I N T H E N E W S
August 23, 2010
TN Launches First to the Top Website
Tennessee has launched a new First to the Top website
to help keep Tennesseans informed about the state's Race to the Top program implementation. More
August 24, 2010
Race to the Top Round Two Winners Announced
In March, Tennessee was one of just two winning states, along with Delaware, in the first round of the federal government's Race to the Top competition.
On August 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced 10 winners in round two, including:
- The District of Columbia
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
The $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund is an unprecedented federal investment in reform. The program includes $4 billion for statewide reform grants and $350 million to support states working together to improve the quality of their assessments, which the U.S. Department of Education plans to award in September. First to the Top is the name of Tennessee's Race to the Top program. More
|First to the Top is Tennessee's initiative to improve education through the federal Race to the Top program.
For more information, contact:
Amanda Anderson, Director of Communications
First to the Top Guides for Educators
Two new informational pieces for educators are online at the First to the Top website. The Educators Guide provides information about what Tennessee's First to the Top plan means for teachers and answers questions about changes they can expect. The second guide is focused on the new Teacher and Principal Evaluation.
To receive ongoing information and updates about the state's First to the Top implementation, sign up to receive updates on the First to the Top website.
What Does Race to the Top Mean for Me?
Tennessee's First to the Top plan has given the state unique resources and financial opportunities that place renewed focus on the classroom teacher,devoting millions to professional development.
Teachers are our most valuable resource, and Tennessee will make a large investment in helping teachers better prepare students in a variety of ways:
- Training on the most effective use of students' data
Relevant professional development through the Electronic Learning Center (ELC)
- A Teacher Working Conditions survey to identify strategies and challenges in improving student achievement
- Additional competitive funding for district-level differentiated compensation plans
- Online content through the ELC to increase curriculum options, particularly in science-related fields
- Revamping the Teacher Preparation Program Effectiveness Report Card
- Providing content area training in the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
- College- and career-ready standards awareness training to support teachers as Tennessee prepares to implement Common Core Standards.
Look for additional information about these investments and other First to the Top implementation updates in future issues of this newsletter and online at TN.gov/FirstToTheTop
Ask First to the Top!
What do you want to know about Tennessee First to the Top? Suggest a topic for future issues of First to the Top Update. Email your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Districts Implement First to the Top Reforms
School districts across the state recently began their own reforms related to First to the Top. Districts are providing additional professional development for teachers, beginning services to turn around their lowest performing schools, increasing their focus on using data to improve instruction, and intensifying their focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.
Over the next several months, the Tennessee Department of Education will be working with school districts to link their planned activities to the overall state goals.
Districts Sought for Field Testing
The Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee (TEAC) is working to develop criteria and guidelines for the new teacher and principal evaluation systems to be implemented statewide in the 2011-2012 school year.
To inform and guide the process, some of the components that may be included in the new evaluation system will be field tested in select schools across the state this year. The field test team is looking to assemble a diverse group of schools that vary in size, geographic location, grades served, student achievement, student demographics, number of teachers, and teacher/principal experience to participate.
Information about applying to participate in field testing was sent to Directors of Schools in August. Schools selected to participate will be notified in mid-September.
For more information on the work of the TEAC, visit http://tn.gov/firsttothetop/programs-committee.html.
Advisory Council Holds First Meeting
The first meeting of the Tennessee STEM Advisory Council is Tuesday, August 31, at the State Capitol in Nashville. The Advisory Council will advise the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network that was recently established by Bredesen in Executive Order No. 68.
The Network is charged with promoting and expanding the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in K-12 public schools across Tennessee.
RAISING THE BAR IN TENNESSEE SCHOOLS
Bredesen, Frist Partner for Awareness Campaign
In July, Governor Phil Bredesen and former U.S. Senator Bill Frist launched a campaign called Expect More, Achieve More
to help prepare parents and communities about what to expect when student test results begin arriving in mailboxes across the state in September and October.
Tennessee's new higher standards have raised the bar for student achievement in the classroom. While higher standards will help us make sure Tennessee students are ready for college or career, they also mean harder tests - and may result in lower test scores and grades for students - in the near term.
A project of the First to the Top Coalition, the Expect More, Achieve More coalition is a statewide alliance of more than 30 business, community and education groups committed to reform. Together, these groups are working hard to arm parents with the knowledge they need to understand the results and then to engage their child and seek assistance in increasing their academic performance.
Learn more about this effort at www.expectmoretn.org.
First to the Top Takes Center Stage
First to the Top: A Day of Insight
In September, teams representing each school district will have the opportunity to participate in a series of eight regional meetings to examine opportunities and challenges facing districts as they implement Tennessee's First to the Top plan, new academic standards and new assessments.
Directors of Schools were invited to send leadership teams including both administrators and teachers to participate in "First to the Top: A Day of Insight with Dr. Bill Daggett."
Dr. Daggett is CEO of the International Center for Leadership in Education to help school districts and departments of education across the nation to help them transition effectively and efficiently to new standards and assessments, teacher evaluation programs, use of data, and turn around programs for schools.
Annual School Superintedent Conference
The Tennessee Department of Education will host the 61st Annual Conference and Professional Development Workshop Sept. 13-15 in Piegon Forge, Tenn. The three-day conference for superintendents will include break out sessions on First to the Top initiatives with time for questions and answers sessions with leaders.
LEAD Conference to Include "Base Camp" Presentation
The Tennessee Department of Education will host a three-day conference for administrators and lead teachers in Nashville that will include a First to the Top "Base Camp" to introduce and orient leaders to the key focus areas of Tennessee's First to the Top plan.
THEC Plans Regional Meetings
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission will hold six regional meetings across the state in late September and early October for public and private universities and colleges. The meetings will include an overview of First to the Top and opportunities for higher education to be involved.