TDOE Accelerating TN 2022 Bus Tour Celebrates Statewide Summer Learning Opportunities

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | 04:30pm


Statewide 50-District Tour Travels Over 3,000 Miles 
Highlighting Districts, Schools, & Educators Accelerating Student Achievement

Nashville, TN- After visiting 50 school districts and 36 schools spanning over 3,000 miles, the Tennessee Department of Education concluded the Accelerating TN 2022 Tour with a recap of highlights and best practices from across the state.

Across all three grand divisions of the state, department staff, elected officials, and community education partners joined the tour to learn more about how Tennessee districts, schools, and educators are leading the nation in supporting students, prioritizing education policies and initiatives to ensure our children are set up for success. This included attending 36 summer learning school visits, hosting 18 district and community roundtables, and observing a Reading 360 Early Reading Training.

Recap videos from each week of the tour can be found on the department’s YouTube channel. Find photos from each stop of the tour here.

“The second statewide summer bus tour showcased the commitment of Tennessee districts, schools, educators, elected officials, and communities to our collective why— accelerating achievement for students,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Students are benefiting from rich instructional time with their teachers— we observed targeted interventions, innovative block structures, and fun twists for engaging summer learning. It's inspiring to see teachers and districts build such positive momentum as we head into a new school year.”  

During the General Assembly’s 2021 special legislative session on education, legislators passed the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act, which set forward a path for all districts’ current and future summer programming opportunities to benefit students and accelerate achievement.  

On June 14th, the department released the 2021-22 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) state-level results, which shows how the state’s and districts’ shared commitment to mitigating learning loss and investing in student achievement is helping our students to recover and accelerate learning. Results from the 2021-22 TCAP assessments show that elementary students significantly improved their ELA scores and are performing at a level similar to pre-pandemic years. Additionally, improved performance in math was evident for Tennessee students of all ages.  

To highlight these important policies and programs to support students, the tour visited thoughtful integration of rigorous STREAM content with student-built canoes and robotics design, intentional phonics instruction, and strong labor and workforce partnerships while maintaining access and opportunity for all students. Throughout the tour, the department’s key initiatives from the Best for All strategic plan— Reading 360, TN ALL Corps, Innovative School Models, and Grow Your Own— were seen in-action.  

District leadership and elected officials commented on the impactful work taking place this summer and best practices witnessed statewide.

“CMCSS was thrilled to host Dr. Schwinn, department staff, elected officials and others,” said Dr. Angela Huff, Interim Director of Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. “Additionally, meeting inside of a portable that was built by our very own students in the Structural Systems CTE program contributed to the incredible opportunities available for students.”

“Thank you, Commissioner Schwinn, for visiting with Bartlett City Schools leadership,” said Dr. David A. Stephens, Director of Schools, Bartlett City Schools. “We had a great visit and discussion regarding key education initiatives in Tennessee! I appreciate the Commissioner for taking time to visit our Advanced Manufacturing Lab and discussing our college and career opportunities for our students.”

“It was a pleasure to show off some of the great things going on at Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools to Commissioner Schwinn. From our young students strengthening literacy skills through summer programs to our high school students preparing for technical careers working with TCATs, I am extremely impressed with our students and teachers, and I know Commissioner Schwinn is as well,” said State Senator Bill Powers. “I am confident that the additional resources the new TISA funding formula will provide, CMCSS will continue to improve and provide a quality education for all our students.”

“Loudon County was honored to have the Commissioner and her leadership team visit Philadelphia to see the great CTE opportunities that our students are accessing this summer,” said Mike Garren, Director of Schools, Loudon County Schools. “The students were excited to have the Commissioner of Education engaged with them while they demonstrate their advanced skill set in carpentry and agriculture at a middle school level.”

“The Summer School initiative has provided high dosage, low ratio tutoring to offset learning loss due to this pandemic,” said Cindy Olive, Director of Schools, Lexington City Schools. “The strategies used offer insight across a range of academic disciplines with a concentration on reading, math and STEM which help us identify issues, questions, and opportunities in a time sensitive manner or that we may not have seen on our own during a regular school day. The strategic interventions and assessment reports will tell us how well we lived up to our commitments to close the gaps.”

“Throughout several stops of the summer bus tour, I was reminded that education is as much about hearts and hope as it is about shaping minds,” said Jordan Mollenhour, Member, State Board of Education. “As a taxpayer, businessman, and private citizen, I am proud of the work that I see being done across Tennessee by our incredibly talented and engaged educators who are committed to our children. While there is much work still to be done to support the effort, spending time on the bus tour was a reminder to me that the future holds much opportunity for our students, our educators, and our state.”

“Our students at Dogwood Elementary School were very excited to have Commissioner Schwinn and her team visit as part of the Summer Bus Tour and learn more about their school and the programs that have been implemented to help improve academic performance and other life skills,” said Dr. Jon Rysewyk, Director of Schools, Knox County Schools. “The summer learning programs are an incredible resource for our families, and I have been very impressed with the work that I have seen happening in our classrooms by our teachers and students.”

"We were very pleased to host the Commissioner and her team from the department for one of the stops on their summer bus tour,” said John Bush, Director of Schools, Alvin C. York Institute. “It was a great opportunity for our students to share about their work regarding our Farm-to-Fork Initiative and STEM Education. Seeing the Commissioner taking part in the same hands-on, authentic learning that our students will be doing was amazing.  It is not every day that you witness a State Commissioner of Education artificially inseminating a registered angus heifer. At Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute, we are redefining what rural high school education looks like and how high schools can contribute to the local community and economic base."   

In the coming months, the department will release a report on the bright spots and leading practices learned on the tour. With meaningful feedback, robust conversations, and community discussion, the department will continue to support districts' planning and implementation for future summers.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact