Equity Task Force created for Hamilton County Schools

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF)-  Hamilton County Schools is committed to meeting the needs of all students to receive a high-quality education, with equitable access to opportunities and resources.

They hope to fulfill this commitment to the students by creating an Equity Task Force to “ensure a brighter future for all children in the district.”

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They says that this idea came about after their first round of listening sessions with parents and community leaders last fall, this issue was highlighted.

In response to that community feedback, district introduced the role of chief equity officer, Dr. Marsha Drake.

The goals of the Equity Task Force will be to:

  • Identify opportunities and make recommendations regarding how the district can improve overall educational equity for students in historically underserved groups
  • Review school programming (e.g., magnets), student assignment policies (e.g., hardship transfers and open enrollment), ELL and exceptional education, and discipline practices to develop recommendations that would improve equitable access for all students
  • Develop an Equity Framework and key performance indicators to monitor district performance on equitable distribution of resources and student outcomes

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Dr. Drake is launching the Equity Task Force to review current practices in school choice, student assignment, student access, discipline, magnet policies, exceptional education procedures and programming, and English language learner procedures and programming.

They will also develop an Equity Framework measurement system to monitor district performance making these resources equal.

The Equity Task Force will include representatives from UnifiEd, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County Government, and other educational, business and religious leaders from the community.

Dr. Steve Highlander, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Education, will participate in the Equity Task Force and represent the board of education.

“I look forward to working with community leaders to enhance our equity efforts to benefit the children in Hamilton County Schools,” Highlander said.

A kick-off meeting for the group will be in April with regular meetings through July.

The group will present its recommendations to the Hamilton County Board of Education in August.

“Equity was a focus of the community that came through loud and clear in our listening sessions across Hamilton County,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.

“This Task Force will help develop the framework to ensure that all students can access the opportunities and resources to help them succeed after graduation.”

He added, “Equitable access will be a key component for Hamilton County Schools becoming the fastest improving school district in the state of Tennessee.”