The SLC grant is a $5.5 million federal grant designed to create groups (academies) of students and faculty that are smaller and more personal for schools with student populations of more than 1,000. The academies allow teachers the opportunity to get to know the students better and follow student academic progress in a more personal way.
Patti Hunt is coordinator of the Smaller Learning Communities grant for Bradley County Schools.
“I wanted to let you know some of the things that are already taking place in our schools as a result of these funds,” Patti Hunt told board members.
n The first goal is to prepare all students to be successful in postsecondary education and careers without the need for remediation.
Hunt said staff at both Bradley Central and Walker Valley high schools are in the process of increasing the number of advanced placement (AP) courses offered in order to increase the rigor of the courses. The schools are in the process of scheduling college visits for students so that every student in school has the opportunity to visit a college campus early during his or her high school career. Teachers are also sharing best practices and teaching styles to improve teaching practices.
n The second goal of the grant is to create engaging, rigorous learning environments where all students are motivated to maximize their academic potential.
Hunt said that from June 26-29 Bradley Central, Walker Valley and Cleveland high schools will be sending a group of teachers to a Model Schools Conference in Nashville. The schools are also planning a five-day summer institute for 15 teachers from each high school to receive intense training on rigor, relevance, relationship and leadership instruction.
n The third goal is to create an environment in which a core group of teachers and other adults knows the interests, needs and aspirations of students through monitoring student progress.
With the third goal, the school system has planned a Summer Bridge program for eighth-grade students to provide connections to high school May 31 through June 10.
“This grant will be long-lasting and impacting, and really help teachers think about approaching high school in a new way, collaboratively,” said Bradley County Schools director Johnny McDaniel.
In other school news, the Bradley Central High School Fine Arts Center construction project is “slightly ahead of schedule” and near completion, according to TriCon Inc. project manager Cason Conn.
Conn estimated a late April or early May date for the project to be completed.
The board voted unanimously to allow the National Archery in Schools Program to be implemented in the schools. The program was launched in Tennessee in 2004 and is now offered in 177 schools across the state.
Charleston Elementary Principal Jodi Grannan and physical education teacher Shane Evans presented the program to the board for its approval.
“We’re very excited about this program. It’s a program where everyone — boys, girls, students with disabilities — can participate,” said Grannan.
The program is also used to teach academics including math, geography and history, according to Matt Clarey with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.
The board will hold a joint meeting with the Education Committee and Finance Committee Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
The board will next meet March 17 at 5:30 p.m.