Q: Who can attend the STEM
A: Any student on track to complete the
8th grade with residency in Hamilton County. This includes students
in Hamilton County schools, private schools or home school
programs. Admission is limited to a cohort of 75 students for 9th
grade, adding a new cohort of 75 each year until the school reaches
a maximum capacity of 300 in grades 9-12.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Applications are available on the
Hamilton County Department of Education website.
Q: How will students be
A: A two part lottery system will
be used. First, there are allocated slots across the county per
each zone school. The allocations are done by the size of the
existing student population at the zone school. If there are more
applicants per zone than slots, a mini‐lottery for those zone
slots will be conducted. If there are less zone slots than
applicants for a particular zone, those applicants will be admitted
and the unfilled slots will go into a second lottery for all
students who did not get accepted through their zone lottery.
Here is an illustrative example
Zone School 1: 10 slots, 5 applicants: All 5 applicants accepted
and 5 slots go to second lottery.
Zone School 2: 10 slots, 13 applicants: Lottery held between all
13 applicants for the 10 slots. The three that are not selected go
into second lottery.
If there are more spots than applicants
in the second lottery, everyone will be admitted. If there are more
applicants than spots, all the applicants will be entered into the
Q: If my student doesn't get in
through the lottery or the waitlist, can they still benefit from
the curriculum at the school?
A: Yes. The STEM Innovation Hub works
to push out STEM School curriculum and initiatives throughout
the Southeast TN region.
Q: Do I have to get my student
to and from school - won't there be transportation?
A: Transportation will be planned after
the school lottery process so that HCDE (Hamilton County Department
of Education) knows where the students who will attend the school
live. Since students come from all over the county region and
are part of the entire Hamilton County Schools transportation
plan, transportation details are established just prior to the
school year beginning. Initial bus routes will be shared each
year at registration and finalized bus routes will take place when
Q: What if my student isn't
happy with the school; can they transfer back to their zoned
A: Mid‐year transfers will not be
allowed but after completing the first year, if it truly isn't a
good fit, the student can transfer back to their zone school.
Q: Where is the STEM School
A: On the beautiful campus of
Chattanooga State Community College, 4325 Amnicola Highway,
Chattanooga, TN. Through a collaborative effort with Hamilton
County Department of Education and Chattanooga State, students
attending this school will enjoy over 17,000 square foot of space
in an open concept design. The school is on the Tennessee River
affording unique opportunities for the establishment of outdoor
classrooms and lab work.
Q: A high school on a college
campus, is this safe?
A: YES! Students who attend the STEM
school will have limited interaction with the Chattanooga State
students while enjoying the benefits of access to the libraries,
labs and faculty. Chattanooga State has already successfully
demonstrated their ability to provide a safe learning environment
for their own students as well as Hamilton County students
attending Middle‐College, also located on the Chattanooga
Q: I've heard that the
school does not have "traditional" hours. Is this
A: In short, yes. Research has
proven that the adolescent brain is most active and ready to learn
later in the morning. What parent can't relate to this when trying
to rouse a teenager on an early weekday morning! This school will
adapt practices wherever possible to ensure that the student is at
the center of the education model and this includes changing school
times to better reflect when students are ready to learn.
Consequently, school begins each day at 9:30am.
Q: Does this mean that the
school day will end later too?
A: Yes. The length of a school day is
set by Tennessee State law. Since the school day starts at 9:30am,
the school day ends at 4:30pm.
Q: What time will the school be
opened each day and what time will the school close?
A: The school doors will open to
students at 9:00am each day. The school will close each day
Q: My child is interested in
athletics, band and other extracurricular activities. Will students
at the STEM School have these types of opportunities?
A: We have a partnership with
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences for Boys' baseball,
Boys' and Girls' basketball, Boys' and Girls' Cross Country, Boys'
and Girls' Soccer, Girls' Softball, Boys' and Girls' Tennis, Boys'
and Girls' Track and Field and Girls' Volleyball. As the STEM
School program matures, new opportunities will develop as led by
student interest. For a list of current extra-curricular
opportunities, click on the link titled "Clubs, Athletics, and
Extracurricular Organizations" under the section Get Involved.
Q: Will my student be able to
buy a lunch at school or do they have to bring a sack‐lunch
A: Hamilton County Department of
Education Nutrition program will be available to all students. Free
and reduced prices lunches based on individual circumstances are
available at the STEM School as at any other HCDE
school. However, no money is collected during
lunch. Students who want to pay for meal items must go online
and add money into MyPaymentsPlus meal plan.
Q: Can parents take their child
out to lunch or deliver lunch to school?
A: In order to minimize distractions, we follow these
procedures. First, students cannot be signed out for lunch unless
they are leaving for the day or have a doctor's appointment.
Second, parents cannot deliver restaurant food for
lunch. Students should pack lunch if not eating the served
school lunch. Third, a parent is welcome to come and eat lunch with
their child at the school on any day. However, they should not
bring restaurant food. Please keep in mind that lunch time at
the STEM School is an important part of the day for students to
have access to each teacher, and each teacher to have access to
each student. By minimizing distractions, students learn to use
this time as a valuable resource in their learning process.
Q: What is the curriculum for
the STEM School? Is it really going to be different than what any
other school does?
the curriculum is aligned with State of Tennessee and
Common Core Standards just like any other school, the STEM School
focus is on applying State of Tennessee and Common Core
Standards to provide authentic and relevant learning
experiences as part of everyday learning. The keystone of the
STEM School is an integrated curricular model with a central focus
on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics, &
Partnerships with postsecondary institutions and regional
businesses will provide opportunities for nontraditional 11th &
12th grade years in which college coursework, internships, and
apprenticeships will teach students through modern day application
of the academic concepts.
The instruction at the STEM School will be rooted in a
project and problem based learning philosophy. Project and problem
based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students
explore real world problems and challenges, simultaneously
developing cross curricular skills while working in small
collaborative groups. Because project and problem based education
yields active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain
a deeper knowledge of the subjects they are studying. Strong
related arts programs and sophisticated technological resources
will foster creativity and advance technical capabilities among the
students. The teaching model will guide students through a unique,
cutting-edge learning experience and challenge them to shift their
thinking to the practical applications of academic material.
In collaboration with the Southeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub,
the STEM School will also disseminate its educational
strategies throughout the entire region.