Achievement & Reform
We invite you to visit American Radio Works to learn about their in-depth documentary Testing Teachers which discusses teacher quality and how it impacts student achievement. The documentary features scenarios from the Benwood Intiative.
Hamilton County elementary schools have an average student-teacher ratio of 18.87 to 1 in Kindergarten through third grade and 22.8 to 1 in the upper grades.
Three Hamilton County elementary schools and one K-8 school have been honored as National Schools of Excellence.
Through the nationally acclaimed Benwood Initiative, a $9 million reform initiative from the Benwood Foundation and the Public Education Foundation, Hamilton County Schools dramatically increased student achievement at the eight elementary schools with the greatest challenges in the county while closing the achievement gap.
In 2007, the District partnered again with the Benwood Foundation and PEF for Benwood II, expanding this successful initiative to an additional eight elementary schools located across the county. The expansion initiative will continue to target literacy and teacher effectiveness along with math instruction and staff development. The goal of the expansion grant is to spread the reform work to all elementary schools.
All Hamilton County elementary schools continue to make great gains in student achievement with more than 90% of students scoring proficient or advanced in reading and math. Seven elementary schools scored straight A's in Academic Achievement and Academic Growth on the 2007 Tennessee Schools Report Card. Another 24 elementary schools received straight A's in Academic Growth, indicating exceptional student progress from one year to the next.
The District’s third grade proficiency reading scores, a benchmark identified by a community literacy initiative that seeks to have 95% of all third graders reading at or above grade level by 2010, are also increasing. This progress gives rise to a generation of students with a greater chance for success, indicating elementary reform efforts are paying off.
Hamilton County has 21 middle school sites serving about 9,500 students in grades 6-8. Students are assigned to interdisciplinary teams with 3 to 5 teachers. Hamilton County Schools is continuing reform efforts at the middle school level supported by grants from the Lyndhurst Foundation, the National Education Association Foundation and the Public Education Foundation. These efforts, patterned after successful high school reform work, have allowed each school to create a plan for achievement that is unique to their students, faculty and campus. The Tennessee Schools Report Card indicates that middle school students are making progress in both reading and math under these reform initiatives.
Secondary education is provided to nearly 12,000 students at 16 school sites. Approximately 65% of Hamilton County high schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Three high schools have been recognized as National Schools of Excellence. The District offers dual enrollment, Virtual School and an Adult High School for credit recovery. Students meet graduation requirements for a Single Path Curriculum designed to prepare all students to attend a 2 or 4-year college or effectively enter the workforce. Hamilton County Schools is continuing reform efforts at the high school level with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Public Education Foundation.
The Hamilton County Department of Education has been recognized around the state and country as a leader in implementing innovative reform efforts that have improved student achievement.
Since 2001, reform efforts have been successfully implemented at all levels, positively impacting the education of thousands of students.
Notable reform efforts include:
- Benwood Initiative (16 elementary schools with a focus on improving literacy and math instruction and achievement)
- Middle Schools for a New Society - 21 middle schools with a focus on four core principles: personalization, flexibility, relevant curriculum and professional learning communities.
- College Access - 17 high schools with a focus on helping students navigate the waters of going onto college. In 2009, 72% of graduates enrolled in a two or four-year college. The Public Education Foundation administers the system's college going effort.