Category: Press Releases

TSS Launches Policy Priorities Campaign: Higher Standards

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success is kicking off the 2020 legislative session by outlining our policy pillars and how they affect student success. Our five pillars are higher academic standards, an aligned assessment to those standards, protecting accountability, innovation in education, and securing economic freedom for all. 

Why Higher Standards Matter: 

High academic standards that set clear goals for what students should learn are necessary to prepare students for success in a 21st-century economy. From Kindergarten to graduation, today’s students need a strong foundation and a variety of skills and abilities to be successful in their chosen next steps. Upon graduation, they will enter the workforce, complete a professional certification at a technical school, serve in America’s Armed Forces, or earn a degree from a college or university. Whatever the path, students must be ready to achieve, learn, and grow. High academic expectations in today’s classrooms prepare students to reach their fullest potential and to thrive as they pursue tomorrow’s opportunities for success.

Watch Dr. Rachel P. Cornett, K-5 Academic Interventionist at Brown’s Chapel Elementary School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as she highlights how high academic standards taught at every grade-level help ensure Tennessee’s students are able to exceed expectations and continue on the pathway to success.  


Below is an excerpt from Dr. Cornett:

“Hi, my name is Rachel P. Cornett and I have been a public educator for 14 years here in middle Tennessee…

“I’m really excited that in Tennessee we have high standards that are very rigorous. [They are] revised by educators with input from policymakers, parents, and our communities to really form what we expect and want all of our students in Tennessee to know and be able to do.

“When we think of high standards, we have to have aligned assessments to make sure that we’re working towards reaching those goals in Tennessee…

“I’ve worked a lot with the state Department of Education. I’ve done professional development and worked around the state, so I’ve seen educators get excited about the rigor of these standards and what their students are able to do with what they know when they’re pushed and when they have the proper support. It’s exciting, with the aligned assessment, to see their progress.”

Click here to view the video. 

To continue the conversation on social media, use the hashtag #TSSPriorities. 

VIDEO: #KnowYourWhy with Mr. Frey, Assistant Principal at Henry C. Maxwell Elementary
Mr. Frey, Assistant Principal from Henry C. Maxwell Elementary

NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success released the final video in our #KnowYourWhy series. This month, we featured Mr. Sam Frey, Assistant Principal of Henry C. Maxwell Elementary School in Antioch, Tennessee. Mr. Frey shares his story of why he became an educator and how he has remained motivated throughout the years.

In the video, Mr. Frey chronicles how his high school counselor paid for him to take the ACT test and encouraged him to go to college away from home, where he excelled as an inner-city educator for fifteen years. His passion for students and their growth is evident through his story.

As an organization, we believe it’s important to celebrate educators and encourage leaders in the community to ‘Know Their Why.’

Click here to view the video. 

Tennesseans for Student Success Statement on the NAEP Results

NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister released the following statement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results:

“Over the last ten years, Tennessee students have made dramatic improvements as a result of a commitment to implementing student-focused policies. Released today, our Nation’s Report Card found that many states regressed, while Tennessee’s students slightly progressed in some areas.

“That said, 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.”

Tennesseans for Student Success Announces Tristar Reads Scholarship Winners

NASHVILLE – 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

Lister continued: “A commitment to reading is a commitment to success not just in the classroom, but in life. When students, teachers, parents, and communities embrace the benefits of reading, anything is possible. We are encouraged by the continued interest and growth not just in our three college scholarships, but in keeping literacy skills sharp all year long.”

Running from May 1st – September 7th, Tristar Reads was birthed out of the goal to keep Tennessee’s students reading during the summer months. When students read 20 minutes a day during their summer vacations, they are more likely to return to school ready for success in their next grade. In its fourth year, almost 900 students logged their reading time, reading over 500,000 minutes this summer, and participating in the summer reading challenge. For more information on how to participate next year, please visit