Rick Smith Says Focus Is On Literacy; Early Childhood Learning Center Planned

Friday, January 24, 2014 - by Hollie Webb
Rick Smith
Rick Smith
- photo by Hollie Webb

Hamilton County School Superintendent Rick Smith, in a speech Friday afternoon to the Brainerd Kiwanis Club, stressed his continued focus on improving district schools through literacy, leadership, and technology.


He said, "I'm pretty open and honest about things. We do somethings reasonably well and we have some challenges."


He continued, "Literacy is the focus right now academically. If you look at this state and across the country right now, literacy is the challenge."


He called it "the foundation of teaching and learning." He said learning any other subject depends on a child's ability to read and comprehend what they are reading.


He also admitted that poverty can affect this "very dramatically." He said, "We get a lot of kids who go to school but are not ready for school." In the state and throughout the country, children from low-income families are less likely to receive Pre-K education.


In an attempt to work on this problem here in Chattanooga, Mr. Smith announced the district's plans for a new early childhood center. He said it will not be a daycare, it will be academically focused.


He said, "The goal is to make children in poverty competitive with their peers."


As for leadership, Mr. Smith himself has been one of the biggest proponents of a mentor program for teachers. He said that currently in several district schools, each teacher has a mentor in the form of a retired teacher.


This program gives new teachers a support system as well as someone to learn from.


He also said the school board is continuing to update the technology in the Hamilton County Schools. He said that the young people have grown up using technology, and that schools are trying to catch up with that.


Updates for the future would include campus wifi, homework and lesson plans that are accessible online, and tablets or iPads for students.


Currently, 14 of the 75 Hamilton County schools are among the top five percent in the state. The Chattanooga School for the Creative Arts is also one of the top 10 high schools in the state.



Lee’s Moseley And Singletary Present In Vancouver

Drs. Jeneva Moseley and Laura Singletary, assistant professors of mathematics at Lee University, presented research at the Joint Meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME 38) and the North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA 36). The meeting took place in Vancouver, Canada.  The conference, titled ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Hosts 2nd Annual Drupal Camp

Building on the success of last year’s camp, Chattanooga State will host the 2nd Annual Drupal Camp on Saturday, Sept.13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and costs $25 to attend. Included is a box lunch and afternoon snack. Drupal is a free open-source content management system written in PHP programming language. This event is an attendee-driven; completely ... (click for more)

Boy, 16, To Face Murder Charges In Criminal Court On Triple Lookout Valley Slayings

A Lookout Valley youth who was 15 at the time of his alleged involvement in a massacre in the valley will stand trial as an adult. Jacob Allison, who is now 16, was taken by the sheriff's office to the Hamilton County Jail after a transfer hearing in Juvenile Court on Friday morning. Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw said under state law he has jurisdiction over rehabilitation ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Mackey Should Be Thankful For The State Troopers On Highway 153

This is in response to a statement made by Warren Mackey at the commission meeting.  His question was to the mayor regarding the state troopers writing tickets on Highway 153, saying they were on a rampage.   It is apparent that Mr. Mackey doesn’t travel this highway.  His only concern was that the ticket money was going into state funds and not into county funds. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)