Dear Friends,

The Thanksgiving holiday reminds us to be thankful for the things that truly matter to us. While there are many things I am grateful for personally and professionally, my thanks must include the thousands of educators across Tennessee who are working hard every day to ensure our students are prepared for success beyond high school.

There are very few moments when we stop and focus on celebrating the impressive progress we have made in education as a state, but for five years the SCORE Prize has set aside one night to ensure Tennessee does that. On October 26th, the SCORE Prize recognized and rewarded nine Tennessee public schools and three school districts that are leading the way in learning and proving that our students can rise to the challenge of high expectations.

JW LetterI am grateful to all who attended the SCORE Prize event and to our sponsors whose generous support made the uplifting evening possible. It was an honor to bring to light some of the outstanding work at these schools and districts. For example:

• The district winner, Trousdale County Schools, is committed to using data to make instructional decisions. Students are placed with the teacher who is most effective for their achievement level to ensure the students achieve at their highest level.
• The high school category winner, The Soulsville Charter School, has developed innovative ways to prepare students for college and career. Soulsville offers mentorships, real world summer experiences for students, and programs designed to get students to and through college.
• The middle school category winner, New Vision Academy, has created an intentional data-driven culture. The school focuses on ensuring that data is useful and easy to understand whether you are a teacher, student, or parent.
Delano Optional School, the elementary category winner, does an exceptional job at integrating core academic subjects such as math and reading into enrichment courses such as music and technology. The teachers collaborate regularly and across subjects to support each other’s efforts to improve student outcomes.

Next month, SCORE will begin sharing on The SCORE Sheet a series of blogs and videos that offer a deeper look at the approaches each SCORE Prize winner and finalist uses to improve student achievement.

All across Tennessee there are schools and districts that are exemplifying what it means to be student-focused and college- and career-ready. We are truly thankful for your leadership, for the inspiration you provide, and for everything you do for our students.

Very sincerely yours,

Jamie Signature 4-2014