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HENDERSONVILLE — Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen launched a new school tour Friday, focusing on engaging high school students in conversations about the teaching profession and …
HENDERSONVILLE — Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen launched a new school tour Friday, focusing on engaging high school students in conversations about the teaching profession and encouraging more high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds to become teachers.
The new tour, called the Teach Today, Change Tomorrow tour to build off the initiative started by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), will complement the commissioner’s Classroom Chronicles school tour.
Over the last three years, McQueen has met with thousands of teachers and visited 822 classrooms across 127 school districts — almost 87 percent of all districts in the state — on the Classroom Chronicles tour. This tour included stops at Cleveland and Bradley County schools.
“We must continue to build a strong, diverse educator pipeline in Tennessee, and one way to do this is to connect effective, passionate teachers with the next generation of potential educators,” McQueen said. “The Teach Today, Change Tomorrow tour elevates the statewide conversation around encouraging our best and brightest students to become teachers and be fulfilled in a career that allows them to have a positive impact in their communities and shape the next generation of leaders.”
Friday’s visit to Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Sumner County was the first stop on the tour this semester. As in the past, McQueen will continue to meet with educators at each school, but she will also host small group discussions with high-performing students from a variety of backgrounds to discuss the benefits of a career in education.
Additionally, she will be joined by classroom teachers, school counselors, and leaders from educator preparation providers (EPPs) who can share their perspectives and encourage students in this conversation. Friday, she was joined by Cicely Woodard, 2017-18 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, as well as leaders from several higher education institutions from around middle Tennessee.
This effort builds on the work of the department to holistically support the teaching profession, including through focusing on building relationships among EPPs and school districts, sharing EPP outcomes in public reports, and recruiting a diverse and high-quality educator workforce.
Over the last several months, the department has invested nearly $1.4 million in improving the teacher and principal pipeline in Tennessee. Additionally, over the past three years, the state has made the largest investment in teacher salaries without a tax increase in Tennessee history — $300 million — and Tennessee has invested more than $430 million in increases in teacher salary during Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.
Additional school visits on the tour are still being scheduled.
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