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Weekly Update – October 22, 2018

Tennessee’s soon-to-be graduates need your help.

Every year, TNAchieves puts out a call for mentors. 9,000 mentors to be exact. The ask is simple – volunteer a few hours a month for a few months a year and help make sure today’s class of graduating seniors is successful tomorrow.

What’s the time commitment? At a minimum, mentors are asked to give 10 hours a year to their handful of high school seniors. There’s an initial one-hour training, two one-hour meetings with your mentees, and from there it’s up to you to check in via text/email, or even in person, to help transition your high school students into their first year of college. The training will walk you through what all you’ll need, so you won’t ever be left in the dark.

Why give your time? To put it simply – because everything changes for our students when they pursue a post-graduate certificate. Whether it’s a 4-year or 2-year degree or a certificate from a TCAT or trade school, success after high school means more income, more mobility, and more opportunities for success. But our students need help in the transition from high school to post-secondary life.

That’s where you come in.

You’ll be joining several of our TSS staffers in becoming mentors. You’ll help students learn how to set study goals, learn how to be prepared for academic work in college, and you’ll provide key encouragement along the way. Join us and learn more about the program or apply here. And spread the word. TNAchieves needs 9,000 mentors in the next few weeks. We promise you won’t regret it! If you do sign up to be a mentor, will you drop us a note and let us know? We’d like to thank you publicly for helping the next generation of students succeed.

Weekly Update October 15, 2018

From time to time, we trade our weekly emails for a list of articles that caught our eyes. Some short, some long, but all related to education conversations in Tennessee, we know you’ll appreciate having these news-worthy links in your inbox. Want to meet up and talk about some of them? Know there’s an open invitation from our Field Team (email for coffee and conversations.

– Did you know? Tennessee offers a free, in-school ACT retake to all public high school seniors. The 2018 ACT Retake takes place on October 16th and 30th. Learn more about the importance of the ACT and the impact it can have on student success.

– The National Council on Teacher Quality recently released reports on six places where teacher evaluation systems are getting positive results. One of them? We’re proud to say Tennessee is among that list. Here’s a link to the report with a few things we enjoy highlighting: Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system recognizes strong teachers and keeps them in the classroom, helps all teachers improve, and correlates with increased student achievement.

– Tara Scarlett penned an op-ed in the Tennessean recently focusing on the importance of student achievement, success, and preparation in early grades. Scarlett writes: “We know that when students are not proficient by third grade, they are four times more likely to drop out of high school and 60 percent less likely to pursue a post-secondary degree. Once students fall behind in third grade, they tend to stay behind or fall further.”

And a bonus – Tennesseans for Student Success’ Adam Lister was interviewed and offered his thoughts on the state’s recent Reward and Priority School report. Listen to his full interview here.

We’re serious about that invitation for coffee and conversations. Drop us a note and our Field Team will be in touch. Thanks for all you do for Tennessee’s kids – you’re a key link in the work for student success.

Tristar Reads 2018 Winners

September 21, 2018

CONTACT: Ashley Elizabeth Graham

Tennesseans for Student Success Announces Scholarship Winners

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success, together with Tristar Reads, announces the winners of their 2018 summer reading challenge. Giving away college scholarships, Tristar Reads encourages Tennessee’s students to be lifelong readers and learners.

“More than 900 students logged over 251,000 minutes of time spent in a book this summer,” said Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister. “When we launched this program, our goal was to keep Tennessee’s kids reading and mitigate the summer slump. From our recent NAEP and statewide assessment, we know there is a continued need to emphasize literacy at every grade level and in every classroom. Programs like Tristar Reads are one of the tools to incentivize reading throughout the year.” 

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

Kindergarten-5th Grade – Kyra Warrington, 4th Grade, Wayne County
6th-8th Grade – Rowen Wilkinson, 8th Grade, Sumner County
9th-12 Grade – Lauren Linden, 11th Grade, Hancock County

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, everything 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 borne of the necessity to keep Tennessee’s kids reading when away from their classrooms. 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 third year, over 925 students logged their reading time, reading over 251,100 minutes this summer, and participating in the summer reading challenge. For more information on how to participate next year, please visit