What do the following quotes have in common?

    • “You should strive to be the best, expect the best, and accept only the best from your students.”
    • “[Our] teachers have the belief that our scholars can perform at high levels no matter their socioeconomic background.”
    • “We are serious when we say that every student will succeed.”
    • “Teachers are empowered and encouraged to expect a lot from students. We know they will set high expectations and help each other and the students to achieve them.”

One thing these quotes have in common is that they all exhibit an unwavering belief in the ability of students and teachers to rise to – and exceed – high expectations. What I find the most fascinating about these quotes, however, is that the school communities they represent could not be more different. These principals serve a small, rural elementary school in East Tennessee, a charter middle school in the heart of Memphis, and large comprehensive high schools in Middle and East Tennessee. (Read to the end of this post to see who said what.) While all of the 2011 SCORE Prize winners and finalists represent the diversity of Tennessee, from West to East, urban to rural, traditional and charter, they share the belief that it is possible to rise to the challenges they face to improve outcomes for their students.

Last year, SCORE awarded $10,000 to the elementary, middle, and high school as well as $25,000 to one district in Tennessee that had most dramatically improved student achievement. The award, eligible to all public schools and districts in Tennessee, recognizes schools and districts that are achieving more, highlights and shares best practices, and shows other schools and districts in Tennessee that improvement is possible. Last year, SCORE Chairman and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman, and country music superstar Josh Turner helped us celebrate the finalists and winners. On Monday, October 8, SCORE will award the second annual SCORE Prize at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. (Please click here to get your free tickets to the event).

Over the next six weeks, we will share the stories of the 2011 SCORE Prize finalists and winners through videos and blog posts that highlight the steps they have taken along the way to improve student achievement outcomes. You will hear from them directly about how they build a culture of high expectations and provide their students, teachers, parents, and community partners with the supports they need to meet them. We hope that their stories of success will inspire you to continue in your own work to prepare our students for success after high school.


Quote legend:

Karen Cupples, Principal, Fairview Elementary, Anderson County

Yetta Lewis, Chief Academic Officer and Founding Principal, Power Center Academy, Memphis City Schools

Mel Brown, Principal, Mt. Juliet High School, Wilson County Schools

Greg Roach, Principal, Maryville High School, Maryville City Schools