Blog-Two-Column

School Board Watch Blog: March 2017

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the March 16th 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 PM. We will live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • iZone and Strategic Plan Update: Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly will give an iZone update at the start of the school board meeting. Beginning last year, HCDE created a Strategic Plan draft for the 2017 year and Dr. Kelly will also give an update on its progress. This plan had a detailed focus on better supporting iZone schools.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • Student School Board Member D’Andre Anderson will give a presentation on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) participation in two conferences this school year. He will show a video and provide a summary of the highlights of the 15th Annual Student SPEAK Out Conference and TSBA SCOPE Conference.
  • The principal at Lookout Valley Elementary School will recognize the Robojackets Robot Team who won first place in the Project Presentation in the Regional Competitions, first place for the Champion’s Award in the Super Regional Competition, second place for the Champion’s Award in the Georgia State Tournament, and will attend the World Competition in May.

Delegations:

  • The Band Director at Signal Mountain Middle/High School will be representing Hamilton County performing arts teachers to address the board regarding securing funding and support for Performing Arts in Hamilton County Schools. While performing arts classes require money for instruments, equipment, music, props, lighting, audio equipment, transportation, uniforms, costumes and assistant instructors, Hamilton County does not currently provide any funding for these programs.

Field Trips

  • CCA will send students to the Tennessee YMCA Youth in Government Tri-Star Conference.
  • Collegiate High will send students to attend the Southern Regional Honors Council Conference.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will participate in the JROTC field trip.
  • Lookout Valley Middle/High School and Signal Mountain Middle/High School students will travel to Washington, D.C. for a capital tour and study of American history.
  • Soddy Daisy High School Student Council will participate in the 2017 TASC Convention.
  • CCA musical theatre, acting, and vocal students will travel to New York City for professional exposure and master classes with Broadway professionals.
  • Signal Mountain Middle/High School, East Hamilton Middle/High School, Ooltewah High School, and Sale Creek Middle/High School will participate in sports related field trips.
  • Soddy Daisy High School Forensics Team will compete in the National Qualifier Forensics Tournament, Smoky Mountain Forensics Invitational, and the District Forensics Tournament.
  • Ooltewah High School will send chorus students to perform at Dollywood Amusement Park.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will participate in the TSSAA State Wrestling Tournament.
  • East Hamilton School will participate in a music related field trip.
  • Signal Mountain Middle/High and CCA will participate in a music related field trips.
  • Normal Park Museum Magnet Upper School, CSAS Lower, and East Lake Academy will send student to conduct field study at 4H Centers.
  • Soddy Daisy High School band students will participate in the TN Tech Honor Band.

Bids:

  • Board approval is requested for the Knox County Procurement Division to award Presentation Solutions, Inc. for printing systems and supplies including installation, setup and, initial on-site training.
  • The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN) recently merged with the National Intergovernmental Purchasing Alliance Company (National IPA).The combined merger will aim to provide a more robust contract portfolio to education institutions and government entities and it is recommended that HCDE authorize the school system to continue participation with the merged entities National IPA/TCPN since it received good service from TCPN before the merger.
  • It is recommended that HCDE authorize the school system to participate in the Goodbuy Cooperative Purchasing Program to allow qualified members to purchase goods and services in an efficient, cost effective, and competitive procurement method. Any agreements may be terminated by program members at any time with written notice to Goodbuy.
  • Lee McDade is requesting approval of the amendment to the tabulation sheet for furnishing and installing cooking equipment for various schools. A mistake was made on the original tabulation sheet the Gas Combi Oven, Double Stack, Convotherm Model C4 ED 6.20GS awarded to Strategic Equipment, LLC. The tabulation sheet showed a strategic unit price of $26,467.17, but the correct unit price should be $28,467.17.
  • Approval is sought to purchase texts and resources from Pioneer Valley Books in excess of $10,000 to better support early literacy instruction. Funding for these purchases will be provided through the General Purpose account and Federal Programs.
  • Emergency approval is sought for the partial re-roofing of the Orchard Knob Middle School 6th grade wing. The existing roof has extensive leaks and is beyond repair and the replacement needs to occur as soon as possible. The recommendation is to accept Porter Roofing for the amount of $165,400.00.
  • It is recommended that fuel and gasoline for the school system is purchased from Sweetwater Valley Oil Company totalling $13,932.00.

Business and Finance:

  • Approval is being sought for teachers and administrators to attend the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD Empower 17) conference in Anaheim California to learn and exchange information in curriculum and instruction. Administrators may be participating in this conference, in addition to teachers, which would make the attendance for HCDE collectively exceed $10,000.00.  Funding sources for this request might include, but are not limited to, Federal Title I, and Federal Title II.
  • The Principal at Orchard Knob Middle School is seeking to enter into a contract with Dr. Shirley Kilgore to aid in professional development for staff. This would be a total of $4,500.00 from their school based School Improvement Grant budget.
  • Approval is being sought for Teachers, Administrators, and other staff members to attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in San Antonio Texas to learn and exchange information in the field of educational technology. The potential addition of administrators and other staff members participating in this conference would make the attendance for HCDE collectively exceed $10,000.00.  Funding sources for this request might include, but are not limited to, General Purpose, Federal Title I, and Federal Title II.

Budget Amendments

The following budget amendments for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2017 are recommended for approval:

  • Title III, English Language Acquisition, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $3,404
  • Family Resource Center Grant, with transfers between line items
  • IDEA Preschool, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $9,917

Board approval is needed to amend the FY17 General Purpose Operating Budget for the transfers between accounts for health services, exceptional education, and information technology. Additionally, approval is needed to amend the FY17 School Nutrition budget for the transfers between accounts for healthcare, personnel, and equipment.

Administrative and Business Matters:

  • Board Policy 4.210 Credit Recovery-1st Reading: This policy states that the director of schools shall ensure that credit recovery facilitators receive training regarding course organization, online instruction management and related technology. Credit recovery teachers shall comply with all State Board of Education certification requirements. Students will be eligible for credit recovery if they get written consent from a parent/guardian or previously taken an initial, non‐credit recovery section of the proposed course and received a grade of at least 50%.
  • Board Policy 4.211 Work Based Learning Program-1st Reading: This policy states that students shall have access to a system of structured work-based learning (WBL) experiences that allow them to apply classroom theories to practical problems as well as explore career options.  The director of schools shall develop administrative procedures to govern the efficient administration of the WLB program. Such procedures shall include, among other things, a process for evaluation and assessment of the program to ensure that it is of high quality and meets the needs of students.
  • Board Policy 4.606 Graduation Requirements-1st Reading: Graduation requirements are being updated to say that before high school graduation, every student must achieve the specified units of credit, take the required end of course exams, have satisfactory records of attendance and conduct, take the ACT or SAT in the 11th grade, and successfully complete a United States civics test. In addition requirements for early or special education graduation are detailed in the new policy.
  • Board Policy 4.607 Graduation Activities-1st Reading: Policy has been updated to now say that graduation ceremonies and all activities included shall not be religious in nature. The content of any students’ speeches shall not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the school, employees, or the board. Additionally principals shall ensure that students graduating with distinction, state honors, or voluntarily completed at least 10 hours of community service each semester are recognized at graduation.
  • Board Policy 5.117 Procedures for Granting Tenure-1st Reading: A revision is being made to procedure granting tenure. Now the superintendent will recommend persons eligible for tenure at a board meeting with enough time to give notice of non-renewal to each teacher or educator not granted tenure within five (5) business days following the last instructional day of the school year.
  • Board Policy 6.205 Student Assignments-1st Reading: Students, including those in kindergarten, shall attend the school to which they are assigned. Principals shall be responsible for assigning students to classrooms based on records. Additionally, principals shall separate an alleged victim of child sexual abuse from an alleged perpetrator if the abuse allegedly occurred while the child was under the supervision or care of the school.
  • Board Policy 6.413 Prevention and Treatment of Sports Related Concussions-1st Reading: This policy makes arrangements for faculty, staff, athletic directors, and coaches (employed or volunteer) to manidorialy receive training on how to treat and prevent concussions. Additionally, it says a child showing symptoms of a concussion during an athletic activity must immediately be removed from the activity and analyzed by a licensed healthcare professional.
  • Board Policy 6.415 Student Suicide Prevention-1st Reading: All school certified staff must attend a suicide identification and prevention education training. This policy corresponds with and supports other federal, state and local efforts to provide youth with prevention education, early identification and intervention, and access to all local resources to promote health and prevent personal harm or injury.
  • Board Policy 6.505 Students in Foster Care-1st Reading: The Hamilton County School System shall provide all students in foster care, to include those awaiting foster care placement, with a free and appropriate public education. This policy include provisions for placement, enrollment, and transportation of foster students to schools.
  • Legal Services: For the month of February, $19,213.50 was spent on legal services from Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC.

Board Matters:

  • Approval sought for all teachers who satisfactorily completed their probationary period and met the evaluation score requirements in accordance with TCA to be awarded tenure.
  • Interim Superintendent, Dr. Kirk Kelly, is seeking approval for a continuation of a traditional summer four-day work week, which runs Monday through Thursday for 10 hours daily. This schedule would begin the week of May 29, and conclude with July 28 being the last Friday closure and would apply to Central Office employees and school-based administrators. The mandatory Friday closures across the district will result in an energy-based cost-savings (utility and fuel) of roughly $165,000.

Important Dates and Events

  • March 17th, 2017: Teach Professional Development, No Students
  • March 20th-24th, 2017: Spring Break
  • March 31st, 2017: Report Cards
  • April 5th, 2017: Kindergarten Registration
  • April 13th, 2017: Finance Committee Meeting
  • April 20th, 2017: School Board Meeting

 

School Board Recap: February 2017

Before the regularly scheduled school board session, a facilities meeting was called to discuss the title transfer of the East Ridge High School Athletics Complex to the City of East Ridge. Additionally, at the request of the County Commission, Lee McDade put together a list of facilities that needed investment and separated these needs into four categories: (1) Need for Facility, (2) Building Need, (3) Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Need, and (4) Athletic. During the remaining time, the board discussed long-term sustainability projects, the use of building space for Pre-Kindergarten, transportation, class size growth, and the importance of engaging with the County Commission on budget priorities and planning.  

The regular session began with several presentations including a story about a young boy from Mexico and his dedication to learning, honoring the Spelling Bee winners from Orchard Knob Middle, recognizing a senior with 13 years of perfect attendance, and improvements being made at iZone schools. Additionally, a representative from Dalewood Elementary presented UnifiEd’s video highlighting their school and discussed the progresses that were being made.

The HCDE leadership team gave updates on the Strategic Plan around two work areas, “Great Teachers, Great Leaders” and “Engage Every Child, Every Day.” Within the Great Teachers report, they discussed the February launch of a teacher mentorship program, improvements to teacher professional development through a choice-based model, and stronger partnerships with UTC. Within the Engage Every Child report, there were examples given of schools that were personalizing learning, developing science labs with a focus on hands on learning, and creating computer science training opportunities for elementary schools.

HCDE announced that Volkswagen has released an RFP to put $1 million dollars into schools seeking to innovate and learn through design thinking processes. There will be 8 schools awarded in August and 7 the following year. After the consent agenda was approved, the board approved to change the phone system for HCDE, sell the East Ridge High Athletic Property to the city of East Ridge, and a proposal for the board to talk directly with bus drivers to continue the discussion around transportation.

Each board member prioritized Harrison Elementary, CSLA, and East Hamilton Middle High as schools needing new buildings. They also identified Snow Hill Elementary, Howard, Spring Creek Creek, Lookout Valley Middle High, Central High, and Hixson High as in need of additions. The meeting ended with Tiffany Robinson discussing the protest that day in the Latino community resulting from Federal level action. She emphasized that we need to remind these families that they belong, are part of our community, and that central staff is working hard to ensure they feel welcome.

School Board Watch Blog: February 2017

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the February 16th 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 PM. We will live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • Board Policy 5.1041 Americans with Disabilities-First Reading: Due to federal law, there will an adoption in board policy regarding the American Disabilities Act (ADA) so that all employees specifically understand the ADA requirements. It details how employees can request for ADA Assistance.
  • iZone and Strategic Plan Update: Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly will give an iZone update at the start of the school board meeting. Beginning last year, HCDE created a Strategic Plan draft for the 2017 year and Dr. Kelly will also give an update on its progress. This plan had a detailed focus on better supporting iZone schools.
  • Vote on the Title transfer of East Ridge High School Athletics Complex: An Interlocal Agreement has been made and entered into between the Hamilton County Board of Education and the City of East Ridge, Tennessee. HCDE agrees to transfer the title of the East Ridge High School Athletics Complex to the City of East Ridge for such time as the Board of Education operates East Ridge High School and East Ridge Middle School at their present locations.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • The Principal of Orchard Knob and the iZone Director are requesting to honor the Orchard Knob Middle School Spelling Bee winners. In the District 4 Spelling Bee, student from OKMS placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and we are excited to honor their incredible work and achievement.
  • The Principal of Lookout Valley Middle High will give a recognition of a student who maintained perfect attendance for all 12 years of his schooling.

Field Trips

  • Hixson High School will send students to students to attend Future Business Leaders of America State competition.
  • Lakeside Academy will participate in a science field trip at the Nature’s Classroom in Mentone, Alabama.
  • Signal Mountain High School, Lookout Valley Middle High, East Hamilton School, East Ridge High School, and Sale Creek High will send students to participate in the Tennessee YMCA Youth in Government Capital Conference and Tri-Star Conference.
  • East Hamilton Middle High School and Ooltewah High School will participate in the Special Olympics Winter Games.
  • Central High School will send students to Hendersonville to compete in a tournament.
  • CSAS Upper will send students to present research at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.
  • East Hamilton School, Hixson High School, Ooltewah Middle School, and Signal Mountain Middle High will participate in sports related field trips
  • Hixson High School, Red Bank High School, and Sale Creek High School will send students enrolled in JROTC to participate in related field trips.
  • Sale Creek High School will participate in an Art related field trip.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will participate in the Science Bowl 2017.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will participate in arts and music related field trips.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will participate in the National Forensics Qualifier Tournament.
  • STEM School will send students to compete in a robotics competition.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will participate in the Model United Nations Conference.

Bids:

  • The Principal at Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts is requesting the purchase of 21 pianos for music classes and programming totalling $45,178.97 for cost of equipment and installation.
  • The Director of Exceptional Education is requesting that the board approve the amendment with Stellar Therapy, for the provision of speech and language services to Private and Home School students. This contract amendment is for the private school proportional services plan paid for from the IDEA, Part B Grant $ 291,341 and IDEA, Preschool Grant $7,804 not to exceed $299,145.00.
  • The Director of Exceptional Education is requesting that the board approve the amendment with Stellar Therapy for a staffing contract for the 2015-2016 SY. The amendment is needed to cover additional staffing needs to cover two leave of absences, and one full time unfilled SLP position that has been vacant all school year. The contract amendment is for an additional $76,000 for the 16-17 school year making the total contract not to exceed $2,065,972.00.
  • A request to the board is being made for the approval to utilize CARTA for transportation services and as an additional charter bus carrier for the remainder of school year 2016-17, and include the 2017-18 school year.
  • The Principal at Red Bank Elementary School is requesting the approval of the purchase of leveled reading books collections A through E with Pioneer Valley Press/Books for a total of $1,606.50 from their school based Federal Title I budget.
  • A request is being made for the contract purchase of Reading Plus for Hamilton County High Schools. This contract includes Reading Plus seat access for 18 district high schools and program access for 36 months. The total investment is $174,400. with an agreement between HCDE and McClellan Foundation both paying half the amount ($87,200), which will come out of their General Budget.

Business and Finance:

  • The Principal at Boyd-Buchanan High School is requesting the approval to attend the TAIS Global Education in the classroom and beyond to be held in Nashville TN totalling the amount of $701.25. Funding for this request will come from the school’s based Federal Title II budget.
  • Approval is being requested for up to 10 staff members from Signal Mountain Middle School to attend an upcoming International Baccalaureate workshop in Atlanta, Georgia. Because the school has implemented the Middle Years Program, teachers are required to receive continuous training in their subject area for certification. The Conference Attendance Request totals $18,314.20. This includes registration and travel expenses for the group. Funds are to be provided by the General Purpose Budget.
  • A+Educators will provide a Dive into Google Drive one day training workshop for all 25 teachers, 2 school administrators, and 3 paraprofessionals totalling $4,500.00.
  • Assistant Superintendent of Finance will present the monthly financial report comparing budget to actual through December, 2016.

Budget Amendments

The following budget amendments for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY2017 are recommended for approval:

  • Title I, Improving Basic Programs, with transfers between line items and a net decrease of $46,093
  • Title II, Teacher & Principal Training & Recruitment, with transfers between line items and a net decrease of $7,268
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers at Year 3 for East Lake Academy, with transfers between line items
  • Volkswagen Teacher Training & Development Self-Funded Program, totaling $1,717
  • Gigabit Community Fund Self-Funded Program, totaling $10,000
  • Supplemental Salaries Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $27,798

Additionally, board approval is needed to amend the FY17 General Purpose Operating Budget for the transfers between accounts for staffing, human resources, and system-wide benefits.

Human Resources:

  • Approval sought for a one-year Sabbatical Leave request by current I-Zone Director, Sheryl Randolph. Approval would result in Ms. Randolph receiving 50% of her current  salary during this leave while working through her doctoral studies. Her position would need to be back-filled during this time.

Administrative and Business Matters

  • To combat issues with a dated phone system in HCDE, the board has approved the Metro Nashville Contract for internet services and voice services for ENA in April 2016. Education Network of America (ENA) provides a voice over IP (VoIP) solution for telephones and for paging. In the August 2016 board meeting, the HCDE board approved $2 million for these telecommunication improvements. Contract and funding is in place to cover this purchase and it is recommended to provide the ENA SmartVoice solution for the entire school district.
  • Lee McDade will provide the board with a transportation update.
  • For the month of January, HCDE paid $25,697.84 in legal fees to Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC.

Important Dates and Events

  • President’s Day-February 20, 2017 (non-paid Holiday for School Staff-12 month employees report-offices will be open)

 

School Board Recap: January 2017

Before the regularly scheduled school board meeting, the Finance Committee met to discuss different busing options available for Hamilton County in an effort to move forward with a new transportation plan. Christie Jordan, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, gave a presentation of the possible costs associated with moving to an in-house transportation system. According to Jordan’s estimates, if HCDE took over transportation in-house, it could save the district up to 1.9 million dollars a year in transportation costs; however, there would be initial start up costs of about 10 million dollars to purchase used buses for the school system. The other options discussed were to work with current independent bus owners and operators in the county or enter into a contract with another large service provider like Durham.  

The regular session began with recognitions for incredible gifted staff in Special Education. Karen Glenn then gave a report on bullying from the fall school semester. There were 122 confirmed cases of bullying and 122 safely plans provided. Glenn went on to describe some incredible anti-bullying initiatives now taking place including 311 middle school and 286 high school students engaged in school climate leadership trainings. A career and technology update was given to the board sharing student success stories from the partnership with Volkswagen, Mechatronics Academy and the upcoming program Polytechnic Academy.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly, gave an update on iZone schools and highlighted ways in which the school system plans to further support these schools as outlined in the district’s strategic plan. Dr. Kelly and Jill Levine discussed many programs that are currently underway to better support our most vulnerable populations including: earlier recruitment efforts for high needs schools, mentorship programs for new teachers, innovative literacy programs, increased numbers of guidance counselors and behavior specialists, engaging summer school options, and grants for teachers who want to integrate hands on science and art curriculum in the classroom. Dr. Kelly will continue to update the board on iZone strategies at their strategic planning session this weekend.

In the delegation portion of the meeting, Dan Liner asked the board to write a resolution, joining Knox County and Oak Ridge City schools, to publicly state opposition for vouchers, citing that they were a diversion of funding for public education, not adequately oversighted, and allowed for public tax dollars to support a private entity. Kirsten Johnson then spoke on behalf of Harrison Elementary and their need for a new building. She urged the board members to tour the school and prioritize a new building after students and staff became dizzy and ill while working in conditions with high carbon monoxide levels due to inadequate CO2 detectors. Last, Michael Walton spoke to the board, inviting them to a Greenspaces event, focused on reducing utility costs through sustainable energy.

The consent agenda was unanimously approved. Notably, the board approved an agenda item to extend the ABM custodial contract only by 11 months, which will give the board and ABM time to make needed changes and come back with a proposal including increased pay for their employees and adequate supplies necessary to effectively carry out their job. The County Commission Bond Donation of $500,000 to replace Central High School’s track has been postponed pending discussion on county wide facility needs. The agreement for the East Ridge athletic fields contract has also been postponed until discussions can occur between the city and state regarding grant funding. Finally, the board ended the meeting with a continued discussion about transportation and busing. They will call a special session on Saturday, January 21, at 12pm to discuss bus routes, issues concerning independent owners and operators, and take a vote on an RFP for a bus service.

 

School Board Watch Blog: January 2017

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the January 19th 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 PM. We will live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • 1st Semester Bullying Report: Dr. McDade and Karen Glenn will give a presentation on the Hamilton County bullying report for last semester. This report details how many confirmed cases of bullying were found and resulting disciplinary actions. In addition, they will go over goals to decrease bullying including targeting leadership trainings and bullying prevention efforts.
  • iZone Update: Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly will give an iZone update. Beginning last year, HCDE created a Strategic Plan draft for the 2017 year. This plan had a detailed focus on better supporting iZone schools.

Field Trips

  • Hixson High School will send students to the TN Future Farmers of America State Convention.
  • Red Bank High School will have students compete in the Student Television Network Convention.
  • East Hamilton Middle High School and Ooltewah High School will send students to participate in the Special Olympics Winter Games.
  • Central High School and Soddy Daisy High School will participate in sports field trips.
  • Loftis Middle School will send students to Washington, D.C. for hands on learning of content related material.
  • Ooltewah High School, Soddy Daisy High School, and Red Bank High School will participate in music field trips.
  • Ooltewah High School will participate in a dance field trip.
  • Red Bank High School will send JROTC students to compete in the 7th BDE Academic/Rifle/Drill Championships.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will send the robotics team to compete in the High School Robotics Team Regional Competition.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will send the environmental club to compete in the NOSB Team Competition.

Bids:

  • Approval sought for the venders BRESCO, Strategic Equipment LLC, and MSA Digital to purchase equipment for the School Nutrition Program including cooking equipment, a freezer, and a copier printer.
  • Approval sought for the demolition of the Old East Lake Elementary School by Complete Demolition Services, LLC totaling $262,000.00 from the Capital Budget.
  • Approval to purchase new plumbing materials for Lakeside Academy from Wholesale Supply Group Inc. totalling $12,167.80 from the Capital Budget.
  • Attorney Scott Bennett and the Title IX legal consultant, Courtney Bullard, have recommended that all faculty and staff participate in required professional Title IX training. HCDE has obtained three quotes.  Partnership is not the least expensive; however, they best fit our needs and expectations for Title IX training. The on-line training will cost $37,500 for 6,250 employees and the funds will come from Human Resources.
  • The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was recently awarded a federal COPS grant which allowed the funding for the placement of officers in local schools. As a condition of that grant, the Sheriff’s Office must have a MOU in place which will cover the entire grant period requiring an amendment to the original agreement between the Board of Education and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • Recognitions will be made to several gifted teachers for their recent awards and accomplishments: Lindsey Glass, winner of the Jo Patterson Distinguished Service Award, Kelly Davis, winner of the Teacher of the Year Award, Lauren Lindsey, winner of the Horizon Award, Ty Campbell, teacher conference presenter in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), Lorri Whitney, co-president of Tennessee Association for the Gifted (TAG), and Tara Strang, co-President of Tennessee Association for the Gifted (TAG) and presenter at the National Association for the Gifted (NAGC).
  • David Cowan will be giving an update the Volkswagen Mechatronics Akademie and Chattanooga Polytechnic Academy. Volkswagen America has allocated funds to establish a scholarship fund to support students in the Mechatronics Academy. The funds will be distributed through the Community Foundation and will be available to support cost not covered through the Dual Enrollment Grant. The Chattanooga Polytechnic Academy continues work group meeting, looking at funding possibilities, developing marketing materials, and discussing staffing.

Business and Finance:

  • The Principal at The Howard School is requesting a total of $4,500.00 from their school based Title I budget to contract with Dr. Shirley Kilgore. The recommended consultant will provide professional development for the following areas: positive behavior intervention, support training with at-risk students, support PBIS and school safety, increase attendance and reduce suspension rate, and increase academic growth as outlined in their school improvement plan.
  • Christie N. Jordan, Assistant Superintendent of Finance, will give a presentation of the monthly financial report comparing actual year-to-date expenditures to the original adopted budget through November 2016.

Budget Amendments

The following budget amendments for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY2017 are recommended for approval:

  • School Improvement Grant Cohort III for IZONE District, totalling $231,782.
  • School Improvement Grant Cohort III for IZONE Schools, totalling $1,007,532.
  • Focus Schools, totalling $108,461 for school improvement.
  • National Science Foundation Project Inspire, with a net increase of $32,309.
  • Perkins IV Reserve Vocational Self-Funded Program, totaling $24,909.
  • Benwood Foundation Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $50,000.
  • Service Fund Self-Funded Program, totaling $3,000.      

Human Resources:

  • Approval sought for two new positions paid through Federal Programs and both until end-of-year only. These positions are a Dean of Students (Temporary with Benefits) for East Ridge High School and a Graduation Coach (Part-Time / No Benefits) for Howard High School.

Board Matters:

  • Accepted donation made by Commissioner Beck totalling $2,500 to purchase books for Hillcrest Elementary School.
  • The Maclellan Foundation donated a recreational vehicle that had been converted to a mobile computer lab. The iZone Department used this lab for their schools for over a year but no longer uses this vehicle, so they are requesting approval to deed the vehicle to the Bethlehem Center to use in the community.
  • Approval sought for textbook committees to work on selecting curriculum resources. The committees will work over the course of the next three months to to begin the work in January 2017.
  • A request for ratification of early approval to accept $500,000 of bond funds for the Central High School / Brown Middle School track. The County Commission added this to their agenda as well.

Administrative and Business Matters

  • Approval sought for the ABM Custodial Contract 11 month extension. It was discussed at the Finance Committee Meeting on January 11, 2017 to request ABM to extend their contract by 11 months in lieu of 2 years as stipulated in the contract and the ABM has agreed to this extension.
  • The board will review two students’ zero tolerance suspension appeal decision per request of the parents.
  • For the month of December, HCDE paid $23,311.00 in legal fees to Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC.

Important Dates and Events

  • January 30-March 10, 2017: Parent Teacher Conferences
  • February 9th 2017: School Board Agenda Work Session, Board Room, 5:00 pm
  • February 16th, 2017: Regularly Session Board Meeting, Board Room, 5:30 pm

 

A Year in Review

A BIG THANK YOU!

2016 was an exciting year for UnifiEd! With increased community involvement, positive changes in our school system, and some of our greatest successes to date, 2016 was truly a breakout year. Our team and the Hamilton County community worked very hard this past year to come together and demand change in our school system for the betterment of students, teachers, families, and all stakeholders. It is now clear how much impact can be made by raising the voice of our community. UnifiEd looks forward to seeing what incredible new things we can accomplish this coming year. But first, let’s take a look at the amazing accomplishments of UnifiEd in 2016:

Student Voice Team:

After finding discrepancies between the state and local bullying and harassment policies, our student-led team successfully campaigned for a better policy for HCDE. They led meetings with students across the county and presented their findings to the school board, who implemented the new bullying and harassment policy change. Our Student Voice Team went on to lead roundtable discussion in each Hamilton County high school and worked on equity driven student-led campaigns throughout these schools.

Superintendent Search Process:

This year, we saw a lot of changes in our local school government. UnifiEd led a campaign for accountability with the Superintendent by enabling hundreds of community members to reach out to their representatives after there were concerns about transparency and communication. We hosted 10 community conversations in each of the nine districts to ensure community voice was incorporated into the superintendent selection process. These discussions produced four community-led recommendations for public involvement in the superintendent search process, leading over 200 community members to contact their representatives in support of a comprehensive community engagement plan. Over 50 community members attended our rally at the school board meeting pressuring board members to adopt the four recommendations. School board members are now in communication with the search firm about including a robust community input plan throughout the candidate search process.

School Board Elections:

Since 4 districts were up for reelection this year, we created an online tool, designed a brochure, and hosted meetings in all districts to help Hamilton County residents become more informed on how to run for school board. As a result, all districts open for election were contested. We hosted School Board Debates with 100% candidate participation. 377 community members attended these debates and had the opportunity to ask candidates questions.

Community Schools

UnifiEd teamed up with Great Schools Partnership of Knox County to host a Community Schools Workshop providing residents with information on how to establish a community school model in their district. We then sent over 30 parents, teachers, and organizational leaders to Knox County community schools to collect best practice research to better understand how to implement this model here at home. After extensive research, we helped establish a community school council for Red Bank High School and sent a community leader to Arizona for the Community Schools Conference. Through our campaigning on this initiative, HCDE has now agreed to adopt and implement the community school model throughout Hamilton County schools.

Hamilton County Public School Guide:

After over a year of extensive research and data collection, UnifiEd released the Hamilton County Public School Guide, the first education data dashboard created in Hamilton County. This tool provides the community with information concerning all 79 of our public schools such as demographic data, test scores, college and career readiness, and how to contact local representatives. Efforts are currently underway to illustrate school climate across the county because we know test scores and data don’t always give us the full picture.

UnifiEducators Committee:

This year, UnifiEd hosted monthly meetings with local educators to identify key issues affecting teachers. This lead to an ESOL campaign to improve communication between HCDE and Spanish speaking parents and students. The UnifiEducators Committee continues to grow and we look forward to seeing their progress next year.

PACT Implementation:

Recently, HCDE has drafted a strategic plan. This plan calls for HCDE to adopt much of our PACT for Public Education! Their plan calls for the following Pact Points to be adopted:

1a- Implement a plan to recruit the best possible teachers for all schools in HCDE.

1b- Retain our teachers by having a robust county-wide mentorship plan, individualized professional development.

1d- Offer incentives to keep the best teachers in the highest need schools.

3b- Implement short and long-term goals for the school board using metrics based on student outcomes.

We want to thank everyone who has been engaged in our work this year – change is impossible without you. We made some incredible progress towards making our schools the best they can be. Students, teachers, and the community are at the heart of our work. We look forward to building on this momentum in 2017!  

 

School Board Recap: Dec. 15, 2016

Prior to the regularly scheduled school board session, the finance committee met to discuss the school budget. Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Purchasing, Christy Jordan, gave a presentation to the board describing in detail where the school system receives funding and how money is being spent across the county. The finance meeting ended with discussions about contract renewals with independently contracted bus drivers and our contract with Durham School Services. The board agreed to hold a work session on Dec. 28 at 3 PM to further discuss all contracted bussing services. 

The regularly scheduled board meeting began with statements from board members and the superintendent regarding Woodmore Elementary. Steve Highlander, Karitsa Jones, and Kirk Kelly all thanked the community for their continued support and praised Woodmore Principal Brenda Adamson-Cothran for her strength and leadership during this tragedy. A moment of silence was held for the 6 children who lost their lives in the bus crash and prayers were shared for all affected families. There will be a Christmas for Woodmore event on Dec. 17 from 12-4 PM which will include fun activities for the community and presents for over 100 students at Woodmore Elementary.

The Loftis Beta Club was recognized for receiving 1st place in the Power of Tower competition, making them state champions two years in a row. They are qualified to go to Disney World in June to compete nationally. The president of HCEA, Dan Liner, approached to board to discuss the importance of implementing the community schools model in Hamilton County and asked the board to add this to their discussion at their upcoming strategic planning work session in January. Kirsten Johnson, the Harrison Elementary PTA president, addressed the board about the dilapidating conditions at Harrison Elementary. She described hazardous conditions including sewage backup, faulty heating systems, chipping lead paint, and lack of space for classroom activities. District 4 board member, Tiffanie Robinson, agreed to host a work session to prioritize facility repairs, and student board member, D’Andre Anderson, applauded the teachers at Harrison Elementary for continuing to be exemplary educators despite their working conditions.

All items on the agenda were approved which included a vote on the selected calendar for SY 2017-18, the second and final reading of Board Policy 5.305, and the renaming of the PALS Center. Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly walked the school board through the updated TN Report Card available on tn.gov and discussed the iZone plan the school system has begun to implement in the 5 priority schools across Hamilton County. The iZone plan includes strategies such as: increased truancy officers, additional bussing options, a PATHS program to improve college and career readiness through literacy, ACT bootcamp, a WAY program for students who don’t fit into the regular school day, a new mentoring program for new teaches, community school expansion, principal coaches, and a new principals network.

The meeting closed with a discussion about municipalities wanting to breakaway from the Hamilton County school district. Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Lee McDade, has met with one of the municipalities and has offered assistance in investigating the breakaway. Many board members voiced that they believe our system is stronger together and that we should all work to support an informed decision.

The next agenda session will be on January 12th at 5 PM. There will be a work session prior to the meeting at 4 PM to discuss the superintendent selection process with Coleman Lew and Associates.

 

School Board Watch Blog: December 15, 2016

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the December 15th 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 PM. We will live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • Second Reading of Board Policy 5.305 – Family and Medical Leave: Provisions are being added to the Family and Medical Leave policy that states an employee may submit any form of medical documentation to Human Resources to have leave authorized under FMLA. In addition, the School District is able to designate leave as FMLA under their discretion if they feel adequate medical documentation or information was provided to the District. This policy change provides an important area of clarification for the system regarding medical documentation.

Field Trips

  • East Hamilton High School will participate in the competitive Honors Virtual Enterprise field trip.
  • East Hamilton School, East Ridge High School, Lookout Valley Middle High School, Signal Mountain Middle High School, Red Bank High School, and Sale Creek Middle High School will participate in sports related field trips.
  • East Hamilton School and Ooltewah High School will participate in music related field trips.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will participate in a competitive science related field trip.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will participate in a Forensics related field trip.
  • Big Ridge Elementary and Spring Creek Elementary will participate in Math, Reading, and Science related field trips at Rock Eagle Environmental Center.   

Bids:

  • Approval sought to extend the contract by 2 years with Praters, Inc. to repair, sand, and refinish gym floors.
  • Approval sought for the purchase of 9 CPO lab kits to be given to the start up courses and 25 digital licenses to be used by Physical World Concepts Curriculum teachers. This will be for a total of $29,313.13 from the Consumables Budget.
  • The Office of Accountability and Testing is seeking approval for the renewal of the Software Maintenance Subscription & Support contract with PowerSchool for a total of $121,429.47 from the General Purpose fund.
  • Approval sought from The Howard School Principal and the Orchard Knob Middle School Principal for a contract agreement with Mastery Connect from their Federal Title I School based budget totalling $7,513.80 for Howard and $2,448.60 for Orchard Knob. Mastery Connect allows teachers to track TN ready standards, access and utilize teacher-created common formative assessments and participate in on-site/online professional development.
  • Approval sought from the Director of Exceptional Education for a contract with Momentum Behavior Analysis to provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to students with disabilities. These services will be paid with Exceptional Education General Purpose funds totalling a maximum of $ 35,000.
  • Recommended bid approval for JAT Oil Company for the purchase of motor fuel totalling $26,144.00.

Conferences and Consultants:

  • Approval sought from the Principal at Notre Dame High School for a contract with A+ Education and Propel for $11,625.00 consultation for training in Coach evaluation and walkthrough process, $12,425.00 consultation for technology integration professional development, and $16,625.00 for instructional software modules, and parent support packets, from school based Federal Title I and Title II private school budget allocations.
  • Approval sought for implementing Paths to College and Career curriculum (Paths) at Brainerd High School and all materials, understandings, and strategies needed for implementation totalling $48,000 funded through the Federal Programs School Improvement Grant pending State approval.
  • Approval sought from the Principal at East Side Elementary to contract with Dr. Beverly Tyner to aid in literacy and professional development efforts for teachers totaling $1,800.00 from their school based Federal Title I budget.

Financial Report

  • Presentation of the monthly financial report comparing budget to actual through October, 2016. The presentation of the monthly financial statement compares actual year-to-date expenditures to the original adopted budget and the year-to-date amended budget.

Budget Amendments

The following FY2017 budget amendments for the Pre-K State Grant Award and matching budget are recommended for School Board approval:

  • Therapy Services Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $300,000.
  • Character Education Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $26,482.
  • Photography Self-Funded Program, totaling $400,000.
  • Ochs-Oakes Self-Funded Program, totaling $2,250.
  • Committed for Education Fund Balance, with $411,733 for Regular Instructional Equipment and $82,372 for Hardware/Software, totalling $494,105.              

Second Reading of Board Policy

  • Board Policy 5.305 – Family and Medical Leave: Provisions are being added to the Family and Medical Leave policy that states an employee may submit any form of medical documentation to Human Resources to have leave authorized under FMLA. In addition, the School District is able to designate leave as FMLA under their discretion if they feel adequate medical documentation or information was provided to the District. This policy change provides an important area of clarification for the system regarding medical documentation.

Administrative and Business Matters

  • A summary of legal fees for services in October are $13,732.00 for Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC and $1,465.50 for Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams, totalling $15,197.50.
  • All certified and full-time classified employees were given an opportunity to vote on one of four calendar options for the 2017-818 school year. Draft 1 of the calendar received 54% of the vote, so Human Resources is encouraging the approval of the Board for this Draft.
  • Dr. Lee McDade will recommend the approval of a name change for the district’s Preschool Assessment and Learning Services Center, located at West 40th Street, with support from The PALS Team and the Exceptional Education Department.The proposed new name would be the Amy Piazza Preschool Assessment and Learning Services Center in remembrance of Amy Piazza.
  • The board will review a student’s zero tolerance suspension appeal decision per question of the student’s mother.

Important Dates and Events

  • December 16th, 2016: Last day of Classes
  • December 19th-30th, 2016: Winter Break
  • January 2md-3rd, 2017: Teacher Professional Development
  • January 4th, 2017: School Reopens
  • January 6th, 2017: Report Cards
  • January 12th, 2017: Board Agenda Work Session, Board Room 5:00 pm
  • January 16th, 2017: Martin Luther King Day
  • January 19th, 2017: Regular Session Board Meeting, Board Room 5:00 pm (5:30 pm if no Ex. Session)
  • January 20th, 2017: Strategic Planning Session, Central High School 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • January 21st, 2017: Strategic Planning Session, Central High School 8:00 am to 12:00 pm

School Board Watch Blog: November 17, 2016

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the November 17th 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 PM. We will live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • First Reading of Board Policy 5.305 – Family and Medical Leave: Provisions are being added to the Family and Medical Leave policy that states an employee may submit any form of medical documentation to Human Resources to have leave authorized under FMLA. In addition, the School District is able to designate leave as FMLA under their discretion if they feel adequate medical documentation or information was provided to the District. This policy change provides an important area of clarification for the system regarding medical documentation.

Field Trips

  • CSAS Upper and Hixson High School will participate in band and orchestra related field trips.
  • Brainerd High School, Hixson High School, Signal Mountain Middle High School, Central High School, East Hamilton School, Red Bank High School, and Sale Creek Middle High  will participate in sports related field trips.
  • CSLA will participate in a travel related field trip.
  • Hixson High will participate in a college and leadership related field trip.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School, Lookout Valley Middle High School, and Sale Creek High will participate in Model UN or Youth in Government related field trips.
  • East Ridge High School, Ooltewah High School, and Sequoyah High School will participate in competitive Hot Rodding and JROTC related field trips.
  • Brown Middle School will participate in an American government related field trip.

Bids:

  • Approval sought to purchase restroom panels for Washington Alternative School in the amount of $15,665 from Service Systems.
  • Approval sought for Brainerd High School to contract with Reading Plus for a total of $2,166 from their Title I budget.
  • Approval sought for Sequoyah High School to contract with Reading Plus for a total of $5,500 from their Title I budget.
  • Approval sought to amend contract with Stellar Therapy Services, LLC for nursing services reimbursement for HCDE. The reimbursement is for Medicaid eligible students through Stellar Therapy.

Conferences and Consultants:

  • Approval sought from the Principal at Orchard Knob Elementary for the consultant agreement with Jessica Kaminski for a total of $9,600.00 from the iZone Federal budget. The consultancy will work on professional development for teachers aimed at increasing student achievement in literacy.

Financial Report

  • Presentation of the monthly financial report comparing actual year-to-date expenditures to the original adopted budget and the year-to-date amended budget from up to September 2016.

Budget Amendments

The following budget amendments for Self-Funded Programs for FY2017 are recommended for School Board approval:

  • Therapy Services Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $300,000
  • Character Education Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $26,482
  • Photography Self-Funded Program, totaling $400,000
  • Ochs-Oakes Self-Funded Program, totaling $2,250

First Reading of Board Policy

  • Board Policy 5.305 – Family and Medical Leave: Provisions are being added to the Family and Medical Leave policy that states an employee may submit any form of medical documentation to Human Resources to have leave authorized under FMLA. In addition, the School District is able to designate leave as FMLA under their discretion if they feel adequate medical documentation or information was provided to the District. This policy change provides an important area of clarification for the system regarding medical documentation.

Administrative and Business Matters

  • Dr. Lee McDade will recommend the approval of the 2016-2017 Local Education Agency (LEA) Compliance Report. The TN Department of Education requires that local school boards certify that they are in compliance with TN and State Board of Education rules and regulations. The compliance report was reviewed by HCDE staff.
  • Justin Witt will address the school board to recommend approval of a request by Crown Castle to extend our current lease agreements for cell towers at Orchard Knob Middle School, CCA, and Central High School. The current agreement regarding cell towers will expire in 2023 and the base rental fee is $1,064.00. After discussing different options HCDE mutually agreed to extend the lease to 2043 with a new base rental fee of $1,500.00. The new rate will increase by 2% annually.

Important Dates and Events

  • December 8th, 2016: Board Agenda Work Session at 5:00pm in the Board Room
  • December 15th, 2016: Quarterly Session Board Meeting at 5:00pm in the Board Room
  • December 16th, 2016: Last day of Classes
  • December 19th-30th 2016: Winter Break

Student Organizer

Student Organizer 

Chattanooga, TN

UnifiEd is a new kind of community movement, taking bold action to ensure a brilliant future for every student, teacher, and public school in Chattanooga. UnifiEd’s Student Voice Team brings students from different backgrounds together to raise student voice and start the change in their schools.

As a school organizer, you would be responsible for working with students from across Hamilton County to advocate for the changes your peers want to see in their schools. The job requires the studnet organizer to work up to 20 hours a month with flexible scheduling. We hope you will join us!

Apply here: https://docs.google.com/a/unifi-ed.org/forms/d/1t-EBo6xDmQaJLdW00N-e7i1xlioQa50EyJEEfjV2DxE/viewform?edit_requested=true