Hamilton County school board expected to discuss Partnership Zone

Hamilton County school board expected to discuss Partnership Zone

August 17th, 2017 by Kendi A. Rainwater in Local Regional News

New schools superintendent Bryan Johnson moves to his seat before a Hamilton County Board of Education meeting on Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The board discussed a school Partnership Zone proposal would create an independent mini-district within Hamilton County as an alternative to complete state takeover of five low-performing schools.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Leaders of the Hamilton County Schools system are expected to continue discussing at tonight's school board meeting how the district should work to improve its lowest-performing schools.

Newly named Superintendent Bryan Johnson told the board last month he wanted time to discuss the future of the five priority schools, also known as iZone schools, with the state before any decisions are made. 

Johnson is expected to update the board tonight about his conversations with the state and how he wants the district to proceed with its work at Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Middle, Orchard Knob Elementary and Woodmore Elementary.

The Tennessee Department of Education warned the school system last year that it might take over at least some of the schools if academic progress was not made, because the schools have struggled for more than a decade to post gains.

But in April, the state presented an alternative, proposing that the school system and state work together to create a Partnership Zone to support the schools.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said she hopes the district and state can work together to boost student outcomes, noting the state is obligated to intervene.

In coming weeks the board is expected to vote on the state's Partnership Zone proposal.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.