Dear Friends,

The beginning of a new school year is always filled with so much promise. The fresh start is a time for educators and students to reflect on the past year and create a plan for future success.

This year at the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), we have been reflecting on the last decade of unprecedented progress for our students. SCORE’s very first public report, A Roadmap to Success, was released in 2009 with a plan for raising academic performance in Tennessee public schools. Since then, we have witnessed historic gains by students, including becoming the fastest-improving state for academic achievement on the Nation’s Report Card in 2013.

As SCORE began thinking about how to help set the stage for even greater academic gains for students, we saw an opportunity to repeat the groundbreaking process used in 2009 to listen to and collaborate with Tennessee’s education stakeholders.

Over the summer, I wrote about the road trip the SCORE team made across the state to learn what was important in education from a diverse group of Tennesseans. The conversations and feedback involving nearly 1,700 Tennesseans deepened our understanding of communities’ successes and challenges. This month, I want to update you with how SCORE is responding to all of the thoughtful feedback we gathered.

First, the findings of the listening tour were reviewed and discussed by the 32-member SCORE Steering Committee. Then, our Policy Committee began working with our SCORE team to develop a set of priorities that can inform and guide Tennessee’s education work through 2025. The information is now being compiled into a report on the top priorities for continued student success that will be released on November 29, 2017.

With the 2018 Tennessee election barely a year away, this report can help ground voter and candidate discussions about education in a solid understanding of where we have come from and the consensus from a wide range of stakeholders about how best to move forward.

Thank you to the thousand-plus educators, parents, community and business leaders who expressed their strong desire for even greater success for Tennessee’s students. It is your involvement and your dedication to students that will push Tennessee to continue to make historic academic gains.

Very truly yours,