March 23, 2020
With the acceleration of the coronavirus, individuals, businesses, and the TN legislature have taken unprecedented measures over the past week to promote safety and the multi-faceted needs of our community first.
Beginning last night at midnight, Mayor John Cooper, Nashville, announced a “Safer at Home” public health order, which requires Davidson County residents to stay in their homes unless they are engaged in “essential activities” and closes non-essential businesses for 14 days.
Last week, the Tennessee General Assembly met to work through committees and floor sessions and pass an appropriations bill before they recessed on Thursday. As part of the legislature’s sweeping measures, the General Assembly, in consultation with the Tennessee Department of Education, has passed legislation to suspend TNReady testing and waive the 180 days of instruction requirement for the 2019 – 2020 school year. Additional measures were waived and can be found here. These steps are in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the tragic March 3rd tornadoes in middle Tennessee to ensure no students, teachers, and schools are adversely impacted by school closures, student absenteeism, and other hardships under these devastating circumstances.
Additionally, the Tennessee General Assembly has plans to reconvene in June and passed a modified, no-growth budget that continues the operations of our government and legislation passed last year. The priority is the success of our students, and we are proud of the hard work legislators and Governor Lee are doing to ensure the safety and needs of TN kids are met.
Last week, the governor urged all schools to close as soon as possible with a deadline of Friday, March 20. Additionally, the TN Department of Education launched a School Meal Finder for families to find free meal distribution sites in their community. If you have nutrition-specific questions, please reach out to the TDOE COVID-19 hotline at 800-354-3663.
The TN Department of Education released a school closure toolkit for parents, teachers, and staff. Take a look at it here.
As conversations continue over the coming weeks and months, we plan to keep you in the loop with the latest news and updates.
At TSS, we advocate for students and encourage Tennesseans to use their voice for TN’s kids. Amid COVID-19, we are doing what we can to connect people with their elected officials, improve communications, and help solve problems. Please fill out this form to send an email to your legislator regarding issues your school, students, or community are experiencing because of COVID-19.
With summer on the horizon and Tennessee students at home for the time being, we want to offer parents and students various resources that will be helpful for at-home learning and fun. Sign up here to receive these emails and you’ll be the first to know when our Tristar Reads program kicks off this May!
Tristar Reads is our annual contest designed to encourage children across the Volunteer State to read for at least 20 minutes a day during the summer break. The program runs from May 1, 2020 through September 7, 2020 and is open to all Tennessee students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to the students who read and log the most hours over the course of the summer.
You don’t want to miss out!
Last month, we celebrated National School Counselor Week by inviting educators and staff to nominate an Outstanding School Counselor to recognize and honor the impact these individuals make in our schools.
Leah Burnett, from Baxter Primary School in the Putnam County Schools (TN) School System, was overwhelmingly nominated by her colleagues for all she does for their students. Here are a few of the responses we received from them:
“This is her first year at our school and she has gone above and beyond for the students and families at BPS. Her love and compassion for these kids are remarkable. She truly wants what’s best for not only the students but the parents or guardians as well.”
“… She has a great personality and is so easy to get along with! Very thankful to have a hard-working and caring counselor at our school!”
“She goes above and beyond every day to help our students get what they need emotionally, mentally, and physically.”
“… She has the students’ best interest at heart, and it shows.”
Congratulations, Ms. Burnett!
The Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute, which is sponsored by the State Collaborative on Education Reform, or SCORE and The Hunt Institute, is an opportunity for leaders across the state to collaborate and champion innovation in higher education institutions. Tennessee’s students deserve equitable access to post-secondary opportunities and every resource possible for completion. Through this program, you will help pave the way for all Tennessee students to succeed.
The Tennessee General Assembly recessed last Thursday until June 1, 2020. Stay on top of the Tennessee General Assembly’s schedule here.