• Leadership Tennessee Names Bob Eby to Class XI

    Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | 12:00pm

    Leadership Tennessee, a collective with a mission to foster non-partisan dialogue on issues of state importance, has named Bob Eby to its 2024–2025 Signature Program Class XI. In Leadership Tennessee’s 11th Signature Program, 14 different Tennessee counties are represented with diverse professional experience in the business, government, education and nonprofit sectors. Over the course of 10 months, the cohort will visit all corners of the state, analyzing challenges that Tennessee faces, and will work together to identify the best solutions and opportunities. The statewide study will result in concrete plans to continue dialogue and actions addressing the most serious issues uncovered. “I am proud to bring to the table my unique perspective and find ways we can improve the learning experience for Tennessee’s K-12 students,” said Bob Eby, Chairman of the Tennessee State Board of Education, Class XI member. “I admire the talented professionals also named to this year’s class. I have collaborated with several of these members since serving on the State Board, and I am certain that this opportunity will allow us to make a transformative impact for the betterment of our state.” The group was selected by an anonymous selection committee based on the following criteria: leadership experience, a history of addressing statewide issues in both a personal and professional capacity, and a strong understanding of what challenges Tennessee faces today. “In a time of increasing polarization, Leadership Tennessee’s mission to bring individuals together with the goal of bettering our state is something we can all be proud of,” said Alfred Degrafinreid II, president and CEO, Leadership Tennessee. “Year after year, we find that our programming helps folks to think critically while we are working together, and that continues long after the session has ended with professionals folding these major topics into their work.” Previous classes have been able to facilitate numerous community engagement sessions across the state. Since Leadership Tennessee’s founding, more than 600 members have graduated through both the Signature Program and Leadership Tennessee NEXT, which is dedicated to emerging leaders. The cohort’s work will begin in August and run through June 2025. ABOUT LEADERSHIP TENNESSEE Leadership Tennessee was founded in 2013 as an initiative of the College of Leadership and Public Service at Lipscomb University, and in 2021, it launched as an independent 501(c)(3). The program fosters collaborative, non-partisan dialogue on issues of state importance, connecting a network of diverse leaders and engaged citizens. Citizens with demonstrated community and professional leadership from every region of the state bring their diverse backgrounds and experiences to an in-depth exploration of the complex issues facing Tennessee, with a focus on how leaders can collaborate to effectively address those issues.

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  • Reflections on Serving on the Tennessee State Board of Education

    Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | 01:26pm

    There is no question in my mind that serving on the Tennessee State Board of Education (SBE) is an honor and a privilege. Descriptions we often hear when someone remarks on their experience regardless of what form it may have taken. These words aptly describe how I feel about my own experience over the past ten years. I was reluctant in June 2014, to serve and represent the sixth congressional because it was something meant for others to do or so I thought. I had misconceptions like many others who would tell me SBE members need to be educators or be an expert on education policy. State Board members, with one exception, are not required to be educators. Members are selected to represent a cross-section of the state’s population and therefore come from various walks of life. While all members are expected to represent the voices of Tennessee citizens and specifically the constituents in their respective districts, our board also hosts the unique opportunity to have a student member who is appointed by the Governor and represents the voice of students. The impact from serving as a board member is far-reaching and well beyond anything I have done before. Accepting the opportunity to serve on any government board or commission requires a full understanding of the responsibilities, and what it takes to be an effective member. Members are expected to be well prepared by reading and comprehending the data supporting each item up for the board’s vote. Rules or policies are not approved unless they are in the best interest of students’ education, and unless they meet the intent of legislation passed by the General Assembly. Anyone can observe a board meeting once or twice to witness the depth and breadth of questions and discussions that members have prior to a vote. While a great deal of work goes into making the proposals the best they can be, votes are not always unanimous and sometimes items are modified, postponed, or in some cases rejected. I am proud of the board’s commitment to transparency and accountability, major pillars of the board’s strategic plan. The board does not operate in a vacuum: it works closely with the Governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Education, and other education organizations all while placing a high value on input from constituents in advance of voting. Our focus, through SBE rules and policies, is providing the highest quality education to all students and improving student outcomes. As I reflect on my two terms of service, totaling ten years with five as board chair, the standout moments were not about what I or the board accomplished. They were witnessing what was happening in schools, observing excellence in action with teachers inspiring their students with a love of learning, administrators providing and supporting a professional learning environment and culture for students and teachers alike, witnessing how teachers of different content areas were collaborating to address the whole child’s education, seeing student excitement for career technical education courses offered, and earning industry credentials, graduating with college credit, or an associate degree. Other moments were watching superintendents supporting one another by discussing and sharing how they would address a new requirement, challenging issues, or budget concerns; the celebratory moments for exemplary and reward school recognition; and celebrating teachers, supervisors, principals, and superintendents of the year. There were times filled with concern and hope for our future, the safety of our children, overcoming what seemed like insurmountable challenges, and determining the best way forward during one of the most challenging times of our lives when the COVID-19 Pandemic began. We found a path forward through unchartered waters by passing emergency rules that provided a road map for districts to open schools while ensuring the safety of students and educators; holding harmless districts and schools for accountability due to school closures and issues beyond their control; approving rules for virtual learning, and other changes to increase the likelihood of minimizing learning loss. The Board’s work during the pandemic brought positive changes to SBE rules and policies designed to improve student outcomes by lowering unnecessary barriers to educator licensure issuance, addressing early childhood literacy, revising academic standards that include alignment of timing for new textbook adoption, improving the licensure discipline process clarifying what actions should be taken against an educator’s license for violations of the code of ethics/conduct, revisions to teacher training standards to ensure alignment with academic standards, and more. Serving is not a singular act accomplished by one board member or the board acting alone. It is a collaboration among many. The board cannot function without the dedicated experts in education, who are often behind the scenes conducting research and writing policies and rules while ensuring members have access to the most current data to inform our decisions. Many of these professionals are unsung heroes and deserve our deepest appreciation. Thanking them for their hard work and dedication is essential. The leadership and staff of the State Board of Education are among the first for their commitment to the work of the board and for their relentless pursuit of excellence in the education of our children; school districts and their educators for their dedication, and focus on providing a high-quality education that prepares students for life after high school; the Department of Education’s outstanding team for their partnership; and the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), the Tennessee Education Research Alliance, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee School Boards Association, and the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents to name a few. I am proud to have served our state, alongside my fellow board members, in the most important endeavor entrusted to the Board of Education; that is the education of our children, through our Tennessee academic standards, policies, and rules. It has been an honor and a privilege! Written By Lillian Hartgrove, Chair Emeritus State Board of Education, serving Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District

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  • Lt. Governor Appoints Clarksville Resident to Tennessee State Board of Education

    Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | 10:00am

    (NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Lt. Governor Randy McNally has appointed Marsha Johnson, a Clarksville, TN resident to the Tennessee State Board of Education. As the representative for Tennessee’s seventh Congressional District, Mrs. Johnson will join the Board at its upcoming quarterly meeting on May 31 and will serve a five-year term. Marsha’s 35 years an educator included teaching in Tennessee’s Montgomery County Schools System and across the state line in Kentucky at Fort. Campbell’s Dependent Schools. Her accomplishments include receiving a 2001 Presidential Award representing the Armed Forces for Excellence in Mathematics. Since retiring from teaching in 2014, Marsha resides with her husband, Representative Curtis Johnson, in Clarksville, TN. “As a dedicated career educator, Marsha Johnson’s talent and experience will serve the Tennessee State Board of Education well. With over 35 years in K-12 schools, Marsha has taught many different grades and many different subjects. I am confident her contributions to the commission will serve our state and its students well,” said Lt. Governor McNally. The Tennessee State Board of Education is composed of 11 members representing the diversity of the state – one from each congressional district, plus a student member, and the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission who serves as non-voting ex officio member. Board members are unpaid for their service. They are appointed by either the Governor, the Lt. Governor or the speaker of the House of Representatives and confirmed by the legislature. Members are selected based on a passion for service to the people of Tennessee and the education of Tennessee’s children. “Marsha's extensive experience as a former educator makes her well-versed in the work of the Board. We are excited to see how she plans on expressing her opinion when voting on our rules and policies,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education.

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  • Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission in Tennessee announces the 2024 Class of Tennessee Purple Star Schools

    Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 03:00pm

    The Tennessee Purple Star School Award was designed to highlight military-friendly schools that show a major commitment to serving students and families connected to our nation’s military. Awardees receive special recognition to display in their buildings. A school must reapply every two years to maintain the recognition status. Schools are eligible for the award if they have a point of contact within the school that has completed a professional development component specific to the needs of military-connected students. The school website must contain a page that provides resources for military families. The school then chooses an additional activity that aligns with the school’s population and goals. For families, the designation will help guide them to schools that have support in place. In November 2019, the Tennessee Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, MIC3, opened applications for the first round of the Tennessee Purple Star School Award. The award is presented to a new class each spring. The award is designed to recognize military-friendly schools in Tennessee. Children in military families experience many challenges: transfers to multiple schools, adapting to new environments, or a parent deployed to a war zone. Military-connected children have needs that are different from other students. Tennessee has 10,230 children in active duty families and 14,560 in Guard and Reserve families. The compact addresses the key educational transition issues encountered by military families including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility, and graduation. The compact was adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Tennessee adopted the compact in 2011. Tennessee has 10,230 children in active duty families and 14,560 in Guard and Reserve families. The Purple Star School Award aligns with the components of the Military Interstate Compact.

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  • Incorporating A Student Perspective into the State Board of Education Decision Making Process

    Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | 01:00pm

    Although the number of students engaged in state policymaking has grown nationally, we must continue to build on the momentum toward elevating student voice and leadership. According to the National Association of State Boards of Education, Tennessee is one (1) of seven (7) states where a student sits on the Board as a voting member to offer a unique platform for raising student issues in education policy and practice. The Tennessee State Board of Education Rule 1.200 Board Members outlines the requirements for student member representation. The Board is required to have one (1) appointed public high school student member and he/she shall serve a one (1) year term unless the student member was first appointed during his/her junior year of high school and is re-appointed by the Governor for a second one (1)-year term during the student’s senior year of high school. The student member appointment process also requires engagement on a local level. Though the Governor’s office makes the final selection, local school districts play a significant role. TCA 49-1-301 (a) (6) specifies that local school boards may nominate no more than one outstanding Tennessee junior or senior student each year from their district. The local board can nominate by resolution and sending the resolution to the governor’s office along with the relevant contact information. Once a school district submits a nomination, the Governor’s office conducts several rounds of extensive interviews before a selection is made and a new student member is appointed. Nominations are due by May 1, 2024, to the office of the Governor. Our current student member, Ms. Laurel Cox, is a senior at Cascade High School in Bedford County, Tennessee. Ms. Cox attended her first Board meeting recently and excelled when given opportunities to offer insight to her adult peers and recommend actions. “Serving as the student member gives me the chance to advocate for Tennessee’s diverse student population,” said Laurel Cox. “During my first in-person meeting, it was clear to me that my perspective is needed to show how the State Board rules and policies can affect a student’s post-secondary success.” As for Ms. Cox’s background, she is actively involved in the National FFA Organization. She formerly served as the 2022-2023 Middle Tennessee FFA Regional President as a junior, working closely with Tennessee leaders in agriculture. She has held various leadership positions within Cascade FFA, actively working to encourage all students to pursue education in agriculture. With the academic year entering the second semester, the State Board encourages all school districts to nominate a student who exemplifies leadership qualities and meets the qualifications to serve as our student member. When youth voices are truly listened to and reflected in policy decisions, it can have a positive impact on Tennessee’s public education system.

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  • State Board Releases 2023 Charter School Authorizer Evaluation Outcomes

    Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 10:30am

    During its February 16th quarterly meeting, the State Board of Education released outcomes for the 2023 charter school authorizer evaluations. These bi-annual evaluations are designed to ensure the effective operation of all authorizers and assess authorizer quality. The State Board was charged with conducting periodic charter school authorizer evaluations by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session. Under the statutory requirement, the State Board developed an evaluation system based on Policy 6.111 - Quality Charter Authorizing Standards and Tennessee became the fourth state to adopt an authorizer evaluation process. and was the fourth state to adopt an authorizer evaluation process. “Quality charter school authorization is essential for ensuring charters schools, and their authorizers, are operating according to state standards and with transparency," said Dr. Sara Morrison, Executive Director of the State Board of Education. “The State Board believes these evaluations give authorizers valuable feedback that can increase the quality of oversight and support for their charter schools.” Each charter school authorizer evaluation begins with the formation of an evaluation team and an examination of the authorizer’s performance based on state standards. After the evaluation, authorizers receive a final report detailing specific feedback, scores on the rubric’s standards, an overall rating, and follow-up actions. Authorizers can earn an overall rating on a scale from zero to four, with score ranges indicating unsatisfactory/incomplete, approaching satisfactory, satisfactory, commendable, and exemplary designations. “This is our second cycle of evaluations, and results show significant progress being made by our charter school authorizers. We are proud to see them continue to raise the bar to better serve Tennessee’s students," said Ali Reid, Director of Engagement and Accountability for the State Board. Tennessee’s charter authorizer evaluation cycle is conducted over a two-year period. The 2023 evaluations assessed the authorizing practices of Hamilton County Schools, Knox County Schools and Memphis-Shelby County Schools. 2023 Evaluation Outcomes: Hamilton County Schools – “Satisfactory” with a score of 2.3 out of 4 Knox County Schools – “Commendable” with a score of 3.1 out of 4 Memphis-Shelby County Schools – “Commendable” with a score of 3.4 out of 4 Additional information, including the full charter authorizer evaluation reports, can be found on the State Board of Education’s website.

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  • Annual Educator Preparation Report Card Shows Ten Educator Preparation Providers Exceeding Expectations

    Thursday, February 15, 2024 | 11:00am

    Today, the State Board of Education released its eighth annual Educator Preparation Report Card, a tool that evaluates educator preparation providers (EPPs) in Tennessee. For the first time since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Report Card rates EPPs on the effectiveness of their teachers in the classroom. These classroom outcomes, along with performance in other key areas such as employment and retention of teachers in Tennessee public schools, contribute to each EPP’s overall performance rating on the Report Card. Out of 38 EPPs that received overall ratings, ten received the highest possible rating of “Exceeds Expectations.” Established in state law, the Educator Preparation Report Card is an annual report designed to track metrics across Tennessee’s public, private, and alternative EPPs. By assessing EPPs’ performance in teacher effectiveness, employment outcomes, recruitment of diverse candidates, and pass rates on licensure examinations, the State Board’s Report Card aims to ensure every Tennessee student is taught by a well-prepared educator. “Since a redesign in 2016, Tennessee’s Educator Preparation Report Card has served as a transparent reporting model for other states,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, Executive Director of the State Board of Education. “This year’s Report Card rates EPPs on the performance of their teachers in the classroom as well as several other factors. We are thrilled to see so many EPPs exceeding expectations, including public, private, and alternative providers.” Key Outcomes Ten EPPs earned the highest possible overall rating on the Report Card, “Exceeds Expectations.” Nearly 30 percent of teacher candidates earned endorsements in high-demand areas such as special education, English as a second language (ESL), secondary science, and secondary math. 16.2 percent of teacher candidates have racially or ethnically diverse backgrounds. 25 percent of newly trained teachers in tested subjects exceeded expectations in student growth, an impressive achievement for early-career teachers. 2,785 teachers completed a Tennessee educator preparation program or enrolled in a job-embedded program during the 2021-22 school year, compared to just over 3,000 in 2020-21. This decline is due in part to a change in how the State Board reports teacher candidates from EPPs that operate both in-state and out-of-state programs. -more- Certain metrics in the Report Card, such as performance on licensure examinations and measures of teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom, are mandated in state law. Other metrics, such as candidate diversity and the percentage of candidates earning endorsements in high-demand fields, are included on the Report Card as key priorities highlighted by the State Board. “We are excited to bring teacher evaluation data back to the Report Card for the first time since the pandemic,” said Erika Leicht, director of research for the State Board of Education and the Educator Preparation Report Card project manager. “We hope this year's Report Card will showcase high-performing educator preparation providers and guide other states that seek to develop their own educator preparation reporting systems.” To view the Educator Preparation Report Card, visit http://teacherprepreportcard.tn.gov. Additional information and archives of previous editions of the Report Card are available on the State Board of Education website at http://www.tn.gov/sbe. ###

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  • Tennessee State Board of Education Announces Educator Licensure Review Committee Members

    Friday, February 09, 2024 | 10:18am

    The State Board of Education staff, working with the Tennessee Department of Education have formed an Educator Licensure Review Committee that will offer feedback and provide recommendations to ensure that the educator licensure system and policies continue to meet Tennessee’s evolving needs. Beginning in Spring 2023, staff from the State Board and Tennessee Department of Education began working with the National Association of State Boards of Education to create a draft vision and set of guiding principles for educator licensure and to identify key issues within the current system through surveying key stakeholders across the state. Out of this work several key topics emerged for the Committee to discuss including: Continued use of the edTPA as a licensure requirement for candidates completing undergraduate and traditional post-baccalaureate preparation programs Evaluation of requirements for occupational licensure and accessibility of licensure pathways for prospective educators transitioning from industry Improvement of communication of more recently developed pathways to licensure and legislative changes that impact licensure “We are excited for this new Committee to determine ways in which Tennessee can continually improve the educator licensure system for current and future educators,” says Michael Deurlein, Deputy Executive Director of Research and Policy for the State Board of Education. “I look forward to working with the Department and Committee members to develop innovative approaches that support the needs of Tennessee schools and districts.” The Committee members represent areas from the entire state and are charged with examining educator licensure requirements in Tennessee. The Committee will later present their recommendations to the Executive Director of the State Board. They will also analyze related State Board rules and policies alongside issues faced by our educators and districts. Educator Licensure Review Committee members include: Anne Barbieri, Hamilton County Schools John Bartlett, Knox County Schools Ulla Carr, KCS EPP David Cihak, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Cynthia Chambers, East Tennessee State University Matt Cheek, Nashville Teacher Residency Holly Coleman, Hyde Family Foundation Tiffany Dellard, Middle Tennessee State University Staci Fuqua, University of Tennessee, Martin Diarese George, Tennesse Educators of Color Alliance Senator Joey Hensley, Senate District 28 Ayesha Ibrahim, Metro Nashville Public Schools Bob Nardo, Libertas School of Memphis Jean Luna-Vedder, Clarksville Montgomery County Schools Jenikka Oglesby, Memphis – Shelby County Schools Megan Parker Peters, Lipscomb University Allen Pratt, National Rural Education Association/University of Tennessee, Chattanooga Eddie Pruett, Gibson County Special School District Megan Salemi, Memphis Teacher Residency Patrick Sheehy, Tennessee Business Roundtable Representative William Slater, House District 35 Catherine Stephens, Tullahoma City Schools Missy Testerman, Rogersville City Schools

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  • Educator License Discipline Overview

    Wednesday, January 31, 2024 | 02:47pm

    Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 49-1-302 gives the State Board the duty and power to "adopt rules and policies governing ... [the] discipline of licensed personnel for misconduct by formal reprimand or by the suspension and revocation of licenses and certificates." T.C.A. § 49-5-108 gives the State Board "[c]omplete jurisdiction over the issuance and administration of licenses . . . ." State Board of Education Rule 0520-02-03-.09 outlines reasons why applicants, teachers, or administrators may have applications denied, licenses formally reprimanded, suspended or revoked, or permits not re-issued. License discipline cases are brought to the attention of the Board staff through four primary channels – Directors Reports, the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education Certification (NASDTEC), personal affirmations, and the Department of Human Services. Additionally, the Board has the authority to open cases for review that are brought to its attention through other channels such as media reports. Once the case is reported to Board staff, staff reviews the report to determine if the matter falls under the purview of State Board Rule 0520-02-03-.09. If the reported misconduct is subject to review under State Board Rule 0520-02-03-.09, the educator’s license file in TNCompass is placed under review. Educator licenses remain fully active during the time they are under review. Cases are “opened” to be placed under review on or about the first day of the month after they are reported. For example, if a case is reported on January 15th, it will be opened on or about February 1st. There are several steps between placing a case under review and ultimately closing the case. The time to conclude each case varies depending on the underlying cause of the review. For example, some cases take significantly longer to conclude, such as reviews triggered by underlying law enforcement or DCS investigations. Reports are made in TNCompass, the online educator talent management system that collects and stores educator information such as licensure, evaluations, and discipline. Once a case is reported in TNCompass and placed under review by the State Board Educator License Discipline (ELD) team, the team works diligently to review all submitted information. It is imperative that all relevant and available information be submitted with each report, including witness statements, video or audio recordings, text messages, and electronic records. Importantly, Rule 0520-02-03-.09(2) provides “schools and school systems have a duty to respond to State Board inquiries and provide to the State Board, except when prohibited by law, any available documentation requested concerning the allegations.” After all available information is gathered by the ELD team, the case is presented to the State Board staff case review committee. This committee meets monthly and is composed of the SBE Executive Director, General Counsel, and other staff members. During this attorney-client privileged meeting, the committee reviews every case presented to it and makes a recommendation in consideration of the facts of the case, applicable rule, and range of discipline permitted by rule. If license action is recommended, the educator will receive a Notice of Proposed Action (NPA) at the mailing address they have listed in TNCompass. If an educator receives an NPA, they are presented with all due process rights available to them to proceed with the case. If the case review committee determines no action is warranted, then the review will be cleared in TNCompass. To learn more about educator license discipline, please visit our website where you will find additional resources, including reporting resources for Directors of Schools, and the Board Rules and Policies pertaining to educator license discipline. Additionally, if you have further questions, you can contact the ELD Team at EducatorLicense.Discipline@tn.gov.

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  • Training Tennessee's future workforce is an urgent mission that starts in the classroom.

    Friday, December 01, 2023 | 07:00am

    By Darrell Cobbins and Larry Jensen, Tennessee State Board of Education members As Tennessee State Board of Education members, we have the privilege to advocate for parents, teachers, students, and local school districts across all 95 counties. We take pride in the work of Tennessee’s 1,843 public schools and want to guarantee our students are developing the skills in the classroom to be adequately prepared for a lifetime of success. We recently attended the Future Forward Summit, hosted by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), which allowed us to connect with over 150 business leaders, education leaders, and policymakers. In our time as Board members, this is the first event that brought forth the challenges and tangible solutions to ensure Tennessee’s education policies are evolving in tandem with the needs of our ever-changing economy and workforce. While a critical conversation and a good start, this is just the beginning of a long journey to help Tennessee lead the nation in workforce development and become the best at preparing students for the jobs of the future. According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, approximately 430,000 working-age Tennesseans do not possess a high school diploma or equivalent. And the median salary for Tennessee’s non-high school graduates is $23,955, according to the U.S. Career Institute. One can clearly reason that most of these Tennesseans are living on the edge of poverty. We also see at a local level that we have an estimated 100,000 Memphians experiencing poverty because they are in need of academic remediation to access career and technical education. How do we break the cycle of adults not finishing high school? We must start in our classrooms. No matter what route a high school graduate takes upon graduation, he or she should feel confident knowing their future job can earn enough to cover the cost of living. Developing robust plans that include local school districts, collaborating with Tennessee’s Departments of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and our many higher education institutions, can help reduce the common barriers many students face as they plan for education and training beyond high school. But changing the postsecondary-going landscape will require more than just state-level action. We must continue to rely on local chambers of commerce, which play an essential role in accelerating economic mobility by identifying our critical workforce needs and helping raise the visibility of businesses that can be innovative partners with local public school systems. In West Tennessee, the Ford Motor Company is building relationships with Memphis-Shelby County Schools to prepare students for possible careers at BlueOval City. The company also continues efforts with other local districts to find ways their schools can align curriculum, hands-on training, and work-based learning opportunities. In particular, at Cordova High School, students are eligible to take industry-focused courses that lead to an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. With an ASE certification and depending on the position, workers could make between $21 to $29 per hour at BlueOval SK, part of BlueOval City’s future $5.6 billion campus in nearby Stanton, TN. As more employers put roots down in our state, Tennessee has an opportunity to take advantage of new initiatives that offer every student access to postsecondary and career success. Yet, without more active partnerships and CTE programming in our high schools, many students will not have the leverage to take on future workforce opportunities. Ensuring Tennessee’s students are prepared and motivated to pursue the jobs of today and tomorrow will take school districts, chambers of commerce, state and local governments, businesses, and elected officials working together to strengthen our workforce pipeline, develop our students, and grow Tennessee from within. While no two students' paths will look the same, their K-12 education must set them up for successful lives and economic independence.

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  • Tennessee State Board of Education Seeks to Develop an Educator Licensure Review Committe

    Thursday, November 30, 2023 | 12:00pm

    Tennessee recognizes the need to have a sufficient supply of excellent educators to meet the needs of the state. The State Board of Education’s, Master Plan 2022-2025, includes a specific strategic focus on “Teachers and Leaders” and states as follows: All schools are staffed with qualified and effective educators. The State Board of Education (State Board) staff, working with the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), have started the process to identify recommendations that will ensure that the licensure system and policies meet Tennessee’s needs. To ensure the licensure system is reviewed often, the State Board’s Executive Director seeks to develop an Educator Licensure Review Committee. The Committee will convene at least annually to examine state law, and State Board rules and policies to highlight areas of strength, while identifying challenges, and potential changes. Recommendations will be made to the Executive Director of the State Board for consideration. The Committee will represent all regions of the state and include educators, district and state education leaders, and legislators. Through this Committee, educator licensure requirements and related board rules and policies will be discussed alongside issues faced by educators and districts. Convening on a regular cadence to discuss key issues will ensure ongoing reflection with regard to this complex, yet critical, policy issue. Work to Date Beginning in Spring 2023, staff from the State Board and TDOE began convening with the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to create a draft vision and guiding principles for educator licensure and to identify key issues within the current system through surveying key stakeholders across the state. Both the Vision and Principles and the key issues will serve as a focus of initial discussions of the Committee. Key Issues Early discussions and engagement with stakeholders indicate that there are a few key issues that warrant investigation and potential action in the initial stages of the Committee. These issues include: Continued use of the edTPA as a licensure requirement for candidates completing undergraduate and traditional post-baccalaureate preparation programs; Evaluation of requirements for occupational licensure and accessibility of licensure pathways for prospective educators transitioning from industry; Improvement of communication of more recently developed pathways to licensure; and Identification of needs related to restructuring of current endorsements and creation of new endorsements. To read a full overview of the committee, read here. If you are interested in being considered for this Committee, please send a statement of interest to Michael Deurlein, Deputy Executive Director of Policy and Research (Michael.J.Deurlein@tn.gov), no later than January 15, 2024.

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  • Tennessee State Board of Education Releases First Annual Master Plan Report

    Tuesday, November 14, 2023 | 01:00pm

    The State Board of Education is pleased to release our first annual Master Plan Report which focuses on state-wide outcomes and the State Board’s efforts to ensure our rules, policies, and systems are working together to support student success. In 2022, the State Board revised its plan for K-12 education to elevate four intentional strategic focus areas and to set ambitious yet attainable incremental goals. The 2023 Report outlines the State Board’s key focus areas, the steps we have taken over the last year to strengthen rules, policies, and systems, and Tennessee’s state-wide outcomes to date. “We share this information with the understanding that we must be transparent about our outcomes, measure our progress, and construct innovative solutions together. Please continue to engage with your appointed board member as we work together to ensure all students in Tennessee are prepared for postsecondary and life success,” says State Board Chairman Bob Eby and Executive Director, Dr. Sara Morrison The State Board is charged by state law, T.C.A. § 49-1-302 with developing and maintaining a master plan for public education, kindergarten through grade twelve, and providing recommendations to the executive branch, the general assembly and the local boards of education and directors of schools regarding the use of public funds for education. The State Board’s master plan provides a lens through which all Tennesseans can examine state-level efforts and determine if rules and policies are positioning school districts to effectively prepare Tennessee students for workforce, post-secondary success, and productive citizenship. The State Board regularly evaluates progress and updates its master plan to inform recommendations regarding the use of public funds for education every three years. The master plan can be viewed on the State Board website here. ###

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  • Here's how we can ensure K12 and higher education rise to meet employers' needs

    Thursday, August 31, 2023 | 12:50pm

    Tennessee is home to some of the country’s most successful businesses and largest corporations, yet employers often tell us that too many graduates from our local schools and higher education institutions do not possess the durable skills like critical thinking and teamwork or the in-demand, technical skills needed to acquire and retain viable, lucrative jobs. In fact, a Boyd Center survey of Tennessee business leaders revealed that nearly seven out of 10 leaders believed there are not enough appropriately trained workers in today’s job market. Further, more than 40% of these executives believe that stronger education and training are needed to expand the supply of future workers who are prepared for jobs with the most in-demand skills. Fortunately, many employers, parents, state leaders, and policymakers are working to align their efforts to provide students with solid foundations for successful futures. Tennessee employers are taking big steps to partner with K-12 and higher education to prepare today's students to meet their talent needs. Across K-12 and higher education, several of these innovative, industry-led models are surfacing to meet both student interest and workforce needs and many of the most innovative models in the country are right here in Tennessee. There are currently 11 Robertson County students enrolled in a dual enrollment program through the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Models include middle college programs where students earn an associate degree at the same time as they earn their high school diploma; Advanced Placement (AP) and dual enrollment classes that prepare students for traditional post-secondary degree programs; and other partnership programs where students earn industry credentials. For example, Chattanooga’s Construction Career Center in Hamilton County Schools provides 11th- and 12th-grade students with coursework that enables them to earn at least five certifications in construction while still in high school. Students attend high school in the morning or afternoon and are provided transportation to the center for the other half of the school day. Similarly, high school seniors attending Jackson-Madison County Schools can participate in the Local Options & Opportunities Program (LOOP). LOOP allows students to earn high school credit for completing a paid work-based learning opportunity. Industry placements include working on-site at some of Madison County’s largest employers, such as West Tennessee Healthcare and Jackson Energy Authority. We know urban, suburban, and rural communities in Tennessee may have different needs. In rural Hardeman County, local employers may need to fill positions in areas such as crop and animal production, while in Davidson County, the health care industry is Nashville's largest employer, contributing to 167,916 direct jobs annually. We must ensure students, educators, and employers have the flexibility and support needed to make sure the unique needs of each of our communities are met. There are many great reasons why our state has become a magnet for business and attracted so many new residents. But as Tennessee’s dynamic economy continues to grow, it’s critical that K-12 and higher education rise to meet employer needs by providing greater skills-based, workforce-relevant learning opportunities to students throughout our state. In September, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), will bring together business and education leaders from across the state for the Future Forward Summit to explore ways in which industry and education can partner to improve better educational and workforce outcomes for students and employers. We hope that real ideas and solutions can be brought to the table to help more employers partner with local educators to ensure all Tennessee students receive credentials of value in high school and higher education so they can be better prepared for Tennessee’s rapidly expanding job market. For over a decade, Tennessee has led the way in educational innovations. Now it’s time to zero in on the needs of our future workforce by aligning education with clear career pathways. We are confident that with key business stakeholders working together with state leaders and local educators, Tennessee’s students will not only receive a high-quality education, but also the skills and experiences they need for a lifetime of career success.

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  • Governor Appoints Local Student to Tennessee State Board of Education

    Wednesday, August 30, 2023 | 09:30am

    Governor Bill Lee has appointed Laurel Cox, a senior at Cascade High School in Bedford County Schools, to the Tennessee State Board of Education. As a student representative, Ms. Cox will join the board effective immediately and will serve at the November 3, 2023 quarterly meeting. She will carry out her role through August 3, 2024. “We are delighted to have Laurel serve as our State Board student member,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “Her insight and perspective will ground our conversations as we discuss policies and rules that impact Tennessee’s students.” Ms. Cox is passionate about pursuing education in agriculture and is actively involved in the National FFA Organization. She recently served as the 2022-2023 Middle Tennessee FFA Regional President as a junior, working closely with Tennessee’s agriculture leaders. She has held various leadership positions within Cascade FFA, working to promote careers in Tennessee’s extensive agriculture industry. This past summer, Ms. Cox attended the Tennessee Governor’s School for Agricultural Sciences, studying agribusiness and veterinary science under industry professionals.

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