Pathways to the Prize, District Winner - Page 3

Dear Educators, In 2012, Tennesseans showed they were up to the challenge of education reform. Over the last several years, Tennessee has become a national leader by enacting bold policies to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and the workforce. This past year, after educators continued the tough work of implementing these new policies in schools and districts, Tennessee’s students made the most academic progress in state history. Not only are proficiency levels increasing in reading, math, and science, more of Tennessee’s students are graduating from high school and enrolling in higher education than ever before. While much work remains to be done, it is our belief that we must take time to reflect on the successes of reform in order to learn the most from our achievements. Last October, SCORE awarded the second annual SCORE Prize to the elementary, middle, and high school, as well as one school district in Tennessee, that have most dramatically improved student achievement. While our aim in awarding the SCORE Prize is to identify and reward those schools and districts that are effectively preparing their students for success, an equally important goal is to highlight best practices and distill them into a usable format for educators. Pathways to the Prize is an important part of our strategy to highlight best practices and provide educators with the tools they need to replicate them in their own communities. In the following pages, you will find information about Hamblen County Schools, our 2012 SCORE Prize district winner, and their efforts to prepare all students for success in college and career. Over the last decade, Hamblen County has seen its demographic landscape undergo drastic changes. More of its students qualify for free and reduced price lunch than ever before, and the district serves increasing numbers of English language learners. Despite these challenges, the district has earned two Blue Ribbon distinctions over the last two years and the status of Advanced Placement Honor District. The district has been able to rise to these challenges by accepting nothing less than success for all of its students and engaging all partners in education, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the business community. Hamblen County’s story is reflective of both the challenges and opportunities that all Tennessee districts face. As Tennessee continues to implement its policy priorities in classrooms, it will be important to learn from the places that are making the most progress so that we can sustain and accelerate improvements statewide. We hope Pathways to the Prize will both inspire you and provide you with the information you need to take the lessons collected here back to your classroom, your school, and your community. Hamblen County’s story provides many examples of how we can work toward achieving our most important goal: preparing all of our students for success in college and the workforce. Very sincerely, Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2012 SCORE Prize District Winner 2