Rick Smith Backs Common Core, Says County Schools Need Additional Funding After 8 Years Without A Tax Increase

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

School Supt. Rick Smith, in his annual "State of the Schools" speech to the Hamilton County PTA, on Wednesday said he backs the Common Core school standards program.

And he said it has been eight years since the county schools have benefited from new revenue from a county property tax increase. Noting that next year "is an election year," he said, "We have not had the kind of financial support that I think our kids deserve."

He said, "Teachers are having to take money out of their own pockets to buy school materials."

Supt. Smith said there was a 26-cent property tax increase passed by the County Commission in 2008, but "zero" went for county school operations. He said the county schools got 16 cents of a 26-cent property tax hike in 2006.

On Common Core, he said, "I support the idea of Common Core. It is a set of standards, not a curriculum. Hamilton County will design its own curriculum. Common Core doesn't tell us how to teach. It tells us where the bar is."

He said the load on teachers should ease because this is the final year of TCAP testing. He said the school system "is in a transition mode. We are fully involved in Common Core."

Mr. Smith said the new Ooltewah Elementary School, serving 1,100 students, is the largest elementary school in the county.

He said with the opening of the new Red Bank Middle School behind the high school, "we have a great campus environment in Red Bank."

The superintendent said the county schools had 10 National Merit Semi-Finalists, including five from Signal Mountain. 

He said the county schools had 14 schools among the top five percent in the state. He said that is ahead of Nashville's 12 and Knoxville's five.

Mr. Smith said the county schools have been providing a coaching program for teachers and are expanding that to principals. He said 16 former principals have been enlisted to help. All first- and second-year principals will have a coach, and third-year principals will have a mentor.

On technology, he said the county schools are not going to rush into a program of providing mobile devices for every student. He said, "We are not going to dump 42,000 devices into the system." He said that approach has not worked well in some systems.

He said the local approach is to have several test programs utilizing new technologies. One effort is to add enough bandwidth at all the county schools to support full IT programs.

Mr. Smith said the system is working on a policy on allowing students to bring their own personal computer devices to school for use in school work. 

He said groups like the Benwood Foundation and the Rotary Club have volunteered to help implement the new technology in the county schools.

The speaker said the technology-based STEM School was a success in its first year and is attracting many students. He noted that the top five students at Loftis Middle School, where his wife teaches seventh grade, are planning to move on to the Stem School.



    



Robber Hits Collegedale Credit Union

A robber struck at the Collegedale Credit Union on University Drive on Thursday afternoon. Police said a man entered the credit union about 2:30 p.m. He handed over a note that demanded money. The man said he had a gun, but did not display one. He left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber was described as a white male around 5'11". (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For July 25-31

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for July 25-31: John Alan Suggs, 35, of 222 South Center Street, Rossville was arrested July 29 on charges of giving false name and false information to police and theft by shoplifting. Jennifer Lynn Joy, 37, 429 Guyler Street, Ringgold was arrested July 28 on a charge of theft by taking. Ronald Jason Hendricks, 36, of 1313 ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)

Jones, Vols Meet The Press A Day Before Fall Football Begins

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- What did  Butch Jones  have to say about Tennessee’s 2014 football team on the eve of the Vols' first practice? Find out in this transcript of Thursday’s press conference:  HEAD COACH BUTCH JONES (Opening Statement) "It's great to see everyone, and I hope everyone had a great summer. We will hold an open practice on Saturday ... (click for more)

Jane Webb Is A Fun-Loving Runner At Heart

Jane Webb isn’t one of those people who started running when she was a kid, but she loves the benefits since she restarted her running career about four years ago. She’s all about being active and doing things that are good for you,   but long-distance running never really captured her attention and she’s found that she can receive the same payoff by covering ... (click for more)