Blog

July 22, 2015

Teacherpreneur 2.0 launches Sunday, August 2

Community invited to Pitch Night to hear teachers share their visions for transforming education

After a competitive application process, 21 teacher teams from Hamilton County public schools will participate in an intensive 48-Hour Launch weekend as participants in the second cohort of the Teacherpreneur Incubator through PEF.

The Teacherpreneur Incubator is a unique leadership initiative which offers teachers support, time and space to incubate big ideas and execute them in the best interests of their students and their profession. PEF and the Hamilton County Department of Education are collaborating with the Benwood Foundation, Footprint Foundation, and CO.LAB on this innovative approach to engaging and empowering area teachers.

In May, HCDE teachers submitted more than 60 proposals to the Teacherpreneur Incubator.  Those proposals were narrowed to 21 teams who will enter the Teacherpreneur 48-Hour Launch, based on the CO.LAB model where educators will receive feedback, support, and encouragement from mentors and community members throughout the weekend.

On Sunday, August 2 from 4:00-6:00 p.m., the Launch culminates with educators pitching their ideas to a panel of judges at Granfalloon, 400 E. Main Street. Pitches will be chosen to receive funding and on-going support to take ideas from concept to classroom.  The community is invited to attend – please reserve tickets below:

 

 

Keri Randolph, PEF Vice President of Learning says, “Last year’s Pitch Night was incredible. It was a great opportunity for the community to hear innovative ideas directly from our teachers. Educators have creative, entrepreneurial solutions to classroom, school and community challenges, and Teacherpreneur is a way to invest in them as professionals by helping those ideas come to life.”

This year’s diverse Teacherpreneur proposals include:

– A professional audio recording studio for high school students in downtown Chattanooga
– Bridging physical activity and learning by retrofitting classroom furniture
– An on-demand app for students to access guidance counselors and personalize their interactions
– Student-created 360 degree virtual field trips to be used by participants worldwide

Contact PEF’s Keri Randolph at krandolph@pefchattanooga.org or 423-648-2426 for more information.

June 22, 2015

Twelve Teacher Residents Join Project Inspire

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.

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Back row: Michael Romano, Susie Everly, Anne Holt, William Budd, Katie Butler, Jennifer Zellner, Tiffany Corkran, Scott Tunnell. Front row: Ella Bonah, Hannah Beker, Anne Holt, Kasi Quinn

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

Dan Challener joins third class of Leadership Tennessee

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.”

Read more in an article from Lipscomb University

Congratulations to Dan on this honor!

June 8, 2015

HCDE releases Citizens’ Budget Guide

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:

  • Andrew Kean, former President of Tennessee Stillhouse
  • Warren McEwan, CPA & Partner, Mauldin & Jenkins
  • Karitsa Moseley, School Board Member
  • Christa Payne, PEF
  • Lori Quillen, Benwood Foundation

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

PEF is hiring!

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

STEM Fellows recognized Tuesday

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

11270351_10153213004201321_7517042840321961659_o STEM Teaching Fellows Cohort 3 (2014-2015)

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

STEM School demonstrates unique 4K microscope collaboration

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!

For more, read and watch coverage of the event by the Times Free Press and WDEF.

May 6, 2015

Teacherpreneur application deadline extended

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!

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May 5, 2015

Stacy Lightfoot to testify before Senate committee on May 6; video available

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.

For more on Stacy’s work to empower students to achieve their dreams, visit the College & Career Success section of our website. We are so proud to work with Stacy!

May 4, 2015

See how schools are harnessing the Gig

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.
STEM USC

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