Inside TNSuccess

Inside TNSuccess: September 8

TSS New Staff Alert

Over the past few months, we’ve had a few additions to the TSS staff to introduce to you. Meet Jack Minor, Senior Director of Strategy and Advocacy and Alice Ball, Executive Assistant to TSS President & CEO Adam Lister. Enjoy reading about their background and experience below.

Jack Minor, Sr. Director of Strategy and Advocacy

Jack joins Tennesseans for Student Success as the Senior Director of Strategy and Advocacy after serving as Rep. Mark Walker’s (R-NC) Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director. Prior to joining the Walker team, he worked for Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, U.S. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Heritage Action for America. He is a graduate of Elon University and a native of Catawba County, N.C. Apart from his official duties, Minor has helped grow Walker’s digital and political presence throughout North Carolina – building one of the largest and most active digital campaigns in the state.

Alice Ball, Executive Assistant

Alice joins us as the Executive Assistant to the President & CEO for Tennesseans for Student Success after spending 10 years with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Savannah, GA. While at the DOJ, she worked in many facets within the Criminal, Civil, and Administrative divisions. Prior to ending her time at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she was the Executive Assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia for almost 2 years and looks forward to bringing the same level of organization to this role. While working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she obtained her bachelor’s in law and society, master’s in leadership, and her J.D. Although Alice is not from Tennessee, she is looking forward to making this her home.

Tennessee COVID-19 Update

The following updates are from Governor Bill Lee’s press conference last Thursday:

  • The Department of Education Commissioner, Penny Schwinn, announced a new dashboard for school districts to upload positive COVID-19 cases. The dashboard will include new positive cases in students and teachers from the previous weeks, the primary operating model for each school, information about a school’s critical infrastructure designation for certain workers, or lack thereof where applicable, and a link to each school’s continual learning plans (CLP). Out of privacy precautions, the Department of Education announced that schools with less than 50 total students will not upload positive cases into the dashboard and schools with 5 or less positive cases between teachers and students will not upload specific positive case numbers into the dashboard. Additional information can be located in the press release from the Department of Education which can be found here.
  • Department of Health Commissioner, Lisa Piercey, announced a shift in the department’s information reporting format regarding COVID-19. Per CDC guidelines, the Department of Health has altered several definitions around COVID-19 case reporting including reducing the definition of active cases from 21 days since infection to 14 days since infection and altering the definition of what constitutes close contact from 10 minutes of exposure to an infected individual within 6 feet to 15 minutes of exposure to an infected individual within 6 feet. Additionally, the new strategy will target reporting individual county’s epidemic curve, cumulative counts of positive cases, total hospitalizations and deaths, recent versus historic trends, and in-depth data on testing. Additional information can be located in the press release from the Department of Health which can be found here.
  • Commissioner Barnes of the Tennessee Department of Human Services announced that Tennessee has applied for an additional round of the P-EBT program. The application has been submitted to the USDA and is currently under review. 
  • Additionally, Commissioner Barnes announced the approval of a waiver from FNS, an arm of the USDA, to allow schools to continue to operate their Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through December 31st. 

Inside Equity with the Knoxville Area Urban League

In this week’s edition of Inside Equity, the Knoxville Area Urban League. The Knoxville Area Urban League’s mission is to “enable African Americans, other minority groups and the underserved to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights.” The core values of KAUL are: diversity, integrity, passion, customer service, self-sufficiency, empowerment, teamwork, and collaboration.

Read about the impact this organization is making in the Knoxville area and ways you can get involved here.

Tristar Reads 2020

Despite the ups and downs of this nontraditional summer, we want to extend our thanks to those of you who participated in our summer reading scholarship program, Tristar Reads. Reading is critical for the success of our student’s future, so thank you for investing part of your summer to ensure your child continues to read and grow. Encouraging literacy helps pave the way for a better future for TN kids and the outcome of our state as a result.

This summer, Tristar Reads enrolled 460 students with over 350,000 reading minutes total read over the course of the summer. At Tennesseans for Student Success, we believe in helping students prepare for their future. Stay engaged this fall as Governor Lee recently announced September as College Savings Month with TNStars promoting the opportunity for three students to win a college scholarship. Find out more here and stay connected with us on social media to continue to hear about college savings opportunities.

Want to get ahead of the game? Sign up for Tristar Reads 2021 here!

TDOE Launches COVID-19 District Info Dashboard

Last week, the Tennessee Department of Education announced an update on their data reporting to include additional school and district COVID-19 information, including numbers of new positive COVID-19 cases. The dashboard will provide district-reported information on the number of new positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff and information regarding the number of schools conducting in-person learning, remote learning, and a hybrid approach for instruction. For more information on these additional data updates, read the press release here.

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