Dear Friends,

For the release of the 2015-16 State of Education in Tennessee report, Senator Bill Frist, the founder and chairman of SCORE, led a panel discussion with some of the policy leaders who have been deeply involved since Tennessee took its first strides toward greater student success. The panel recalled the determination displayed by education stakeholders to move Tennessee “From F to Fastest.”

As Senator Frist, Representative John DeBerry, Commissioner Candice McQueen, and I discussed the state’s milestone accomplishments, we agreed that a shared vision with a focus on what’s best for student achievement had been instrumental to our state’s progress. The discussion brought home that the Tennessee way is working for Tennessee students.

AR 2016 cover-JW Blog

When the discussion moved to the challenges that lie ahead, it was equally clear that maintaining our momentum will require renewing our commitment to that shared vision in order to ensure that all students share in the academic success that will lead to a better education, better jobs, and a better future.

The 2015-16 State of Education in Tennessee report provides a comprehensive update on the progress made in 2015 and sets five priorities for 2016. These priorities form a student-focused “to do list” to sustain our hard-won gains in student achievement and accelerate the pace of improvement:

1. Implement TNReady and aligned interim assessments

2. Ensure equitable outcomes for historically underserved populations

3. Empower Tennessee’s teachers

4. Invest in Tennessee’s school and district leaders

5. Cultivate business and community partnerships in education

The 2016 priorities align with SCORE’s new five-year strategic plan and its three student achievement goals: maintaining Tennessee’s place as one of the fastest improving states, making real progress in narrowing long-standing gaps in educational achievement, and enhancing the postsecondary preparedness of high school graduates. To achieve those bold goals, SCORE will advocate for critical policies that advance student success, convene and support state and local partners to advance a shared agenda, promote the implementation of promising practices that work, and foster and support strong networks of education leaders.

We know from experience that improving student achievement is hard work, but our students are depending on us to get this right. Their futures are at stake. We look forward to working with you to move closer to our shared vision of preparing all students for success.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Signature 4-2014