Rise & Shine: For Tennessee high school students, free community college isn’t about the money. It’s about the branding.

PATHWAY TO COLLEGE High-achieving students across income levels still overwhelmingly opt to attend four-year programs. But state education officials and school counselors say Tennessee Promise has energized the conversation around college for many other students. Chalkbeat

GUESS WHO’S BACK The same leaders and mostly the same faces are returning to the Tennessee legislature’s education committees this year, offering some hints to how education policy might shake out this session. Chalkbeat

BUS SAFETY Rutherford County Schools officials are unsure if seat belts on buses will cause more harm than good in the event the bus becomes involved in a major crash. The Daily News Journal

BIG DECISIONS The Hamilton County Schools Board of Education tackles its three biggest issues this year: superintendent search, bus contract to replace Durham School Services and property in municipalities considering breaking away from the school district. Chattanooga Times Free Press

DIPPING IN MEMPHIS POOL One-third of candidates for Jackson-Madison County School superintendent position hail from Memphis. The Jackson Sun

NAMING RIGHTS After Dyer County Schools receives a request to change rename an athletic field after a former football coach, school officials meet to craft protocol for renaming school property. Dyersburg State Gazette

REPORT CARD An annual audit of the Elizabethton City School System comes out clean. Johnson City Press

SCHOOL RELOCATION Why Bellevue wants its own high school, despite warning about diversity. Nashville Public Radio

PAPER WAIT Several Metro Nashville Public Schools principals started the school year without teaching licenses in Tennessee, many of whom moved from outside the state but hadn’t completed paperwork to obtain a Tennessee license. The Tennessean, WTVF-TV