UTC, Hamilton County Schools Extend Future Ready Partnership At Tyner Academy

  • Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Justin Robertson, left, and UTC Chancellor Steven Angle shake hands following the signing of an MOU to extend the sponsorship of UTC’s Future Ready Institute in Teaching and Learning at Tyner Academy. The signing ceremony took place on Wednesday, April 3, on the UTC campus.
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Justin Robertson, left, and UTC Chancellor Steven Angle shake hands following the signing of an MOU to extend the sponsorship of UTC’s Future Ready Institute in Teaching and Learning at Tyner Academy. The signing ceremony took place on Wednesday, April 3, on the UTC campus.
photo by Angela Foster/UTC
Five years since its debut, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Future Ready Institute in Teaching and Learning at Tyner Academy is preparing for a further enhanced experience at the start of the 2024-25 academic year.
 
The Hamilton County school system launched its Future Ready Institutes in 2018 at 13 schools, offering students insight and information about careers in engineering, technology, health, tourism and business. UTC’s Future Ready Institute in Teaching and Learning at Tyner began that year and is now one of five institute options at the school.
 
Today, UTC and Hamilton County Schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding to extend the sponsorship of UTC’s Future Ready Institute in Teaching and Learning at Tyner.
The ceremony took place in Hunter Hall’s John Ebb Stewart and Mary Ann Stewart Instructional Technology Laboratory on the UTC campus.
 
The signing ceremony speakers included UTC Chancellor Steven R. Angle, Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Justin Robertson, UTC College of Health, Education and Professional Studies Dean Valerie Rutledge and Tyner Academy Principal Tiffany Earvin.
 
“What a great opportunity to highlight a partnership that fits both Hamilton County Schools and UTC,” Dr. Angle said. “We like to think of ourselves as Chattanooga’s university. We engage our students. Certainly, they’re learning in a classroom—but applying what they learn to real-world problems that impact our community, our state and our nation. Our students learn, do, and we’re training them to be leaders and lead.
 
“The Future Ready Institutes are a direct line of connection between the Chattanooga community, educational entities like UTC, and large companies that have some resources to draw on to help support the mission of Hamilton County Schools—and have an impact on our students to engage them in the excitement of applying and doing things. And this program is a great example of that.”

In introducing Supt. Robertson, the chancellor said, “This is what partnership looks like: working together for the good of our students and our community and changing lives together.”
 
“What we’re excited about is that we know it’s more than just teachers that make K-12 happen,” Supt. Robertson said. “We need counselors, we need social workers, we need school psychologists. By expanding this program, it’s not just going to improve the pipeline of K-12 educators; it’s also going to improve the pipeline of school psychologists, which is one of the hardest things that we have to hire. So we’re excited to provide those opportunities.
 
“UTC is stepping up and we want UTC to be not only Chattanooga’s university; we want it to be Hamilton County Schools’s university.”
 
Principal Earvin said it was essential to highlight the work current students in the Tyner Academy program are doing to serve other students in their own community.
 
“They go to Bess T. Shepherd (Elementary School) and they’re going to Harrison Elementary every week to provide the same type of skillset that they’ve gotten from teachers when they were younger,” she said. “They are giving back. They’re working in classrooms. They’re teaching lessons of various types—just to make sure they’re pouring back into their own communities and to make sure they are serving students through this particular program.
 
“In partnership with UTC, it is critical for us to make sure our younger students can also see the importance of teachers, not just teachers that are certified currently, but the ones that are leaving their own classrooms and coming back to work-based learning programs to provide access and opportunities for our younger students. That’s critical for us.”
 
Dean Rutledge, a Tyner graduate, said it is imperative that this partnership be successful.
 
“I really think part of the success of this effort has been the investment of both UTC and Hamilton County Schools, and I appreciate how important this is for us, exposing the students to what I have always thought is a fabulous career,” Dean Rutledge said.

“Since the establishment of the Future Ready Institutes in Hamilton County Schools, the UTC School of Education has been excited to acquaint students with a career in education by allowing them to experience field placements, complete coursework and get a head start on their college courses in this major.”
 
UTC Assistant Professor of Education Jennifer Lynberg, who oversees the Future Ready Institute in Teaching and Learning at Tyner, added, “The program covers the components of instruction, teaching strategies and all professions that encompass the education field, and what’s new this fall is that participating students will be able to complete the Tennessee Child Development Associate certification—a requirement for eligibility to work in professional childcare settings—at no cost to the student.”
 
That certification means that, even if participating students opt not to continue to college, those who complete the program will take an industry credential into the job market. Students will also take six dual-enrollment courses (half that satisfy high school and first-year college curriculum requirements) at no cost to them and can begin college with 18 credit hours already earned.
 
“Our goal is to get them invested in their education at the high school level to get them ready to move on after high school,” said Ms. Lynberg, the UTC Future Ready liaison. “The fact we’re offering 18 credit hours is really innovative; they will leave high school with 18 credit hours, which is a fantastic head start to a successful college experience.”
 
UTC will support the program through staff in-kind service or up to $50,000 funding each fiscal year. Designated professionals—one from UTC and one from Tyner—will support student participation. Teacher externships are available for Tyner faculty each summer.
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