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.

Hixson Middle Band Dinner Set For Tuesday

The Hixson Middle School Band will be hosting a pasta dinner this Tuesday in the middle school cafeteria from 6-8 p.m. Dinners are $10. Everyone is invited and walk-ins are welcome as well.  "Please come out and support your local Hixson Middle School Band," organizers said. Contact Hans Rose at 423-847-4810 with any questions.  (click for more)

Local Educator Among Those Who Earned Top Honors With STEM Excellence Awards

Dr. Tony Donen, principal of STEM School Chattanooga was among the winners announced today by the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network of the “STEM Excellence Awards,” a series of competitive awards that recognize outstanding teachers, leaders and advocates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.  The TSIN will honor awardees at the fourth ... (click for more)

Walker Sentenced To 4 Years In State Prison For Tragic Woodmore Bus Wreck

Johnthony Walker was sentenced to four years in state prison on Tuesday in connection with a school bus crash that claimed six lives and injured 22 other Woodmore Elementary students. Judge Don Poole declined to run any of the sentences consecutively, while finding that the 25-year- old Walker was not a "dangerous offender." Walker has already served almost a year of the sentence ... (click for more)

Pet Raccoon That Was Destroyed Did Not Have Rabies

A pet raccoon that was destroyed in order to test for rabies after biting a neighbor child did not have rabies, Chattanooga attorney Chris Jones. The family has been advised it can pick up the remains of Boomer at the Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department. Attorney Jones, who specializes in wildlife cases, earlier argued there was no valid reason for health ... (click for more)

Set Up A Council On Love, Not A Council On Hate - And Response

In Mayor Berke's April 19 version of the Berke Bulletin, he announced plans to establish a Council on Hate and indicated a focus on tolerance. I beg of him to reconsider that plan. One problem in Chattanooga and in other places in America is that there are some people who have already established an informal version of a Council on Hate. I suggest that a more productive plan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Corker And ‘The Code’

Of all the vows, pledges, and bonds born unto the human race, nothing overrides “The Code.” It is an unwritten but deeply important knowledge that men should abide with equal respect, fierce loyalty, and chivalrous understanding of one another. For example, The Code dictates you must not and can never date a good friend’s ex-girlfriend, or ex-wife. Rather, you respect your friend ... (click for more)