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Education Commissioner McQueen Completes Third Year of Statewide Classroom Tour

Classroom visits and roundtables focused on encouraging students to pursue careers in education
Monday, May 14, 2018 | 10:46am

NASHVILLE— Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen completed the third year of her Classroom Chronicles tour today, visiting classrooms and meeting with teachers and students at Fall-Hamilton Enhanced Option School in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The commissioner, who initiated this tour as a way to listen and learn from Tennessee educators, committed to the Classroom Chronicles tour shortly after being sworn in to her position in late January 2015. Over the course of the last three school years, she has engaged with about 16,500 educators and visited 877 classrooms in 185 schools across 136 school districts – almost 93 percent of all districts in the state – on the Classroom Chronicles tour.

“Every decision we make at the department is rooted in what is best for students and how we can support educators as partners in this work,” McQueen said. “The Classroom Chronicles tour has provided some of the most valuable feedback I’ve received as commissioner through my in-person conversations with teachers and students. In addition to providing insight to the on-the-ground experiences of our educators, it has allowed me to speak with some of the future leaders of our state and encourage them to consider a career in education. One of the best ways to improve our schools is to recruit our most promising students to lead classrooms in Tennessee.”

This semester, the tour focused on engaging high school students in every grand division of the state in conversations about the teaching profession. The tour, called the Teach Today, Change Tomorrow tour, built off the initiative started by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and complemented the commissioner’s Classroom Chronicles school tour. For the Teach Today events with students, the department invited a handful of teachers from the area to share their story about why they chose to teach and lead the students in a discussion. Regional colleges that prepare educators also joined to tell students about what it looks like to train to be a teacher.

The commissioner met with more than 100 high school students through the Teach Today, Change Tomorrow events this spring. Other school visits focused on literacy, particularly in the elementary grades, to help inform the department’s Read to be Ready initiatives, which aim to ensure more students are reading on grade-level by third grade.

McQueen is committed to incorporating the feedback she has heard and the needs she has seen into the decisions made at the department, and she will continue the Classroom Chronicles Tour during the 2018-19 school year as she visits the remaining school districts.

This summer, Commissioner McQueen will continue to meet with students and teachers by touring sites participating in the state’s Read to be Ready summer grant program. This year, the grant program awarded more than $8.8 million to 203 public school 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.

For media inquiries contact Sara Gast, director of communications, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or call (615) 532-6260.