APEX Action Teams: 2018 Progress & 2019 Plans

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

“Community Engagement & Empowerment” APEX Action Team

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

“Funding Our Future” APEX Action Team

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

“Racial & Socioeconomic Desegregation” APEX Action Team

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

“Supporting the People in our Schools” APEX Action Team

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

“Supporting the Whole Child” APEX Action Team

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

Participatory design project

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

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December 2018 School Board Watch Blog

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the December 13th, 2018 regularly scheduled session of the Hamilton County School Board Meeting. The meeting will be held in the Hamilton County School Board Meeting Room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road and is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed by HCDE through their Facebook page and the recording will be posted here on the UnifiEd blog afterwards.

View the full agenda and supporting documents >

Hot Topics:

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

Recognitions and Presentations:

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

Field Trips:

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

Bids/Contracts:

Board approval is sought for:

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

Ratification of Emergency/Early approval is sought for:

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

Conferences/Consultants

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

Budget Amendments:

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

Administrative/Business Matters and Chief Staff Updates:

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

Board Policies:

Board Matters:

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

Events:

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

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!