Archive for the ‘Community Events’ Category

Hamilton Sings! Teacherpreneur event Nov. 10

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Charlene Cook (East Ridge Elementary) and colleague Claire Stockman (Red Bank Elementary) are the Teacherpreneurs behind Hamilton Sings!, a county-wide concert on Tuesday, November 10 featuring over 100 5th grade music students.

PEF’s Geoff Millener and Ms. Cook recently spoke to WDEF’s Joe Legge about the event:

Students will come together from all over our community for a day of rehearsal, with the experience culminating in a concert highlighting their talents, hard work and the arts. There will be a special performance by the Sweet Adelines, Chattanooga’s female barbershop singers. The public is encouraged to attend and donations will be accepted to support Hamilton Sings!

Hamilton Sings!
All-County Elementary Honor Choir
Tuesday, November 10  7:00 pm
First Baptist Church, 401 Gateway Ave. (see a map)

Hamilton Sings! is a music learning and performance opportunity featuring students of Hamilton County Elementary Schools. This annual experience will provide a unique environment in which students will develop skills culminating in a dynamic musical performance. Participants will network with students from all Hamilton County elementary schools to create a community in harmony. Hamilton Sings! ignites the creative and artistic spirit that thrives in the Chattanooga area today in our youngest citizens.

Join PEF during Startup Week

Monday, October 12th, 2015

PEF is hosting two events during Startup Week, and you’re invited! We think there’s a lot education can learn from the entrepreneurial spirit that has infused our community – and just as much Chattanooga’s entrepreneurs and startups can learn from our educators.

This Tuesday, October 13th from 5-6pm, we’re hosting a Teacherpreneur Showcase, highlighting the incubator and the innovative spirit of Hamilton County teachers. Featuring the debut of our Teacherpreneur film and a talk from PEF’s VP of Learning, Keri Randolph, you’ll have a chance to meet and mingle with our Teacherpreneurs! Join us at the Edney Innovation Building (16 11th St.), in the new community space on the 5th Floor. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

On Thursday, October 15th from 4.30-6pm, we’ve partnered with our friends at Mozilla for Entrepreneurship + Education: Chattanooga’s Next Big Thing? Featuring lightning talks from our own Keri Randolph, Daniel Ryan (founder of DRyan), Benwood’s Lori Quillen, Kara Gahagen of LAUNCH, Principal of the STEM School Tony Donen and Teacherpreneurs Lindsey Hagan and Patricia Russell, we’ll be having a frank and inclusive conversation about entrepreneurship and education in the Gig City. We’ll again be on the 5th floor of the Edney Building, in the heart of Chattanooga’s new Innovation District. (And light hors d’oeuvres will also be served.)

We hope you’ll be able to join us for our events – and be sure to check out the full schedule for more exciting events, from keynote speakers to evening socials, during Startup Week.

– PEF Teacherpreneur Team

See how schools are harnessing the Gig

Monday, May 4th, 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.

Register now for College Goal Tennessee

Monday, December 15th, 2014

PEF is proud to sponsor the upcoming College Goal Tennessee conference on Saturday, January 31 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  at the UTC University Center. Download a flyer

This free, half-day conference will help students and their supporters learn from experts and each other how students can be successful in college.

Sessions include financial planning for college, what employers are looking for, navigating the college application for the student athlete, and much more. Sessions will be led by business leaders, college admissions and financial aid experts—experts in their fields.

At this conference, College Goal Tennessee will provide free on-site assistance to for high school seniors and current college students filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students are encouraged to complete this application to increase their chances of receiving financial support to attend college. Here’s a list of materials to bring in order to fill out the form.

To register for this free event, visit

PEF is partnering with UTC, YoungandWiser Inc, SACAC (Southern Association for College Admission Counseling) & College Goal Sunday to present this event.

– Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President, College & Career Success

Computer Science Education Week begins Dec. 8

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

From PEF’s partner, STEM Innovation Hub:

Today, we’re surrounded by technology, yet very few of us understand how computers actually work. Simple computer science activities can help nurture creativity and problem solving skills. By getting a feel for computational thinking early, you can have a foundation for success in any future career path.

The Hour of Code initiative in Southeast Tennessee will demystify coding and get people of all ages coding through simple, easy-to-use tutorials. Schools and community organizations throughout our region can hold their own Hour of Code events for teachers, students and even parents. Opening the door to computer science means opening the door to learning, creativity and future careers.

Get Involved

Students should register for events at


“We turn and talk to each other, too!”

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Recently, while leading a Friday morning seminar with Project Inspire’s fourth cohort of teacher-residents, I heard some valuable feedback. Recent classroom observations revealed that, during instruction, many of the residents were consistently glancing toward the clinical instructor (their mentor) for approval during the lesson. Of course, the students pick up on these subtle, nonverbal cues, and we were concerned about any perception of the resident as inferior. So, it was suggested that residents, when uncertain, let the students know that:  “Just as you as students turn and talk to one another about your ideas, we as teachers sometimes do the same. We also learn by sharing by our ideas with one another.” Sounds simple enough, right? However, I would wager that students rarely observe such open-ended dialogue among teachers.

We need a revolution in how we as a society think about teaching; it should be elevated as a craft that our most compelling and creative thinkers yearn to practice. I believe that the re-branding of teaching starts in the classroom, where young students develop those lasting impressions of teaching. In order to help our students appreciate the complexity and beauty of teaching, we need to redefine students’ strong misconception that teachers must be perfectly polished distributors of smart-sounding information, and I would argue that teacher residency provides the means for redefining and elevating the profession.

Recently, Ronald Thorpe, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, wrote an article that embraced residency as an opportunity to transform teacher preparation. Residency, he points out, has transformed the medical practice throughout the past century, by driving the following changes in practice:

  1. Residency helps doctors to situate their specialty within the full context of the profession, something that can only happen in a teaching hospital.
  2. Residents enter these experiences as teams, and they remain in teams, which helps doctors to develop the essential habits of mind that their work can only be done in collaboration with others.
  3. After completing their first year of residency, all residents take on the role of teaching the residents who are coming after them, which helps to strengthen one’s content knowledge and craft.

Those of us who work in teacher residency strive to replace the word “doctor” in the sentences above with the word “teacher.” Project Inspire, Chattanooga’s urban math/science teacher residency, provides those with STEM majors and a passion for teaching access to the transformative opportunities that Thorpe is discussing. Project Inspire residents teach for a full year in a middle- or high-school setting alongside an experienced clinical instructor—grounding all learning from master’s level coursework within the context the classroom. Project Inspire residents and alumni are also working within the context of a team–whether collaborating with other residents at the training site, working alongside a content-specific coach as a program graduate, or joining their entire cohort for regular resident and alumni seminars. Finally, program graduates are consistently “paying it forward,” improving their own craft by opening up their classroom to current residents and their fellow teachers.

The retention of great teachers in the classrooms where they are needed begins with the preparation of those teachers. Project Inspire offers its residents and graduates an open invitation to dream, to be a real and meaningful part of the transformation of a school. We as teachers sometimes need to turn and talk; we can keep our brightest minds in this profession by allowing them to see the craft for the pure and collaborative wonder that it is.

If you are interested in joining Project Inspire as a math or science teacher-resident, please visit Candidates and interested community members are also encouraged to attend the next Project Inspire MeetUp on November 25 at 5:00 pm at PEF, 100 E. 10th Street, 3rd floor. Please contact Erin Harrell for more information.

– Mark Neal, Director, Project Inspire

Boys Summit inspired, motivated nearly 200

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

summit groupMayor Andy Berke poses with the Boys Leadership Summit organizers Temus Terry, Chris Ramsey, and Stacy Lightfoot.

The 5th Annual Boys’ Leadership Summit (BLS) was held on November 15, 2014. BLS targeted males in grades 6-12 and served as an opportunity for males to learn with and from each other. Keynote presenters included community leaders as well as a young man who has attended all BLS summits. Breakout sessions included warm-up icebreakers where the co facilitators (college men and seasoned men) created atmospheres for open dialogue and in-depth discussions on how to become successful and productive adults. The Summit was designed to help attendees learn to cope with issues and problems facing youth today.

boys summit slider

The young men – almost 200! – were pleased with how the day went: comments included, “I loved everything,” “I plan on attending yearly,” and “I found the togetherness most valuable.”

PEF was proud to be a partner in this effort!

– Janice Neal, Program Associate, College & Career Success








Fund for Teachers grant workshops available

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Through a partnership with Fund for Teachers, PEF offers teachers in Hamilton and Bradley County fellowships to travel in the U.S. or across the globe in search of cultural enrichment, new teaching methods and fun and exciting ideas for the classroom. Applications are now available and must be completed by Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:00 pm CST.

Take a look at these videos from our Fellows:

Interested in applying, but need some guidance and support? Attend a workshop!
Sessions will be led by former FFT Fellows who can give you first hand advice and insider info.  You will get lots of help with your application. If these aren’t convenient, try a Fund for Teachers webinar.

Chattanooga sessions (PEF, 100 E 10th Street, 3rd Floor): RSVP to

  • Thursday, November 13, 4:40-6 pm
  • Tuesday, December 2, 4:30-6 pm
  • January TBD, 4:30-6 pm  

Cleveland sessions (BCPEF’s STaR Center, 5005 N. Lee Hwy.): RSVP to

  • Tuesday, November 11, 4:30-6 pm
  • Thursday, December 4, 4:30-6 pm
  • January TBD, 4:30-6 pm

For more information, contact Leslie Graitcer, Fund for Teachers coordinator.

Boys Leadership Summit to be held Nov 15

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

In 2010, a group of men from various organizations (e.g. fraternities, 100 Black Men, Shriners, Masons, service organizations, etc.), with an interest in helping young African-American males become successful and productive adults, hosted the first Boys’ Leadership Summit (BLS) in October 2010. These men answered a charge by Michael Baisden, an international radio personality, who encouraged communities to join together to impact the lives of our young black men.

Based on Dr. Shaun Harper’s report titled “Black Male Student Success in Higher Education” he found that Black men’s dismal college enrollments, disengagement and underachievement, and low rates of baccalaureate degree completion are among the most pressing and complex issues in American higher education. So, in 2012, PEF worked on several initiatives to empower men of color, young and old, to convene at luncheons and conferences to share their stories of triumph and collegiate success.

This year, PEF is joining forces with the founders and organizers of the Boys’ Leadership Summit to host a collaborative workshop for young men that will target males in grades 6-12 and include college males as well. Together, these organizations hope to provoke conversations that will engage, empower and encourage our young men to achieve to greater heights. We will have special sessions geared towards parents during the summit. Unique opportunities are in store for engaged parents.

The 5th Annual Boys Leadership Summit 2014 is a free one-day conference (breakfast & lunch provided) held on November 15, 2014  (9 am – 2 pm), that will serve as an opportunity for middle and high school males and their parents as well as young men in college to learn from experts and each other how to become successful and productive adults. We will cover topics to help attendees learn to cope with issues and problems facing youth today. Registration and breakfast will start at 8:00 am. The summit will be held at UT-Chattanooga’s University Center.

 Register Here

The first 50 people who register online AND attend the summit will have their names placed in a bowl to win an awesome gift at the end of the day.

 For more information, contact Temus Terry — (423) 316-0698

Inspire through teaching and change the world

Monday, October 13th, 2014

For the past four years, Project Inspire has worked to recruit, train, and support excellent math and science teachers for Hamilton County schools. In August, a new cohort of teacher residents entered Dalewood Middle School, Tyner Middle Academy, and Tyner Academy, eager to begin their first year of residency. Side-by-side with their clinical instructors (veteran teachers of Hamilton County), the residents will dive into curriculum, instruction, and relationships with students. The staff of PEF and Project Inspire will continue to support these residents as well as graduates throughout the year.

However, an additional task is fresh on our minds. It’s time to recruit the next incoming cohort of teacher residents who share Project Inspire’s passion for equity and excellence in the Hamilton County public schools.  This year, Project Inspire has received funding from a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. In the past, the program has been able to recruit teachers with a variety of undergraduate degrees, so long as they had sufficient math or science coursework. This year, however, the NSF grant provides an exciting opportunity for those who hold a degree in the STEM field—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Project Inspire is part of a national recruiting effort to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers. This connection positions Chattanooga nationally next to other large organizations who are devoting efforts to answer the nationwide shortage of quality math and science teachers. Locally, Project Inspire hopes to encourage recent STEM graduates as well as professionals. Through the teacher residency and ongoing professional support through Project Inspire, PEF, and Hamilton County Department of Education, the goal is to create a new story about teaching in low-performing schools—elevating the profession and giving teachers the opportunity to be entrepreneurs in their own classrooms.

On October 23, Project Inspire invites candidates to the first meet-up of the year at the Lamp Post Group for those who want to start a dialogue about teacher residency. The ideal candidate for the program is someone who is passionate about innovation, teaching, and is compelled towards social change. Candidates should hold a STEM degree or be pursuing one currently. While in many parts of the country teacher residency is aimed at recruiting undergraduates, Project Inspire is also an opportunity for career changers to gain a teaching license and masters in curriculum and instruction in a short amount of time. No matter if the candidate will be fresh out of college or is thinking about making a career change, the most important candidate quality is a compelling vision and passion to provide students in Hamilton County with the best science and math teachers possible.

To RSVP for the Project Inspire meet-up, e-mail The meet-up will be held at the Lamp Post Group community room at 5 pm.

– Erin Harrell, Project Inspire Program Associate