It's easy to make promises. It's harder to keep them. As your elected District 4 school board member, I'm keeping the promises I made on the campaign trail in 2016. Special thanks to HCDE leadership and my fellow school board members for their teamwork and dedication to driving progress for the students of our Hamilton County public schools.
"Our school board is currently failing to keep the community updated on what is happening in our schools. Hamilton County schools are our schools, and every person has a right to easily access information and stay up to date on how to get involved in a school."
I promised to increase transparency by:
Establishing a transparent superintendent selection process that includes public forums, public interviews, and public comment.
Complete: The recruitment and selection process was completely public. Read about the process in these media announcements: Hamilton County school board members discuss interview process for superintendent search firm, Times Free Press, 9/9/16 | Get to know the 14 candidates for Hamilton County superintendent, Nooga.com, 4/25/17 | Dr. Bryan Johnson selected as next Hamilton County Superintendent, Nooga.com, 6/20/17
Performing a top-to-bottom review of the budget with a focus on effective use of funds, and publishing the review in a detailed easy-to-read format.
Complete: All budget planning documents and the final presentation are now available to the public. Read them here.
Hosting school board meetings in schools at more appropriate times, and live-streaming meetings
In Progress: All school board meetings are now live streamed and posted to the HCDE YOUTUBE channel here. Meeting times and location options are still being explored.
"Our school system is in dire need of positive change, and our school board and superintendent are not holding themselves accountable to make that change. It's time for our leaders to take their roles seriously, and to be held accountable for both the successes and failures of our schools."
I promised to improve accountability by:
Complete: Under Superintendent Johnson, we have created a multi-year vision. View the full plan here.
Establishing regular benchmarks for both self-assessment and community-assessment of progress
Developing procedures to assess the effectiveness of leaders in central office and our schools
Creating programs to educate parents on the school board and increase awareness of school board decisions
"Schools are the backbone of our community. They produce our thinkers, leaders, innovators, and active citizens. Providing young people with education changes our world for the better, and everyone must be involved in that process."
I promised to encourage community involvement by:
Implementing the community schools model, which turns schools into community hubs that address needs such as providing dinner and healthcare, hosting after-school programs, and even offering work force development and GED courses for parents
Complete: We launched three community schools during the 2017-18 school year, with plans for more this fall. Read about it: Hamilton County Schools leaders look to community schools to serve highest-needs students, Times Free Press, 4/1/18
Building partnerships with local businesses to develop programs for students and resource and time donation
Increasing parental involvement in our school system by supporting Parent Teacher Associations and establishing parent advisory councils for District 4 and the county
In Progress: Recruitment of parent advisory council for District 4 begins this summer and launches this fall!
Supporting student voice by establishing a democratically-elected student advisory council for District 4
Developing strong relationships with the county commission who determines the school system budget
Complete: Continuing to work closely with colleagues at the Hamilton County Commission.
"There is currently a lack of equity in our school system. Where a student lives and how much money their family makes impacts the opportunities they have access to. Every student should have the same opportunity to succeed, regardless of who they are."
I promised to establish equity by:
Establishing student-based budgeting which funds schools based on the needs of every student
In Progress: Have established a budget with a multi-year view. Anticipating the proposal of a student-based budget next.
Investigating the use of the cluster school zoning model, which increases parent choice in schools as well as socioeconomic diversity
In Progress: Open enrollment started at select schools in spring of 2017. Open enrollment through the Future Ready Institutes opened in 2018. See a list of all Future Ready Institutes here.
Ensuring universal access to Pre-K so students enter school prepared, regardless of their socioeconomic or ethnic background
Recruiting teachers earlier in the year to ensure Hamilton County is competing for the best teachers from the best universities
Complete: HCDE HR Department significantly strengthened in 2017. Teacher recruitment now begins earlier in the year, with more focus on universities and diversity. Read about it here HCDE holds recruitment event for teachers, Times Free Press, 12/11/17
Retaining talented teachers in our neediest schools through improved professional development, support systems, and incentives
In Progress: Several teacher retention programs have been launched during the 2017-18 school year to keep our most talented teachers in Hamilton County. Read about one of them here UTC, Hamilton County Schools launch mentorship program for new Opportunity Zone teachers, Times Free Press, 12/16/17
Expanding academic offerings in District 4 to mirror other districts throughout Hamilton County
In Progress: Major progress has been made here with development of the Future Ready Institutes, increase in number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, building of a new Howard Middle School and more!
Read about Future Ready Institutes: Massive effort launched to prepare Hamilton County students for workforce, Times Free Press, 3/15/18
Read about investment in the new Howard Middle School: Benwood commits more than $240,000 to help launch new Howard Middle School, Times Free Press, 6/9/18