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Inside TNSuccess: August 5

Tennesseans for Student Success is excited to announce that we are rebranding our newsletter to be called Inside TNSuccess. 

Read below for important news happening around the state in the education space and ways you can get involved and stay informed


A Word from Our President, Adam Lister

It is my honor and privilege as President and CEO of Tennesseans for Student Success (TSS), to lead this organization by supporting and championing Tennessee’s students and their futures. As a father of two and husband to an incredible public-school teacher, I feel grateful that I am able to work toward ensuring today’s students are more prepared and have more opportunities for success than those who graduated before them. 

To that end, over the past couple of weeks, TSS has held education advocacy and leadership summits in Knoxville and Nashville for educators, parents and community leaders interested in learning how to best advocate for students in their sphere of influence. Included in our events were lawmakers, former lawmakers, leadership experts and community pioneers who invested their time, wisdom and outlook on the education landscape to better equip others.

Above all else, TSS believes that open, honest and robust conversations about improving public education plays a vital role in driving enhanced student achievement. We are unapologetic about our advocacy for higher academic standards, an assessment aligned with those standards, accountability for everyone involved in the classroom and providing more choice within public education.

As the new school year begins across the state today, we are thrilled that our amazing educators are filling Tennessee’s schools in order to make a difference in the lives of upcoming generations. Tennessee’s future looks very bright, and I look forward to what’s ahead for our students. 


Tennessee Legislative Corner

On Wednesday, July 24, 2019, the Tennessee House Republican Caucus met and nominated current Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton of Crossville to be the Republican nominee for House Speaker.

Additionally, last Friday, Rep. Casada’s resignation as Tennessee House Speaker became effective. Knoxville Rep. Bill Dunn will take his place in the interim before the Tennessee General Assembly convenes in a special session on August 23. At that time, the House will elect a new speaker, presumably Rep. Sexton.


Tristar Reads: Honoring America’s Superhero Servicemembers

This week with Tristar Reads, we are highlighting the men and women who serve our great nation and allow us to have the freedoms that we enjoy every day. Let’s use our superhero powers to extend gratitude to those who protect this amazing country. 

We’re thankful to live in such an amazing and free country, which is why we’d like to honor Corporal Knight during our reading this week. He serves our nation in the United States Army and the Tennessee Army National Guard. Be sure to watch his special reading of America the Beautiful Together We Stand here. 

Remember: students in grades K-12 are eligible and will be entered for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship! Log your hours with Tristar Reads now. Don’t miss out on important reminders and the weekly Superhero Challenge. Sign up for our weekly Tristar Reads email today!


Use Your Voice

Do you want to learn more about how to advocate for Tennessee students and make a difference? Check out our online advocacy portal to do just that!

RSVP for our Nashville Teacher Paint Night on August 13th! 
Meet teachers from across Middle TN, create something unique for your classroom or home and learn more about TSS. Regular price is $35, teacher price is $15 (includes light dinner). Sign up here


ICYMI…

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

VIDEO: #KnowYourWhy with LEAD Southeast Principal, Mrs. Wilkins in Nashville

NASHVILLE – 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.’ Read a few excerpts from Mrs. Wilkins below:

Short: What do you love the most about what you do?

Wilkins: “… The relationship that I was able to form with students and with my colleagues as well as with families in the community that I served, especially in these first few formative years really set the foundation for this work. So I think that it is the reason I decided to stay in education, but really what gives me the drive every single day is knowing that I am coming to school, serving students, interacting with parents, and working with colleagues to problem solve and give kids the best possible education they can have here in Nashville.”

Short: Can you tell us a little bit about your school and what makes it unique?

Wilkins: “… We specifically at this school, serve grades 9th through 11th. We’re unique in that we’re a growing high school. Next year we will add our first graduating class. We’re following in the footsteps of our sister school, LEAD Academy who has graduated and sent 100 percent of their seniors off to a career or college path that is best suited for them, and we hope to do that soon in less than a year. Our graduating class of 2021 is pumped to do that, and I think it really sets us apart as a high school here in the city of Nashville.”

Short: In closing, do you have any last thoughts or words you’d like to share?

Wilkins: “… I think what resonates most closely with me is when people affirm that this work is really hard… Being an educator is something that a lot of people aspire to do, but very few stick with because it is really taxing. So my encouragement and closing words would be to stick with it, to value the relationships that the job offers – both with students and the people you are working alongside – and utilize those to energize you in this work. And finally, take care of yourself… So that would definitely be my closing words but also advice for people that are looking to get into this work.”

Click here to view the video. 

Tennesseans for Student Success Statement on the Public Charter School Commission Announcement

NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO, Adam Lister, released the following statement after Governor Lee’s appointments to the state’s new public charter school commission:

“Every student in the state of Tennessee, regardless of their zip code, deserves the highest level of quality and equal access to an outstanding public education. Tennessee continues to lead the way in innovative solutions to improve public education through the establishment of the new statewide public charter school commission. By establishing a non-political commission filled with accomplished experts in leading and growing charter schools as well as managing rigorous authorization programs and nonprofit governance; Tennessee took a dramatic step forward in improving its charter school policy. It is important the Volunteer State continues to establish new paths for students to have a seat in a high-quality public school, and this commission will implement even greater opportunities for families and students that need them the most.”

Inside TNSuccess: September 30

ICYMI from the Tennessean: Scorecard lets voters see which legislators prioritize education

TSS recently released its third annual 2019 TNSuccessCard, a tool to keep Tennessee voters informed and engaged at the ballot box.

Check out this op-ed featured in The Tennessean from TSS President and CEO Adam Lister, on the importance of ensuring elected officials are prioritizing education and voting for policies that support student success. 

Read the full op-ed from the Tennessean here


Gov. Lee Announces New Public Charter School Commission

Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO, Adam Lister, released the following statement after Governor Lee’s appointments to the state’s new public charter school commission:

“Every student in the state of Tennessee, regardless of their zip code, deserves the highest level of quality and equal access to an outstanding public education. Tennessee continues to lead the way in innovative solutions to improve public education through the establishment of the new statewide public charter school commission. By establishing a non-political commission filled with accomplished experts in leading and growing charter schools as well as managing rigorous authorization programs and nonprofit governance; Tennessee took a dramatic step forward in improving its charter school policy. It is important the Volunteer State continues to establish new paths for students to have a seat in a high-quality public school, and this commission will implement even greater opportunities for families and students that need them the most.”

Read the statement online here.


Congrats to the 2019-2020 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, Brian McLaughlin

Mr. McLaughlin was awarded this honor last week at the Tennessee Department of Education Annual Teacher of the Year Gala. He hails from Hamblen County and is an algebra teacher at Morristown-Hamblen High School West. He has been teaching for 11 years and according to TDOE “McLaughlin has been recognized as a Level 5 teacher every year of his career. Level 5 is a designation given to teachers when their students make significantly more progress than the growth standard.” Read more from the TDOE press release here


How is the State Preparing High School Students for Post-Secondary?

Last week, SCORE, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, released a report addressing how Tennessee high schools are preparing students for post-secondary education after high school.

SCORE reported that four out of ten students in Tennessee are entering into college classrooms unprepared for college-level work. 

Through a listening tour around the state and beyond, collaborating with key leaders and educators, and recognizing that high school education isn’t one-size-fits-all; SCORE was able to gather and analyze data so students are prepared for post-secondary education and all that it entails


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