HCDE Says It Is Working To Increase Science Skills In All Schools

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hamilton County Department of Education announces "an urgent commitment to science education" with the expansion of the Science Sparks! standards-based curriculum.

Science Sparks! is a hands-on, engaging science curriculum that was designed by Hamilton County teacher leaders.  "Teachers who take part in the professional learning receive a curriculum and a bin filled with all of the materials to teach the exciting science lessons," officials said. Last spring 40 teachers piloted the program. This year hundreds of HCDE teachers will take part in the Science Sparks! curriculum.

“Looking at the data, we acknowledge science is one area we have struggled in the past,” said HCDE Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson. “We are taking steps to correct that through a combination of efforts, including the expansion of Science Sparks! lessons.”

"In addition, federal funds have allowed the creation of a Lead Teachers for Science district-wide. Lead Teachers are typically tenured teaching professionals who have excellent teaching and leadership skills. They draw upon their teaching experience to serve as expert resources, mentors, or counselors for new and developing teachers," officials said.

“It is content area that has led us to where we are, so we are making the urgently needed changes. The district performed well in literacy so we know we must focus with the same intensity to improve academic success in science and social studies,” Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson and Chief of Opportunity Schools Jill Levine will speak on the importance of science education Tuesday evening at the Tennessee Aquarium’s Beyond the Classroom science education celebration. “This is an amazing opportunity to share the details about how we are working to improve science teaching and learning. I am thrilled the Tennessee Aquarium is hosting this event to highlight such a critical aspect of today’ education,” said Ms. Levine.

Dr. Johnson and Ms. Levine join new Tennessee Aquarium Director of Science Education Dr. Brooke Gorman and Aquarium Trustee Alison Lebovitz as featured speakers at Tuesday evening's event.

Science Sparks! by the numbers:

Elementary Schools:

340 teachers
7,700 students

Secondary Schools:

70 teachers
7,500 students

"Further details will be released once the Science Lead Teacher is selected.  Lead Teachers for Social Science and Fine Arts for the district will also be hired soon," officials said.

Lookout Valley Elementary Finally Get Gym

Lookout Valley Elementary School is finally getting a gym. The County School Board on Thursday night approved a bid of $994,000 by KF Construction of Knoxville. The small gym will also be usable for volleyball, PE classes and other uses, Justin Witt of the county schools said. He said it is similar to ones built earlier at Woodmore Elementary and Thrasher Elementary. ... (click for more)

"Stock Their Lockers: Providing School Supplies For Kids In Need" Program Kicks Off Monday

The Samaritan Center’s Stock Their Lockers, a program that allows students kindergarten through 12th grade to receive a backpack-full of school supplies, will kick off Monday with a special visit from Stewart Payne and his Readmobile from Read 20.   Mr. Payne will spend time reading to children in the Center’s Farrow Community Corner, now transformed into a Dr. Seuss-themed ... (click for more)

Toned-Down UnifiEd PAC Effort Funds Coppinger, Fairbanks, Smedley, Sharpe, Gorman, Mackey

The UnifiEd PAC, which helped engineer a surprise County Commission election victory in May for political newcomer Katherlyn Geter, is not making public endorsements in the Aug. 2 election, but is putting its money behind a small slate of candidates. The financial disclosures for UnifiEd show the group strongly backing County Mayor Jim Coppinger over Democratic opponent Aloyse ... (click for more)

Juvenile Girl Who Was Shot On Doolittle Street Early Sunday Morning Has Critical Injuries

A juvenile girl who was shot early Sunday morning on Doolittle Street was in critical condition. Chattanooga Police responded at approximately 12:55 a.m. on to a person shot on the 2500 block of Doolittle Street.   Police were able to make contact with the victim at a local hospital where she was suffering from a critical, but non-life threatening gunshot wound. The ... (click for more)

Just Recuse Yourself

Pam Fleenor, have you ever heard the terms “conflict of interest” or “appearance of impropriety”? It’s a foregone conclusion that Robin Smith will be victorious in Chancellor Fleenor’s courtroom. Here’s another term you may want to re-examine, recuse yourself.   Rusty Munger (click for more)

Don't Let UnifiEd Take District 6

The UnifiEd APEX organization is working to remove Commissioner Joe Graham and has their poster candidate running in opposition to Michael Henry for School Board.   Please get the facts before you vote in the District 6 county races and reject the UnifiEd APEX candidates.   Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham and Michael Henry, School Board candidate District ... (click for more)