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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (August 4, 2020) — Local nonprofit Bible in the Schools presented Hamilton County Schools (HCS) with their annual community gift of over $1.7 million as reimbursement for the 2019-2020 Bible History elective program. Mrs. Cathy Scott, President, along with Mr. Tom Glenn, incoming Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Board Member of Bible in the Schools Mr. Mike Harrell presented the community gift to Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson. Also present to receive the gift was School Board Chairman, Mr. Joe Wingate.

Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson stated: “Our district’s goal is to graduate students who are future-ready and prepared for success in college and career. The Bible History Program, available for students as an elective in grades 6-12, equips students to recognize the many cultural connections between an ancient text and our modern world. The Hamilton County Schools leadership team is grateful for its strong community partnership with Bible in the Schools, especially for the continued financial support from the greater Chattanooga community, whose generosity has funded the program and enriched the lives of thousands of students.”

Attendance in Bible History courses increased despite the broad array of challenges that students in Hamilton County faced this year. In spite of the difficult academic year due to the coronavirus, the economic downturn, and the tornado that impacted thousands of homes across Hamilton County, Bible History enrollment continued to climb. Data from 26 participating Hamilton County public and charter schools reported that 4,579 students (61% of whom are classified by the state as Title 1 or come from low-income families) persevered despite these challenges and completed a Bible History elective course in the 2019-2020 academic year. Of the 20,000 students in the county who had access to Bible History, 24% took and completed a course.

Board Chairman Mr. Tom Glenn stated: “For 99 years, Bible in the Schools has provided public school students with the free gift of Bible History elective courses at no cost to taxpayers. It is an honor to present this gift to our public schools, as it represents the generosity of so many people’s hearts across Hamilton County. We are excited about the upcoming school year as we add Bible programs at Tyner Middle Academy and East Hamilton Middle School. For the 2020-2021 academic year, Bible History courses will be offered in 28 participating schools throughout Hamilton County. Our goal is to give every middle and high school student the opportunity to study the Bible at school if they so choose.” 

President Mrs. Cathy Scott said, “This community gift for Bible History elective courses, given through Bible in the Schools, represents a generous community that understands the enduring value that studying the Bible can have in the lives of students in our public schools. We believe Bible History is a critical component to a well-rounded education. It awakens students to the rich, cultural footprint the Bible has left in global history while offering the hope, values, and life lessons relevant to the tough issues youth face today.

The Hamilton County Schools’ program continues to lead our nation with the largest concentration of public school students in any one school district studying the Bible in 28 schools. We are grateful to provide a text that enriches students with wisdom and knowledge--one that crosses all cultural, socioeconomic, and racial barriers, while still touching lives each day.” 

 These courses are an opportunity for students to have a viewpoint neutral, foundational study of one of the cornerstone texts of world history. Students who study the Bible from a historical and literary perspective become more culturally literate and better equipped to thrive and contribute to a global world. 

Entering this 99th year, Bible History courses will be offered in 28 schools and will be taught by 26 highly credentialed teachers in the 2020-2021 academic year. Bible History teachers are hired by school principals and led by a full-time Bible History Program Coordinator. The organization fully funds all taxes, teacher salaries and benefits, year-round costs of teacher professional development, legal training, classroom materials, and Bible textbooks for the courses.

Bible History classes follow guidelines established by a 1980 federal court ruling, which affirmed that the teaching of for-credit Bible History electives in Hamilton County’s public middle and high schools is constitutionally permissible. The Hamilton County Bible History curricular framework is court approved and aligns with the Tennessee Department of Education’s state academic standards.

More information regarding participating schools and courses offered is available at www.bibleintheschools.com.

Please direct any inquiries to info@bibleintheschools.com.

Posted by Cathy Scott, President | Topic: Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (July 31, 2019) — Entering its 98th year, local non-profit Bible in the Schools presented Hamilton County Schools and two participating charter schools with a collective community gift of over $1.5 million as reimbursement for the complete cost of the 2018-2019 county-wide public school Bible History elective course program.

Presenting the gift to Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson were Dr. Gary Phillips, vice chairman of the board of directors of Bible in the Schools, Mike Harrell, member of the board, and Ms. Cathy Scott, the organization’s president.

“We are a district invested in holistically preparing students for a successful future,” said Dr. Johnson. “Biblical literacy is one avenue for developing critical thinking, literacy, and cultural awareness for the students participating in this elective program. This gift—which was the largest philanthropic gift received by Hamilton County public schools during the 2018-2019 school year through community partnerships — empowered Hamilton County Schools to hire 23 qualified and certified Bible History teachers, including a full-time Bible History Program Coordinator, for this past academic year.”

Enrollment data from 25 participating Hamilton County public schools reported 4,536 public school students in grades 6-12 completed Bible History elective courses during the 2018-2019 academic year — a record enrollment and a 12 percent increase over the previous academic year.

Board Chairman Chris Maclellan said, “Bible in the Schools’ commitment to providing Hamilton County Schools with the free gift of Bible History elective courses has remained strong for nearly 100 years. It is our privilege to deliver this gift that represents thousands of generous people who understand the importance of exposing young people to the Bible. Every year, there is evidence that Bible History provides a unique benefit to public school students, at no cost to taxpayers, and has a lasting impact on students’ lives. We look forward to having 26 participating schools for 2019-2020, as Orchard Knob Middle School adds a new Bible History program for this coming academic year. Our board is greatly encouraged to have seen county-wide student access to Bible History increase from 67% to 85% in the past 36 months. Currently, courses are available as electives to the vast majority of all public middle and high school students in Hamilton County, and our hope is to see every middle and high school student have the opportunity to study Bible History if they so choose.”

Mrs. Scott said, “Bible in the Schools is honored to be the conduit through which the community makes this elective possible for youth in our public schools. We believe the Bible is essential to a well-rounded education and to the overall character development of youth. While Bible History is a robust academic subject, the byproduct of these courses reaches beyond mere academic gains as students are exposed to the hope, values, and life lessons found in the Bible, many of which are universally relevant today. Students often report that the Bible provides a perspective that encourages them to make healthier choices, and to give more thought to their actions, particularly related to conduct, relationships, and self-care. It is with deep honor that we present this 2019 Community Gift that we trust will continue to enrich public school youth with the hope, wisdom, and knowledge of what is still the world’s most influential book.”

Bible History courses will expand to 26 schools this fall and will be taught by 24 highly credentialed teachers, led by a full-time Bible History Program Coordinator, all of whom are employed by the school system and are fully funded through charitable donations to Bible in the Schools. In addition to gifting teacher salaries and benefits, Bible in the Schools fully funds all taxes, costs of regular teacher professional development and legal training, classroom materials, and Bible textbooks for the courses.

Bible History classes follow guidelines established by a 1980 federal court ruling, which affirmed teaching of Bible History for-credit electives in Hamilton County’s public middle and high schools as constitutionally permissible, with the Bible to be used as the textbook. The Hamilton County Bible History curricular framework is court approved and aligns to the Tennessee Department of Education’s state academic standards.

Officials said, "Bible History elective classes in the public schools are an opportunity for students to have a viewpoint neutral, foundational study – at no cost to taxpayers – of one of the cornerstone texts of world history, which helps students become culturally literate and better equipped to thrive and contribute to a global world."

More information regarding participating schools and courses offered is available at www.bibleintheschools.com.

Posted by Cathy Scott, President | Topic: Press

BLOG: No Ordinary Roll Call

August 22nd, 2018

This is the Bible History classroom at Hixson High School that tragically has one less student than a week ago. On Saturday night, August 18th, 2018, a Hixson man shot and killed his 15-year-old son, who happened to be a public school Bible History student in Mr. Quincy Harris’ Old Testament Survey class. The newspaper reports the father of this boy is being held in jail under a $1,000,000 bond and has been charged with criminal homicide.

On Friday, Mr. Harris’ classroom was filled with 34 energetic and bubbly Bible History students. However, on Monday one could have heard a pin drop as Mr. Harris broke through the silence to call the roll. This time, only 33 students responded. Additionally, on Monday morning, a student in the same class learned of the tragic passing of their younger sibling due to illness.

If you know a teacher or educational leader, you likely know serving youth these days in any capacity is not for the faint of heart. How is a teacher supposed to begin crafting lesson plans for students who are trying to process news of the slaying of a fellow classmate – let alone knowing their friend’s life was taken by his own father? What about the child who will go home to try to eat dinner with one less person at their table? How does one comfort these levels of pain, confusion, or fear? Quite simply, many young people in our schools are dealing with tough circumstances. Where is their hope? It is times like these that we are grateful for the presence of Bible History teachers in 25 Hamilton County Schools, who can show students where to turn to find hope when they’re hurting.

Hixson High School alumnus and Bible History teacher, Mr. Quincy Harris, in addition to having two degrees, has 7 years of experience in the U.S. Air Force as a Military Policeman, a Criminal Investigator, and a Hostage and Crisis Negotiator. Mr. Harris’ experience in the Air Force has therefore uniquely positioned him to be able to help his students talk through and process situations of acute grief. He is familiar with the consequences of heinous crime, and he is also able to openly point students in his public school classroom to passages in the Bible from which they can draw comfort and hope in times of grief. It’s likely, that for a while, the start of class will feel like no ordinary roll call; however, how beautiful it is that Mr. Harris can invite students to open the the Bible, which is no ordinary Book! Psalm 30:5b reminds us, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Cathy Scott,

President

Posted by Cathy Scott, President | Topic: BITS  | Category: Youth Culture