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.
- Erin Harrell, Project Inspire Program Associate
PEF is reaching out the community and businesses to provide important information on preparing for college & careers. One of the ways we’re doing this is by hosting, in partnership with businesses, the College Knowledge Lunch Breaks. Sessions run from noon to 1 p.m., providing a convenient time for parents, counselors, and other community members to quickly gain valuable knowledge they can share with young people in their lives.
The first “lunch and learn” will be Wednesday, September 24th at PEF on Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills. Larry Tong, Assistant Vice President of Benefits, and Shawnel Rogers, Director of Benefits, will be joining us from Unum to bring their unique employer perspectives.
As students complete their senior year in high school or college they’ve built a wealth of knowledge and skills. An area that doesn’t get a lot of attention, until students seek employment, is fundamental resume writing and interviewing skills. We’ll discuss the resume and interview from the employer’s perspective during an interactive session:
1) What does an employer look for in a resume and interview? A basic understanding will help students be strategic with their preparation and build their confidence.
2) Insight to be shared—do’s and don’ts in your resume / interview, cover letters, key business words, social media, elevator speech, professionalism, etc.
A buffet lunch is available for $5 or participants may bring their own lunch; sessions are FREE but online registration is requested.
Subsequent workshops will take place at businesses in the community. We are looking for businesses to provide space so that we bring in experts to talk about college & career related topics to its employees and the general public. For more information about hosting a College Knowledge Lunch Break, contact Janice Neal at 423.668.2423.
- Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President, College & Career Success
Today is our last day to win $5,000 from First Tennessee Foundation! PEF needs your help NOW for our mission of improving student achievement in Hamilton County public schools.
Visit 150daysofgiving.com, search for “public education”, and vote for PEF (look for our logo). You DON’T have to register, get a password, or anything. Just search, click, and vote.
You can vote from ALL your devices ONCE a day: your phone, iPad, laptop, desktop, etc. each day, and all those votes will count. Please share this through your networks, social media, and help public schools by helping PEF!
- Shannon Edmondson, Development & Communications Officer
Please save the date for PEF’s Transforming Public Education Luncheon: a celebration of our 25th Anniversary and excellence in teaching, leading, and student achievement.
Wednesday, October 22
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Chattanoogan Hotel Ballroom
Table and ticket sales will begin after Labor Day; visit our 25th Anniversary page for information as it becomes available.
Contact Shannon Edmondson (423.668.2430) for more information, including sponsorship opportunities.
PEF, Benwood and HCDE in collaboration with CO.LAB hosted the first Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch weekend and pitch event, with 28 Hamilton County teachers pitching ideas to transform public education. The Teacherpreneur Incubator was designed to provide support, time and space for teachers to incubate big ideas and execute them in the best interests of their students, their profession and the Chattanooga community.
The top 5 projects received prize money for the teachers and funding to carry out the ideas, while a total of 15 projects were awarded financial support. All 28 projects will continue to receive support from PEF, Causeway, Co.Lab, and other community partners.
“The Teacherprenuer Incubator exemplifies the power of connecting innovative teachers to the community,” stated Robert Sharpe, Assistant Superintendent for Leadership and Education. “If the excitement and support from the 48Hour Launch weekend carries throughout the year, Chattanooga will be known as a place that invests just as much in Teacherprenuers as entrepreneurs.”
Keri Randolph, Vice President of Learning for PEF, explained, “Teachers have great ideas, but they often don’t have the time, support and energy to get those ideas off the ground. We really envision much more than just a typical grant. We’re creating a community of teacher leaders who, with the support of one another and their community, will launch big ideas.”
The first –place prize went to The Howard School’s Jessica Hubbuch and Sean Brown for their “Standards Driven Project-Based Learning for High School Sciences” project. They will develop a project-based curriculum tied into Common Core standards and will use technology to support student research.
The second-place prize was awarded to “Beth’sList,” a website akin to Craigslist for teachers created by Red Bank Elementary’s Beth Wilson to connect teachers with other teachers and local businesses that have extra classroom and office supplies needed for the classroom.
The third-place prize was given to “First Person Fixer,” an interactive computer diagnostics and troubleshooting seminar proposed by Normal Park Museum Magnet’s Matthew Craig.
Lee Friedlander’s “AgLab” greenhouse, which uses food and ornamental crop production at Hixson High to teach problem solving, teamwork, innovation, and STEM principles, tied for fourth with “Leadership Think Tank – 21st Century Communication and Beyond,” a project from Bess T. Shepherd Elementary’s Valerie Brown, Linda Bugg, Lindsey Hagan, and Patricia Russell. The Think Tank team is planning to create a collaborative space for students and teachers to brainstorm ideas and use multiple technologies to make a positive impact on the community.
In addition to the top 5 teams, the following 10 teams won funding and support:
To help mentor or support one of these teams, please contact Keri Randolph at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-668-2426.
There’s only one weekend left before the school year begins for Hamilton County teachers. Just 48 hours to spend with family, put the finishing touches on school-year preparation, or squeeze in one last trip before a busy year kicks off.
But over 40 Hamilton County teachers will spend their last weekend doing something completely different and completely Chattanooga. PEF, Benwood and HCDE in collaboration with CO.LAB will host the first Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch on August 1-3. The Hamilton County teachers and their teams will gather during the weekend at Society of Work to develop short pitches for their innovative education ideas.
The culminating Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch Pitch Event, which will showcase these innovative pitches, will be Sunday, August 3 at 4 p.m. ET at Church on Main (1601 Rossville Ave). A group of judges will award funding and resources to many of the teachers with ideas that are innovative, impactful and feasible.
The Teacherpreneur Incubator is designed to provide support, time and space for teachers to incubate big ideas and execute them in the best interests of both their students, their profession and our community. Too often teachers who want to be leaders feel like they only have one choice – go into school administration and leave the classroom behind. In this first-of-its-kind Incubator, motivated teachers will expand their reach beyond the classroom by leading a change in their school and the community.
After submitting innovative proposals early in the summer, over 20 teachers were selected to participate in the Teacherpreneur Incubator. These teachers met multiple times throughout the summer to prepare for the 48HR Launch weekend.
No two ideas are exactly alike. They range from a kite-based math and science curriculum to a MakerSpace in a school library to innovative apps. The teachers and their teams – made up of mentors from local businesses, community members and fellow teachers – will spend all weekend honing their pitches before Sunday evening’s pitch night. During the weekend, workshops will be held on public speaking, budgeting, starting a business, and more.
Teachers will receive some funding but, more importantly, they will also be paired with a team of community members and local experts to help them get their ideas off the ground. These teacher leaders are cultivating authentic ties to the community to create deeper learning opportunities for their students. They are taking advantage of Chattanooga’s unique technology tools and resources to personalize learning and share their experiences with others.
Entrepreneurs transform challenges into business opportunities. Teacherpreneurs will do the same for our schools. If you are interested in getting involved by mentoring, joining a team, supporting the 48Hour Launch weekend, please contact Keri Randolph at email@example.com or 423-668-2426. To support the teacherpreneurs by attending the 48HR Launch Pitch Night on Sunday at 4 p.m., please sign up at 48hrteach.eventbrite.com.
- Lauren Deason, STEM Program Associate
Watch the video below for more about DEV DEV.
Join us for the next College Knowledge lunch break on Thursday, April 24 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. PEF Volunteer Coordinator Kate Skonberg will help participants learn how strategic volunteering can help students set themselves apart from the crowd. It’s a competitive world, but through volunteering, students can gain valuable job skills, become eligible for scholarships, build career networks, and grow as a person. Attendees will learn specific ways to find service learning and volunteer opportunities in Chattanooga and techniques toward maximizing each opportunity.
Register online today; a buffet lunch is available for $5 with advance registration only.
PEF is partnering with the Lookouts to host Public Education Night at the ballpark on Saturday, May 3 at 7:15 p.m. General admission tickets are only $5; for every ticket sold, PEF keeps $2 and after the ticket is scanned at the entry gate, we receive another $0.50. Kids 6 and under are FREE!
We need your help to publicize this fun night to family, friends, neighbors, and anyone else in your networks. May 3 is the end of TCAP week – a night at the ballpark is a great way for teachers to recognize their students’ hard work. Businesses are encouraged to purchase tickets for their employees or donate a set to their favorite school or class.
Please call 668.2430 or email me for tickets and more details. See you at the ballpark!
For many, the road to college seems confusing, intimidating, overwhelming and costly. Have no fear! PEF is here to help with our College Knowledge Lunch Breaks.
These FREE monthly sessions from noon to 1 pm offer knowledge about college to adults who work with or advise students on their journey to post-secondary education (parents, guardians, mentors, coaches, counselors, etc.).
Register online for these sessions – we can provide lunch for $5 or you may bring your own. For more information, contact Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President of College & Career Success by email or 423-648-4443.
We’d love your help advertising these events; download a copy of the College Knowledge Flyer to distribute.