Dear Friends,

The SCORE Prize Summit, a 36-hour event that brought hundreds of Tennessee educators together to learn, grow, and develop new strategies for student success, began bright and early on a Friday morning. With their first cups of coffee, these educators from all across the state began conversations that echoed around the convention site in Nashville and would continue beyond the conference’s close.

Throughout the summit, educators listened closely to each other, jotting down what they were hearing, as they discussed the best ways to achieve academic excellence for all Tennessee students. They literally leaned into conversations – sharing ideas and experiences, pausing with furrowed brow to consider, raising their hands with another question. They applauded the work of their colleagues, invested in each oSP-Summitther’s success. When they said goodbye at the end of the summit, many had strengthened their ties with colleagues on their district teams and made new connections, revived by the conversation and looking forward to continuing that conversation through the school year.

We knew this event was going to foster collaboration, illuminate proven approaches for greater student achievement, and unleash innovative thinking. But these Tennessee educators embraced the spirit of the summit with their focus, capability, and dedication.

In education, policy is just a part of picture. Much of the difficult, complicated work lies in the implementation of that policy – translating the idea into student-focused practice. Seeing first-hand the caliber of educators leading districts, schools, and classrooms renewed my belief that real, generational change is not just possible but within reach in Tennessee. The educators at SCORE Prize Summit are individuals who will stay the course and who will help Tennessee build on the progress of the last few years and accelerate the gains for students.

As with SCORE Prize, the enthusiasm kindled at SCORE Prize Summit will be felt long after the event itself. The summit indeed was, as SCORE Policy and Research Analyst Jeremy Meredith put it, a place “where ideas take root and translate to action, and a sustained dialogue about empowerment, high expectations, and innovation spreads into the culture of schools and districts.”

Seeing firsthand the expertise and the dedication of educators has left me feeling both inspired and confident that creating and sharing strong strategies for student success is an integral part of the Tennessee way.

Very sincerely yours,

Jamie Signature 4-2014