A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent

 
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
A Bold Vision
for Our
Future Workforce
Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
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A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
CHA2.0

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A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
CH AT TA N OO G A 2 . 0 : A B OL D
                             V I S I ON F OR H A M I LTO N C O U N TY’S
                             WO R K F O R C E TA LE N T
                             Hamilton County has heavily invested in bringing attractive jobs to
                             the community, and that investment is paying off. 7
                               A N E W K I N D O F J O B G R OWT H . 8

                               TA K I N G ADVANTAG E O F O P P O R T U N I T Y. 8

                             The majority of Hamilton County residents do not have the level
                             of education required by the industries growing in the area. 9
                               O P P O R TU N I T I E S F O R O PT I M I S M . 10

                             Hamilton County is falling behind its peers and the state on a
                             number of educational outcomes. 12
                               E L E M E N TARY S C H O O LS : STAG NANT F O U N DAT I O N S . 15

                               M I D D L E S C H O O LS: LO S I N G M O M E NTU M. 16

                               H I G H S C H O O LS: LO S I N G G R O U N D. 19

                               G R A D UATI O N R AT E S : M I LLI O N S I N LO ST WAG E S . 20

                               O P P O RT U N I T I E S F O R O PT I M I S M . 23

                             Not only are Hamilton County Schools falling behind, but students
                             also lack equal access to good schools. 23
                               U N E Q UAL AC C E S S TO E D U CATI O N B EYO N D H I G H S C H O O L. 24

                               T H E I Z O N E E XAM P LE . 26

                               O P P O R TU N I T I E S F O R O PT I M I S M . 28

                             Despite enrolling in colleges and technical schools, high school
                             graduates in Hamilton County are not attaining advanced
                             education. 32
                               P O STS E C O N DARY G R AD UAT I O N: LO S I N G TALE NT. 33
2015 - 2 0 1 6
                               O P P O R TU N I T I E S F O R O PT I M I S M . 3 8
LEAD R E S E ARC H E R

LU K E KO H L M O O S
                             To take advantage of economic growth, Hamilton County must
R E S E ARC H E R
                             work to increase educational attainment by improving K-12
C O U R T N E Y S E I LE R
                             outcomes and postsecondary completion. 41
E DITO R

JAR E D T. B I G H A M       The life of a student is the pathway to success. 42
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
Chattanooga is now one of the best places
    in America to live, work and start a business,
    and the jobs are arriving.

    H A M I LT O N C O U N T Y
    PROJEC TED JOB GROW TH

    18%

     16%

     14%

     12%

    10%
                                                      PA S T G R O W T H

     8%
                                                      Volkswagen
                                                      Expansion
     6%
                                                      7,000 jobs: the
     4%
                                                      difference between
     2%                                               sustaining growth and
                                                      returning to solid but
     0%                                               slow growth.
                         2009    2014   2020   2025

2
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
Building the Smartest Community in the South
E X E C U T IV E S U M MARY                                     The Chattanooga region’s economy is growing in ways
                                                                that would have been unimaginable 30 years ago. We are
Chattanooga/Hamilton County has become one of the most
                                                                experiencing unprecedented job growth, especially in higher-
innovative and economically promising places in America for
                                                                wage industries such as advanced manufacturing, logistics,
new job creation and business investment. In just the past
                                                                healthcare, insurance and technology. In fact, Chattanooga
five years, Hamilton County has added jobs at a higher rate
                                                                is one of the top 10 metro areas in the country for growing
than Tennessee as a whole, trailing only Nashville among the
                                                                advanced industries, having added more than 12,000 of these
major metro areas in terms of job growth in the state.
                                                                high-paying jobs since 2010, and that number is expected to
We are nearing 30 years of an incredible renaissance, which     quadruple in the next five years.
has propelled Chattanooga to the forefront as a vibrant
                                                                These recent job gains present a critical opportunity to boost
and livable community. Our thriving downtown, revitalized
                                                                our standard of living and raise family incomes throughout the
neighborhoods, world-class waterfront and public spaces, and
                                                                county. However, despite Chattanooga’s enormous economic
gigabit internet infrastructure are the hallmark successes of
                                                                potential, the region currently lacks the workforce required to
a community that has pulled together and worked tirelessly
                                                                sustain our success. In the coming years, over 80 percent of
to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. And
                                                                jobs paying a living wage ($35,000) in our area will require
the efforts and investments in rebuilding our community’s
                                                                a postsecondary certificate or degree, but currently, just 35
infrastructure and amenities have paid off.
                                                                percent of students in Hamilton County are likely to obtain
                                                                this required level of education.
                                                                                                                                  3
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
In the coming years, over 80% of jobs paying
a living annual wage ($35,000) in our area will
require a degree or certificate after high school.
Though our community has overcome huge challenges and                              be temporary, as companies struggle to find outside talent
made incredible progress, our commitment to education and                          that can fill their jobs, which means our region loses its
opportunity has not kept pace and, as a consequence, we                            competitive advantage.
are facing some sobering statistics:                                               But, despite the current challenges, there are many reasons
•   4 out of 10 students in our county live in poverty, which                      to believe that our community is equipped with the assets,
    presents major barriers for academic success.                                  experience and will to dramatically improve our educational
                                                                                   system for all children.
•   Less than half of children entering Kindergarten are
    “ready to learn.”                                                              When it comes to public education, there are many talented
                                                                                   and dedicated teachers, principals, educators and higher
•   Nearly 60 percent of all 3rd graders do not read on
                                                                                   education leaders in our community who are working hard
    grade level.
                                                                                   to make a difference. While there is no silver bullet or
•   Hamilton County schools have fallen further behind the                         clear path to transforming education, we can build off of
    state and other metro areas in every single high school                        the successes and lessons learned from great efforts both
    test and on average ACT scores.                                                locally and from across the country. There are some things
•   On the recent state report card, Hamilton County                               that we know have the potential to make a big difference,
    schools trailed the state’s other major metro areas                            including: great teaching and leadership, ensuring strong
    in academic growth.                                                            foundations in early learning, building better college and
                                                                                   career connections, creating postsecondary supports, and
•   Only 24 percent of Chattanooga State students and                              aligning education for the 21st century.
    51 percent of UTC students graduate with a degree
                                                                                   Going forward, we know the most successful communities
    within six years.
                                                                                   will be those that ensure their residents are equipped with
•   15,000 existing jobs in Hamilton County are not filled by                      the skills to be successful in the new high-tech, digitally-
    Hamilton County residents due to lack of training, skills                      driven, knowledge-based economy.
    and education.
                                                                                   Imagine Chattanooga as a place that provides a great public
In short, Chattanooga is on a risky trajectory. If we do                           education and pathways to promising careers for every child
not act now to promote new approaches and make smart                               in our community. Imagine Chattanooga as “The Smartest
investments to improve educational outcomes for students,                          Community in the South.” By committing to the bold—but
the majority of our residents will not be able to benefit from                     attainable—goal of having 75 percent of Hamilton County
the recent influx of jobs that has been the result of years of                     residents earn a postsecondary certification, we will improve
hard work and investment. Ultimately, we run the risk that                         the quality of life for all residents.
the economic boost we are currently experiencing will only

1 http://www.governing.com/gov-institute/col-santa-monica-chattanooga-sustainability-economics-environment.html
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
AC H I EVI N G A 75 % P OS T S EC ON DARY AT TA I N M E NT W I LL M E A N:
•   100,000 more local residents with access to jobs that pay over $35,000
•   $4,500 average raise for every adult worker in Hamilton County
•   $1.1 billion more in total wages in our county every year
•   8,000 adults brought out of poverty

This report is intended to serve as the baseline—the starting point for a community-wide push to ensure that Chattanooga is
able to sustain and build upon the success we’ve created together over the past three decades. The information found within
these pages provides a better understanding of the challenge, and recognition that it will take community-wide effort and
commitment to implement the bold and transformative solutions that are needed.
Who has a role to play? We all do. The data tells a sobering story in some areas, but it also highlights a definitive moment in
time where community partnerships, monetary resources, and focused strategies can be rallied to propel Chattanooga forward.
For some individual leaders and organizations, Chattanooga 2.0 may bring only a willingness to embrace the challenges and
endorse the opportunities found in this report. For others, Chattanooga 2.0 creates a chance for organizations and individuals
to create much more meaningful community and neighborhood conversations towards bold and actionable steps. For others,
it may mean simply moving past what is clearly not working and devoting significantly more time, energy and resources into
new strategies and partnerships in a unified approach that clearly draws a definitive line in the sand that the status quo is
unacceptable, if we are going to prepare and support our community for the jobs of the future.
Our community has faced and overcome tough challenges before. We have always pulled together to make sure the
foundations and infrastructure are in place for a thriving city. Now it is time to invest in our people, ensuring greater
opportunity for every neighborhood, and for all of our residents to help drive our community’s future.

If we want Chattanooga to sustain its economic
success and improved quality of life, now is the time
to set a bold vision for the future of Chattanooga
and work together to make it a reality.
D I D YO U K N O W ?                                              B U T W E H AV E M U C H M O R E W O R K T O D O…

•   Nearly 10,000 new jobs will arrive in Hamilton County         •   15,000 existing jobs in Hamilton County are not filled by
    over the next few years as a result of our rapid expansion        Hamilton County residents due to lack of training, skills
    in automotive manufacturing and other advanced                    and education.
    industries.
                                                                  •   A black child in Hamilton County is 33 times more likely
•   Hamilton County is experiencing the fastest job growth            than a white child to attend one of the lowest performing
    in the area thanks to fast growing sectors in logistics,          schools in the state.
    healthcare, insurance, advanced manufacturing, and
                                                                  •   Only 24 percent of Chattanooga State students and 51
    technology.
                                                                      percent of UTC students graduate with a degree within six
•   Chattanooga ranked 1st on Outside Magazine’s 2015 list            years.
    of ‘Best Cities to Live’.
                                                                  •   Hamilton County schools have fallen further behind the
•   Chattanooga ranked 4th on WalletHub’s 2015 list of                state in every single high school test since 2012.
    ‘Best Cities to Start a Business.’
•   Hamilton County schools already outperform the state on
    math in grades three-five.

                                                                                                                                  5
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
Pulling together to ensure
    that 75% of Hamilton County
    residents hold an industry
    certification, two-year
    degree, or four-year
    degree by 2025.

6
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
Building Opportunities: Sharing the Success
of Our Growing Economy
HAM I LTON C OU NT Y HAS H EAVI LY I NVE STE D I N B R I NG I NG N EW AN D B ET TE R
JOB S TO TH E C OM M U N IT Y, AN D THAT I NVE STM E NT I S PAYI NG OF F.
Hamilton County, home of Chattanooga, has pushed its way to the forefront of innovative and economically promising
places in the United States. With a history of revitalization and renewal, Chattanooga is no stranger to being the underdog.
In the late 1960s, the federal government declared the city’s air the dirtiest in the nation, perpetuating a narrative of
Chattanooga as America’s dirtiest city.
What followed was an aggressive cleanup effort and a successful bid to rebrand Chattanooga as “the Scenic City of the
South.” In recent decades, the public, private, and philanthropic sectors in the region have invested hundreds of millions
of dollars to revitalize the city’s riverfront and reorient its economy around tourism and clean, high-tech industry to improve
the city’s overall quality of life.
When it comes to reimagining its future and then going to work to get it done, no community in the South has been more
successful than Chattanooga. From revitalizing our downtown—to introducing America to the power and potential that
comes with ultra-high speed internet—Chattanooga has turned its downtown from a ghost town into a boom town—and
the physical changes in the city have been constant and impressive.
These efforts and investments in rebuilding the city’s infrastructure and amenities have paid off. Chattanooga is now one
of the best places in America to live, work and start a business, and the jobs are arriving.

O U R G OA LS
W O R K F O R C E R E A DY

•   100,000 more residents with jobs that make over $35,000
•   65% of jobs in Hamilton County jobs held by Hamilton County residents
P O S T S E C O N D A RY C O M P L E T I O N

•   90% of high school grads enrolling in a postsecondary institution
•   80% six-year graduation rate with postsecondary degrees or certificates
P O S T S E C O N D A RY R E A D I N E S S

•   Hamilton County ACT average surpasses the state
•   1,000 summer jobs and internships for HS students
SCHOOL SUCCESS

•   75% of students on grade level in math by 8th grade
•   100% of students with career exploration portfolios
3 R D G R A D E F O U N D AT I O N S

•   90% of students reading on grade level by 3rd grade
SCHOOL READINESS

•   100% of students with access to Pre-­K programming
•   1,000 new Pre-­K seats

                                                                                                                                  7
A Bold Vision for Our Future Workforce - Chattanooga 2.0 Growing Workforce Talent
A N EW K I N D OF JOB G ROW TH

                                                                                                Over the past 5 years,
      W H AT D O E S ‘A D VA N C E D I N D U S T R I E S ’ M E A N ?

      Jobs in advanced industries vary, but some of the
      common jobs in this category are:
                                                                                                Hamilton County has
                                                                                                added jobs at a higher
      •    Aerospace manufacturing
      •    Pharmaceutical and medicine production
      •    Semiconductor manufacturing                                                          rate than Tennessee
      •
      •
           Computer systems design
           Software publishing
                                                                                                as a whole, trailing
      •    Automotive manufacturing                                                             only Nashville among
      •    Scientific research and development                                                  the major metro areas
      •    Wireless telecommunications
                                                                                                in terms of job growth
                                                                                                in the state.
                                                           6.6%                                 These new jobs are the types of jobs that will change the
          AU S TI N , T X
                                                                                   12.1%        trajectory of Hamilton County’s economic future. Chattanooga
                                                                                                is now one of the top 10 metro areas in the country for growing
                                                 4.2%                                           advanced industries, adding more than 12,000 advanced
 C H A R LE S TO N , SC
                                                                            10.5%               industries jobs since 2010. This growth in advanced industries
                                                                                                accounts for almost all of the new jobs Hamilton County has
                                                    4.9%
   C H A R LOT TE , N C                                                                         gained over the past five years.
                                                                     8.9%
                                                                                                Advanced industries have grown in Hamilton County primarily
                                                           6.4%                                 due to auto manufacturing, but the growth seen up to this point
C H AT TA N OOG A , TN
                                                               7.3%                             is only the beginning. Automotive expansions already announced
                                                                                                should add more than 2,000 new jobs, which should spur the
                                     1.2%                                                       creation of another nearly 8,000 related jobs, on top of the
G R E E N S BO RO, N C
                                                                7.7%                            region’s projected job growth unrelated to these expansions.
                                                                                                To put this in perspective, this job influx over the next five
                                    0.9%                                                        years should yield nearly four times the number of new jobs as
    K N OX V I LLE , TN
                                                                        9.4%                    were created in the county during the past five years.

                                                               7.6%
   LO U I SV I LLE , K Y
                                                                    8.6%                        TAK I N G ADVAN TAG E OF OP P ORT U N IT Y
                                                                                                In addition to job creation gains in automotive manufacturing,
    N A S H V I LLE , TN
                                                                    8.5%                        other advanced industries will also have opportunities to grow
                                                                  8.1%                          in Hamilton County. In other fast-growing cities, advanced
                                                                                                industries represent a growing and larger share of total jobs,
       R A LE I G H , N C
                                                     5.2%                                       and Hamilton County is now catching up on this trend.
                                                                                 11.7%
                                                                                                For Hamilton County residents, this potential growth in
                                                                                                advanced industries represents an unparalleled economic
           P E R C E N T G R O W T H I N A D VA N C E D I N D U S T R I E S E M P LOY M E N T
           A D VA N C E D I N D U S T R I E S S H A R E O F TO TA L J O B S                     opportunity. Workers in advanced industries earn, on average, over
                                                                                                $20,000 more per year than other workers in the metro area.

    2 Based on the gap between education requirements of currently posted jobs and current education attainment of Hamilton Co. residents,
      applied to entire county economy
The potential of adding thousands of these high-paying jobs                  seen is whether Hamilton County will be able to sustain its
to Hamilton County could change the trajectory of the county                 position as a high-growth business destination.
and the lives of its residents. However, what remains to be

Workers in advanced industries earn, on average,
over $20,000 more per year than other workers in
the metro area.         As noted previously, 15,000 existing jobs in Hamilton County
 FIGURE 4
                                                                            are not filled by Hamilton County residents due to lack of
                                                                            training, skills and education. This also mirrors what local
 PROJECTED HAMILTON COUNTY JOB GROWTH
                                                                            employers are reporting in that they are having a hard time
                                                                            recruiting employees.
 14000
                                                                            The result? Only 56 percent of Hamilton County jobs are
                                                                            held by Hamilton residents. In short, the jobs are here, but the
 10500                                                                      workforce pool is not currently available to fill them.
                                                                            Two-thirds of current job postings in the automotive
  7000                                                                      manufacturing sector explicitly require some form of
                                                                            postsecondary credential. And since half of all advanced
                                                                            industry jobs require a bachelor’s degree, and the rest often
  3500                                                                      require industry certification or other training after high
                                                                            school, Chattanooga’s aspiring workforce clearly needs more
                                                                            education and preparation.
     0
                                JOB GROWTH                                  Educational attainment is also important outside of the
                                                                            advanced industries. The top ten employers in Hamilton
                                                                            County include insurance companies, healthcare companies,
One of the biggest determinations will be whether                           and government, and, of these employers, 55 percent of
Chattanooga/Hamilton County can meet the workforce                          currently posted jobs require some form of postsecondary
demands these advanced industries present.                                  education. (If job postings that do not include their education
But the majority of Hamilton County residents do not have the               requirements are excluded, the number jumps to 74 percent.)
level of education required by the advanced industries now                  For residents who want employment that delivers not just
growing in the area.                                                        earnings but prosperity, postsecondary education is even
Only 38 percent of Hamilton County residents have some                      more important. Currently, 83 percent of posted jobs in
type of postsecondary credential. While in the past, this level             Hamilton County that pay $35,000 or more require a
of educational attainment was adequate, the demands of                      postsecondary credential, and the high rate of demand for
Chattanooga’s growing economy, especially in advanced                       postsecondary education is found in similar fast-growing cities
industries, require many more skills and more education.                    throughout the country.

P E R C E N T O F J O B S P O S T E D T H AT PAY OV E R $ 3 5 , 0 0 0 A N D R E Q U I R E A P O S T S E C O N D A RY C R E D E N T I A L 3

            82%                          75%                            73%                             82%                            83%

 LO U I S V I L L E , K Y        GREENSBORO, NC                  NASHVILLE, TN                      AU S T I N , T X           C H AT TA N O O G A , T N

3 U.S. Census Bureau, OnTheMap Application and LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (Beginning of Quarter Employment, 2nd Quarter of 2002-2012).
Better skills and higher
 levels of education means                                                                OPPORTUNITIES FOR OPTIMISM

                                                                                          •   An estimated 17,000 Hamilton
 better jobs and higher                                                                       County residents aged 18-24, or

 incomes for local residents:
                                                                                              52 percent, have completed some
                                                                                              college or technical training after
                                                                                              high school. Helping this generation
                                                                                              of postsecondary students to
   FIGURE 7                                                                                   complete credentials will ensure
                                                                                              they are better prepared for
   MEDIAN PERSONAL INCOME IN HAMILTON COUNTY                                                  employment.

   $70,000
                                                                                          •   Hamilton County appears to be
                                                                                              facing the same talent gap as the
                                                                                              rest of the United States, where
   $52,500
                                                                                              54 percent of employers report
                                                                                              difficulty finding employees with
                                                                                              the right skills. But solving this gap
                                                                                              is what can set Hamilton County
   $35,000
                                                                                              apart from its peers and deliver
                                                                                              sustainable prosperity to its citizens.
   $17,500                                                                                •   Fulfilling the need for more
                                                                                              education is not just about helping
                                                                                              residents pursue their individual
    00                                                                                        prosperity. Increasing the number of
                S
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                 O
                 A IN
                 S O S

                 B

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                                                                                              college graduates has been shown
                   C

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                   R
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                     H

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                      H
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                                                                                              to have a positive effect on wages
                         E

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                         TH DI

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                           LO

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                             A L

                             H

                             TE
                              LL D R

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                                                                                              for all workers. For every percent
                               N O

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                                'S
                                P

                                 O

                                 D
                                 E E TIF
                                 H MA

                                   G G I

                                   E
                                   L
                                   IG

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                                     E R C

                                                                                              increase in workers who have a
                                      D

                                      E
                                       H

                                       R
                                        G
                                        IP

                                         E
                                          R
                                           LO

                                           E
                                            E

                                                                                              four-year degree in a community,
                                             E A

                                              E
                                               M

                                               E T
                                                 A

                                                                                              wages increase for all workers by
                                                   IO

                                                                                              an average of one percent.
                                                      N

 Higher levels of education lead to higher median incomes. And      Although lower paying jobs remain for those with limited
 there is compelling evidence that tangible associate’s degrees     education, these jobs are also the ones most at risk in the
 and industry certifications provide much greater value than just   years ahead. In fact, the top 10 occupations projected to
 some college without a credential. In fact, going to college for   decline the fastest in Hamilton County over the next 10 years
 a few semesters without attaining any credential has actually      are those that require only a high school diploma or less.
 been shown to add close to zero value over a high school           Building a more skilled workforce is a complex effort that
 diploma, again demonstrating the value of not just entering a      requires the cooperation of many. However, one thing is clear:
 postsecondary institution, but actually completing a program.      as new, high-paying jobs arrive in Hamilton County, they can
                                                                    only be filled by people with industry certifications, associate’s
                                                                    degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.

4 https://www.aei.org/publication/big-payoff-low-probability/
11
The Challenge:
     Strengthening the Pathways to Career Success
     C HAT TA N O O GA/ H AM I LTON C OU N T Y I S FALLI N G B E H I N D OTH E R M ETRO A R E A S
     I N T H E S TAT E ON A N U M B E R OF E D UCATION AL OUTC OM E S.

     While Chattanooga/Hamilton County has created new and                 East Ridge Middle, where, despite serving populations of over 85
     unprecedented career opportunities for more of our citizens, our      percent economically-disadvantaged children, student learning
     educational system is not keeping up.                                 is consistently outpacing the state. Other schools, like CSAS and
                                                                           CGLA, also exceeded student success and growth expectations
     •   Hamilton County is falling behind the state in several
                                                                           for 2014-15.
         educational benchmarks, including literacy, math and
         ACT scores.                                                       These bright spots provide hope. They show that in Hamilton
                                                                           County, there are great teachers, committed families, and a
     •   On the recent state report card, Hamilton County schools          supportive community, and when we all work in concert, there
         trailed the state’s other major metro areas in academic growth.   can be exceptional outcomes for our students. We have an
     •   Just 35 percent of high school graduates are likely to complete   opportunity to learn from the great examples in these and other
         any postsecondary credential.                                     schools and to build on their success throughout the system.

     •   Based on student growth, less than half of teachers in            However, much more work needs to be done, and greater
                                                                           progress across the district must happen soon, or too many
         Hamilton County were rated as “Above Expectations” last year,
                                                                           students will not be prepared to be the future workers we will
         and the percentage of “Above Expectations” teachers in high-
                                                                           need to meet the needs of our employers and to help propel the
         poverty schools was just 30 percent.
                                                                           community forward.
     But, despite these troubling statistics, there are also reasons for
                                                                           It is clear that students face barriers to success throughout their
     optimism that indicate progress and the reversal of recent trends
                                                                           education and that we must work to strengthen our educational
     may be around the corner.                                             pipeline from cradle to career, if we want to ensure opportunity for
     Schools like East Side Elementary, Rivermont Elementary and           all students.

     U N DE R STA N D I NG S CHO OL P E R F OR MA NC E : AC H I E V E M E NT V S . G R OW TH

     •   Throughout this report, you will find a number of metrics related to school performance. There are two main ways to measure
         school performance based on testing data: student achievement and student growth.
     •   Student achievement measures a student’s performance on a test at a single point in time and compares that performance to
         a set standard. Student growth measures a student’s progress between two points in time and compares performance to his/
         her own prior performance.
     •   Student achievement and growth are not necessarily linked. A school can have high student achievement without seeing
         student growth. Conversely, a school can help students learn and progress and show high student growth, but still have
         relatively low student achievement if those students started out further behind.

12
FIGURE 8

PERCENT OF 3-4 YEAR OLDS ENROLLED IN SCHOOL

70%
                                                                                                                                                                          63%
                                                                                                                                                  61%         61%
                                                                                                                                         58%
                                                                                                         54%       54%          55%
                                                                                   51%      52%
53%
                                                               46%        47%
                               44%         45%       45%
                       43%
            41%

35%

18%

  0%
              C

                       C

                                  S

                                            S

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K I N D E R G A R T E N R EADI N E S S :
ST U D E N T S A R R I V E W I TH DI F F E R E N T LEVE LS OF P R E PARATION

Learning is critical for students even before their first day of                            nearly a third are severely behind and at risk for never being
school. Many of the struggles that present themselves later                                 able to catch up without intensive intervention.
in a student’s education experience can be traced back to                                   The different levels of Pre-Kindergarten preparation vary
challenges that began in the early childhood years.                                         greatly by school and emphasize the negative impact that
                                                                                            concentrated poverty has on schools. For example, 16
In Hamilton County, just 43 percent of 3 and                                                public schools in Hamilton County have fewer than 20
4 year-olds are enrolled in early childhood                                                 percent of students deemed at risk, while 12 schools have
learning programs.                                                                          greater than 60 percent of students at risk. The elementary
This lack of early learning and enrollment is directly reflected                            schools within the feeder pattern of The Howard School, in
in the following years, where preliminary data suggests that                                particular, face a challenge, with three elementary schools
six out of ten students who arrive in Kindergarten in Hamilton                              serving over 80 percent of students at risk for not being
County schools are at risk for not being ready to learn, and                                ready to learn in Kindergarten.

                                                                                                                                                                                          13
14
E LE M E N TA RY S CH O OLS : S TAG NAN T FOU N DATION S I N LITE RACY
Success in elementary schools lays the foundation                     stagnant on literacy over the past several years, with only 43
for middle and high schools and allows middle and                     percent of students in grades 3-5 performing on grade level in
high schools to focus on accelerating students toward
                                                                      the most recent school year, slightly trailing the state.
opportunities after high school, rather than devoting
precious resources to remediation and playing catch up.               This includes four elementary schools where fewer than one in
Yet, in the early grades, Hamilton County has remained largely        five students are reading on grade level.

                                                     FIGURE 9

                                                     PERCENT OF STUDENTS SCORING “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVANCED” IN 3-5 LITERACY

Research has                                         100%
                                                     FIGURE 9

                                                     PERCENT OF STUDENTS SCORING “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVANCED” IN 3-5 LITERACY

shown that                                           100%

students who
                                                     75%

are not reading                                      75%

                                                                     50.2%             50.5%

on grade level
                                                      50%                              48.0%              48.4%
                                                                     46.7%                                46.7%             45.9%
                                                                                                                            42.9%

by third grade
                                                                     50.2%             50.5%              48.4%
                                                      50%                              48.0%
                                                                     46.7%                                46.7%             45.9%
                                                                                                                            42.9%
                                                      25%

will struggle for                                                   2012             2013               2014              2015

the rest of their
                                                      25%

                                                                    2012             2013               2014              2015

academic careers.                                                                HAMILTON COUNTY               STATE

                                                                                 HAMILTON COUNTY               STATE

In fact, results of a longitudinal study of nearly 4,000 students     However, math is a strong point in our local elementary
found that those who do not read proficiently by third grade          schools. Hamilton County outperforms the state in elementary
are four times more likely than proficient readers to leave           math. If such performance in early grades’ math can be
school without a high school diploma, and for the worst               sustained, we should see the secondary math deficit in the
readers, the drop out rate is nearly six times greater. These low     county begin to close.
literacy students represent more than three-fifths of those
who eventually drop out or fail to graduate on time.

                                                                                                                                       15
54.7%                                      50.8%       55.3%         50.5%
                                                 55%
                                                                       50.8%                      50.5%

 FIGURE 10
                                                                                                              2012                       2013                2014
                                                                    2012                       2013                        2014                       2015
PERCENT OF STUDENTS SCORING “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVANCED” IN 3-5 MATH
                                                                                                                                HAMILTON COUNTY                 STATE
                                                                                       HAMILTON COUNTY                          STATE
 100%

  85%

  70%
                                                                                                          64.4%
                                                   60.7%                       61.8%
                                                                                                          59.3%
                       54.7%                                                   55.3%
  55%
                       50.8%                       50.5%

                    2012                        2013                       2014                        2015

                                       HAMILTON COUNTY                          STATE

East Side Elementary in particular shines, beating both the state                  student growth. These are impressive feats for any school and
and district averages in math. East Side has also shown students                   an important
                                                                                        FIGURE 10 proof point for a school that serves some of the

learning faster than expected in both of FIGURE
                                          the past
                                                10 two years,                      most at-risk students in the district, with 98 percent economically
                                                                                       PERCENT OF STUDENTS SCORING “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVA
and is considered to be in the top five percent  in the state for
                                         PERCENT OF STUDENTS
                                                                                   disadvantaged and 70 percent English language learners.
                                                                                   SCORING “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVANCED” IN 3-5 MATH
                                                                                          100%
                                                100%

                                                                                           85%
M I DD LE S C HO OLS : LOS I 85%
                             NG MOM E N TU M
Middle schools provide a vital link between the foundations                         four percent as students move from 5th to 6th grade - largely
                                                                                          70%
built in elementary school and the readiness required in high                       due to students enrolling in area private schools – this cannot
                                        70%                                                                                                                    61.8%
school. While we know that Hamilton County schools typically                                                                    60.7%
                                                                                    fully explain the drop in student achievement seen between
                                                                                                                                            64.4%
                                                                                                60.7%                 61.8%                                    55.3%
experience a decline in enrollment of approximately three to                        elementary
                                                                                          55%    and middle school.
                                                                                                            54.7%                           59.3%
                                                                       54.7%                                      50.8%       55.3%         50.5%
                                                 55%
                                                                       50.8%                      50.5%

 FIGURE 10                                                                                                    2012                       2013                2014
                                                                    2012                       2013                        2014                       2015
PERCENT OF STUDENTS SCORING “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVANCED” IN 3-5 MATH
                                                                                                                                HAMILTON COUNTY                 STATE

 100%                                                                                  HAMILTON COUNTY                          STATE

  85%

  70%
                                                                                                          64.4%
                                                   60.7%                       61.8%
                                                                                                          59.3%
                       54.7%                                                   55.3%
  55%
                       50.8%                       50.5%

                    2012                        2013                       2014                        2015

                                       HAMILTON COUNTY                          STATE

5 Hernandez, Donald J. “Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation.” (n.d.): n. pag. The Annie E. Casey
  Foundation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
17
18
FIGURE 10

                                      FIGURE 10
While Hamilton County is making strides in elementary math        Hamilton
                                                                      PERCENTCountyOFdid not meet expected
                                                                                       STUDENTS     SCORINGrates   for student AND “ADVAN
                                                                                                              “PROFICIENT”
and numeracy, this upward trend takes    a noticeable downturn
                                       PERCENT OF STUDENTS SCORINGgrowth. Of“PROFICIENT”
                                                                               the six middle schools that grew theirINstudents
                                                                                               AND “ADVANCED”           3-5 MATH at
during the middle school years.                                        100%
                                                                  least as fast as expected, CSAS, East Ridge Middle School,
                                       100%
In literacy tests, where students almost achieve parity with      and East Lake Academy of Fine Arts led the way with student
the state by 5th grade, they then begin to fall back in middle    growth85%that was significantly above expectations.
school. By the end of middle school, students
                                        85%     have fallen
slightly behind their peers across the state. And there is little In the earlier 2012-13 school year, just over half of middle
                                                                        70%grew their students faster than expected. So although
                                                                  schools
evidence that they will catch up in high school.
                                        70%                                                                                         61.8%
Looking at student growth, and not just proficiency, to see       two years of decline have led to the current60.7%
                                                                                                                situation, 64.4%
                                                                                                                           past
                                                                              60.7%                   61.8%                                55.3%
whether students are learning faster than expected does              performance
                                                                          55%     demonstrates
                                                                                        54.7% that a return to systemically better
                                                                                                                        59.3%
                                                         54.7%                              50.8%     55.3%      50.5%
not paint a different picture. Two-thirds55%
                                          of middle schools in
                                                         50.8%
                                                                     results is not only possible, but has been done before.
                                                                                 50.5%

                                                                                          2012                 2013                   2014
FIGURE 12
                                                      2012                      2013                2014                  2015

2015 HCDE VS. STATE ON RATES OF “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVANCED” IN LITERACY                                HAMILTON COUNTY                      STATE
                                                                      HAMILTON COUNTY                  STATE

 100%

  75%

  50%

  25%

            3rd Grade    4th Grade      5th Grade      6th Grade      7th Grade        8th Grade

                               HAMILTON COUNTY                     STATE

 H I G H S C HO O LS : LOS I NG G ROU N D
 In order to ensure Hamilton County residents and our                 leaving our students less prepared to take advantage of the
 community are not left behind as we create new industries and        region’s growing economic opportunities.
 new jobs, there needs to be an intense focus on high schools         For example, despite growth in recent years, Hamilton County
 to accelerate the education of a broad swath of students who         has fallen further behind the state in Algebra II since 2012,
 can serve as the talent driving Hamilton County’s future.            leading to a gap of nearly eight points.
 Over the past three years, the rest of Tennessee has advanced        Similarly, focusing solely on Algebra I, a required course for all
 more quickly at the high school level than Hamilton County.          students in Tennessee and a crucial predictor of their success
 As a result, Hamilton County high schools are falling behind,        after high school, the data is even more troubling.

                                                                                                                                           19
50.8%                  50.5%

      FIGURE 13
                                                                                                    2012                       2013                   2014
                                          2012
      ACHIEVEMENT GAP BETWEEN HCDE AND STATE ON ALGEBRA II 2013                                                 2014                       2015

                                                                                                                       HAMILTON COUNTY                       STATE

       60%                                                                    HAMILTON COUNTY                          STATE

       50%

       40%

       30%

                      2012                  2013                  2014                  2015

     Hamilton County schools have    dropped into the bottom 10 of
                                 HAMILTON COUNTY
                                                                     all 141 districts
                                                                   STATE
     in the state on Algebra I. Comparing Hamilton County schools’ performance                      W H Y I S M AT H I M P O R TA N T ?
     to the other three largest metropolitan districts in the state—Knox County,
     Davidson County and Shelby County—Hamilton County has fallen to the                            •    72 percent of students who attend
     bottom of the pack and has been outperformed by Shelby County for two                               college and complete a four-year
     years running in Algebra I.                                                                         degree took a high school math
                                                                                                         course above Algebra II.
     This is especially troubling, as much of the projected job growth in Chattanooga
     is in the advanced industries sector, which requires a strong foundation in math.              •    Those with low levels of math are 50
     And for our students, continued struggles in high school math, not only presents                    percent more likely to be unemployed
     a challenge for high school graduation and college success, it is going to FIGURE 10                than those with higher levels of math.
     significantly limit the job opportunities that students
                                                FIGURE 10    can pursue.                     • Those with low levels of math
                                                                                 PERCENT OF STUDENTS  SCORING     “PROFICIENT” AND “ADVAN
     Less than half of Hamilton County high     school students
                                             PERCENT              are profi
                                                        OF STUDENTS                            typically
                                                                            cient or “PROFICIENT”
                                                                         SCORING                   AND earn   about $1.30
                                                                                                          “ADVANCED”      INless
                                                                                                                             3-5 MATH
     advanced in Algebra I, which is not the most difficult math   course      100%
                                                                          required   for       per  hour.
                                                               FIGURE 14
                                             100%
     graduation. But it should be noted, 30 percent of 8th graders take Algebra I in        • BETWEEN
                                                                                               Many of the   newTHE
                                                                                                                  jobsSTATE,
                                                                                                                       comingAND
                                                                                                                               to SHELBY
                                                               ALGEBRA I ACHIEVEMENT GAP                  HCDE,                                              COUN
     an effort to increase the number of higher-level math courses they can take in            Hamilton County include math skills
                                                                                85%
     high school.                             85%                70%
                                                                                               in their job descriptions.
     This pattern of Hamilton County falling further behind the state average is now
                                                                                70%
     being seen in every high school subject measured by the state60%assessments.
                                              70%                                                                                                       61.8%
     Although Hamilton County is demonstrating steady improvement in most of these                                               60.7%
                                                                                                                                             64.4%
                                                                                                                  61.8%
     subjects, the improvement is not keeping up with the growth50%being seen in55%
                                                                                 other60.7%             54.7%                                59.3%      55.3%
                                                                                                        50.8%                    50.5%
     areas across the state.                  55%
                                                               54.7%                                              55.3%
                                                                 50.8%                  50.5%
                                                                     40%
                                                                                                    2012                       2013                   2014
       FIGURE 14
                                                              2012               2012 2013               2013   2014            2014       2015      2015

      ALGEBRA I ACHIEVEMENT GAP BETWEEN HCDE, THE STATE, AND SHELBY COUNTY                                         HAMILTON COUNTY                          STATE
                                                                              HAMILTON COUNTY                      STATE
        70%                                                                                 HAMILTON COUNTY        SHELBY CO             STATE

        60%

        50%

        40%

                       2012                   2013                    2014                   2015
20
21
FIGURE 15

     ACHIEVEMENT GAP BETWEEN HCDE AND STATE ON ENGLISH I, II, AND III AND BIOLOGY I

                                          English I                                                                 English II
 % PROFICIENT/ADVANCED

                                                                          % PROFICIENT/ADVANCED
                           72                                                                        65

                         69.75                                                                      62.8

                                                            67.6
                          67.5                                                                      60.5                             59.8

                         65.25                                                                      58.3
                                   64                                                                        56.9

                                 2012                     2015                                             2012                    2015

                                                        HAMILTON CO                                                              HAMILTON CO
                                                        STATE                                                                    STATE

                                          English III                                                               Biology I
 % PROFICIENT/ADVANCED

                                                                            % PROFICIENT/ADVANCED

                           42                                                                        70

                                                                                                                                     65.2
                          37.8                                                                      63.8

                          33.5     32.9                     33.1                                    57.5     55.9

                          29.3                                                                      51.3

                                 2012                     2015                                             2012                    2015

                                                        HAMILTON CO                                                              HAMILTON CO
                                                        STATE                                                                    STATE

     Hamilton County is seeing similar results in ACT scores, another indicator of college readiness. In Hamilton County, 13 high
     schools have an average ACT score that is below the state average of 19.3. Four of our high schools have an average ACT score
     below 16, which is the minimum score required for most postsecondary opportunities.
     These postsecondary opportunities include local technical schools where students can pursue industry certifications for better
     jobs and higher wages. Yet, the local technical school requires a minimum ACT score of 16 for all of its programs. So in the five
     high schools in Hamilton County with a three-year average ACT score under 16, the average student could not even get into a
     program where they could pursue such an industry certification.
     Further, for the industry certification programs in the booming industries of healthcare and advanced manufacturing, students
     are required to perform at a college level in both math and reading. This means continued low ACT scores will greatly limit
     access to postsecondary opportunities for a large swath of our student body.

22
Not only are Hamilton County Schools falling
behind, but too many students and families
also lack equal access to good schools.
With a need for greater and much broader educational success in order to reap the benefits of our region’s growing
economic opportunities, one area that must be addressed is the challenge faced by too many students and families of
not having access to a high-performing school.

F
[ IGURE 16

AVERAGE 2013-14 ACT SCORE BY HIGH SCHOOL

        SIGNAL MOUNTAIN                                                                         OPPORTUNITIES FOR OPTIMISM

                           CCA                                                                  •   Three schools stand out
                                                                                                    with higher than 95 percent
   HCCH AT CHATT STATE
                                                                                                    graduation rates: Signal
                          CSAS                                                                      Mountain Middle School/High
                                                                                                    School, Chattanooga School
              EAST HAMILTON                                                                         for Arts and Sciences, and
                                                                                                    Chattanooga High Center for
                SODDY DAISY
                                                                                                    Creative Arts.
                  OOLTEWAH
                                                                                                •   Hamilton County Collegiate
                      HIXSON                                                                        High at Chattanooga State, an
                                                                                                    innovative partnership school
                     CENTRAL
                                                                                                    between the school district and
                 SALE CREEK                                                                         Chattanooga State, has been
                                                                                                    identified as one of the top
             LOOKOUT VALLEY                                                                         performing schools in the state
                                                                                                    two years running.
                   RED BANK

                                                                                                •   Signal Mountain not only
                IVY ACADEMY
                                                                                                    graduates students at a high rate
                 EAST RIDGE                                                                         and boasts some of the highest
                                                                                                    test scores in the district, but in
                        TYNER
                                                                                                    2015, it also was the only high
                  SEQUOYAH                                                                          school in the district to grow its
                                                                                                    students faster than expected in
   HAMILTON COUNTY HS                                                                               both math and literacy.
                   BRAINERD

                     HOWARD

                          CGLA

                                            5         10       15           20   25   30   35

6 https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/tcat/tcat-admissions-test-requirements
FIGURE 17

       Lowest-Performing Schools vs.                           UNEQUAL ACCESS
       Highest-Performing Schools
       •   For the purposes of this analysis, the                18.00%
           ‘lowest-performing schools’ are those that                                   16.40%

           are on the state’s list of priority schools.
           Priority schools are the lowest-performing            13.50%

           five percent of schools in Tennessee in
           terms of academic achievement.
                                                                 9.00%
       •   The ‘highest-performing schools’ are those
           that are on the state’s reward school list.
           Reward schools are the top five percent of            4.50%
           schools in the state for performance—as
           measured by overall student achievement
                                                                                                             0.50%
           levels—and the top five percent for year-             0.00%
           over-year progress—as measured by                     HCDE STUDENT’S LIKELIHOOD OF ATTENDING ONE OF THE LOWEST
           school-wide value-added data.                         PERFORMING SCHOOLS IN THE STATE

                                                                                  BLACK STUDENT         WHITE STUDENT

     In fact, an African-American student in Hamilton County is 33 times more likely than a
     white student to attend a school in the bottom five percent of the state.
     Another way of looking at this is that while a white student     with students from different neighborhoods receiving
     in Hamilton County has less than a one percent chance of         vastly different educational experiences. In five of our high
     attending one of the lowest-performing schools in the state,     school zones, at least half of the schools in the zone are in
     a black student in Hamilton County has a greater than a 16       the bottom quarter of the state in student achievement:
     percent chance of doing so. When looking at access to the        1.       Brainerd
     highest-quality schools in the state, the gap between black
                                                                      2.       East Ridge
     and white students is much smaller, but still remains. Black
     students in Hamilton County have a 2.2 percent chance            3.       Hixson
     of attending one of the highest-performing schools in the        4.       Howard
     state, while white students have a 6.5 percent chance.           5.       Tyner
     These odds are troubling for all students: only about 1 in
                                                                      Being born in those zones virtually guarantees that the
     every 20 Hamilton County students goes to an exceptional
                                                                      bulk of a student’s educational experience will occur in
     or high-performing school.
                                                                      schools where students are not learning to read or do
     This means that overall, black students are more                 math on grade level. Not surprisingly, these are also the
     than seven times as likely to go to one of the lowest-           areas of the city with the highest rates of poverty. What
     performing schools in the state as they are to go to one         this means is that it is even more important for students in
     of the highest-performing schools in the state. Or to put        these areas to have access to schools that can help them
     it in more localized terms, for every one black student          overcome the challenges associated with poverty.
     in Hamilton County who ends up in one of the highest-
                                                                      While there are certainly promising schools in each of these
     performing schools, seven end up in one of the lowest-
                                                                      zones, such as Hardy Elementary, East Ridge Middle, and
     performing. We cannot continue to let this sad reality go
                                                                      Calvin Donaldson, where students are learning enough to
     unaddressed.                                                     start to catch up, sustaining that learning over a full academic
     Much of the inequality is based on where students live,          career remains a challenge that must be faced.
24
Either we face this challenge, or Hamilton
County runs the risk of permanently creating two
Chattanoogas—one for the prosperous and one
for those being left significantly behind.
However, student achievement is not the only way, or even the best way, to look at inequality of access to good schools. Instead
of looking at whether students are performing on grade level, it is often more useful to look at student growth and how much
students have learned over the course of a school year in comparison to where they started. The situation in Hamilton County
looks a little different when taking this perspective. For instance:

The Howard High School feeder pattern,         FIGURE 18

despite struggling on a number of key
                                               CLASS OF 2014 POSTSECONDARY MATRICULATION BY HIGH SCHOOL
metrics, is the only school with a feeder
pattern of elementary and middle
                                                                 CSAS
schools where students in the majority
of schools learned more than expected
                                                   SIGNAL MOUNTAIN
over the course of the past year. This is
largely courtesy of a group of elementary     HCCH AT CHATT STATE
schools where student achievement is
                                                      EAST HAMILTON
growing quickly.
But East Ridge, Ooltewah, and Signal                              CCA
Mountain High Schools see elementary
                                                             OOLTEWAH
and middle school feeder patterns where
students in at least three quarters of
                                                                TYNER
schools learned less than expected.
                                                            SALE CREEK
Soddy Daisy and East Hamilton
High Schools currently have the only
                                                           SODDY DAISY
elementary and middle school feeder
patterns where none of the feeder                   LOOKOUT VALLEY
schools sit in the bottom quarter in
                                                              CENTRAL
the state on student achievement, and
half of those schools also meet state
                                                             RED BANK
expectations for student growth.
                                                               HIXSON
The Bottom Line: When looking only at
student growth, unequal access to good
                                                            EAST RIDGE
schools is spread more evenly across
the geography of Hamilton County, and                         HOWARD
it shows up in many schools that are
                                                             SEQUOYAH
often viewed as successful, even as the
students in those schools fall behind their
                                                             BRAINERD
high-achieving peers across the state.
                                              HAMILTON COUNTY HS

                                                                         0%           25%         50%       75%       100%

                                                                              Four-Year Schools    Two-Year Schools
                                                                                                                                   25
Unequal Access to Education Beyond High School
     Despite the glimmers of hope throughout the district, students across the district also face significant inequality in
     postsecondary opportunities. We see that access varies tremendously by school. In order to close these gaps, and ensure all
     communities in Chattanooga are being positioned to reap the benefits of coming economic opportunities, it will take the entire
     community working together.

     T H E I M PACT O F G EO G RAP H Y
     A tangible example of how these statistics might play out for       high school was 15.6, lower than the minimum score of 16
     a group of students can be found by looking at a school in          required by most postsecondary institutions. Of the 31 who
     Chattanooga’s Innovation Zone, an area already committed to         made it to a four-year school, only 28 students made it back
     providing more support to the county’s struggling schools.          for their second year, and only 16 of the original 84 will
                                                                         graduate from college within six years.
     Imagine that only one hundred students live in the Orchard
     Knob neighborhood. These students will go to Orchard Knob           The remaining 53 Brainerd high school graduates, who ended
     Elementary School, where only twelve of them will learn to          up at a two-year institution, have even worse odds, as just 35
     read on grade level, making it far less likely for the rest to      students will return for their second year of study, and only 10
     graduate from high school.                                          will leave with a degree within six years. So in the end, only 26
                                                                         of 296 Brainerd High graduates, or less than nine percent, will
     The students then go on to Orchard Knob Middle School,
                                                                         end up with a postsecondary degree of any kind within six years.
     where one more of our 12 will fall behind in reading, leaving
     only 11 left reading on grade level. Making matters worse, only     Much of this can be traced to feeder pattern for Brainerd, which
     16 of the 100 students will perform on grade level in math,         is particularly punishing, with 87.5 percent of Brainerd’s feeder
     meaning 84 of them are heading into Algebra I behind, an            schools among the bottom 25 percent of schools in the state.
     important predictor of future job opportunities and earnings.       If you live in this community, there is an 80 percent chance
                                                                         that the elementary school you go to will be one of the lowest
     By the time these hundred students get to Brainerd High
                                                                         achieving in the state, and a 100 percent chance that the middle
     School, almost all of them have fallen even farther behind.
                                                                         school and high school you attend will be one of the lowest
     Fewer than 10 out of 100 will achieve proficiency in English III.
                                                                         achieving in the state. In that light, it should not be surprising
     Only seven will qualify for the HOPE Scholarship, none will hit
                                                                         that only nine percent of Brainerd graduates will end up with any
     the ACT College Ready Benchmarks, and 35 of the 100 will
                                                                         kind of postsecondary degree.
     not even graduate.
                                                                         This is tragic news if you live in Orchard Knob, and it should
     Unfortunately, these schools don’t just serve one hundred
                                                                         also be alarming news if you are a taxpayer in Hamilton
     students. They serve around 1,600 students—every single year.
                                                                         County, because these students who fail to graduate from high
     But the story does not end in high school. In the 2007-08           school or do not get a postsecondary degree are less likely
     school year, there were 296 seniors at Brainerd High School.        to be productively employed, more likely to experience health
     Of those 296, 188 students, or 63.5 percent, graduated with         issues, and more likely to create an economic drag on the
     a diploma. Of these 188, only 84 went on to a postsecondary         community as a whole, simply because of where they live and
     institution, probably because the average ACT score at the          their continued lack of access to higher-performing schools.

26
27
FIGURE 19

                           BRAINERD HIGH SCHOOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                     TWO-YEAR
                                                         100%
                                                                                                                                                                                                     FOUR-YEAR
                                                                                                                                                                                                     ALL STUDENTS

                             Class of 2007-08 Students
                                                         75%

                                                         50%

                                                         25%

                                                          0%
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     A combination of strong student outcomes and
     faster than expected learning is a hallmark of a
     highly successful school that benefits students
     of all backgrounds and all achievement levels.
     A C O M B I N AT ION OF H I G H G ROW TH
     AN D H IG H AC H I EV E M E NT                                                                                            OPPORTUNITIES FOR OPTIMISM

     But again, there are local examples that show these patterns                                                              •       CSAS and CGLA are the two high schools who
     can be reversed. CSAS provides a good example of what is                                                                          graduate more than 90 percent of their students and
     possible for students. CSAS is a majority non-white school, and                                                                   have a larger minority population than the district
     nearly one in three students are economically disadvantaged,                                                                      average.
     yet they boast not only a high school graduation rate that
     consistently hovers at or near 100 percent, but also an ACT                                                               •       At Rivermont Elementary School, students learned
     average that comfortably exceeds the state average.                                                                               more than expected in both math and literacy in both
                                                                                                                                       2014 and 2015. Rivermont is almost 90 percent
     It would be easy to identify CSAS as a school that shows great                                                                    economically disadvantaged and over 50 percent black.
     results simply because it is a magnet school. However, CSAS
     also excels at making sure students are learning more than                                                                •       At three out of five elementary schools in the Brainerd
     their peers across the state. For three years running, CSAS                                                                       feeder pattern, students learned at least as much as
     students have learned more than expected across all subject                                                                       expected in the 2013-14 school year. This shows some
     areas, including, notably, literacy courses. This is likely due to a                                                              potential for greater growth throughout the feeder
     teacher force where more than half of teachers lead students to                                                                   pattern if such early gains can be sustained.
     faster than expected growth.                                                                                              •       At four out of five elementary schools in the Howard
     Without greater access to more high-quality schools,                                                                              School feeder pattern, students learned at least as
     especially for students who are already facing early obstacles                                                                    much as expected in the 2013-14 school year. This
     to graduating from high school and attaining additional                                                                           shows some potential for the feeder pattern to grow if
     education or training, it is unclear why we should expect                                                                         early gains are sustained.
     different economic outcomes than in the past.
28
LAY I N G T H E G ROU N D WOR K FOR K-12 S UC C E S S: A N EW FO CUS ON TEAC H E R
TALE N T A N D SCH O OL LEADE R S H I P

One of the primary reasons to be optimistic
that Hamilton County schools may see rapid
improvement in the coming years is the work
being done by school leaders to ensure that
our most talented teachers continue to inspire
and instruct students.
  FIGURE 20

  TEACHER RETENTION BY OVERALL LEVEL OF EFFECTIVENESS

      100.00%
                                                                                                                                     93.10%
                                                                                      89.50%                   91.00%
                                                             87.40%                                                                                                88.00%

       75.00%

                                   48.50%
       50.00%

       25.00%

         0.00%
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5 Hernandez, Donald J. “Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation.” (n.d.): n. pag. The Annie E. Casey
  Foundation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Retaining, supporting and empowering talented
 teachers to lead students to rapid growth in
 the coming years must be part of the strategy
 moving forward.

     School leaders are getting better at identifying and retaining   In a recent survey, nearly three out of four Hamilton County
     their top performing teachers, meaning that those with a         teachers reported that the locally created Project Coach
     proven track record of success are staying at a higher rate      evaluation system improved their teaching, and more than
     than those with a proven track record of underperformance.       three out of four reported that the system was fair. Both
     Just as importantly, less than half of all teachers each that    of these responses are more positive than what is seen
     score “Significantly Below Expectations” are retained. As
                                                                      elsewhere across the state and show a healthy majority of
     an example, during the 2013-14 school year, 52 out of 101
                                                                      teachers responding positively to a rigorous evaluation system.
     teachers that were rated at this lowest performance level
     were not rehired.                                                And successful teaching is occurring across the entire district.
     Hamilton County now has one of the most rigorous systems         All but three schools have at least one teacher whose students
     of evaluation and development in the state. Potential            learned more than expected in the 2014-15 school year. Even
     concerns about how rigorous evaluation could lead to teacher     in schools traditionally viewed as struggling, there are great
     morale issues do not appear to be playing out as evidenced       things happening, with teachers who are moving mountains to
     by both teacher retention rates and qualitative data.            lead their children to faster than expected growth.
30
There is no result better for an individual teacher than having    Yet, during the 2014-2015 school year, almost every teacher
students learn more than expected, regardless of how much          at Woodmore Elementary led their students to faster than
those students knew at the beginning of the year, regardless       expected growth. The teachers of Woodmore Elementary
of their socioeconomic backgrounds, and regardless of other        will not solve all of the deficits their students face in a single
challenges they may be facing. The only thing that should be       year, but they are succeeding at high student growth and
asked of teachers is that the students they teach learn as         accelerating learning—the only thing that will get students who
much as possible. And at almost every school in the district,      start out far behind to catch their peers. If these students see
there is someone answering that challenge and more.                similar growth year after year, their futures will begin to look
Woodmore Elementary offers a great example of where great          much more positive.
teaching is happening and hope can be found. Woodmore is
a school that is over 90 percent black and over 90 percent
economically disadvantaged. It was previously identified as one
of the lowest performing schools in the state, and is now a part
of the Hamilton County Innovation Zone.
                                                                                                                                        31
T H E C HA LLE NG E: I N H I G H E R E DUCATION

Despite enrolling in colleges and technical
schools, Hamilton County’s high school
graduates are not attaining enough
postsecondary credentials.
 FIGURE 21

HAMILTON COUNTY STUDENTS

                                                    6.56%

                                          1.33%
                                  1.74%

                          2.15%

                  2.26%

          4.21%

                                                                                                     40.72%
  5.64%

 9.13%

                                                                                                    CHATTANOOGA STATE
                                                                                                    UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
                                                                                                    ETSU
                                                                                                    CHATTANOOGA TCAT
                                                                                                    AUSTIN PEAY
                                                                                                    UTC
                                                                                                    MTSU
                                                                                                    TSU
                                                                                                    LEE UNIVERSITY
                                                                                                    OTHER

                                                  26.26%

Two-thirds of Hamilton County graduates enroll in a two- or four-year institution immediately following high school graduation,
and of that group, over half of them will enroll in either Chattanooga State Community College or the University of Tennessee
Chattanooga (UTC).
FIGURE 22

                            SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATE

                            60.00%                                                          57.10%
                                                          53.20%
                                                                                                                                                                  50.00%

                            45.00%
                                                                                                                              39.80%

                                                                              30.90%
                            30.00%
                                              24.70%
                                                                                                                                                    20.00%

                            15.00%
                                                                                                                 5.50%

                             0.00%
                                            ALL STUDENTS                  WHITE STUDENTS                     BLACK STUDENTS HISPANIC STUDENTS

                                                                                   CHATTANOOGA STATE                            UTC

Postsecondary Graduation: Losing Talent
But despite such postsecondary enrollment trends, we see                                                   This means that for the majority of students of color, getting
that many of these students will never make it to graduation,                                              in the door of postsecondary is only the first of a series of
as Chattanooga State has a six-year graduation rate under                                                  hurdles, and too many of those students then get left behind.
25 percent, and UTC has a six-year graduation rate just over
                                                                                                           Furthermore, we see that over two-thirds of freshmen enrolled
50 percent.
                                                                                                           at Chattanooga State must enroll in remedial courses, and
The situation is even more dire for students of color. Despite
                                                                                                           nearly a third of those remedial students will never successfully
UTC and Chattanooga State having very similar demographics,
there are vastly different trends in graduation rates among                                                complete any credit-bearing college courses. Perhaps not
minorities. In 2013-14, the graduation rate for African                                                    surprisingly, the freshman retention rate at Chattanooga State
American students and Hispanic students at Chattanooga                                                     is only 54.4 percent, putting them in 11th place out of the 14
State was the lowest of all 14 community colleges in the state.                                            community colleges in Tennessee.

              FIGURE 23

              CHATTANOOGA STATE STATISTICS

                  70%
                            64.40%
                                                                                                                                                             62.80%

                                                                                           54.50%                55.70%
                 52.5%
                                                                                                                                      46.60%

                  35%                                                 31.90%

                                                 22.20%

                 17.5%

                   0%
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8 | 9 | 10 Tennessee Higher Education Commission. “2013-2014 Tennessee Higher Education Factbook.” (n.d.): n. pag. 2014 Legislative Reports. Tennessee Higher
           Education Commission, 2014. Web. 1 Aug. 2015.
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