A proposed partnership between the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Hamilton County school system to bring International Baccalaureate Future Ready Institutes to Ooltewah and Signal Mountain high schools became official today.
UTC Chancellor Steve Angle and Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson signed the partnership agreement before a gathered group of officials and students from the Ooltewah and Signal Mountain schools. Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate, or IB, diploma program is a widely adopted, two-year program of academically rigorous preparation for college-bound high school juniors and seniors.
“It’s internationally recognized and has very specific components that, in some ways, mirror some of the skills a student needs to be successful in college,” said Valerie Rutledge, dean of the UTC College of Health, Education and Professional Studies.
The partnership to create IB Future Ready Institutes at Ooltewah and Signal Mountain specifically involves the School of Education and the Honors College in providing advanced courses to help prepare students at both high schools for college.
Honors Dean Linda Frost said the partnership is “a perfect fit.”
“We value the same things. We stress the same things in our educational models, so this really, really makes a lot of sense,” Frost said. “The Honors College at UTC offers our students so much more—travel, challenges, our Innovations in Honors program and other unique experiences.”
Johnson told the seven high school pupils on hand—a combination of “IB student ambassadors” from both Ooltewah and Signal Mountain—he hoped and expected they would take full advantage of what the partnership creates.
“I think about my grades 9 through 12 experience, and the fact that I didn’t have this type of opportunity to come on a college campus, to be engaged with professors, deans and chancellors, or for them to come and be engaged with me—to be challenged in critical thinking and problem solving,” Johnson said. “So I really hope you take full advantage of what this opportunity offers.
“It is absolutely our goal that, as students, you leave here prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. The reality is, we don’t know what the jobs of tomorrow will be, but what we do know is these types of experiences will position you far ahead of the pack.
“And to UTC, I can’t say it enough: thank you for your support.”
Future Ready Institutes exist throughout the Hamilton County school system and focus on a range of emphasis areas including technology, education, medicine, business, insurance, marketing and more.