One of the greatest needs in schools is mentors to help students succeed, according to a panel of nine Hamilton County school principals.
"We need mentors to work with students," said East Side Elementary School principal Emily Baker, one of the panelists hosted by the Southside Chamber Council Feb. 2. "If we had businesses come in like Artech to talk about what architects do, that would be great."
Baker said she would also like to see business people in schools to check out the good things going on and help spread the word.
"The importance of having mentors is it's live bodies that boys and girls can look up to," said Clifton Hills Elementary School principal Ray Evans, who serves 600 students at his school. "Many of my boys and girls need someone to look up to because they come from single parent homes or grandparents' homes. Children need someone to report to that keeps them accountable for what they are doing. Academics is very important."
East Lake Academy principal LeAndrea Ware said mentors could help show students that they are an important part of society.
"Our children need to see other adults," said Lookout Valley Elementary School principal Regina Brock. "Come eat lunch with them once every week or every two weeks. Our children come with so many issues [and need positive business role models]."
East Lake Elementary principal Stacy Johnson said teachers also need volunteer help at after-school events. Lookout Valley Middle/High School principal Rick Rushworth said teachers are the key to education and they need all-around community support in order to educate their students.
Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy interim principal Lamar Wilson said looking at Adequate Yearly Progress numbers is not the best way to determine actual progress. He said CGLA missed AYP by three students, but continues to improve each year.