Hamilton County Schools superintendent presents plan for 12 low-performing schools

New Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson speaks at a welcome reception hosted by the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, Chattanooga 2.0, and UnifiEd at Bessie Smith Cultural Center on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Johnson takes the helm as Hamilton County faces the potential state takeover of five low performing schools.

The Opportunity Zone schools:

Brainerd HighDalewood MiddleHardy ElementaryWoodmore ElementaryBarger ElementaryHoward HighEast Lake MiddleOrchard Knob ElementaryCalvin Donaldson ElementaryClifton Hills ElementaryEast Lake ElementaryOrchard Knob Middle

Hamilton County Schools' new Superintendent Bryan Johnson announced his plan to launch an Opportunity Zone to support 12 of the district's struggling schools Thursday night.

"We've got to move the needle for these schools, and we've got to do it quickly," Johnson said. "And not just do it quickly in a one-time way, but do it in a way that is sustainable over time."

The zone will start serving schools in the Brainerd High and The Howard School feeder patterns this year, he said, providing more staff, targeted support and a heightened urgency for improvement.

Last month, Johnson told the board he wanted time to talk to the state before any decision was made about its proposed Partnership Zone, which would involve the state working alongside the district to improve its five iZone schools, also known as priority schools.