Letter From Jamie Woodson: The Volunteer State Is Stepping Up to Support Military Students in School

DeaAIm High JW blogr Friends,

Tennessee’s famous nickname the “Volunteer State” comes from our citizens’ history of volunteering for military service. To this day, Tennessee ranks 12th in the nation in the number of military families, with more than 2,189 active duty military servicemen and women and nearly 19,000 members of the military reserves, and half a million veterans. These men and women have kept and continue to keep our country safe and strong, sacrificing their own safety and stability.

Behind those strong men and women are families who also sacrifice. Children of military families move six to nine times over the course of their K-12 education, and those children also face additional stress as their parents deploy. In Tennessee, each of the 95 counties is home to a military family, and our public schools help support the 40,000 military children in the state.

To eliminate some of those hurdles for the children of military members, SCORE and the Expect More, Achieve More Coalition have joined other Tennessee education and military leaders to launch the AIM (Achievement, Innovation, Measurement) High TN initiative. This initiative was started to help military families and children succeed both in the classroom and in life by raising awareness among education and community leaders about the unique challenges military families face and providing resources to help support the academic success of their children.

Those leaders came together on February 15 to announce this initiative and to share their perspectives with the Tennessee community. Raising awareness is a big part of the AIM High TN initiative, Major General Terry M. “Max” Haston explained. “We will do this by providing resources directly to families and working with teachers and school leaders to expand their understanding of how to support military students in their classrooms,” he said.

Metro Nashville Public Schools teacher Martha Shaffer, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who teaches JROTC at Maplewood High School, explained her involvement on the AIM High TN steering committee in this way: “We need to give military families, already under significant stress, the resources to help their children succeed academically throughout their coursework and on their end-of-year test, TNReady. AIM High TN does both, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Their insights from the day emphasize the importance of caring for our military families and also acknowledged that each one of us can play a role in supporting students from military families. I invite you to learn more about AIM High TN by reading this blog post from the organization’s Steering Committee and visiting the AIMHighTN.com website, where you can find resources for military families.

SCORE and the Expect More, Achieve More Coalition are both committed to ensuring excellence in education for all our students. By raising awareness about the difficulties Tennessee military families face and by providing supports to those families and their students, we move forward in that goal of academic excellence and we also better serve those who serve our country.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Woodson

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Jamie Woodson

Jamie Woodson sets the strategic vision for SCORE as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and leads SCORE’s executive team and the organization’s efforts to build and strengthen partnerships with leaders in Tennessee and across the nation. She has been a leading figure in spearheading Tennessee’s efforts to better prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce. Prior to joining SCORE, she served for more than 12 years in the Tennessee General Assembly in both the House and Senate. As Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and later as Senate Speaker Pro Tempore, Jamie was a key leader in efforts to identify and support effective teaching, overhaul Tennessee’s K-12 education funding formula, raise academic standards for Tennessee students, turn around low-performing schools, and expand high-quality public charter schools in Tennessee. In addition, she was a key leader in Tennessee’s work to transform public higher education by aligning Tennessee’s postsecondary system and the state’s economic goals through changes in academic, fiscal, and administrative policies. As a citizen legislator, she also served as general counsel for an East Tennessee manufacturing firm. Jamie attended public schools in Tennessee and received a Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She was selected as “Torchbearer,” which is the highest honor an undergraduate may receive from the university.

The SCORE Sheet is the online conversation on public education reform in Tennessee and is hosted by SCORE. The blog mirrors SCORE’s collaborative nature and features contributors from Tennessee and across the country including students, parents, teachers, policymakers, community groups, and members of SCORE’s team. Regardless of perspective, contributors share a common goal: that every child graduates from high school prepared for college or the workforce.

Posts on The SCORE Sheet are the opinions of the individual contributors and are not necessarily reflective of the opinions and positions of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE).