Charlotte Britton, who is the Hawkins system's Title One director, said the study basically implements a technique that is already in practice in the county. Britton said it's a win-win situation because the system will be receiving additional resources from Johns Hopkins University beginning in April 2008 to support an academic technique that school leaders are already 100 percent behind.
"What they're talking about for this program is right on track with our district improvement plan that's already in place," Britton said. "What they will be doing is helping us to organize and to use our data to find our strengths and areas that need to be strengthened for the purpose of meeting AYP (adequate yearly progress). In addition, they're going to help us find effective programs to help our schools achieve AYP.
"In other words, they're going to provide us additional resources - manpower and materials - to continue along the data-driven course to improvement which we have already set out for ourselves."
Tennessee is one of seven states chosen to participate in this school improvement study led by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education (CDDRE).
The program is divided into two years, with half the Tennessee counties implementing the program in the first year, and the other half sharing their test scores and other data and serving as a control.
In April 2008, Hawkins County will be among five counties in which the CDDRE program will be implemented, and the first five will then serve as a control.
Other nearby counties involved in the program include Greene, which will be in the first year of implementation. Hancock and Carter will join Hawkins in the second year of implementation.
The cost of participation in the project is covered by a federal research grant to the CDDRE.
"We are excited that Tennessee educators will benefit from the caliber of research Johns Hopkins will bring to our schools," Tennessee Education Commissioner Lana Seivers said in a press release. "This partnership will help school systems spend valuable budget dollars on initiatives known to produce real results in a student's education."