Candice McQueen visits Orchard Knob Elementary ahead of school board meeting

State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen, some of her staff members, including Christy Ballard, general counsel, and Laura Encalade, chief of staff, meet with Opportunity Zone leaders, Debbie Rosenow and Jill Levine, and Principal LaFrederick Thirkill at Orchard Knob Elementary School on Thursday, February 8. McQueen and members of her staff visited the school before a work session with the Hamilton County school board where McQueen presented the state's plan for the district's historically failing schools.

State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and members of her staff visited Orchard Knob Elementary School Thursday ahead of a meeting with the Hamilton County school board.

At the board's work session today at 4:30 p.m., McQueen will present the state's newest plan for five historically failing schools, which includes forming a "Partnership Network" with the district, creating an advisory board and appointing a state-funded partnership liaison.

This new plan comes after a 7-2 vote by the school board last fall to continue discussing alternatives to a complete state takeover and exploring partnership options with the state.

At Orchard Knob, McQueen and members of her staff were accompanied by district leaders including Chief of the Opportunity Zone Jill Levine and Chief of Staff T. Nakia Towns Edwards. The group visited two of the school's literacy intervention classrooms, part of the zone's new RISE model, as well as a first grade classroom celebrating Black History Month.

Prior to the work session at 4:30 p.m., the board will meet in an executive session at 4 p.m.

Follow along with reporter Meghan Mangrum on Twitter at @memangrum.