District Needs Assessment for Esser 3.0
DISTRICT: Hamblen County Schools
Public Plan - Needs Assessment for ESSER 3.0
Students & Enrollment
Mission & Vision: The mission of the Hamblen County Department of Education is to educate students so they can be challenged to successfully compete in their chosen fields.
Grades Served: PreK-12
# of Schools: 18
Total Student Enrollment: 10,175
American Indian/Alaska Native .6%
Black/African American 7.1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander .7%
Economically Disadvantaged 37.6%
English learners 14%
Students with Disabilities 14%
Students Experiencing Homelessness 4%
Students in Military Families .2%
Students with High-Speed Internet at Home 80%
This needs assessment for ESSER 3.0 is built to be a summary of the major elements to consider in strategic planning for effective resource
allocation for those funds. The department also encourages updates to ESSER 1.0 and 2.0 spending plans to align with needs as they are updated and develop. Local plans and those submitted through InformTN for the comprehensive district plans will likely be more detailed and thorough, with specific call-outs by individual school need. The state template is intended to provide the public with a data snapshot to inform community engagement related to the needs of the district that ESSER 3.0 dollars may support.
Summary of Key Priorities
For each of the sections below, list the top 3 investments your district will make to address the data indicated above and accelerate
1. Personnel positions (temporary) focused on learning loss and student acceleration
2. Professional Development (TNTP and Solution Tree) focused on curriculum implementation and student acceleration
3. Intervention, tutoring, and Learning Loss resources
1. Social, emotional, and mental health supports for all students, particularly students who were virtual most of the 20-21 school year
2. College and Career Readiness
3. Supports for special populations
1. Stipends for all staff
2. Classroom Technology
3. Professional Development
3. Environment and Community
Topic: 50%+ School Year Remote
Provide information on any increase in the number of students whose “first time” experience in a formal school setting will be 2021-2022.
Response: We project 698 students will enter Kindergarten for 21-22. Approximately 45% of those will have attended a PreK. program. For 2021-22, we will have 40 incoming 1st Graders who completed Kindergarten entirely virtual.
Topic: Days In-Person
Total number of in-person days in the 2020-21 school year (number of days and percent of the year) for elementary, middle, and high schools in your district.
Response: 175 days, 100% all schools
Topic: Days Virtual
Response: 175 Days, 100% all schools offered virtual learning if the student met certain criteria.
Topic: Quarantine Closures
Summarize the number of days or weeks schools were closed due to quarantine and how that varied across the district. Differentiate between elementary, middle and high schools and only provide summaries in the context of broad impact (number of students impacted, on average).
Response: No schools were closed due to quarantine.
Topic: Additional Impacts on Instructional Time
Topic: Overall Impact
Response: K-5: Our virtual teachers in this grade band were hand chosen for their abilities to connect with students and use the technology effectively. These teachers were not synchronous. They worked only with virtual students. This included our Tier II and III interventionists who were key to keeping virtual students engaged. These teachers also engaged and worked closely with parents to ensure they understood how to use the technology and what our expectations were for virtual students.
6-8: Three of our middle schools provided synchronous instruction for virtual students while one chose to use teachers whose only focus was virtual students. Both models were effective in engaging students, as attendance rates show, but the virtual only model was more effective. It is simply easier to engage virtual students when you do not have in-person students in the classroom.
9-12: All of our high school teachers provided instruction using the synchronous model. There was no other feasible model of instruction for them. CTE teachers, in particular had challenges with virtual students because these students were required to come in frequently for hands-on learning. The majority of our high school teachers were successful in engaging students and keeping them active. Our EOC participation rates, over 95% at both high schools, is a good indicator of successful student engagement. Attendance rates, also at or above 95%, is another indicator. Early indications for graduation rates at both high schools (Class of 2021, indicates that teachers were successful in sustaining relationships with virtual students. We anticipate our district graduation rate, normally 94% to 95%, to not drop below 93% for the Class of 2021.
Student Achievement, Instructional Materials and Interventions
Topic: Benchmark Data
Provide the district average for beginning, middle, and end-of-year
diagnostic/screener data comparisons. Provide overall data as well
as by student group.
Response: Data for the diagnostic/screener includes projected proficiencies based on district benchmark assessment.
Grade 2 ELA
• Beginning = 29.5
• Middle = 34.4
• End = 33.9
Grade 2 Math
• Beginning = 30.2
• Middle = 33.6
• End = 36.0
Grade 3 ELA
• Beginning = 28.0
• Middle = 27.4
• End = 24.6
Grade 3 Math
• Beginning = 31.3
• Middle = 28.8
• End = 32.6
Grade 4 ELA
• Beginning = 24.1
• Middle = 25.2
• End = 22.1
Grade 4 Math
• Beginning = 26.1
• Middle = 34.3
• End = 33.2
Grade 5 ELA
• Beginning = 30.7
• Middle = 26.6
• End = 26.4
Grade 5 Math
• Beginning = 43.7
• Middle = 40.0
• End = 42.2
Grade 6 ELA
• Beginning = 23.5
• Middle = 24.9
• End = 27.2
Grade 6 Math
• Beginning = 35.3
• Middle = 31.7
• End = 32.3
Grade 7 ELA
• Beginning = 27.6
• Middle = 30.2
• End = 25.8
Grade 7 Math
• Beginning = 29.3
• Middle = 26.7
• End = 30.2
Grade 8 ELA
• Beginning = 20.7
• Middle = 18.2
• End = 22.2
Grade 8 Math
• Beginning = 10.2
• Middle = 11.6
• End = 14.7
The ability to disaggregate this data by subgroup is a feature not yet available on this assessment platform.
Summarize the impact of early reading compared to previous years.
Provide overall data as well as by student group.
Response: Early reading was affected during SY20-21; however, the impact of the pandemic was not as severe as anticipated. A longitudinal comparison of early reading screener data and the percentage of students identified as at-risk in early literacy revealed the following: Kindergarten SY19-20 Early Literacy • Fall = 73.0 • Winter = 40.5 • Spring = n/a Kindergarten SY20-21 Early Literacy • Fall = 59.0 • Winter = 36.6 • Spring = 22.6 Grade 1 SY19-20 Early Literacy • Fall = 60.4 • Winter = 38.6 • Spring = n/a Grade 1 SY20-21 Early Literacy • Fall = 56.3 • Winter = 45.7 • Spring = 44.0 Grade 2 SY19-20 Early Literacy • Fall = 56.6 • Winter = 39.3 • Spring = n/a Grade 2 SY20-21 Early Literacy • Fall = 50.1 • Winter = 39.2 • Spring = 36.9 The ability to disaggregate this data by subgroup is a feature not yet available on this assessment platform.
Summarize ACT data for your district (participation and outcomes)
compared to previous years. Provide overall data and by student
Response: Year Part. District Composite
2016 92% 20.2
2017 99% 20.2
2018 99% 20.5
2019 98% 20.1
2020 99% 19.8
2021 TBD TBD
-Junior ACT for the Class of 2021 was cancelled last spring due to the pandemic
-Vouchers were provided to the Class of 2021 students this past summer and fall
-Senior Retake for the Class of 2021 was completed in Oct. 2020
-The Junior Test was completed in March 2021 for the Class of 2022
Topic: Interventions (Above and Beyond RTI)
Response: Our district and school teams were very proactive in keeping our RTI2 programs on track and effective in the midst of extraordinary disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Topic: School Activities and Enrichment
Response: Extracurriculars and off-site enrichment programs were almost all either modified or cancelled as a result of the pandemic. All were impacted by infection rates, quarantines, school closure (19-20), state policies, local policies, TSSAA policies, and Dept. of Health guidelines.
Transitions and Pathways
Topic: Transitions into Middle School
Response: The transition to middle school required a great deal of parent communication in July and August of 2020. Orientations were held for incoming 6th Graders and parents with strict COVID-19 protocols. Additional parent and student trainings were held in July and August specifically for parents who opted to be virtual to begin the school year. This complicated the transitions further but it also provided additional opportunities to meet with parents and students which did facilitate the transition.
Topic: Transitions from Middle School
Response: The transition process into 9th Grade for the 2021-22 school year has taken place under relatively normal conditions. The process followed our normal procedures with very few students remaining virtual by April. High School Guidance Counselors were able to visit each middle school and work individually with our 8th Grade students. Scheduling and orientation events were held as they normally would be.
Topic: Transitions into High School
Response: Much like our students transitioning into middle school, parent communication was critical to creating a smooth transition into 9th Grade. Scheduling was a challenge, as was training students who were opting to be virtual to begin the school year. Despite the fact that schools were closed in the spring of 2020, the scheduling process had begun which helped facilitate the process in July and August. Delaying the school start date for a month to September 8th allowed students and counselors time to complete the scheduling process. Orientations were held with strict COVID-19 protocols and training for virtual students was completed prior to the start of school. It is important to note that the district implemented a new learning management system for the 2020-21 school year that required all students to be trained in its use.
Topic: Graduation Rates
Response: Over the last 5 years, the district has consistently posted graduation rates of 94% to 95%. For the Class of 2021, we believe that rate will go down significantly due to pandemic related circumstances, perhaps as much as 2 to 5 percent.
Our main concern is for those students who, lacking daily in-person engagement with teachers and administrators, used the pandemic as an excuse to drop out, go to work, seek HiSet/GED, or just avoid school. We have a high population of immigrants in our district, many of which were seniors this school year. A number of them signed up for virtual and never participated. We suspect they obtained jobs outside the area (we tried to track each student) and did not return.
Topic: Dropout Rates and Disengagement
Response: Drop-out rates for the Class of 2021 went up but we do not know yet by how much. There is no question that, for virtual students, engagement suffered. Our synchronous and virtual teachers worked hard to keep students engaged and it is, and continues to be, a priority for the district. Because of challenges around attendance and student engagement, the number of middle school and high school students in credit recovery has doubled since the 18-19 school year.
Response: CTE programs of study are intended to have a majority of the instruction based on hands-on application of skills garnered in the general education program, and also in the student's coursework. As we entered a school year that was centered around virtual hybrid settings for our high school courses, the ability to offer these hands-on experiential learning opportunities was hindered and minimized at best. Courses such as welding, nursing, engineering, machining, coding, automotive repair and many other programs rely heavily on the ability of students to have a first-hand experience where they manipulate tools, machinery, and other equipment to obtain the high tech skills necessary to compete for the jobs and careers in our region. In addition, Hamblen County relies heavily on Work Based Learning WBL experiences that provide students with paid internships solidifying postsecondary and career plans and goals. A large percentage of the 2020-2021 WBL placements were cancelled due to COVID-19 health and safety measures. In 2019 WBL experiences totaled over 200 student interns. In the 2020-2021 school year that number decreased to 43 placements. The combined impact of fewer students being in person for our CTE program of study courses and decreased participation from our business and industry partners in providing Work Based Learning placements to our students created a deficit in our ability to provide students with high impact learning experiences. This deficit impacts student learning and the student's understanding of the skills needed in the workplace of today and tomorrow.
Topic: Course Availability
Response: The pandemic did not prevent any courses from being offered.
Special Populations and Mental Health
Topic: Special Populations
Response: Students in Foster Care have a greater risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, behavioral disorders, suicidal ideation, and depression compared to non-foster peers. Migrant students are at risk of presenting and developing psychological problems with the main problems encountered being PTSD, depression, anxiety, and conduct disorders. Homeless students are significantly more likely to have delayed development, learning difficulties, behavioral problems, and mental health problems.
Topic: Mental Health, Behavioral and Other Supports, Interventions and Staffing
Response: The district employs three Licensed Clinical Social Workers and one Licensed Master Social Worker to address mental health issues with our students. Two of the LCSWs work specifically with special education students while the other works with students in both high schools. The LMSW works with students in the four middle schools. The district contracts with TN VOICES and The McNabb Center to provide a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in four of our elementary schools. There is a need for services in the remaining seven elementary schools for school-based behavioral health that we are addressing in ESSER 3.0 by creating two additional positions for mental health professionals.
While the online environment during COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines allowed counseling relationships to continue, it inhibited mental health services by limiting the counselor’s ability to be a physical/emotional presence. Students were less likely to discuss personally significant issues due to the presence of family members in their home environment. The online environment inhibits the counselor from reading important visual and verbal cues as well as the nature of the online environment being detached and less comforting to troubled students.
Topic: School Nurses
Response: We did not experience a shortage of nurses for our schools. We used ESSER funds and funding from our general budget to hire additional nurses. Every school building in the district had a nurse on site the entire school year.
Topic: Staff Retirements
Response: The district had 14 certified staff retirements and 14 noncertified staff retirements for 2020-21. Retirements for certified staff were lower than the previous 3 years (2019-20 had 16, 2018-19 had 16, and 2017-18 had 23 to retire). Retirements for the noncertified staff was on the higher end (2019-20 had 27, 2018-19 had 11, 2017-18 had 9 to retire).
Topic: Staff Resignations
Response: The district had 93 certified staff resignation and 80 noncertified staff resignations throughout the 2020-21 school year. Resignations for certified staff were lower than the previous 3 years (2019-20 had 127, 2018-19 had 135, 2017-18 had 106 resignations). Resignations for noncertified staff were higher than the previous 3 years.
Topic: Extended Quarantines
Response: 14 or 0.017% of certified staff were faced with more than two quarantine periods of 10 days or longer. 2 or 0.003% of noncertified staff were faced with more than two quarantine periods of 10 days or longer.
Topic: Classroom Vacancies
Response: The district had 8 vacancies for the teacher of record in the district during the 2020-2021 school year.
Topic: Other Vacancies
Response: The district had a shortage in substitute teachers since staff had to quarantine for longer periods of time.
Topic: Access to Technology
Response: 0% of students did not have access to a device when learning in a virtual environment. The district started the year 1 to 1 in Grades 9-12, 1 to 3 K-8. We were 1 to 1 in Grades K-8 by January. No school was closed during the school year so any parent who chose optional for their children had access to a district-provided device.
Topic: Access to High-Speed Internet
Response: Internet access was a concern, especially at the beginning of the school year. It was a focus of how ESSER 1.0 was used. Less than 80% of the students in Hamblen County had access to high speed internet. Parent surveys during the summer made it clear that the district would need to provide internet access to many virtual students, and a few teachers. That was accomplished with ESSER 1.0 funds and funds from the Connectivity grant. No student or staff member, who needed high speed internet access, went without during the 2021-22 school year.
Topic: Facility Constraints
Response: Social distancing has been a challenge in many of our schools due to the number of classrooms and the size of many classrooms. Having 20% to 25% of our student body virtual much of the year helped alleviate this concern. We also reduced student interaction by moving teachers, where feasible, instead of students. We believe our strict mask mandate, in place throughout the school year, also helped reduce the infection rate. Our infectious disease prevention measures were clearly effective according to the data. Active cases in the school district were half that of the county at large (7% vs 14%). Our schools were the safest facilities in the county.
Our greatest concerns moving forward are our schools with open classrooms, the age of many of our HVAC systems, and our inadequate school nurse facilities in a number of our schools. Both of these concerns directly impact student and staff health an safety. Specifically, these concerns are around social distancing, air quality, infectious disease prevention measures, and classroom square footage.