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

Wednesday, October 2, 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.



    



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ASHWORTH, JESSE ANDREW  1267 LEASIDE LANE HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 30 years old Arresting Agency: Federal Marshall Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BALLEW, JEFFERY LAMAR  1506 MULBERRY STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Darrel Eric Chapman, 49, Dies In Red Bank Home Destroyed By Fire; Case Ruled Arson/Suicide

Darrel Eric Chapman, 49,  died in a house fire in Red Bank early Friday morning after the homeowner said he was awakened by popping sounds. Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol said the case is being considered an arson/suicide. He said, " At approximately 12:30 a.m., the Red Bank Fire and Police departments responded to a residential fire at 604 Bitsy Lane where they discovered ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tipping The Preacher

I got an unusual telephone call the other day from someone I love who asked my help in solving one of life’s delicate mysteries. It is a tough question: “How do you tip a preacher?” In the first place, you never tip a preacher. It’s the preacher who gives out the tips, helping to keep you on the straight-and-narrow in your quest to waltz through the Pearly Gates. But there are ... (click for more)

UTC Craine Named Top-10 FCS Ball Carriers By Athlon Sports

  University of Tennessee at Chattanooga running back Derrick Craine is among the top-10 ball carriers in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) according to an article from Athlon Sports earlier this week.  Craine, a senior from McDonough, Ga., is No. 9 on Athlon's preseason list of running backs.  He is coming off a school-record 1,251 yards in 2015. ... (click for more)

Prep Football Jamboree is Aug 12-13 at Finley Stadium

Highlighted by a match-up of state semifinalists in Baylor and Notre Dame, the 57th annual Prep Football Jamboree is set for Aug. 12-13 at Finley Stadium with five games each night. Baylor (10-3) reached the D-II AA semis before losing to eventual state champ Brentwood Academy, while Notre Dame (10-4) reached the D-I 3A semis before losing to eventual state champion Alcoa. ... (click for more)