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Department Receives Harvard “Innovations” Award

Monday, April 09, 2007 | 07:00pm

Nashville, TN –Tennessee’s Exemplary Educator Program is the recipient of a Top 50 Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University, Education Commissioner Lana Seivers announced today. The Tennessee Department of Education assigns veteran education professionals, referred to as EE’s, to help under-performing schools and districts improve student achievement. These EE’s are selected for their expertise in core subject areas or working with specific student populations.

“With Governor Bredesen’s emphasis on improving education in Tennessee, it is rewarding to know one of the practices we have in place is among the best in the nation,” Commissioner Seivers said. “We constantly evaluate which investments actually help boost achievement. This award reinforces our belief that the guidance of these experienced educators is valuable to the education of Tennessee’s children.”

With the assistance of EE’s, the number of Tennessee schools deemed high priority has gradually decreased the past three years. Instead of a single approach statewide, the model provides a well-trained, experienced educator to coordinate an improvement plan that matches the school’s areas of need.

“An in-house specialist dedicated to guiding change has been proven a highly valuable resource for schools,” Director of Accountability Dr. Connie Smith said. “In Tennessee, it has allowed educators to individualize improvement strategies to have the greatest impact on classroom learning.”

The Department partners with non-profit organization Edvantia, Inc. to interview prospective EE’s and conduct extensive training on research-based strategies. An independent unit of Edvantia conducts research and evaluates the effectiveness of the EE program.

The IAG award is a component of the Roy and Lila Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, which seeks to foster excellence in government to spread democracy. The Ash Institute is housed at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

For more information, contact Rachel Woods at (615) 253-1960 or Rachel.Woods@state.tn.us.

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