 >

There is still time to get involved in one or all of these groups — Sign up here!

August 2018 Schoolboard Watch Blog

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the August 16th, 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:

  • Board Policy 4.601 Grading System- First 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-First 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- First 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.
  • Board Policy 5.1061 Criminal Records Check- Second Reading: New language has been added to the current policy requiring background checks for volunteers and contractors, as well as updated background checks every five years for current employees, applications, and new employees undergoing initial criminal record checks.
  • Board Policy 5.502 Harassment/Sexual Harassment and Discrimination- Second Reading: This updates the current “investigation and recommendation” section of harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination policy. The new policy language prohibits the school system entering into, or requiring a complainant to enter into, non-disclosure agreements during or before a settlement for sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault.
  • Board Policy 6.200 Attendance- Second Reading: This policy adds language requiring LEA to adopt progressive truancy interventions for students who are identified as habitually absent. These interventions include conferencing and meetings with parents, referral to a social Social Worker or Trancy Officer, a needs assessment meeting with a student and their family, and, as a final measure, a meeting with the Truancy Board. Truancy Board meetings will occur if a student has 8 or more unexcused absences and did not respond to other interventions. If a parent or guardian does not attend the Truancy Board meeting or the student does not improve in their attendance, the Truancy Board will refer the student to the Juvenile Judge.
  • Board Policy 6.602 Student Records Inspections and Correction Procedures- Second Reading: This policy outlines procedures for parents and students to inspect a student’s educational records and, if needed, submit a correction to their transcript.  Student transcript alterations may only be made when the change is supported by documentation providing an explanation of the reason for the transcript alteration and evidence that the student has earned the grade reflected in the altered transcript.

Recognitions, Presentations, and Delegations:

  • The Director of JROTC will recognize the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the JROTC marching competition, during last May’s Annual Armed Forces Parade. There will be a presentation of plaques provided by the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council (CAVC).
  • Superintendent, Dr. Bryan Johnson, will recognize board members David Testerman and Joe Galloway as they leave the School Board to pursue other opportunities. He, along with fellow board members, will share their accomplishments and words of appreciation for serving the students of Hamilton County Schools.
  • The Chief of Operations will present the report of Readiness and Safety which will give  updates to the departments of School Age Child Care, Auxiliary Services, Transportation, Child Nutrition, Information Technology, and School Security.

Field Trips:

  • Red Bank High School will send students enrolled in JROTC to participate in the Raider
  • Invitational Meet Team Competitions.
  • The East Ridge High School volleyball team will attend camp.
  • The Soddy Daisy High School cheerleading team will attend camp.

Bids/Contracts:

Board approval is sought for:

  • The contract to furnish food supplies to Brainerd High School Bistro Restaurant totalling $20,190.48 with funds to be provided by the Brainerd High School Internal Funds.
  • The contract for locker projects with funds to be provided by the Maintenance Budget & Capital Projects Fund.
  • The purchase of Freon for the Maintenance Department totalling $33,500.00 with funds to be provided by Maintenance Budget.
  • The contract with Stellar Therapy for the provision of speech and language services to Private and Homeschool students. This contract is for the private school proportional services plan paid for from the IDEA, Part B Grant, IDEA, Preschool Grant, and IDEA Carry Over Amount not to exceed $441,118.00.
  • The first amendments to the Signal Centers Adult Services and Special Education Services Contracts. These amendments are needed to address the isolation and restraint requirements that is mandated by the State Department. No additional funds are needed or requested for this amendment; current; Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds will be used.
  • The purchase Tennessee ACT Vouchers for all eleventh grade students. This purchase order is for $123,480.00. The State provides funding for the ACT exams through BEP Funds.
  • The contract with We R CPR making them the sole source provider for the certification cards for the American Heart Association BLS Instructors for HCDE for the August trainings.
  • The addition to Snow Hill Elementary School totalling $923,511.00 from with funding to be provided from capital funds.
  • The purchase of motor fuel for the month of July totalling $34,864.00 with funds provided by the Warehouse Inventory Fund.  

Additional approval is sought for:

  • The continuation of Reading Eggs, a literacy support program solely distributed by Edmentum, Inc. This program, in cooperation with the local United Way Agency, enhances literacy support for grades PreK through fifth grade and is available to all students enrolled in one of our Hamilton County Schools PreK – 5. Students have access to the program both during and after school. This program totals $316,500.00 for a three-year agreement. A yearly payment of $105,500 would be required each year of the agreement.
  • The contract between HCDE and STARS to provide training and guidance to strengthen the school learning community through student training, peer mediation, early intervention student support, individual school support, and the Kindness Matters Campaign. This contract request is contingent upon approval of the Safe Schools Grant as submitted to the Tennessee Department of Education.
  • The renewal of the fixed-term license for Rosetta Stone, a language learning software, to provide course services for up to 1,000 students and on-demand Professional Development during the 2018-2019 fiscal year totalling $89,099.00 ($89.00 per pupil). The funds will be provided by Title III federal budget.
  • The contract between On Point and Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Middle, and Brainerd High for REACH (Rapport, Emotion, Academic, Character, Health) to Achieve programming oversight, enrichment, and support. This project will address student and family needs ranging from academic support to mental and emotional health. Students will be served with tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment activities selected by administrators and students for optimal engagement. The total requested is $74,993.28 with funds to come out of the Fiscal year 2019 21st Century Learning Community Centers (CLCC) Federal grant.
  • The contract with New Classroom Innovation Partners, Inc. for the purchase of “Teach to One: Math”, a program for math instruction using personalized, blended learning to be used at Brainerd High School. The total amount requested is $100,000.00, which will be funded by the Federal District Priority Schools Grant.

Budget Amendments and Grants:

  • Board approval is needed to amend the FY19 General Purpose Operating Budget for the reclassifying of existing budget appropriations between various accounts including:
    • Community Involvement Employees and Benefits
    • Chief Equity Office Employees and Benefits
    • Information Services Contracts and Licenses
    • General Employee Benefits
    • System Wide Elementary Employee Benefits
    • Communication and Development Employee Benefits
  • Board approval is needed for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2019 for the following budget amendments:
  • The School Improvement Grant, with an increase of $1,100,000.00
  • The 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant (Opportunity Zone Schools—Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Middle, and Calvin Donaldson Elementary), totaling $306,980.00
  • Additional approval is sought for:
    • The acceptance of the HCDE- Safe Schools Act Grant funded by TDOE for $1,164,040.00 to maintain law enforcement presences at Hixson and Orchard Knob Middle Schools, strengthen safety vulnerabilities identified by assessments, provide student training in maintaining a cohesive, safe school environment, support safety staff planning sessions, provide and maintain safety-related and character development resources, staff development, and hire part time staff members to assist with maintaining documentation of safety records.
    • The amendment of the FY18 General Purpose Operating Budget to appropriate the additional revenue totalling $4,569,000.00 from the State July Final BEP memo. The difference in BEP revenue is due primarily to three areas – the addition of an RTI (response to intervention) component, the increase in the ELL formula, and growth. The additional funds are being appropriated for these positions and purposes, and also to allocate funds to Capital Maintenance for capital facilities assessment and safety issues.

Board Matters:

  • Legal Services: A total of $20,000.00 in legal fees was paid in the month of July to Benett & DeCamp, PLLC.

Events:

  • September 3: Labor Day Holiday – Schools and Central Office Closed
  • September 20: Board Meeting Quarterly Session