Martin gives update on District 3 schools

District 3 School Board representative Greg Martin is looking at his position on the board from a business perspective, he told members of the local business community as he gave an update on the eight District 3 schools at a recent meeting of the Hixson Chamber Council.

“I deal in the world of accountability,” said Martin, who manages Lakewood Memory Gardens and Hamilton County Memorial Park in addition to his role on the school board. “I want to bring efficiency to the Hamilton County Department of Education. It’s way too easy to play loose with the taxpayers’ money, and I want to be a person who asks questions to find a better way.”

Martin said his first priority in the district is to build a new Ganns Middle Valley Elementary. Built in 1937, the current school building was at 103 percent capacity when a facilities study was conducted by HCDE in 2009, he said.

He said he is proud of the fact that all three middle and high schools in the district — Loftis Middle, Hixson Middle and Hixson High — each have a School Resource Officer.

Martin informed the group that the Greenhouse Aquaponics Center currently under construction at HHS should be complete within a few weeks and 250 students are signed up for the program.

“This hands-on learning environment will integrate business, agriculture, math and science,” he said, adding that it will be the only Greenhouse Aquaponics Center in a Hamilton County school.

Enrollment at HHS has been up for the past two years and the school now leads all of Hamilton County in enrollment, said Martin.

HHS has four teachers who are board-certified, the highest certification a teacher can achieve. HHS has more board-certified teachers than any other Hamilton County school, he added.

Martin said more businesses are needed to participate in HHS’ work-based learning program.

“Children with special needs learn basic skills and tasks they can perform,” he said of the program, which currently has 12 participants and four students interested.

Martin praised Big Ridge Elementary for being in the top 5 percent in academic achievement in the state for two years in a row, and also recognized Ganns Middle Valley for being in the top 5 percent in the state for academic progress.