Summer vacation is winding to a close and thousands of Hamilton County Schools students and their families are preparing for the start of the 2008-2009 school year on Aug. 12.
Many will take advantage of this weekend’s sales tax holiday, which starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday and lasts until 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Shoppers enjoy tax-free purchases on certain clothing, school and art supplies and computers.
The shopping weekend signals the back-to-school frenzy for students, teachers and administrators. In Hamilton County, about 39,000 students are expected to return to classrooms in 78 schools. At the front of those classrooms are an estimated 3,000 teachers.
The Hamilton County Schools district also includes a program for students with learning disabilities and a dual-enrollment campus housed at Chattanooga State Technical Community College.
Forty-six campuses offer elementary schools, 24 have middle schools and there are 19 high schools.
The school system also has 15 magnet schools, where students from all over the county can follow curricula focused on specific areas from environmental science to museums or fine arts.
In 2006, Hamilton County’s students scored on par with those from around the state on the standardized Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests. By 2007, Tennessee’s overall scores had increased slightly while Hamilton County’s remained the same, placing the district slightly below the state average.
At the same time, students in elementary and middle schools received straight A’s in academic growth, meaning most schools received higher marks than they had the previous year.
There currently are reform efforts under way in elementary, middle and high schools in Hamilton County, funded largely through the Benwood Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, respectively.
E-mail Kelli Gauthier at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...