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Chattanooga teacher suffers through smoothie challenge to help his 4th graders learn

Teachers across the country are taking extra steps to reach their students stuck at home.One particular Hamilton County Schools teacher is sacrificing his stomach, or at the very least his taste buds, to help his students learn. Call it an iron will, or a mind willing to think outside the box, but Ben Wall is putting both to the test. Wall teaches 4th grade at Rivermont Elementary School. As the district's in-person classes remain closed through April 27, he had an idea to keep his students encouraged, engaged, AND entertained. Before spring break, Ben Wall created a smoothie challenge for his students to participate in while doing their learning at home. The rules were simple: turn in all your work for the week, and you got to choose an ingredient that Mr. Wall would put into his smoothie. Students got into the challenge, completing their work and even getting creative with their choices of ingredients. In the end, Wall faced down a tall glass containing the following:

  • Bananas
  • Popcorn
  • Strawberries
  • Tuna (including the water in the can)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Creamed corn
  • Bread
  • Black beans
  • Mayonnaise
  • Imitation butter

Wall also added milk to help it blend. Hamilton County Schools reports the 4th grade teacher "did not enjoy" his smoothie, but recorded drinking it for his students.The worst part, however, was that his initial recording didn't work, so he had to do it twice!

You can watch the full video below, or on YouTube here.



NewsChannel 9 salutes Mr. Wall's courage, and we express our gratitude to the many teachers across our area who find new ways to reach their students day-in, day-out.

Rivermont Elementary Receives TN Reward Banner
Posted on 11/01/2019
Photo of Rivermont Elementary staff and students receiving the Tennessee reward school banner.
Accomplishment
Hamilton County Schools has enjoyed historic success in the past year for academic growth and academic performance. The school system had a district record 32 schools earn Reward status from the Tennessee Department of Education. Rivermont Elementary in the Rock Point Learning Community is one of those schools, and they held a special assembly program recently to unveil their new banner from the state. Reward schools are those improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and student groups. Reward designation is the highest honor for academic achievement in Tennessee. Dr. Robert Sharpe, executive director of the Rock Point Learning Community, presented the banner at Rivermont.

Historic Achievement
Student academic growth and accomplishment in Hamilton County Schools showed historic levels of improvement this year. Hamilton County Schools was ranked second of districts in the state for student growth on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS.) TVAAS measures academic growth for districts and schools using a range from Level 1 to Level 5. For the first time, the district's overall composite and each subject area achieved Level 5 - the highest level of academic growth. The subjects include literacy, numeracy, social studies, and literacy and numeracy. The 45 schools earning Level 5 is almost double the number of Hamilton County schools that earned Level 5 last year. There were 21 schools also earning Level 5 in all five subject areas. The district’s jump in achievement from the rank of number 130 in the state three years ago to number two today makes Hamilton County Schools the fastest improving school district in Tennessee. The new goal for the district is to be one of the best school districts in the state.

Hamilton County Reward Schools for 2019
Allen Elementary, Alpine Crest Elementary, Apison Elementary, Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, Big Ridge Elementary, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Lower, Daisy Elementary, McConnell Elementary, DuPont Elementary, East Hamilton School, East Brainerd Elementary, Middle Valley Elementary, Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State, Loftis Middle, Lookout Mountain Elementary, Hixson Elementary, Nolan Elementary, Ooltewah Elementary, Lakeside Academy, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts, Red Bank Middle, Rivermont Elementary, Sale Creek Middle/High, Soddy Elementary, Thrasher Elementary, Wallace A. Smith Elementary, Westview Elementary, STEM School Chattanooga, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, and Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence.

What the accomplishment means for Hamilton County Schools
A record number of Reward schools and Level 5 schools helps the district advance the goal of Accelerating Student Achievement in the Future Ready 2023 five-year action plan.
Rivermont Elementary Receives a Level 5 Banner
Posted on 10/11/2019
Rivermont Elementary Receives a Level 5 BannerToday’s academic success spotlight shines on Rivermont Elementary in the Rock Point Learning Community for earning Level 5 school status. Hamilton County Schools is honoring the 45 schools in the district that earned Level 5, the highest level of student growth, with a special “championship” recognition banner. Dr. Robert Sharpe, executive director of the Rock Point Learning Community, and Kathy Lennon, District 2 representative on the Hamilton County Board of Education, presented the banner to the students and staff at Rivermont Elementary.

Student academic growth in Hamilton County Schools showed historic levels of improvement, according to the 2019 Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS), that measures academic growth for districts and schools using a range from Level 1 to Level 5. For the first time, the district's overall composite and each subject area achieved Level 5 - the highest level of academic growth. The subject areas are literacy, numeracy, social studies, and literacy and numeracy. The 45 schools earning Level 5 is almost double the number of Hamilton County schools that earned Level 5 last year. There were 21 schools also earning Level 5 in all five subject areas. Another historic accomplishment for the district was 32 schools achieving Reward status - the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee.

Rivermont Elementary teacher named Toyota's Teacher of the Year

Rivermont Elementary teacher Colleen Ryan is Toyota Family’s Teacher of the Year.

She is recognized for her commitment to pushing students to learn in and outside of the classroom.


Ryan created ‘The Passage’ in 2015. It’s a classroom on a school bus that stops at students’ homes on weekends.

Parents and students can come on board to read, do homework, or play with educational toys.

Ryan and her partner Brittany Harris, an academic coach in Hamilton County Schools, started the classroom on wheels program to help children and families outside of the regular school day. The mobile learning experience works with children and their parents on the bus. “The Passage” offers 20-minute lessons in math, science, and literacy. Parents and students build a notebook full of strategies, games, and resources that can be used later to help children study.

Since it started, the bus has serviced more than 150 students and nearly 20 families.

Be in addition to being named Teacher of the Year, Ryan earned a $20,000 grant from the National Center for Families Learning.

Ryan says she plans to buy another bus with the money so she can reach as many students as possible.

Ryan will be recognized at the annual NCFL Families Learning Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on November 5, 2019. The conference convenes the nation’s most progressive experts in education, policy, and family and parent engagement to share information on multigenerational approaches to learning.

“Hamilton County Schools is proud of Colleen and her innovative efforts to help our children and families build a brighter future,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent, Hamilton County Schools. “Colleen’s passion for connecting community partnerships with educational opportunities lifts up families, empowers parents, and inspires children to higher academic achievement in the classroom.”

Rivermont and Middle Valley win Probasco Readers Program
Posted on 05/20/2019
(L to R): Jill Evans, principal of Rivermont Elementary; Mayor Jim Coppinger; Tracey Elliot, a parent volunteer at Rivermont; Kathy Lennon, School Board Member representing District 2; and Shawn Kurrelmeier-Lee, Read 20Probasco Readers program winners for 2018-2019 are Middle Valley Elementary and Rivermont Elementary. Middle Valley won the large school award, and Rivermont took the small school honor. The latest win is the sixth time Middle Valley Elementary has won their division.
Probasco is an awards program of Read 20, a public-private partnership with a mission to develop a community of readers by promoting the importance of reading with children at least 20 minutes a day or more.
Students read outside of school time, which means families participate and support the outside reading of students. The schools with the highest percentage of students reading a million words during the school year are the winners of the reading competition. The prize money of $5,000 per school benefits the libraries in the schools.
Students keep a reading log and a chart to track progress during the year. Teachers chart their classroom progress and think of creative ways to encourage reading outside of class.

Parent volunteer Tracey Elliot was credited with helping Rivermont log the many reading hours of students this year.


Photo: (L to R): Jill Evans, principal of Rivermont Elementary; Mayor Jim Coppinger; Tracey Elliot, a parent volunteer at Rivermont; Kathy Lennon, School Board Member representing District 2; and Shawn Kurrelmeier-Lee, Read 20
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