Hamilton teachers get diversity help from PEF - WSMV Channel 4

Hamilton teachers get diversity help from PEF

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-  It isn't easy staying on top of the ever-changing standards and student population shifts in Hamilton County schools.

That's why some teachers say they're fortunate to have the Public Education Foundation lending a hand to keep them current.

More and more teachers in Hamilton County are being faced with challenges for which they've never really prepared.   Not all students speak the same language, yet they're expected to succeed on ever-more difficult standard achievement tests.

Clara Davis, Director of Elementary Initiatives for the PEF said, "Our schools are being flooded with students from non-English speaking countries, not just Latinos, but children from all over the world."

As the influx of foreign students began, most teachers were on their own.  But the Public Education Foundation saw a need, and brings in experts to make sure all students understand the lesson plans.

Clifton Hills Elementary teacher Jocelyn Delk said, "With this kind of training, they don't overhaul what we're doing, but they can tweak, and I don't have to rework my brain."

It's all part of the PEF's renewed focus on supporting teachers, making sure they know they're not alone in facing new challenges.  Clara Davis said, "We know in this English-only state, students must not just understand, but must really comprehend the material."

The PEF, a community based non-profit organization, occasionally comes under fire for getting involved in training once done only by school districts.  Supporters say that's actually a blessing in today's strapped economy.

PEF President Dan Challener said, "Teachers will need a lot of support, and that's what we think the foundation can really help with."

Teachers like Jocelyn Delk say they're thankful for that added support. "I'm glad the PEF recognizes the need in Hamilton County and is there for us," she said.

For more information on the PEF's strategic plan, go to http://www.pefchattanooga.org/about/strategic-plan/


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