Category: Inside TNSuccess

Inside TNSuccess: November 25

This week, we recognize Thanksgiving as a time to reflect and consider everything for which we are grateful for. I am thankful for my incredible wife and two children and for our community and its vitality. It’s an incredible place to live and raise a family. I am also grateful for the opportunity to do work that is meaningful and serves others, like the educators and teachers who work so hard to make Tennessee a thriving place to get an excellent education.

While talking with the TSS team this week, I wanted to include a few words from them to share what they are thankful for. Here are a few thoughts from the team:

“I’m thankful for awesome family and friends, three German Shepards back home, beautiful TN State Parks for hiking, medical dramas (I love Grey’s!), spellcheck, Audible, and Juice Bar.” – Jessica Whitmill, Policy and Outreach Manager

“I am thankful for my family, my country and our freedom, my opportunities to make a difference, and above all my Lord and Savior.” – Susan Martin, Government Relations Director

“I’m thankful for walking in deep community with friends and family, purpose in life, and overall health in my friends, family, and myself.” – Lani Short, Communications Director

From the Tennesseans for Student Success family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Op-Ed: Improving K-12 Education Must Remain Tennessee’s Top Priority

Rep. Mark White, Chair of the Tennessee House Committee on Education and Senator Dolores Gresham, Chair of the Tennessee Senate Committee on Education recently penned an opinion editorial on the importance of improving Tennessee’s schools through higher academic standards, measuring student’s progress, providing more opportunity and choice to students, ensuring students and schools are kept accountable, as well as providing alternative pathways to success once they graduate from high school. 

Changes like these begin with transformation at every level. This article emphasizes the dramatic shift Tennessee has made over the past ten years to create positive change for our students and the hope we have as we look ahead to the future. 

Read the full article here


During this Season of Giving, Let’s Do Our Part

Are you looking for ways to get involved in changing student’s lives? During this season and into 2020, there are several ways you can take advantage of the opportunities our community has to help students and teachers persevere into this next year prepared and ready to succeed. Check out several opportunities where you can get involved by giving away your time, talent, and treasure.

Book’em – Become a reading role model volunteer by signing up here: https://bookem-kids.org/volunteer/

PENCIL – Become a reading partner and help children grow in their reading skills by signing up here: https://www.pencilforschools.org/reading

YMCA’s Youth Development program – One-on-one tutoring with students who have fallen below their grade level in reading. Sign up here: https://ymcamidtn.org/programs/children-and-teens/youth-development/ymca-literacy-program

Become a TNAchieves Mentor – Spend one hour a month with a high school senior and be a resource during their journey to college. Become a mentor here: https://tnachieves.org/mentors/apply/

The Tennessean’s Adopt-a-Teacher program – Help teachers finish out the school year strong by purchasing school supplies for their classrooms and students. Get involved here: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/dismissed/2019/11/15/adopt-teacher-tennessean-2019/4084863002/

Commissioner Schwinn Announces ‘Best For All’ Strategic Plan

Recently, the Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced the unveiling of her strategic plan to create a framework for the direction the Department is headed to improve student outcomes. After holding listening tours around the state over the past couple of months and the Commissioner visiting over 75 school districts in Tennessee, the Department has taken a bold approach to gather feedback from community members, educators, and parents to move the needle forward in the education space in Tennessee. 

The ‘Best For All’ strategic plan is outlined to include the following:

1. Quality academic programs for all students. 

2. Whole child support which features academic and non-academic aspects of a child’s life.

3. Top leader and teaching training and recruitment. Read more about this strategic plan and what the Department has laid the foundation for here


In Case You Missed It…

Inside TNSuccess: November 12

Thank You, Veterans

I would like to take a few moments to honor all those who have served in our Armed Forces as we recognize Veteran’s Day this week. It’s important we acknowledge the sacrifice our nation’s heroes made to keep this great country safe and free. Here at TSS, we are grateful for the service our veterans have given to this country and we pray you are reminded of that this week.

To that end, we’d like to use Veteran’s Day as an opportunity to honor an educator who has served in the military. Teachers make such a positive impact on young people’s lives and those who serve our country deserve to be recognized and celebrated. If you know a veteran who serves your community through education, nominate them today for a chance to receive a $50 gift card.

We’re excited to partner with you in this and look forward to celebrating our veterans with you. Click here to nominate an educator who is a veteran today.

-Adam Lister, President and CEO


Congratulations to our 2019 Tristar Reads Winners

Tennesseans for Student Success, together with Tristar Reads, announces the winners of their 2019 summer reading challenge. Awarding college scholarships, Tristar Reads encourages Tennessee’s students to be lifelong readers and learners.

“894 students logged over 500,000 minutes reading books this summer,” said Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister. “When we launched this program, our goal was to keep Tennessee’s students reading and mitigate the summer slide. From our recent 2019 TNReady results, we know there is a continued need to emphasize literacy at every grade level and in every classroom – especially elementary and middle school students. Programs like Tristar Reads are one of the tools to incentivize reading throughout the year, and we are proud to have a hand in student growth.” 

Tristar Reads is proud to award $1,000 college scholarships to the following outstanding Tennessee readers:

Elementary School Division – Tallen Haag, 3rd Grade, Robertson County, read 28,286 minutes
Middle School Division – Sarah Collier, 7th Grade, Cheatham County, read 22,955 minutes
High School Division – Lauren Linden, 12th Grade, Hancock County, read 10,012 minutes


The Nation’s 2019 Report Card Results

Recently, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the results of our nation’s 2019 Report Card, which showed Tennessee holding steady while the majority of the country declined. Notably, serious gains were made in fourth-grade math as a result of a commitment to implement student-focused policies.

Read more about what our Nation’s Report Card is and what it means for Tennessee’s students here

Check out what our President and CEO Adam Lister had to say about these results: 

“… there is still much work to be done to ensure all students are receiving the best possible public education. This data reinforces our belief that policy makers must commit to an aggressive and bold agenda, which dramatically and more quickly improves student outcomes for all Tennessee kids. It’s important that we commend the progress Tennessee has made, thank our teachers for their hard work, and commit to the strategies that will dramatically drive student achievement forward.”

Read our full statement here


Governor Bill Lee’s Announces GIVE Grant Recipients

Last week, Governor Bill Lee announced the distribution of $25 million of grants through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program. These funds will help expand opportunities in career and technical education and in rural counties across the state. Through collaborating with local stakeholders, economic development partners, and higher education organizations, all 28 economically distressed counties and 18 of the 24 at-risk counties were impacted and received funding.

To read more about the GIVE grant projects and recipients, click here


ICYMI…

Inside TNSuccess: October 28

Tennesseans for Student Success welcomes you to Inside TNSuccess.Read below for important news happening around the state in the education space and ways you can get involved and stay informed. 


Congrats to our Tristar Reads Elementary Division Winner, Tallen Haag from Portland, TN

TSS recently recognized our 2019 Tristar Reads Elementary division winner from the Portland area at the Portland Public Library where she was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for her future education. This summer, Tallen read 471.4 hours, the most ever read in our program to date, from May 1 – September 7.

During the program at the Portland Public Library, Youth Services Director, Linda Ackerman gave a brief talk on the importance of reading from an early age and how it helps improve student success. Additionally, Rep. William Lamberth joined the program and read Oh the Places You Will Go to the children that attended the program. 

To read more about the presentation, click here

To learn more about our annual Tristar Reads program, click here


Survey Says…

Public education isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Do you champion innovation in education so that students can be free to innovate, adapt, and flourish in the classroom and beyond? Let us know!


TDOE School Turnaround Listening Tour

Have you heard? The Tennessee Department of Education is holding a School Turnaround Listening tour this month in Shelby County, Davidson County, Hamilton County, and Jackson-Madison County. The purpose of this tour is to offer a voice to the community where the majority of Priority schools are located in Tennessee. The Department will solicit feedback, listen to stakeholders, parents, education partners, and engaged citizens who want to take a closer look at solutions to help student improvement and growth. Take a look at the schedule below: 

Monday, October 28th – Hamilton County, Brainerd High School

Tuesday, October 29th – Davidson County, American Red Cross

Wednesday, October 30th – Jackson-Madison County, Liberty Technology Magnet High School

Monday, November 4th – Davidson County, American Red Cross

To see the full schedule and further details from TDOE, click here.


In Case You Missed It…

Inside TNSuccess: October 14

Tennesseans for Student Success welcomes you to Inside TNSuccess.  Read below for important news happening around the state in the education space and ways you can get involved and stay informed. 


#KnowYourWhy with LEAD Southeast Principal, Mrs. Wilkins

October is National Principals Month and Tennesseans for Student Success sat down with Amy Kate Wilkins, Principal at LEAD Southeast High School, a public charter school within the LEAD public schools’ network with six schools serving 2,700 students in the Nashville area.

As an organization, we believe it’s important to celebrate educators and encourage leaders in the community to ‘Know Their Why.’ Do you know someone that would want to share their “why”? Let us know and we’d love to amplify their story!

Click here to learn more about Mrs. Wilkins, what she loves the most about what she does, and why she does it.


Calling All School Front Office Staff

At Tennesseans for Student Success, we love to celebrate the people that help make your school run smoothly. In November, we want to honor the exceptional front office staff in your school with a gift for your school staff and allowing them to share their stories through our #KnowYourWhy campaign. 

Please take a moment to nominate your front office staff here and let us know why they deserve this nomination. We can’t wait to celebrate your people! 


House District 77 Polling Numbers 

As a part of our statewide voter research polling, TSS is highlighting key voter perceptions on education reform policies. The following data is representative of House District 77 and tracks with statewide results.

Click here to view the data. 


SCORE Releases Survey Reinforcing the Importance of Post-Secondary Education

SCORE, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, recently released a survey reinforcing what we know to be critical for Tennessee students: earning a post-secondary education or credential is vital for success beyond high school.

Additionally, their data found that nearly eight out of ten of those surveyed supported increased school accountability which backs the findings we gathered this summer. Our data found that 82 percent of Tennesseans believe it’s important to hold schools and teachers accountable. 

To read more about this poll and its results, click here


ICYMI