Hamilton County schools are working to make sure students have equitable opportunities. (Photo: MGNOnline)

Hamilton County school officials are organizing an Equity Task Force in an effort to make sure all students get a high-quality education. 

Last fall, during listening sessions with parents and community leaders, received feedback about the need for equity and the issue came up again more recently, according to a news release.

In response to that community feedback, the reorganization of central office introduced the role of chief equity officer, Dr. Marsha Drake, who is launching the Equity Task Force.

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The goals of the Equity Task Force will be to:

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

The task force will review current practices in school choice, student assignment, student access, discipline, magnet policies, exceptional education procedures and programming, and English language learner procedures and programming.

The Equity Task Force will make recommendations for developing an equity framework for student access and key performance indicators to monitor success.

The Equity Task Force will include representatives from UnifiEd, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County government and other educational, business and religious leaders from the community.

Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Education Dr. Steve Highlander will participate in the Equity Task Force and represent the board of education.

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

A kick-off meeting for the group will be in April with regular meetings through July.

The group will present its recommendations to the Hamilton County Board of Education in August.

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