Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced the creation of the community’s first-ever Children’s Cabinet Monday morning. The Children’s Cabinet brings together government agencies and child-serving community organizations with the goal of connecting every student in Hamilton County with what he or she needs to thrive.
The Cabinet is comprised of leaders of county and city agencies who serve students, as well as other key community organizations like United Way of Greater Chattanooga. The City of Chattanooga has committed key staff to serve on the Cabinet in support of the city’s students outside of the school day with the shared goal of aligning resources, services and supports for student success.
Mayor Coppinger said, “Too many of our children lack the support and opportunities they need to be successful in school and life. Only 20 percent of a student’s time is spent in the classroom. Our schools cannot meet the needs of our youth on their own. By coordinating government and community resources, we can better prepare our students for life and work, which is vital for the future of our community.”
The initial charge of the Children’s Cabinet will be to support the school district’s pilot of Student Success Plans. Like a roadmap, personalized Student Success Plans identify and connect students to basics they need like food, housing, and healthcare, as well as high-quality after-school and summer experiences, mentoring and internships. Student Success Plans will be piloted in at least six schools in the 2019-2020 school year with the goal of expanding to all schools in the future. The Children’s Cabinet will work with the school district to identify and address the needs of students identified through the Student Success Plan process.
“We are working hard to improve academic success for every Hamilton County child, but 80 percent of a student’s time is spent outside of school which limits how much schools can do alone,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson.
“We are fortunate so many organizations and people are willing to partner with us to help connect the resources to the students who need them,”
The Children’s Cabinet builds on the work of Chattanooga 2.0, which has convened a broad set of community leaders and organizations to help increase educational and workforce opportunities for students. Chattanooga 2.0 staff and partners will serve an integral role in supporting the work of the Cabinet as it moves forward. “The Children’s Cabinet shows the continued commitment of our elected leadership to the well-being and success of our students. The Cabinet will help us reach our shared vision of being the smartest community in the South, and achieve the bold goals set forth by Chattanooga 2.0,” said Molly Blankenship, Vice President of Talent Initiatives of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and Interim Executive Director of Chattanooga 2.0.
Mayor Coppinger sai, “Other communities across the country are using the Children’s Cabinet model to align resources and coordinate supports for youth with promising results. We are confident the Cabinet will work in our community. We know that with the right support, every child in Hamilton County can thrive.”