June 22, 2015
Summer brings a time of much needed rest for many area teachers, but there is one group of new teachers who will be spending the whole summer preparing to enter area math and science classrooms as part of Project Inspire, PEF’s teacher residency program that partners with Tennessee Technological University and Hamilton County Department of Education to train new secondary math and science teachers.
As of June 1, PEF and Project Inspire’s twelve new teacher residents embarked on their journeys into math and science teaching by participating in Project Inspire’s orientation and starting their graduate courses with Tennessee Tech in curriculum and instruction. The residents are a select group, as almost one hundred individuals completed applications to the program. Many are recent college graduates who found teacher residency to be a fit because they wanted to pursue teaching, but had undergraduate degrees in other subjects, such as environmental science, mathematics, astrophysics, biology, chemistry, geology, and economics. While several of the residents call Chattanooga home, some became new Chattanooga residents when they moved from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Idaho, and from other cities in Tennessee to join Project Inspire.
What would cause a young twenty-something to move across the country to teach in urban schools? Across this particular group, you will find a deep commitment to build relationships with students and the belief that strong public education is essential for a flourishing city. “I started to desire more out of a job than just a paycheck,” says William Budd, formerly of Antioch, Illinois, who joins Project Inspire from a former career as a geologist and environmental scientist. “I believe that STEM is the future for many exciting and rewarding career paths as our society moves forward. I would like to be an avenue to help educate, motivate, and support our future engineers and scientists. Chattanooga has a very productive future and it is my goal to help build a local workforce to fill those jobs.”
All of the residents are eager to start the school year so they can start working with students. Tiffany Corkran is a recent graduate of Christian Brothers University with a B.S. in chemistry. When asked what biggest life lesson she wanted to teach her students, she turned the question around and replied, “I hope to learn humility from my students. At times, it’s easy to think that we know everything. Already I’m learning this isn’t true, and I know that learning about my students’ lives and backgrounds will give me a new perspective on my life and help me understand how the world works.” Tiffany’s answer reflects the whole cohort’s desire to be lifelong learners and hold themselves to the same growth-mindset that they will require of their students.
In order to prepare these new teacher residents to be classroom-ready, there is much work to be done. Because of this, life as a new resident is a little like drinking from a fire hydrant! Summer classes from Tennessee Tech, seminars with the Project Inspire staff, and community learning take up the majority of this group’s time. As the new school year approaches, the teacher residents will spend time in their new classrooms with their clinical instructors, veteran mentor teachers from Dalewood Middle School, Tyner Middle Academy, and Tyner Academy. By the time that school begins the second week of August, the residents will be supporting their clinical instructors in their classrooms and working towards teaching their first lessons. After the residency year, the teacher residents will graduate with master’s of education degrees from TTU and be well prepared to make a difference in the lives of students in their own HCDE classrooms.
Please join PEF in welcoming these twelve new teacher residents! We look forward to the ways this group is going to push our thinking and help us get excited all over again about impacting students. We are also grateful for the contributions of the National Science Foundation, the Tucker Foundation, and AmeriCorps, which make teacher residency a reality in Chattanooga. If you, or someone you know, is interested in secondary math or science teaching, visit projectinspiretn.org, as the application process for the 2016-2017 cohort opens July 1.
June 17, 2015
PEF President Dan Challener was recently selected to participate in the 2015-2016 class of Leadership Tennessee, a leadership education program designed to cultivate a network of business, nonprofit, education and government leaders who are committed to addressing the state’s challenges and opportunities. The 10-month program provides collaborative learning and dialogue spanning the state’s three grand divisions, issue-specific education for demonstrated leaders, a diverse representation of participants and opportunities to affect change. It will meet several times as a group in addition to participating in other activities, research and projects throughout the year.
The upcoming class includes 34 business, government, education and nonprofit leaders from across Tennessee, including fellow Chattanoogans Charlie Brock, CEO, Launch Tennessee, Bill Kilbride, president and CEO, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and Rep. Gerald McCormick, majority leader, Tennessee House of Representatives.
“Leadership Tennessee is designed for top leaders across the state to learn from different perspectives, but also to understand the collaborative nature of conversation and action that will continue to move our state ahead,” said Cathy Cate, executive director of Leadership Tennessee and director of community leadership programs for the Andrews Institute. “In the first two years of the program we have seen how relationships developed and strengthened among our participants and have led to collaborations and more informed decision making that benefits all Tennesseans.”
Congratulations to Dan on this honor!
June 8, 2015
From Hamilton County Department of Education –
The Citizens’ Budget Guide provides an overview of Hamilton County Department of Education’s budget for the past year (FY15). This guide is intended to provide residents with basic budget information in an easy‐to‐read format. It includes information on revenues, expenditures, the budgeting process and how funding has changed over time. This is the first edition of a budget guide for HCDE, but we expect to publish a guide to correlate with each year’s budget going forward. The guide is available in print and on our website at hcde.org.
As a large, diverse school district, HCDE’s budget is very complex. However, it is very important for stakeholders – parents, students, elected leaders and taxpayers – to understand how public education is funded and how those funds are spent in Hamilton County. It is our hope that this guide will contribute to the ongoing informed dialogue in our community about funding priorities and goals around public education.
The Budget Guide was put together under the leadership of HCDE’s Finance Department. In addition, we received input from an advisory group that included:
The layout and design of the guide was provided by Widgets & Stone.
We view this Budget Guide as a positive step in increasing accountability to the public. It is a work in progress and we look forward to feedback from stakeholders on how it could be improved for next year’s budget!
Questions, comments, or feedback? Contact HCDE Finance Director Christie Jordan at 209‐8686.
June 2, 2015
Are you passionate about improving equity, access, and excellence in our region’s public schools? Join our team of committed professionals to help students succeed in learning and in life.
PEF is current accepting applications for two positions: Vice President for External Relations and Technology Program Associate. Full job descriptions and instructions for submitting materials are in the employment section of our website.
Please circulate these opportunities throughout your networks – PEF is an equal opportunity employer with a demonstrated commitment to hiring individuals who reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.
May 27, 2015
PEF and the Southeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub recognized 27 educators from Southeast Tennessee who completed a Fellowship in STEM teaching and best practices on Tuesday, May 26. The K-12 public school educators represent nine school districts in Southeast Tennessee. The Fellows have completed a year-long professional development program, which includes two summer workshops, monthly seminars, and a job shadow experience and community partner project. The Fellowship is designed to give teachers the tools to be leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in our region.
Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Kilbride spoke about the importance of STEM education in preparing students for the 21st century workforce. Read more about the event in a Times Free Press article
Hamilton County Schools
Chattanooga School for Arts & Sciences – Kristin Burrus
Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts – Scott Rosenow
Clifton Hills Elementary – Cristol Kapp
East Hamilton Middle High – David Manley
East Lake Academy – Beverly Hamilton-Adkins
Howard School – Andrew Browning-Couch
Loftis Middle – Ashley Reagan
Normal Park – Erin Woodrow
Ooltewah Middle – Angela Mullins
Orchard Knob Elementary – Judy Bullington
Red Bank Elementary – Alicia Clevenger, Elisabeth Wilson
Red Bank Middle – Kimberly Elbakidze
Sequoyah High – Stephen Tompkins
Blount County Schools
Heritage High – Robert Stewart
Bradley County Schools
Ocoee Middle – Dustin Fromm
Park View Elementary – Heather Hayes
Cleveland City Schools
Cleveland Middle – Suzanne Gregory
E.L. Ross Elementary – Becca Cathell
Etowah City Schools
Etowah City School – Debbie Lennex
Loudon County Schools
Eaton Elementary – Tarah Karczewski
Fort Loudon Middle – Joseph Davis
North Middle – Anne Harvey
Philadelphia Elementary – Angela Bright-White
McMinn County Schools
Rogers Creek Elementary – Teresa Tallent
Polk County Schools
Copper Basin High – Craig Green
Sweetwater City Schools
Brown Intermediate – Rebecca McBride
The incoming cohort of 2015-16 STEM Fellows was also recognized. Congratulations!
May 18, 2015
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to Public Education Foundation and University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (USC) to support the first-in-the nation cross-country collaboration using the Gigabit network. With USC, students at STEM School Chattanooga are designing experiments to study the effects of human activity on microbial ecosystems both here at home in Chattanooga, as well as a continent away in the Pacific Ocean. Representatives from PEF, STEM School Chattanooga, and The Enterprise Center presented this innovative collaboration at national US Ignite and GENI Summit in Washington D.C. on March 25.
What does a cross-country collaboration look like? Watch the video below to see how it works.
On May 14, the community was invited to see the microscope in action and experience the power of ultra-high-definition video over Chattanooga’s gigabit internet connection. Guests were awed by the microorganisms swimming across a monitor in real time, which had been collected earlier that day. After the demonstration, students presented their projects that made use of this innovative technology, including a test of the effects of Coca-Cola on water ecosystems and how Miracle Gro performed compared to cow manure fertilizer.
After discussing how much using a microscope enhanced their enjoyment and understanding of science classwork, students wondered why microscopy isn’t available in elementary schools. The answer turned out to be cost, so STEM School students prototyped and then 3D printed a $10 microscope in their school’s FabLab that uses a smartphone camera for magnification. This is the power of problem- and project-based learning: students were engaged in their class, posed a question, then set out to creatively solve a problem in their community. PEF is pleased to be a partner in this innovative work!
May 6, 2015
There’s still time to submit your innovative idea – the deadline for Teacherpreneur applications has been extended to May 15.
Last year’s Teacherpreneur Incubator launched entrepreneurial ideas in education all across our district. This year’s Incubator (dubbed 2.0) can be even better. The Teacherpreneur Incubator offers teachers support, time and space to incubate big ideas and execute them in the best interests of their students and their profession. Apply online today!
May 5, 2015
PEF Vice President of College & Career Success Stacy Lightfoot will travel to Washington on Wednesday, May 6 to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in a hearing titled, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: The Role of Consumer Information in College Choice.”
The HELP committee will have live coverage on their website beginning at 10:00 am Eastern and video will be archived there as well.
From the National College Access Network:
Ms. Lightfoot knows the importance of education. As an African American female, she grew up in a low-income, single parent home. Statistics suggested that she would continue to live in poverty, work a low-wage job and not obtain a college degree. However, her mother made sure that throughout her life she was surrounded by trusted adults and positive role models. Her college counselor helped her research DePauw University in the cornfields of Greencastle, IN. It was the perfect college for Ms. Lightfoot because it matched her personality and learning style in addition to be meeting her family’s financial need.
Using her personal experience, and the examples of two students – one who graduated from college and one who has debt and no degree – Ms. Lightfoot will suggest to Congress what information and type of guidance first-generation and low-income students need to successfully complete a college degree.
May 4, 2015
The National Science Foundation awarded a $300,000 grant to Public Education Foundation and University of Southern California (USC) to support the first-ever project to leverage the power of Gigabit connectivity for K-12 education. With USC scientists, students at STEM School Chattanooga designed experiments to utilize the world’s first 4K video microscope to study the effects of human activity on microbial ecosystems here at home in Chattanooga, as well as a continent away in the Pacific Ocean. See a preview of this amazing collaboration in a short video.
We hope to see you at the demonstration next week – please RSVP so we can accommodate all guests.
April 20, 2015
Students may be winding down this school year, but opportunities for teachers to be empowered, engaged, and energized are heating up.
Last year’s Teacherpreneur Incubator launched entrepreneurial ideas in education all across our district. This year’s Incubator (dubbed 2.0) can be even better! PEF will hold meetings during the coming weeks to share information about the Incubator and allow educators interested in participating to share ideas and collaborate. It is recommended that you attend at least one meetup, but you are welcome to attend as many as you like. The next meetups are scheduled for Thursday, April 23; Tuesday, April 28; Monday, May 4. Online registration is required.
If you want to learn cutting edge ways to engage students through problem-based learning, inquiry teaching, cross-curriculum integration and technology integration, STEM Fellow applications are now open for the 2015-16 school year. The STEM Teaching Fellows program is an annual cohort of Southeast Tennessee educators from across the region who engage in a year of professional development activities focused on STEM best practices. These teachers become STEM leaders for their schools and districts.
Questions about either of these programs? Contact Keri Randolph (423.668.2426).