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Inside TNSuccess: December 23

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s important to reflect on the past year (and decade!) as we prepare for 2020. It’s critical to begin each year with a positive mindset as we set goals, raise expectations, and gear up for what’s ahead. Here at TSS, we are thankful for the successful 2019 we had and anticipatory for what’s on the horizon. With the legislative session ringing in the New Year, we’re excited to welcome members back to Nashville as we work to champion better student outcomes for all children in Tennessee. 

We hope you enjoy the rest of December with the ones you love and are prepared for the remarkable year that’s ahead. Merry Christmas to you from Team TSS! 


#KnowYourWhy with Mr. Frey

TSS recently 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 Action Center

Team TSS is excited to announce our new and improved action center as a new way for you to get involved with our advocacy efforts. Through our action center, you are able to look up your legislator, sign petitions, and email your local legislator during the 2020 legislative session about issues you’re passionate about.

Sign up for TSS Action Network Alerts to stay up-to-date on issues affecting Tennessee’s students. We will send you only the most urgent issues seeking your input on how these policies impact students and how to raise your voice for student improvement. It’s critical we ensure Tennessee’s students have the best opportunity for college and career. Sign up today!


TennesseeCAN Releases 2019 Tennessee Policy Report Card

Recently, TennesseeCAN released their 2019 Policy Report Card, which scores the state on 26 different education policy areas as a way to measure the state’s efforts on improving student outcomes. This report focuses on policy issues in Tennessee around excellence, equity, choice, and transparency. Check out what TennesseeCAN has to say about how our state has been successful and how it can improve.

Read the full report here


In Case You Missed It…

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. 

Inside TNSuccess: December 9

TSS Action Center

Tennesseans for Student Success Action Center

Team TSS is excited to announce our action center as a new way for you to get involved with our advocacy efforts. Through our action center, you are able to look up your legislator, sign petitions, and email your local legislator during the 2020 legislative session about issues you’re passionate about. 

One of the newest features of our action center is our text messaging alerts system. By signing up for TSS Action Network Alerts, you can stay up-to-date on issues affecting Tennessee’s students. We will send you only the most urgent issues seeking your input on how these policies impact students and how to raise your voice for student improvement. 

It’s critical we ensure Tennessee’s students have the best opportunity for college and career. Help us prevent politics from entering the classroom today. 


The Season of Giving

As a reminder, this is the season of giving and we want to make sure you are connected to the best ways to give to your local community through various opportunities. Check out several ways to get involved by giving this holiday season.

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

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/


In Case You Missed It…

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…