2016-17 school visits and roundtables focused on learning more about students’ postsecondary pathways and early literacy work
Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen completed the second year of her Classroom Chronicles tour today, visiting classrooms and meeting with teachers and students in Pelham Elementary School in Grundy County. Over the course of the last two school years, she has met with thousands of teachers and visited 770 classrooms across 118 school districts – almost 85 percent of all districts in the state – on the Classroom Chronicles tour.
This school year, the tour focused on two of the commissioner’s priorities for the state: strengthening early grade reading practices and increasing opportunities for middle and high school students to access courses and opportunities that will better prepare them for postsecondary and the workforce. The commissioner also focused this year on visiting districts she had not visited last year to ensure voices across all parts of Tennessee are heard.
“From their first day of kindergarten to high school graduation, we want our students to receive an education that equips them to be lifelong learners,” McQueen said. “Preparing our students to pursue their chosen path in life is a process that takes place throughout their K-12 experience. During this year’s Classroom Chronicles visits, I heard from both students and teachers about the importance of setting students up for success from day one and providing more opportunities for them to grow.”
The visit to PES highlighted the school’s academic and testing achievements during the past two years. Eighth grade students Destiny Stevens and Zach Campbell led McQueen and Haslam on their visit to classrooms.
This summer, McQueen will continue her focus on early grades reading by touring sites participating in the state’s Read to be Ready summer grant program. This year, the grant program awarded more than $8.5 million to 212 recipients that will lead summer camps focused on building strong literacy skills for our youngest students, with a focus on those who are most behind. Additionally, this month the department will release a practical guidance document called “Teaching Literacy in Tennessee,” which will serve as the department’s “how to” resource for teaching literacy in the early grades. McQueen and department leadership will also host webinars and in-person meetings for a series of summer professional learning opportunities focused on early literacy.