Originally, the board thought it would have to wait until Sept. 2014.
In another development at Thursday’s formal board session, Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel presented his goals for the coming school year.
Board member Vicki Beaty advised board members at the gathering that the board might be able to meet the qualifications in time for this year’s board of distinction recognition in November.
Pursuing this honor had been discussed at the board’s daylong work session in July.
TSBA looks at four areas when evaluating boards for recognition — planning, policy, promotion and board development. Boards must complete each item on the TSBA checklist in order to qualify.
Beaty said gathering paperwork would be the majority of the work needed to be completed. She said the board has met many of the requirements needed to report and document it.
“Under board development ... what we really have to look at closely is one-third of the board must be level two. We already have two members that are level two or above and I think it is just a matter of other people turning in their information and we could have three or four,” Beaty said.
Board members receive level certification by attending board trainings hosted by TSBA and fulfilling other professional development and participation requirements. Participation in these events is reported to TSBA to meet the requirements for level certification.
Another element requires September board meetings be critiqued by two level three board members from others districts.
The BCBOE asked Beaty to move forward with setting this up.
Some other requirements for being a board of distinction include being represented at the TSBA delegation two years in a row, conduct an annual review of board policy, have a Tennessee Legislative Network Representative and each board member must have attended 75 percent of the board meetings during the last two years.
The Bradley County Board of Education has accomplished each of these expectations.
McDaniel’s update on the year’s coming goals came in response to a request for the objectives during a prior board session.
McDaniel said the overarching goal was to provide academic excellence for every student. A goal for this year is to continue to close the gap between subgroups and the general student population. This year’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program showed improvement in students achievement. However, state reports list Bradley County Schools as in need of subgroup improvement in the Hispanic and Black subgroups.
Professional development for various aspects of teaching will continue to be emphasized this year, including diversity training.
“This year we have set a goal for full implementation of professional learning communities across the system,” McDaniel said. “We call them different things at different schools ... but we are really trying to have a process in place to get feedback from the schools and some checks with central office staff to ensure that professional learning communities are a part of what schools are doing.”
McDaniel said research supports that when teachers collaborate in professional learning communities students benefit.
The school system is also participating in professional learning communities through a Pathways to Prosperity grant program. The program brings together Bradley County Schools, Hamilton County Schools and local government and business leaders to discuss ways to better prepare career and technical education students for work in their chosen industry.
“I think some of them were surprised that we were so far ahead in this, but we have been working on small learning communities for the last several years,” McDaniel said.
Other goals include higher SAT test scores, providing students with opportunities to choose an academic focus and upgrading technology.
In the future, McDaniel said he would like to be able to replace bulky textbooks with laptop or tablet computers.