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.



    



Webb Arrested For Helping Another Man Steal Items From His Grandfather's House

Dylon Webb, 22, was arrested for burglary after helping another man steal items from his grandfather’s house, police said. Officers spoke to victim David Harvey, 63, who believed it was his grandson who had broken into his house, resulting in the theft of several items, including a .22 caliber rifle. Police said they also spoke to Webb’s mother who told them it was her ... (click for more)

Ryan Burton, 26, Arrested After Ripping Off Part Of Roommate’s Ear

R yan Burton, 26, was arrested after ripping off the bottom part of his roommate’s ear during an altercation in March, police said. Officers spoke to Burton’s three roommates at 434 Whitehall Road, where they said they had been living with the suspect for more than six months and never known him to be violent. One of the roommates, Garrett Forster, told police that the ... (click for more)

Judge Steelman Was Unfairly Criticized In Handling Of School Bus Driver Rape Case - And Response

We are blessed to have freedom of speech in our society, but I am always amazed at the number of folks who voice such strong antagonistic opinions about things without any apparent first-hand knowledge.   As any who wish to criticize the system should know, people get arrested and charged for criminal offenses every day.  The ultimate charge and penalty which results ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote For Rhonda Thurman

After studying the Hamilton County School Board quite harshly during the last seven most-tumultuous months in its history, it is only proper that I share my belief that Rhonda is its Most Valuable Player. Four of the school board’s nine members are up for re-election, with Rhonda facing capable opponents in Jason Moses and Dr. Patti Skates in District 1, but let’s never forget that ... (click for more)

Lookouts Snap Losing Streak With 8-4 Win Over Smokies

Homeruns by Edgar Corcino and Mitch Garver helped lead the Lookouts over the Tennessee Smokies by a score of 8-4. Tennessee jumped out to an early 3-1 lead against Lookouts starting pitcher Kohl Stewart.  Though his ERA went up a little bit to 3.38, Stewart improved to 5-4 on the season. The right-hander gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits over five innings. He ... (click for more)

TSSAA Sets Future Division I, Division II Classifications

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has released the minutes from Wednesday’s meeting in Hermitage pertaining to football classification period for the 2017-18 and run through 2020-2021 1.  Roll Call 2.  Division I and Division II Classification The Board of Control voted the following for the classification period that ... (click for more)