TDOE and UTK to Provide COVID-Related Professional Development for Tennessee Principals

Friday, April 24, 2020 | 09:12am


Friday, April 24, 2020 

MEDIA CONTACT: Victoria Robinson


TDOE and UTK to Provide COVID-Related 

Professional Development for Tennessee Principals

Timely Professional Development to Address Most Pressing Challenges Facing Schools as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

NASHVILLE, TN— The Tennessee Department of Education and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Educational Leadership are partnering to provide virtual professional learning opportunities to principals to support them in addressing the immediate challenges facing schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic during these tumultuous and uncertain times. These sessions will be completely free, optional, and eligible for TASL-credit. Sign-up information will be provided early next week through principal study councils in coordination with CORE offices.

Tennessee Principal Professional Learning Series, offered to all public school principals in the state at no cost, will leverage the intellectual resources of the university, as well as other external expertise, to address the most pressing problems of practice facing school principals.

"Strong school leadership is more important than ever, and we know our school principals are facing new and unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We have seen so many examples of how our principals have stepped up for students, and we want to do whatever we can to provide them with support and resources during this critical time. This partnership with the Center for Educational Leadership will help bring best-in-class, focused professional development to help school leaders meet students’ most pressing needs.”

Digital professional development sessions will be led by University of Tennessee, Knoxville faculty under the leadership of Dr. Jim McIntyre, Director of the Center for Educational Leadership. In the near-term, principal support will focus on immediate issues, such as best practices in digital learning, whole child needs, and leading remotely. 

Moving into the summer, the focus will shift to transforming schools to address student learning needs in the coming academic year through differentiation, personalization, and intervention, as well as re-establishing collaboration and school culture. 

“Our school principals have been leading admirably through this unparalleled crisis, and this effort will support them in continuing to meet the needs of their students, parents, educators, stakeholders, and communities,” noted Dr. Jim McIntyre, Director of the Center for Educational Leadership. “We believe this initiative will allow school principals to learn from experts about relevant and urgent educational issues, and confer with their colleagues about the application of this learning to their individual schools. The ultimate beneficiaries of this collaborative work will be the nearly one million schoolchildren in Tennessee.”

The seven 90-minute sessions will begin the week of May 4 and run through the week of June 29. Each virtual session will include a presentation from a recognized content expert, coupled with small-group professional dialogue around strategies and solutions. In order to meet statewide capacity needs, principals will be grouped into four cohorts, with two CORE regions in each cohort. 

The presentations will also be recorded and available for principals to view. More information on these sessions here.

This initiative will be funded by philanthropic support and Tennessee SCORE, and in-kind support will be provided by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, through faculty and staff in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.