TSS Blog

Inside Equity with HC*Excell

What is your organization’s mission, and how does it support Tennessee’s students?

At HC*Excell, Hamblen County Foundation for Education Excellence and Achievement, our mission is to promote educational excellence and achievement as a means of sustaining economic prosperity and improving the quality of life in Hamblen County. HC*Excell’s “Cradle through Career Initiative” sparked SUCCESS, an acronym for “Strategically Utilizing Community Creativity Empowering Student Success.” SUCCESS involves five components of work which include the following:

  1. Ready by 6: Endeavors to increase the number of children entering school prepared for success
  2. Arts Build Skills: Targets broadening student critical thinking and problem-solving skills by increasing integration of the arts in the elementary and middle school curriculum
  3. Workforce and Leadership Development: Focuses on improving the alignment of academic instruction workforce skills and access to hands-on learning
  4. Postsecondary Readiness: strives for improved student postsecondary preparation and successful completion
  5. Herbert S. Walters Fund: solicits and provides funds for teacher professional development, recognition, and appreciation.

What desired impact does your organization have for its community? How does that impact influence your organization’s goals?

Our goal is to advance economic opportunity for our students and provide opportunities for them for early exposure to postsecondary opportunities, so they are prepared for bright futures. Through our Arts Build Skills in partnership with Crayola CreatED, we’ve been able to build problem-solving and creative thinking skills in our students. In Hamblen County, our elementary schools do not have art teachers. However, we’ve been able to provide professional learning opportunities for teachers regarding art integration in the classroom through Crayola CreatED. This past year, our middle school Art & Industry Program continued to grow into more businesses and industries. Through this initiative, student artwork is displayed at different companies and industries around the county and provides students the opportunity to tour the companies and learn more about various careers.

To ensure students are prepared for school and have the necessary skills to succeed, HC*Excell’s hallmark program is Ready By 6. This program offers early childhood providers with professional development opportunities and resources to serve Hamblen County’s early childhood parents with issues like early learning, health, finance, and housing. This program recently distributed over 766 Ready By 6 Toolkits distributed through Morristown Hamblen Healthcare System (MHHS) staff. Toolkits include tip sheets, baby gifts, and Dolly Parton Imagination Library Books. This program focuses on Adverse Childhood Experiences, which helps tackle the economic impact of ACEs in Tennessee. See the infographic below regarding the effects of ACEs on Tennessee’s economy.

Recently, to respond to COVID-19 and virtual learning, HC*Excell obtained a $5000 grant from the East Tennessee Foundation to provide internet access to families with multiple children in the school system who do not have internet.  We are also looking at reallocating some funding from our budget to supplement this grant money so that more families that are unable to afford internet access during this time will have access to their children’s virtual classroom.

How can those interested get involved in the work you’re doing?

For more information on all of our programming, go to hcexcell.org or reach us by phone at 423-581-5334. You may also contact Executive Director, Stan Harville at ed@hcexcell.org.

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