Hamilton Co. Schools create “Equity Task Force”

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Hamilton County schools have created a chief equity officer and an Equity Task Force to address concerns raised by community members at their listening events.

Or as they put it… “In the first round of listening sessions the system held with parents and community leaders last fall, equity was highlighted, and we continue to receive community feedback on this issue in recent months.”

Dr. Marsha Drake will be the chief equity officer.

She is launching the task force to review how the schools deal with ” student assignment, student access, discipline, magnet policies, exceptional education procedures and programming, and English language learner procedures and programming.”

The goals of the Equity Task Force will be to:

  • Identify opportunities and make recommendations regarding how the district can improve overall educational equity for students in historically underserved groups
  • Review school programming (e.g., magnets), student assignment policies (e.g., hardship transfers and open enrollment), ELL and exceptional education, and discipline practices to develop recommendations that would improve equitable access for all students
  • Develop an Equity Framework and key performance indicators to monitor district performance on equitable distribution of resources and student outcomes

The task force will include familiar faces to the education system from UnifiED, city and county government, business, religious and community leaders.

The chairman of the school board, Dr. Steve Highlander, will also participate.

“I look forward to working with community leaders to enhance our equity efforts to benefit the children in Hamilton County Schools,” Highlander said.

Their first meeting comes in April and they will continue to meet through July.

Then they will report their recommendations to the Board of Education in August.

“Equity was a focus of the community that came through loud and clear in our listening sessions across Hamilton County,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.

“This Task Force will help develop the framework to ensure that all students can access the opportunities and resources to help them succeed after graduation.”

Categories: Education, Government & Politics, Local News

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