Photo: Penny Schwinn, TN Department of Education Commissioner
Photo Credit: TNDeptofEducation / YouTube
Published June 29, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
On June 24, the Accelerating TN 2021 Bus Tour, led by Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, shared a milestone update. The bus has traveled over 1,700 miles, gone through 30 districts, and visited 21 schools. They have also hosted roundtables and observed two Early Reading Trainings.
“Throughout the bus tour, we are seeing that Tennessee is leading the nation by prioritizing fundamental academic programming for students over the summer to ensure our students are set up for success,” Schwinn said. “I am thrilled by the innovative strategies and techniques we’ve seen in east and west Tennessee the past two weeks, focused on intentional literacy and STRE(A)M instruction. Districts and schools are rethinking what a school day looks like in order to respond to the needs of students and help them continue learning in an engaging and fun way. The joy and excitement can be felt in each and every classroom and we are excited to be in middle Tennessee next week to see even more best practices showcased.”
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Various engagements for community leaders, school officials, and educators has allowed the Department of Education to put federal Covid funding toward the success of Tennessee students. The third, and last leg, of the tour starts on June 28. Several of the leaders and officials involved in the tour have spoken out to discuss the importance of it.
Dr. Dan Challener the President of the Public Education Foundation in Chattanooga said, “This tour is terrific to travel across the state and hear what is working and also to understand what the challenges our districts, schools, and students are facing. It is imperative that we as a state consider what supports students need after high school and as they enter college. To listen and also celebrate the hard work of our districts, schools, educators, students and communities is extraordinary and I commend the department for putting an emphasis on this over the summer.”
The tour is part of the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act, passed by the General Assembly in January. This act takes the $4.2 million received in federal funding and puts it toward K-12 education in the state to boost student success.
Kelly Johnson, Director of Schools for Clinton City Schools said, “Clinton City Schools is experiencing an extremely positive summer learning experience.
“This opportunity for funding allowed us to target a subgroup of students to participate in an additional four weeks of high-quality learning. We have been able to use our end of the year benchmark data to strategically plan an intense summer program to maximize learning specific to the needs of our students while our teachers have been intentional about creating highly engaging lessons to keep students excited about coming each day. The highlight of the week is always the Kona Ice Truck that comes on Fridays to reward students for their efforts! Clinton City Schools is confident that this opportunity is closing academic gaps as well as addressing the social/emotional needs of our students during the summer months,” Johnson concluded.