Dear Friends:

As a state, Tennessee has been committed to dramatically improving academic outcomes for all students. In order to achieve our ambitious goals, it is vital that we not only highlight the schools and districts that are leading the way in student learning but also explore the specific strategies that lead to success for students.

JamieLetterWestwoodEach year, SCORE hosts the SCORE Prize event to celebrate the exceptional work happening in communities across Tennessee to ensure students are prepared with the skills they need to be successful beyond high school. The SCORE Prize goes well beyond a one-night event. It is a year-round celebration of schools and school districts across Tennessee, highlighting the key strategies that have led to academic achievements and performance growth.

When we visit SCORE Prize finalists, we notice that they all share a common culture of excellence and high expectations for all students.  In addition, each develops different strategies to respond to their community’s individual circumstances and needs. Starting this week, SCORE is featuring a series of blog posts and videos highlighting how each finalist is implementing a specific strategy in their school or district that is making a meaningful difference to students. Topics will cover a wide spectrum of student-focused strategies including creating collaborative teaching environments, building leadership pipelines, engaging stakeholders, supporting student ownership of learning, and implementing innovative intervention strategies.

The first post in the series follows Westwood Elementary School’s work with English Language Learners and their families. With a Hispanic and Latino student population of 21 percent and growing, the school community has found creative ways to bridge language and cultural barriers in order to ensure every student receives the support they need to learn and grow.

Over the next few months, I hope that educators and community members across Tennessee can learn from these best practices for advancing student success.

Very Sincerely,

Jamie Signature 4-2014