Class Notes: Center for Creative Arts named National Magnet School of Excellence, and more education news

The Choo Choo Kids perform the musical "Godspell" at Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts on Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The proposed Hamilton County Schools budget will eliminate school fees, but specialty magnet schools like CCA rely heavily on school fees to help fund their unique educational opportunities.

CCA named National Magnet School of Excellence

Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts (CCA) was recently named a 2020 National Magnet School of Excellence by Magnet Schools of America, the national association for magnet and theme-based schools.

Only a select group of magnet schools across the country earn the designation each year. Selected schools are eligible for cash prizes and to be named the nation's top elementary, secondary, or new & emerging magnet school.

Founded in 1998, CCA is Hamilton County's only 6-12 school that offers a fine arts magnet curriculum. The school offers a variety of "majors" including acting, technical theatre, communications, dance, instrumental music, musical theatre, vocal music or visual arts, in addition to a rigorous academic program.

"Being named a School of Excellence validates the work of our staff, students, and families," Principal Debbie Smith said in a statement. "Our emerging artists are successful in college and their careers due to the many skills they learn in our arts magnet program. Hamilton County Schools and the community are supportive of our work, and that support is necessary for high levels of achievement in any school."

Members of the school community have been vocal in recent months about recommendations in the district's preliminary facilities report to relocate the school from North Chattanooga to either the Brainerd High or Dalewood Middle School sites. Many CCA supporters have spoken out at public meetings in hopes that CCA will be able to remain in its current location.

Moms for Social Justice to host STEM Story Hour

The social activist group Chattanooga Moms for Social Justice (MSJ) will host a book reading and signing with author Shelli Johannes on Sunday, March 1, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga on 5461 North Terrace Road.

The event is part of MSJ's Story Hour series, an initiative meant to unite families and children around literacy, and the event is a partnership among MSJ, the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, Pure Genius STEM and Barnes & Noble Hamilton Place. MSJ is the group behind the Classroom Library Project, which installs diverse libraries in individual teachers' classrooms in some of the highest-needs schools in Hamilton County, and an annual Harry Potter-themed festival called "The Magic of Literacy."

Johannes is the co-author of the Love Science PB series of children's books featuring a character named "Cece" that are focused on STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, topics. The books include "Cece Loves Science," "Cece Loves Science and Adventure" and the upcoming "How To Be A Unicorn." Johannes is also the author of books for teens, including "Nature of Grace" and "Rewired."

Pure Genius, a nonprofit organization, will lead a science activity at the event and books will be available for purchase. The event is free and open to the public and there will be an ASL interpreter at the event.

For more information, email

Collegiate High to host preview night for prospective students

Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State is hosting a preview night for prospective students and their parents on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Center for Advanced Technology, room 30, on Chattanooga State Community College's main campus.

Collegiate High faculty, staff and students will be able to share their experiences, answer questions and provide information on the history of the school, dual enrollment opportunities, the application process, cost and available financial assistance, student academic support and more.

For more information, call 423- 697-4492 or visit

If you have news about local schools you'd like included in Class Notes, email Meghan Mangrum at