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Weekly Update – October 29, 2018

“What can we do to help students be ready for success in life?”

It’s a question we get, and ask, a lot as we’re out and about in Tennessee meeting with teachers, parents, community leaders, legislators, and students themselves. There’s no singular answer or one magic thing we can do to make sure our kids are ready for success when they graduate from our schools.

But we know there are a few things we can do – have a strong teacher in every classroom, expect growth from every student, and make sure every student in Tennessee has an opportunity to be ready for success. Of course, that’s on top of the four priorities Tennesseans for Student Success believes create a statewide environment where success is possible.

You might have seen on Facebook and Twitter, or in your child’s school, that last week was our yearly focus on EPSOs – early postsecondary opportunities. These are classes, accreditations, certifications, and opportunities Tennessee’s high school students have to learn how to succeed before they even leave our classrooms.

We wanted to share with you a note from our President and CEO Adam Lister on the power of EPSOs:

The students that come through our classrooms have to be prepared for success when they leave our doors. In high schools across Tennessee, a form of that preparation is an Early Postsecondary Opportunity (EPSO). Through Advanced Placement classes, early trade certifications, dual enrollment opportunities, and other EPSOs offered by school districts, students can get an early chance at success. We are grateful for the existing opportunities in classrooms across the state but will continue to push every school district in Tennessee to step up their offerings and provide more opportunities for success.

Here’s a link to learn more about the early postsecondary opportunities for the students, classrooms, and schools in your world. Every opportunity our students have to succeed today is another way we can encourage their success tomorrow. Thanks for all you do to make sure Tennessee’s kids have an opportunity to succeed.

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.