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More students taking advantage of advanced coursework

More Hamilton County Schools students took advantage of early post-secondary courses such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual-enrollment courses this academic year than during the 2017-18 school year, district officials say.

During the 2017-18 school year, 1,951 students enrolled in an early college course, but more than 2,867 students were enrolled in a similar course during the 2018-19 school year, according to a news release.

The district increased access to such courses at several high schools last fall, such as adding Advanced Placement courses at schools including The Howard School.

"We want to graduate teens prepared for success after high school and give them opportunities to map out a focus for their future with access to these programs," said Superintendent Bryan Johnson in a statement. "A major priority of our strategic plan is to provide access to advanced courses, dual enrollment options, and industry certifications. Early post-secondary opportunities are also an area of investment in the proposed budget for next school year."

Increasing access to early post-secondary courses is one of the focuses of the school district's five-year strategic plan as well as the fiscal year 2020 proposed school budget.

BlueCross BlueShield to fund a second technology academy

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson announced at a downtown meeting of the Rotary Club of Chattanooga earlier this month that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee had committed to funding a second Future Ready Institute.

BlueCross now funds the BlueCross Technology Academy at Red Bank High School, thanks to a $250,000 commitment made earlier this year. The academy is one of nearly two dozen Future Ready Institutes that were launched across the county during the 2018-19 school year. The institutes are small learning communities embedded in traditional high schools focused on a career or industry theme.

The commitment brings BlueCross' investment in Future Ready Institutes to $500,000. A BlueCross spokesperson said the location of the second academy will be announced soon.

Girls Inc. awards $5K in scholarships

For the past three years, the nonprofit Girls Inc. has offered scholarships to seniors thanks to funding from the Weldon F. Osborne Foundation.

This year, Ma'Niyah Chatman was awarded a $2,500 scholarship to attend Austin Peay State University. Lexis Parks received a $1,500 scholarship to attend Middle Tennessee State University and Aareon Reed received a $1,000 scholarship to attend Austin Peay.

The Girls Inc. Senior Class Scholarship was established in 2017 to celebrate the 100% graduation rate of senior girls in Girls Inc. programming since 2007, according to a news release. These scholarships are awarded based on academic standing, Girls Inc. involvement and a recommendation from a teacher, coach or community service coordinator.

Hamilton County school board to meet July 11

The Hamilton County Board of Education announced at its June regular meeting its intention to meet for a work session on July 11.

District 2 board member Kathy Lennon heads the board's policy committee. She announced the board intended to review board policies as well as the district's revised Student Code of Acceptable Behavior.

This is the next planned public meeting of the board since the Hamilton County Commission voted down a request to increase the property tax rate on June 26.

It is not clear if the board intends to discuss its proposed fiscal year 2020 budget at the July 11 meeting. The board must review the budget that was rejected by county commissioners and eventually send a new budget back for approval.

If you have news about local schools you'd like included in Class Notes, email Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com.

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