Guest Blog by Dr. Bryan Johnson of Hamilton County Schools: Technology Updates, “Learning Communities” and More
August 1, 2018
Guest blog by Dr. Bryan Johnson | Published by Pratt Home Builders
Pratt: The beginning of August is an annual reminder that summer vacation is coming to an end, and it’s almost time to head back to school. Many aspects of children’s success at school can effect the dynamic at home. At Pratt Home Builders, our hope is that the children of our community, county and beyond have a positive school experience. We reached to Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, for an update on what students can look forward to this year, and his best tips on helping them achieve success.
Back to school brings new opportunities and a renewed focus for children in Hamilton County Schools
Back to school time is near with the first day of school scheduled for Wednesday, August 8 in Hamilton County Schools. The first day of school is an exciting time for children and families with kids ready to see friends and parents ready for the kids to see their friends. Summers are fun, but learning and growth must resume preparing our children for the possibilities of their future. We are looking forward to a great school year for you and your child with exciting new learning opportunities in our classrooms that will open the door to a world of new possibilities for the future.
The beginning of the school year is also exciting because it begins our work under a new action plan we call Future Ready 2023 that will provide the direction needed to set our district on the path to becoming the fastest improving school district in Tennessee. We have worked with school leadership teams to develop action plans and clear focus areas for schools for the new school year to make sure we provide the instruction needed for each child to reach their academic potential. The action plans will focus on overall academic achievement for children, but literacy and math skills will be at the forefront.
Improvements in technology
The district is gearing up for the use of additional technology throughout the district from elementary to high school; this was an important key concept parents shared with district administration during community listening sessions held last school year. Hamilton County middle schools will provide a laptop for every child in grades six thru eight to improve access to learning tools available online. Future Ready Institutes at the high school level will feature technology used in the workplace in the Tennessee Valley to allow teens to experience the work world of careers in our area.
Transformation of middle schools
Middle schools will have a new focus called Future Ready Preps that will transform the way we look at the middle school experience. The new focus will seek to personalize learning to meet every child where they are academically, expose them to a variety of careers, and support their social and emotional learning. Academic performance will be the focus and teachers will spearhead the instructional and cultural shifts required to achieve the new vision for the middle school experience.
Preparing for future possibilities with Future Ready Institutes
High schools will launch Future Ready Institutes this fall that will provide smaller learning communities within traditional high schools. Major employers in the area are working with our high schools to provide expertise and resources to make this a true community effort to energize the high school learning environment. The institutes will operate in a team concept with subject area teachers working with career focus instructors to connect classroom instruction to the real world and prepare our graduates to be successful after graduation. Over a third of our incoming freshmen have already registered for a Future Ready Institute with more to come in the first few weeks of school.
When school starts, Hamilton County Schools will launch four new learning communities called Rock Point, Harrison Bay, Missionary Ridge, and North River to bring a sense of community to our schools. Schools across the district have been grouped into Learning Communities to provide a greater sense of community between the schools, the students, parents and those who live and do business around the schools. These four will join the fifth learning community, the Opportunity Zone, as we work to become more responsive to the diverse needs of the communities our schools serve in Hamilton County.
Facility upgrades will improve safety across the district. New door security equipment uses a camera system to monitor visitors and give the visitor access to the building only after being verified by someone inside the school. The new door locks and cameras will provide another layer of security for our children. Additional school resource officers will also be in our schools this year as we work with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department to train and staff these important security positions.
Four Ps of Back to School
- Identify important dates: the first day of school, registration, start and end time of school
- Note the beginning and end times of extra-curricular activities
- Begin now to establish a daily and evening routine
- Locate the school supply list and purchase necessary items
- Go ahead and work on your emergency plan to determine what your family will do if bad weather impacts the school day. Who will your children stay with if the school is closed for the day or how will they get home from school if the school must close early? Planning will make those bad weather days much less hectic.
- Connect with the school website to learn about upcoming activities
- Visit the school to understand your important role in the education process
- For elementary children, read to them each day or have your child read to you
- Connect with teachers and counselors so that you build a strong relationship to assist your child
- Get involved in PTA meetings or other opportunities for involvement
- Share your thoughts on your child’s school and education with the school and district so that you can be a part of the education process
Pilot your child’s course to success:
- Sign-up for PowerSchool and be aware of your child’s progress
- Talk to teachers about your child’s successes and work together on areas needing improvement
These four Ps will help parents get ready for school. The changes coming with the new action plan Future Ready 2023 will prepare teachers to return to the classroom with learning opportunities that will ignite each child’s passion for learning. Starting day one this school year, the excellent teachers in our schools will begin the transformation of the learning experience in Hamilton County Schools to match dreams with possibilities for the future for our children, their families, and our community.
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This post was written by Pratt Homes