Sohn: Superintendent's 'Opportunity Zone' is a great beginning

Eighth grader Aric Moses (center) works on a writing exercise in Carl Knight Jr.'s reading and language arts class last year. Dalewood Middle School is one of several iZone schools in the Hamilton County System working to improve test scores.

The plan offered by Hamilton County's new schools chief Bryan Johnson to bring up school scores in our lowest-performing schools sounds like a winner.

Not only does it include the five iZone schools that the state could take over - Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Woodmore Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle and Orchard Knob Elementary - it also would support seven more of the district's struggling schools.

"We've got to move the needle for these schools, and we've got to do it quickly," Johnson said last week when he told Board of Education members about his plan.

In effect, the plan that Johnson has dubbed the Opportunity Zone would start serving schools in the Brainerd High and The Howard School feeder patterns this year, providing more staff, targeted support and a heightened urgency for improvement.