The Tennessee board of education voted Friday to replace a policy that meant teachers could lose their licenses if their scores on evaluations were low. Starting in the 2015-16 school year, Tennessee teachers who garner high scores on their evaluations will earn points toward advancing or renewing their licenses and will be responsible for fewer professional development courses than their lower-scoring peers—but low evaluation scores will not prohibit a teacher from renewing a license.
The change is a partial victory for the Tennessee Education Association, which had contested the previous policy. But the Tennesseanreported Friday that the TEA questions the legality of tying licenses to evaluations at all. Up to 35 percent of teachers’ evaluations in Tennessee are based on TVAAS, the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System, a measure of students’ growth on the state’s standardized test—a measure the union publicly rejected last school year and is challenging in court.
Tennessee teachers are responsible for earning 30 state-approved “professional development points” in order to have their licenses advanced from “practitioner,” the initial license, to “professional,” and 60 to have their professional licenses renewed. Teachers have traditionally been able to earn points by taking university courses, becoming National Board certified, or taking approved training courses.
The new policy means that high-scoring teachers can also get points for their evaluations: Those who receive a 5, the highest ranking, will receive 20 professional development points. Those who receive a 4 will receive 15 points, and those who receive a 3 will receive 10 points. Those who earn the lowest scores on their evaluations will receive no points for their evaluations, but can still earn points through the traditional route.
B. Fielding Rolston, the chair of the state board of education, said the new policy means “a teacher can choose the direction they want to go in for renewal or advancement: evaluation scores or professional development.”
meet the fellows
Meet the 38 teachers chosen by SCORE to champion education around Tennessee
Six teachers from Memphis have been awarded fellowships that will allow them to spend the next year supporting better education in Tennessee.
The year-long fellowships, offered by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, train and encourage teachers and other educators to speak at events, write publicly about their experiences, and invite policymakers to their classrooms. The program is in its fifth year through the nonpartisan advocacy and research organization, also known as SCORE, which was founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist from Tennessee.
The fellowships, known as the Tennessee Educator Fellowships, have been awarded to 150 educators since the program’s launch in 2014. This year’s class of 38 educators from around the state have a combined 479 years of experience.
“The fellows’ diverse perspectives and experiences are invaluable as they work both inside and outside the classroom and participate in state conversations on preparing all students for postsecondary and workforce success,” SCORE President and CEO Jamie Woodson said in a news release.
Besides the Shelby County teachers, the group also includes educators who work for the state-run Achievement School District, public Montessori schools, and a school dedicated to serving children with multiple disabilities.
The 2018-19 fellows are:
Nathan Bailey, career technical education at Sullivan North High School, Sullivan County Schools
Kalisha Bingham-Marshall, seventh-grade math at Bolivar Middle School, Hardeman County Schools
Sam Brobeck, eighth-grade math at Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter Middle School. Shelby County Schools
Monica Brown, fourth-grade English language arts and social studies at Oakshire Elementary School, Shelby County Schools
Nick Brown, school counselor at Westmoreland Elementary School, Sumner County Schools
Sherwanda Chism, grades 3-5 English language arts and gifted education at Winridge Elementary School, Shelby County Schools
Richard J. Church, grades 7-8 at Liberty Bell Middle School, Johnson City Schools
Ada Collins, third grade at J.E. Moss Elementary School, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Lynn Cooper, school counselor at South Pittsburg High School, Marion County Schools
Colletta M. Daniels, grades 2-4 special education at Shrine School, Shelby County Schools
Brandy Eason, school counselor at Scotts Hill Elementary School, Henderson County Schools
Heather Eskridge, school counselor at Walter Hill Elementary School, Rutherford County Schools
Klavish Faraj, third-grade math and science at Paragon Mills Elementary School, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Mavis Clark Foster, fifth-grade English language arts and science at Green Magnet Academy, Knox County Schools
Ranita Glenn, grades 2-5 reading at Hardy Elementary School, Hamilton County Department of Education
Telena Haneline, first grade at Eaton Elementary School, Loudon County Schools
Tenesha Hardin, first grade at West Creek Elementary School, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools
Thaddeus Higgins, grades 9-12 social studies at Unicoi County High School, Unicoi County Schools
Neven Holland, fourth-grade math at Treadwell Elementary School, Shelby County Schools
Alicia Hunker, sixth-grade math at Valor Flagship Academy, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Alex Juneau, third grade at John Pittard Elementary School, Murfreesboro City Schools
Lyndi King, fifth-grade English language arts at Decatur County Middle School, Decatur County Schools
Rebecca Ledebuhr, eighth-grade math at STEM Preparatory Academy, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Aleisha McCallie, fourth-grade math and science at East Brainerd Elementary School, Hamilton County Department of Education.
Brian McLaughlin, grades 10-12 math at Morristown-Hamblen High School West, Hamblen County Schools
Caitlin Nowell, seventh-grade English language arts at South Doyle Middle School, Knox County Schools
Paula Pendergrass, advanced academics resources at Granbery Elementary School, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Julie Pepperman, eighth-grade science at Heritage Middle School, Blount County Schools
Kelly Piatt, school counselor at Crockett County High School, Crockett County Schools
Ontoni Reedy, grades 1-3 at Community Montessori, Jackson-Madison County Schools
Tiffany Roberts, algebra and geometry at Lincoln County Ninth Grade Academy, Lincoln County Schools
Craig Robinson, grades 3-5 science at Georgian Hills Achievement Elementary, Achievement School District
Jen Semanco, 10th- and 11th-grade English language arts at Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Hamilton County Department of Education
Amanda Smithfield, librarian at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Cyndi Snapp, fourth-grade math at Carter’s Valley Elementary School, Hawkins County Schools
David Sneed, 12th-grade English at Soddy Daisy High School, Hamilton County Department of Education
Yolanda Parker Williams, fifth-grade math at Karns Elementary School, Knox County Schools
Maury Wood II, grades 4-6 technology at Westhills Elementary School, Marshall County Schools
work hard play hard
Memphis teachers share basketball, even if they don’t share a district
Freedom Preparatory Academy is gathering teachers from district-run and charter schools to play basketball. The teachers, mostly black men, have turned it into a networking opportunity as well as a way to let off steam.