Tennessee Race to the Top Presentation

Uploaded by usedgov on 07.04.2010

PHIL BREDESEN: Thank you very much. I’m Phil Bredesen, the governor of Tennessee and
we are very pleased to be finalists. Just as we begin I would like to step back for
a minute and just set the table a bit for why an investment in Tennessee makes sense.
We approach this that education reform is not a technical issue, we know what to do.
It’s more of a political issue, how you get the sustainability to keep a commitment
going over the years to reform. How do you stay the course through changes in administrations
and legislatures, even if there were no election this fall, governors change legislatures change,
individuals in positions change. So we have designed this from the ground up to be sustainable
and what that means is broad ownership of this reform, this is not Phil Bredesens’s
reform, it’s not a democratic or republican reform and it’s not a Race to the Top reform.
We’ve taken the time to put down some deep roots. It’s a completely bipartisan effort.
If you look at the supporters and the votes along the way you can’t tell party. Senator
Woodson is sitting here with me she is a Republican, the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate, former
Education Commission, our Committee chair, we have worked together for years on this
and higher education reform. There is broad legislative ownership of this by both houses
and both parties in our legislature. Our Tennessee State School Board is very supportive and
has great ownership in this. Teachers and Unions have ownership as well, as we put in
our application, 100% of school districts and 93% of the unions approve and support
this. it also has broad support among both urban and rural school districts. We took
the approach including 100% of our school districts in this. I’ve been told that’s
a weakness of our application but it was one of my going in requirements. I feel that in
this we are past the time for pilots, we’re past the time for demonstration projects.
The frontier for us is in some of those districts who are not those leadership districts. We
know what the path is and we undertook in this process a moral commitment so make sure
that every student in every school system in Tennessee went down that path.
PHIL BREDESEN: Our interest in education reform is not new in Tennessee, I used to be before
this the CEO of a public company and I always felt that one of the jobs of the CEO is to
find those things that if you get them right you can be successful, if you don’t get
those things right you can execute a million other things perfectly and still have problems.
I have done the same thing as governor and the answer is absolutely that education in
Tennessee is what we need to get right. Looking down the road to investments and opportunities,
they used to be where the railroads cross and the rivers came together now and in the
future more and more are where the human capital exists to make them successful.
PHIL BREDESEN: Now Tennessee is a Southern State, we have a varying background, we have
not always in Tennessee seen education as the key to success, but I think in this last
decade Tennessee is more than making up for that in the actions that it’s taking. Reform
is underway in Tennessee, we have dealt with funding issues, we’ve established a broad
Pre-K Program, we’ve opened up charter schools, adopted tough standards, in fact I’m the
Co-Chair of Achieve replacing Tim Fuentes in that position just recently. We’ve worked
on teacher certification and we’re going to continue doing this with our without Race
to the Top. We started before we ever heard of it, we will be continuing long after this
is played out. What we saw in Race to the Top is a gift that it was a chance to take
something we were doing and really add to it and put some wind at our back, a chance
to close the deal and to finish the effort out. We’re going to make our presentation
today talking about four broad areas. First of all Standards and assessments, second of
all data itself, third of all turnaround schools and what our plans are there and fourth about
great teachers and what we plan to do. PHIL BREDESEN: We’ve brought along people
to address each of these issues, Senator Jamie Woodson will talk about standards and assessments,
she is Speaker Pro Tempore of our State Senate, she’s been a leader in education reform
in our state for years. Dr. Jim McIntyre is going to talk about data; he is the Superintendent
of the Knoxville School System, the form COO of the Boston, Massachusetts School System.
Dr. Tim Webb is going to talk about turnaround schools; he is my Commissioner of Education
and a former school Superintendant. Tomeka Hart is going to talk about great teachers,
she is a teacher, she is a member of the Memphis School Board that is doing some great things
at the moment, and she runs the Urban League in Memphis. So with that Jamie Woodson if
I could turn it over to you. MS. JAMIE WOODSON: Education reform in Tennessee
is truly about bi-partisan effort. I’m a member of the Republican Leadership Team and
the Tennessee General Assembly; I’m from a different party and a different branch of
government than the governor. Tennessee’s proposal that we bring you today enjoys broad
bi-partisan support. I would like to be clear that the reforms that we made in our special
session recently and the foundations on which they were built truly stand on their own.
My republican colleagues would have resisted mightily at the thought that this was simply
about the promise of federal funding. Instead our reforms reflect a deep commitment to improving
student achievement in Tennessee. The Race to the Top Competition does provide Tennessee
with a unique opportunity to move to the next level in a bold way. We’re not asking, as
the governor said for you to invest in a pilot program or the expansion of several pilot
programs. What we’re asking for you to do is consider a comprehensive road map for transformation
reform for the State of Tennessee and we believe that you’ll be able to use this as the model
for the nation. We are committed to the implementation of this proposal. Legislatures can pass laws
and we can enact policy but you must have the right people in the right place with the
right attitude to get the work done. I’m personally committed to insure that we accomplish
our goals. With me we have an outstanding leadership in the house and senate of republicans
and democrats. We have two education committees in the house and senate who are outcomes minded
and focused on this goal. We will be keeping a watchful eye throughout the implementation
process. Obviously legislative oversight won’t be the only way to get the work done. We will
have to have a team that is specifically tasked to insure we accomplish our goals. In that
we will model the effort very similarly to how we have managed the Recovery Act dollars.
The governor’s office will manage a multi-agency effort with the Department of Finance and
Administration, the Department of Education and other State Agencies. We have proposed
also realignment in our Department of Education to insure that not only will we implement
this plan but that it’s sustainable over time. Throughout the implementation process
we will continue to keep our partners at the table with us who have played such a meaningful
role not only to get us to this point but as we move into the future and those are our
partners not for profit partners like the state collaborative on reforming education
led by Senator Bill Frist, our business leaders from around the state and our education professionals
who have played such a key role in what we are talking about today.
MS. JAMIE WOODSON: Key to Tennessee’s success is our commitment to rigorous standards and
quality assessment. In 2007, the Governor led a statewide conservation about the importance
of college and career ready standards and raising expectations in the State of Tennessee.
In January of 2008, the State Board of Education adopted those higher standards and Tennessee
has been moving full throttle since that time to implement both high standards and high
quality assessments. We are already seeing that they added rigor in subject areas like
math and science, and are bolstering our efforts to improve STEM learning opportunities across
the State of Tennessee. In that regard we have formed a partnership; it’s a new partnership
with Battelle who manages the Oakridge National Lab with the University of Tennessee where
I hail from in East Tennessee. The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is managed by Battelle
and the Oakridge Affiliated University; they will bring a national expertise to our work
on the ground. We are truly harnessing our significant stem assessments to increase all
of the teaching opportunities, capacity and effectiveness in Tennessee. We are embracing
those high standards. When the common core standards are released later this spring Tennessee
expects to adopt them with ease because they are very consistent with the work that we’ve
been doing, it will literally be a matter of tweaking. In the governors leadership of
Achieve as he mentioned before, we will continue our commitment to common assessments around
the country both in the national work and the work right at home. Whether it’s the
area of rigorous standards or high quality assessment there’s not a state in the country
that’s moved farther and faster than the State of Tennessee and we want you to know
that we are committed to this part of fundamental reform.
MS. JAMIE WOODSON: If I could at this point I would like to turn to Dr. McIntyre who can
discuss with us how Tennessee intends to realize the power of data.
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: Thank you Senator. In Tennessee we know that in order to meet the rigorous
academic standards that Senator Woodson talked about and the governor talked about, we believe
we need great people with the right tools and support to drive high level student learning.
In Tennessee we understand that quality and reliable data can be a very powerful tool
in forming instruction and supporting good decision making for education and in raising
academic achievement for our students. We have an incredibly rich data infrastructure
in the State of Tennessee and we want to make sure that our teachers and our administrators
are using that data effectively. We have, unquestionably the nation’s most robust
and sophisticated longitudinal data system, to measure not just academic achievement but
student academic growth as well, it’s called the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System
or what we call (TVAAS) in Tennessee, it’s been in place actually since the early 1990’s
and it gives us the ability to look at student academic growth from the district level, to
the school level and even at the teacher level. This is kind of an important point so I want
to reemphasize, if we get Race to the Top funding, we’re not talking about building
a new data system from scratch, we’re not talking about developing a new statistical
model, we have a comprehensive statistically reliable fully functioning value added growth
model in the State of Tennessee already that enjoys enormous credibility. Our goal is going
to more fully leverage the power of this groundbreaking data system and to use it more effectively.
From our perspective the Race to the Top competition is really going to help us accelerate some
of the great work that’s already been going on in the State of Tennessee in that regard.
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: Senator Woodson talked about the Tennessee First to the Top Act and one
of the things that legislation really does is fully unlock the power of (TVAAS) giving
us broader electronic access to that data for our teachers, it allows us to put in place
a data dashboard at the school level and at the classroom level so our teachers can use
that data more effectively and it takes away some of the restrictions that we’ve had
on use of that academic growth data for accountability purposes. So as Ms. Hart will tell you in
a little bit we’re now able to use that academic growth data for a variety of purposes
to help us make tenure decisions, to access teacher preparation programs, to evaluate
professional development experiences and to support differential compensation structures
that we’re looking at in the State of Tennessee in many of our school districts. I think most
importantly in terms of our application and our strategy we very much put a premium on
professional development that is squarely focused using the robust student outcome data
that we have to enrich and improve instruction. What we’re going to do is partner with some
organizations that are very smart about how to use data well in the classroom. Organizations
like Batelle for kids to help us build the capacity to utilize the very rich data environment
that we have, landscape that we have in the State of Tennessee even more effectively to
support student achievement. DR. JIM MCINTYRE: Through our longitudinal
data systems plan we’re also going to make links both vertically and horizontally with
other data systems in the State of Tennessee, other state organizations, other state agencies,
other education agencies, so on the horizontal access, sort of connecting to higher education
and early education and going across organizations to connect with the data from organizations
like the Department of Children Services so that we can draw a more comprehensive 360
degree portrait of each of our students and that will really help serve their needs better
and help us to look at the effectiveness of the efforts that we put out.
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I also want to assure you that we will invest our Race to the Top funds
wisely and with an eye on sustainability, that is certainly our data strategy, but if
you look carefully at our application I think you’ll see that true across the board in
our overall strategy. We’re not looking to add a full cadre of personnel to our payroll,
we’re not looking to increase the beauracy of the state of Tennessee, we’re not looking
to plug a budget hole, what we’re looking to do is to build capacity and invest in capacity
for the long term to better educate our children. In the short term quite frankly that’s going
to mean we’re going to purchase some of that capacity from forward thinking, reform
minded or innovations that have some expertise and experience with using data well in public
education and increasing student achievement. They’re going to help us to build structures
and networks and tools and to build at capacity so that in the long term we will continue
to see the significant benefits to our children long after the Race to the Top funds have
been completed and gone away. DR. MCINTYRE: I want to say just a word about
our research and evaluation structures because I think that’s important. Our Race to the
Top strategies are really all about results for kids, and so rigorous evaluation of our
activities, close monitoring of our progress, we think, will allow us to make adjustments
in midcourse corrections to make sure our work is as effective as it possibly can be.
We also believe that carefully monitoring our work and evaluating our work will provide
lessons for us in the state of Tennessee and actually that can be generalized more broadly
to the rest of the United States. We have brought together some of the best research
minds in the State of Tennessee to put together a comprehensive evaluation and monitoring
strategy. The name of it is the Tennessee Consortium for Research Evaluation and Development
or Tennessee CRED and it will be led by Professor Matthew Springer, at the wildly respected
National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University. We believe that
this network will allow us to really definitively measure if our strategies are working to effectively
improve student learning in our schools. That will give us the opportunities to share those
practices that are effective with the rest of the nation. I’m going to transition to
Mr. Webb whose going to talk a little about the interventions that we have in terms of
supporting turnaround in our low performing schools. Before that, I guess what I want
to leave you with is this, Tennessee has been a true pioneer in the applied use of educational
data to enhance student learning. I think if you look at our application you will clearly
see that we intend to continue in that leadership role.
MR. TIM WEBB: We ladies and gentleman like so many other states have struggled with low
performing schools. We have a number of schools now that find themselves in the first time
failing AYP status all the way to the advance stages of our accountability system and without
serious intervention what we know is that those numbers are likely to grow given the
fact that we have increased the rigor of our standards and we’ve increased the rigor
of the assessments aligned in those standards, but we’re dead serious about fixing this
problem. We have a passion and a desire to turn these schools around. We know without
doing this we cannot possibly achieve our goal and our dream of all of our children
graduating college and career ready by 2020. We have to do this with a sense of urgency
where failure is simply not an option; we have commitments to make this happen, financial
commitments as evidenced by the fact that our general assembly and our governor has
fully funded our state aid to schools program in the toughest of economic times. Strategic
use of School improvement grant funds and other flow through and competitive federal
funds as well. Statutory commitments as evidenced by the first of the top legislation has been
discussed here today and partnership commitments from our public and private partners, community
based organizations, faith based organizations, and our philanthropic community, together
in Tennessee we’re going to make this happen. All that said quite frankly what we have been
doing up till now has not gotten the job done well enough, we still have a number of schools
failing to meet the mark. Race to the Top will provide us the resources that we need
to get into these schools and to leverage the kinds of national expertise and national
partnerships to turn these schools around. With Tennessee’s new First to the Top law
we have clarified our ability and more importantly our authority to intervene, in the past we’ve
not had that clarity of intervention. The law allows us the allocation of resources
that will drive fundamental yet comprehensive change in these schools. First to the Top
lets us deploy strategies that are more sophisticated, multistage, and multilevel. Once upon a time
in Tennessee a school basically had to be flat of its back before we got actively involved
in trying to do something about that, now under a three tiered approach we will get
involved much earlier and much more aggressively. For those schools that are just beginning
to slip, schools we call focus schools; we can step in very early and aggressively using
technical assistance through our exemplary educator program and our state target assistance
teams. For those schools that continue to slip, our renewal schools, we can now drive
aggressive strategies and provide resources to implement those strategies and these schools
will not have an option, they will have to choose one of the strategies that are selected
after a call for applications and we will be able to identify the partners that will
makes these things happen. The win here is that we’re talking about ground-up capacity
building investing in these schools. It’s our belief that this could also be a laboratory
for us to get out rural intervention strategies and develop rural intervention strategies
which quite honestly, we believe this in Tennessee to be one of our Achilles’ heels, we don’t
know what we don’t know about intervening in rural schools. For our persistently lowest
performing schools we can move them into our new achievement school district, here we’ll
have a unique management situation and very focused attention in conjunction with our
five national partners. The resourcing and government changes here will allow us to lead
these schools back to success. MR. TIM WEBB: To the turnaround issue ladies
and gentlemen we know there are no silver bullets, there are no easy answers, but we
do know there are some common things that just simply make sense to us, the ability
to intervene, the human capital to effect change, and the ability when necessary to
group these schools together for the kinds of support that they need to survive and to
be successful. We know what we need to do as the governor said “our strategies are
uniquely Tennessee”, we know our state. Race to the Top gives us the opportunity,
the tools and the ability to get this done effectively. Based on the work of mass insight
we believe that we have truly addressed three critical intervention prongs, number one,
readiness to learn, the governor talked about statewide Pre-K, Dr. McIntyre talked about
a 360 degree look at a child with our longitudinal data system, readiness to learn, readiness
to teach as you see throughout our application the massive investments in human capital and
building capacity and finally the readiness to act. Our sense of urgency as evidenced
by our First to the Top legislation proves our readiness to act but at the end of the
day ladies and gentleman, at the end of the day, the key to turning around schools and
realizing our vision and our goal for all of our children is effective teachers and
great leaders. Ms. Tomeka Hart will talk about that critical component of our application
now. MS. TOMEKA HART: I am a former teacher as
Governor Bredesen said, I taught middle school and high school and I currently serve on the
Memphis City Schools Board of Education, Memphis City School is the largest school system in
Tennessee so I know firsthand I can say without a doubt Commissioner Webb is right, none of
this will matter if we do not touch and have our teachers all be effective and be able
to identify those effective teachers. I have experience as a teacher and as a policy maker
in my community, several models of reform. I went through the high schools and I remember
as a teacher we went to the block scheduling and that was going to fix high schools and
then I saw Memphis City Schools go from the junior high school model to the middle school
model and we also participated in a coalition of essential small schools and we had all
these models, the difference that I feel here that I know is that we are all focusing on
what really matters, it doesn’t matter what your curriculum is if you don’t have effective
teachers you will not move achievement, we know that effective teachers is what drives
achievement and we know that to dramatically improve education in Tennessee we have to
have effective teachers in every class, everyday. So at the heart of our strategy is a new evaluation
instrument and model and it is moving from one that is meaningless and pretty driven
by the principal and bogged down by the time constraints of many principles to one that
is meaningful and robust and that will allow us to derive data. We have evaluation annually,
our law requires for teachers and principals now and that evaluation will be used to drive
important personnel decisions, including promotion decisions, tenure decisions, retention decisions
and compensation. With the principal evaluation what I’m excited about is that is also includes
a performance contract the law requires a performance contract for our principals which
will clearly put them as the instructional leaders of their schools as they should be.
Tennessee is committed as you heard to this work, so committed that our law now requires
the value added data be a significant part of each teacher’s evaluation. Now under
our current law and our First to the Top legislation 50% of a teacher’s evaluation will be comprised
of student achievement, that’s significant. Of that 50%, 35% is value added data using
(TVAAS) that Dr. McIntyre talked about. So I just wanted to stress again because I’m
a school board member and sometimes we want to get ornery and say well we don’t want
to do this, well we don’t have a choice and that’s great and it’s wonderful and
it’s for every school system, every classroom, every teacher across our state, I just think
that is fantastic and it’s huge. I’m proud to serve on our newly created statewide teacher
evaluation advisor committee and so we will develop, that body will develop the details
of the achievement portion of the evaluation and we get our work underway this week. As
we stated we have created an education reform movement in Tennessee, right now in several
of our districts there are all kinds of reform that are going on in Memphis City Schools
we started a year ago, much of our work predates Race to the Top and our new legislation, we
started a year ago with Bill and Linda Gates on this new teacher effectiveness initiative.
That initiative focuses on our ability to identify, recruit, retain, support, promote
and compensate teachers. In Dr. McIntyre’s district Knox County where I proudly received
my training as a teacher they’re doing with much success the TAP Model and then in Chattanooga
we have yet another teacher quality model going. Our point is we are already doing this
work and what Race to the Top would allow us to do is, in addition to Memphis, Knoxville
and Chattanooga allow our rural systems our other urban systems, our suburban systems
to take part in this work and be a part of this wonderful opportunity that we have, so
we’re excited we hope you feel our excitement and we know that Race to the Top would be
the catalyst that can accelerate this work and do it now rather than later. Governor
Bredesen: MR. PHIL BREDESEN: Thank you all very much,
we’ve tried to structure this talking about standards and assessments, talking about data,
talking about turnaround schools, talking about great teachers which are certainly the
four legs of the table on which we’re building reform. I want to just close this by again
stepping back for a moment and saying for you this is an investment decision. The president
and the congress have provided a substantial amount of money to be used to fund and help
propel transformative change in our school systems and you all have a decision to make
about investments. I told you in my initial presentation that I used to be a corporate
CEO, I’ve made a lot of investments in my day and I think of them as being three kinds,
there’s those projects that are already successful and the investments easy you can
join the herd they’re safe but they also tend not to make much difference in the outcome.
On the other extreme there are projects that just don’t have it, they don’t have the
team or they don’t have the product or they don’t have the will to do it, investments
in those kinds of things are typically wasted they don’t produce a return. What I’ve
always looked for in an investment for that project that’s on its way, it has the leadership,
it has the product and now what it needs is a good strong wind at its back, the pieces
are there. Those are the investments that ultimately really payoff and I believe that
is exactly what the opportunity is in Tennessee. We’ve got the leadership, we’ve got the
bipartisan commitment, you’ve seen your package that every candidate for governor
that succeed me next year has signed on for this process formally and in writing supportive
of this process. We have the legislative commitment, both houses, both parties and the legislature
very strong overwhelming votes in favor of these things. The TEA and the individual units
of the education associations throughout the state have bought into this they have been
made a part of the process and they’re there. There’s a huge grassroots commitment, I’ve
spent a lot of my seven years going to communities and talking to people about the importance
of education and the changes that have to happen. Organizations like SCORE the thing
that Bill Frist is heading up that have arisen out of business and the education and the
charitable communities to help provide some staying power and some support for this particular
effort so we’ve got the leadership there. I think we’ve also got the product, we have
long solid experience of value added assessment so we start to build the house we’ve got
the hammer and the nails to start with, we don’t have to invent them. We have evidenced
in our state a huge commitment to the funding of education we have fully funded our K-12
system including inflation every year in those funds through thick and thin including this
year where we are just cutting massive amounts of money out of everywhere else in the budget,
Pre-K thru 12 education has been fully funded. We’ve expanded the charter school law to
make Tennessee much more attractive especially for the national players to come in. We’ve
adopted already tough standards through the Achieve and Diploma Project we will adopt
common core come July. We’ve put in law teacher evaluations, having to incorporate
50% student achievement. We’ve put in law strong action on failing schools giving the
state not only the responsibility but the real tools and the power to step in and make
a difference in these failing schools. MR. BREDESEN: Our goal in this, it is not
to demonstrate it is not to pilot, our goal is to do. We know what needs to be done now
we ask Race to the Top to help us close it out, to help us finish the job. Thank you
all very, very, much. REVIEWER 1: Thank you very much for the presentation,
I’m going to facilitate the questions. Just so you know our focus on questions was on
areas that we thought we needed more explanation or some more clarity. We have about 15, so
I just wanted to say we are going to try to be succinct and brief we also need you to
be as well. I’m going to try to keep us on, so if we try to move you on, it’s because
we have what we need and we’re going to try to then get to the next question. We are
going to try to do this in order of the application. I have some questions related to sections
A and B. We may move around a bit, but we’re going to try to do it in that way so you’ll
know what’s coming up. REVIEWER 1: First question one of the broader
issues that we would like to get a little bit of clarity on is how the timelines that
you chose were developed, how they will overlap and how they’re going to be coordinated
with each given that you’ve got a timeframe for adopting new standards and developing
assessments would those standards getting in place for the teacher evaluation system
and integrating the value added data into all of that, all while simultaneously improving
student improvement and all while doing it within a few years, it’s a big question?
MR. TIM WEBB: First and foremost with regard to adopt the new standards of the State Board
at the end of July with the second reading special call session before the August timeline,
that is possible in part because we have such a tight alignment to the common core standards
based on the Tennessee Diploma Project that we had already completed. So that piece in
of itself will not be a large step for us to adopt the new standards. The assessment
subsequent to that we have just unveiled in the first iteration of our assessment under
our Tennessee Diploma Project standards with that same alignment being so tight it will
be a matter of new test item development and embedding those items inside of our existing
document. We have room in our existing contract with Pierson who is our assessment vendor
to do just that so that process will be a natural progression for us so it will not
be anything outside of the ordinary for normal standard adoption assessment alignment in
all those kinds of pieces. With regard to the teacher evaluation as Ms. Hart eluded
we’re beginning to process a meeting with that 15 member committee established by our
First to the Top Act, nine of those folks are professional educators, we will begin
that meeting on Thursday of this week, the organizational meeting. We have established
a timeline that to have that evaluation framework and the tough decisions that come out of that
evaluation work to be completed by that same August window for the State Board to adopt
that framework. We will begin on a parallel path to develop the instruments. We want to
digitize that evaluation so that everything is done in an electronic environment to make
it much more user friendly if you will and streamlined so we will begin to build those
tools out on a concurrent path with the development of the frameworks and putting in place the
infrastructure if you will so that process will field test and pilot that in the spring.
Because, of the fact that we have been so embedded and so involved with value added
data in Tennessee since 1992, it’s not a new concept for our educators it will be a
new concept for having it a statutory part of the evaluation process we will begin that
process also because they are familiar with the data so it will be a matter of training
them concurrently while we’re developing the tools and strategies and framework. Finally,
the professional development that we’re talking about is the business of teaching
our teachers how to use the data, teaching them how to answer the then what questions
if I know where the diagnostic leads me to see that a student is weak in a particular
standard then what and providing the tools to a tool that we built called an Electronic
Learning Center that has 24/7 on demand, on time, professional development activities,
best practice activities for our teachers to go when they have questions about how to
address a weakness in a particular common standard. All of those pieces will work in
concert it is taking what we’re doing to a deeper level and building everything on
data and on those common standards. MR. PHIL BREDESEN: Dr. McIntyre do you have
anything to add to that? DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I think the commissioner
did a great job laying it out, I think the only thing I would add is that the standards
really drives the whole thing. We have made this commitment to higher academic standards
in the State of Tennessee. The way I put it is we’re not turning back, we’ve stormed
the beach and burned the boats and we’re moving forward and so pretty much everything
else follows that pattern and I think the legislature had great foresight to put a specific
date in terms of when this evaluation work is going to be in place from the perspective
of the superintendent to having that created and in place by July of 2011 means we will
be able to begin to use that evaluation tool and structure in the 2011-2012 school year
so we’re appreciative of that. REVIEWER 1: A second question is in your application
you acknowledge that the state needs to work harder to eliminate the achievement gap or
I guess the gap between the state proficiency scores and NAPE. I wanted to get a little
bit more explanation as to why that gap has existed and what you think have been the drivers
of past performance and how those drivers are going to be different in the future?
MR. PHIL BREDESEN: Let me say, I can’t answer the question technically and I’ll ask Tim
to address it, but I think what’s happened over the past decade is that people all across
Tennessee have come to recognize much more fully how important it is that children be
prepared to compete not against kids in Knoxville, or Nashville but nationally and internationally
and there really has been this ground swell of interest in the subject of getting our
standards aligned. In the absence of that interest the easy thing to do and what some
things like No Child Left Behind have driven is just keep the standards low everything
looks relatively good, everyone is relatively happy. The process of being here today is
really in a way the culmination almost a decade in our state of people really coming to see
education in a different way as a vehicle for their children. Technically I don’t
know if you have anything to add to that? MR. TIM WEBB: When we looked at our standards
our proficiency cut scores were set at a level somewhere approximating a D- to be proficient.
When you look at the aspiring goals of NAPE and of other national and internationally
benchmark assessments there’s a disconnect, even in ACT there was a massive disconnect.
So we receive quite honestly a ground shaking F for truth in advertising from the US Chamber
of Commerce, that was the interest of the governor saying we have to fix this problem
in Tennessee, so the driver behind that will be the fact that we’ve been actively involved,
and we’re the gold standard in the Achieve Network with the Tennessee Diploma Project.
Our standards are held to be some of the highest in the Achieve Network, those standards now
link to much more rigorous assessments will have a shock, we’re going to go through
an implementation dip, and we’re going to have to rebound from that. Quite honestly
moving that proficiency definition and those cut scores to a more realistic, real world
college and career ready level so that our students all graduate by 2020, college and
career ready will be the driver behind the change.
MS. JAMIE WOODSON: I would just like to add briefly to that, kind of back to the broader
view. This is my 12th year in the Tennessee General Assembly, and the governor is absolutely
right, this decade has change my belief, there is a real kind of the feeling in Tennessee
and it’s not just a symptom thing, the business community is highly engaged not just interested,
they’ve been at the table throughout this process, the philanthropic community is organized
and engaged, the legislature is highly informed on these types of issues. We were speaking
earlier about the First to the Top legislation and the importance of it and why we were so
specific, and if I could just refer you to slide five and that’s where we discussed
what happened in this legislation. We could have taken the attitude to ask the Department
of Education and the State Board of Education to really put the meat around the policies
and just done a few technical tweaks within our statute. The General Assembly made a very
specific decision of time is of the essence we have to get this work done, we’ve got
an outstanding plan to get the work done but we really need to make it happen. We went
even beyond in that special session, the conversation of Race to the Top and raising standards.
We implemented wholesale changes performance based changes to our higher education system.
So, to a person in Tennessee this is an engaged conversation and quite frankly if anyone of
those pieces fell away there would be 20 groups pushing them back up to get them right into
line. DR. JIM MCINTYRE: This is a really important
question so I apologize for going on, but I think this goes back again to the standards,
we’ve set the standards high and because of that now it puts a premium on things like
use of data, it puts a premium on making sure we have outstanding human capital, we have
to make sure that we do things because we set this incredibly high bar. I think that
the difference if you’re asking what has changed, I think that it’s major change,
90% of our kids are proficient or advanced under our old standards so there wasn’t
the impetus necessarily to push as hard, to go as deep, to make sure we had a really highly
effective teacher in every classroom and now I believe there is.
REVIEWER 1: I just want to follow up and then we’ll move on to Part C. There is a lot
in the application about the transition to enhance assessments, the high quality assessments.
All of its geared towards, getting towards 100% proficiency on much tougher standards,
so I just wanted to get a little bit of an explanation or clarity on what you think are
the most important things that will get you to that much higher standard of proficiency
on much tougher standards and also what’s being done in sort of getting the teacher
buy-in so that it’s not just at the policy level but it’s actually happening inside
the classroom with participation? MR. PHIL BREDESEN: DR. MCINTYRE, do you want
to take a quick shot at that? DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I think, well this is going
to sound like I’m pandering to the home crowd here, but I think the important things
that we’ve been talking about in the state of Tennessee are very well aligned with what
the Race to the Top is talking about, you’re talking about great teachers and great leaders,
you’re talking about effective use of data to inform instruction and improve student
achievement, you’re talking about turning around our schools that are chronically underperforming,
those are the types of things that we were talking about in Tennessee and moving forward
when we put our higher standards in place and I believe those are the things that we
need to focus on to make this happen. It’s actually, for me as a superintendent we’ve
defined a very clear strategic plan in Knox County, its called Excellence for All Children.
It actually is incredibly well aligned with both what the state is doing and what the
Federal government is doing here under the Race to the Top application. I think those
are the things we need to focus on; we’ve talked about having great people with the
right tools and the right supports and having that in the context of these higher standards
that we put in place we believe it’s going to do the trick.
REVIEWER 1: And the buy-in part for teachers? MS. TOMEKA HART: From the school board perspective
and I’ll use Memphis as an example. When we took on the Gates’ work our teacher’s
union was there from the beginning we hadn’t put together one piece of the plan and then
say here it is they were there from the beginning. What also is happening not only in Memphis
but across the state there is really a social movement of other organizations that are very
grassroots that are helping to reach the school board members like me but also to talk to
teachers but also parents and students. We’re moving the parents and students so that they
understand, so there will be advocacy work around common standards and the new standards
and why we need to embrace the higher standards and how there’s going to be several more
schools in Memphis that’s going to have some struggles over the next couple of years
because of the higher standards but we have to embrace it and here’s the things that
need to be done. Non-profit organizations serving children here are the things you need
to be doing to help these students get to this level.
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: When Tennessee applied for the Race to the Top application I began doing
some joint media appearances with our representative from the teachers association and the reason
that she was willing to do that and that we did it together is because she and her memberships
see value in the types of things that we’re talking about. Yes there’s more accountability
but there’s also developmental tools that go along with this, there’s also support
in the form of professional development, there’s raising capacity and building capacity for
our teachers to be more effective with what they do and that’s really what their all
about and any teacher wants to continue to get better at what they do and so I think
they see the value in the approach that we’re taking as well.
MR. PHIL BREDESEN: I’m not going to tell you that every teacher in the state of Tennessee
is fully signed on the dotted line, that’s just like any group there’s going to be
people in different places. I think what’s helped make it is I’m at the end of my time
as governor I’ve been governor more than seven years. For the first seven of those
years I did a lot to support the teachers in the state, we took care of a whole bunch
of salary disparity we did a lot of those kinds of things. I think kind of what’s
happening here is that they’ve seen that and they’ve been willing to say okay, this
may not be the natural thing that teachers unions always sign up for but everybody up
here has been reliable friends of the teachers for awhile, let’s give it a chance and make
it work. I think if we keep it going as a collaborative thing there’s going to be
tension, if we keep the communications going I think we can keep it together for a long
time and I think you have to. I don’t know how you reform education over sort of the
dead bodies of the teachers union or the teachers and you’ve got to figure out a way to form
some alliances, it keeps the pressure on but make the whole thing work, we worked hard
at that. REVIEWER 1: Great, we’re going to now move
on to section C. I think reviewer 2 has some questions and then followed by reviewer 3.
REVIEWER 2: These questions build on the previous questions but your application describes increasing
the use of the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) you called it I believe. From
14% to 100% use by teachers, so my question is how will you build the capacity of teachers
to routinely use TVAAS in such a relatively short amount of time as you indicated in your
application and what sort of professional development do you offer to teachers and principals
to make this happen. My impression of TVAAS is it’s a great code but it sounds kind
of complicated so I’m just wondering how you are going to get 100% teacher use in a
four year period? MR. TIM WEBB: One of the things that we’ve
done is to actually go ahead and roll out the dashboard it’s a teacher dashboard that
allows teachers to have a one-stop shop where they can see their students re-rostered and
have all the value added scores and achievement scores, but not only that we’re moving that
down the road toward all those things that Dr. McIntyre talked about earlier that will
be a part of the linkages with children’s services, human services, all those other
things, so it’s a one-stop shop so the teachers can go get that information and it’s point
and click. They are able to drill in on those students and look at the data for those students
and they can determine what the weaknesses are and then start asking the questions about
what then. To get at the utilization piece we’ve already begun to role that out through
webinars and WebEx’s across the state. We’ve already begun to see massive increases in
the numbers of hits on that website and those teachers actually using that data. We’ve
had this data since 1992, teachers know what it’s about, they know about teacher (inaudible)
data and all that sort of thing but they heretofore have not been trained to use it until we just
recently started doing assessment literacy training, and they also realize that for them
to be successful now that this growth data and this TVAAS data is 35% of their annual
evaluations they have to get their arms and minds around what it means and so there’s
a selfish but also an intrinsic motivation because all of our teachers want their students
to do well, and so now we’re putting the tools in their hands and making it easy to
use and so we’re already starting to see that grassroots implementation and utilization
grow on a daily basis. DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I think one clarification is really a solo 14%
is the portion of teachers who have online electronic access to TVAAS every teacher has
been getting TVAAS in a written report so it’s really about how do we move to the
electronic age and use that data more effectively and more quickly to inform our instruction.
REVIEWER 1: Can you describe the written report that they get.
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: They get a report that will tell them what the academic growth for their
students looks like over that period of time and I get reports for example that look at
each individual school and each individual teacher and what their value added is, what
their student academic growth looks like over time.
MR TIM WEBB: If I may piggy-back on that as well, in the past those reports have been
three envelopes delivered to a central office and there was this drawn-out process by which
they went over the data, we’re now digitizing that, we’re streamlining those reports so
those are in real time, teachers can actually access those reports with the role based security
access is the thing we know we have to do there. But, also we’re streamlining that
school base report so that the principal can now have a digitized real time report on all
of their teachers based on 20th percentile performance so they can then build that professional
learning community around the data and help their teachers grow from one another as well
as looking for outside resources. MS. JAMIE WOODSON: I would just add that in
the professional development from annual opportunity to regional our learning centers are going
to be converted for opportunities for professional development, the electronic center that we’ve
been talking about earlier today and using individualized instructions with a Battelle
for Kid’s kind of concept where you actually have, everyday you have an opportunity to
improve your instruction. You can go and seek out assessments, instruction material, to
shift on a week to week basis to improve student achievement, so all of that is part of this
picture. REVIEWER 2: So if I’m hearing it correctly
though you have the data you’re seeing perhaps a limited use of it to date has been in part
because it’s been this access issue of going through the paper training and the sort of
incentive that’s now built in. Do you have any other evidence or data about reasons behind
or patterns of other lack of usage to date? DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I have a hypothesis and
I think it’s that we have this really sophisticated first in the nation value added assessment
data and I think we sort of built the car before there were paved roads and there wasn’t
a direction to go in, across the nation we didn’t exactly know which questions to ask
about that data to use it most effectively, we didn’t have a model for using it. So
I think it’s been a progression, I think it’s been a very natural progression that
we’ve gotten to, but now we want to take that progression to the next step of really
digging deep using that data very effectively. What we’re talking about is this data dashboard
when you combine this notion of a longitudinal data system with TVAAS and with the notion
of a local instructional improvement system, I mean sort of the Holy Grail of educational
data use is putting all of that together in a single powerful instructional tool for our
teachers to use and that’s our vision of where we’re going, we’re starting already
to realize that and we think that will be an enormous boost for our teachers to have
that data and to have the professional development and how to use that tool effectively.
MR. PHIL BREDESEN: A brief footnote before we move on. We’re spending a lot of time
and energy on how to do this the big change has been up until recently it didn’t count
for that much, now it counts that’s what’s going to drive all of this kind of stuff.
Our job is to stay up with the demand I think at this point for understanding that data
and how it works. REVIEWER 2: Two questions on that TVAAS system
first you’ve made the point in a number of places about connecting this data that
part of the power lies I connecting into other kinds of data around youth, social service,
health and so forth which if you could clarify a bit especially operationally the role of
these non-school agencies in fact how does that play out on the ground so the data set
starts to connect the dots, how do you see in your plan?
MR. TIM WEBB: If I may just give you a real world example to help with that. In Tennessee
our Department of Children Services our children in foster care. What happens in many school
districts across the state because there’s a lag time between the processing and moving
of information for those children in many, many cases children show up on the doorstep
with no data because we don’t know where they’re coming from? Because of the fact
that we built memorandums of agreement and understanding between all of these agencies
already for the first time we have data sharing agreements this has been driven from the governor’s
office that will allow us to share the data for children for children who are in state
custody, it will allow classroom teachers and administrators to know when children are
accessing, their parents are accessing corrections. All of those kinds of things have a definite
impact on whether or not a child is even ready to learn, before they can even get to the
AYP and the academic piece of that. So linking all those systems together and sharing those
data in as close to real time as we possibly can with regard to all the PURPA requirements,
HIPPA requirements and all those kinds of things in the world in which we live. Dealing
with all those issues having that dashboard there and those data sharing agreements so
that as quickly as possible those practitioners on the ground in the classroom can intervene
for those things outside of academia and outside of the instruction process.
REVIEWER 2: Then how does that work if they’ve identified some drivers to academic performance
that are not in the school? MR. TIM WEBB: For example if we know for example
that a child has entered state custody overnight or if their parents have gone into corrections
overnight. We can intervene with those social services and those social workers and school
counselors and all those kinds of things to get in and intervene with that child before
these become impediments to learning to the point that there are discipline problems that
they are not eating properly. All those kinds of issues, the social type issues that get
in the way of learning. DR. JIM MCINTYRE: And I encourage you to think
about the power of the vertical links as well, I mean thinking about linking to higher education
and community colleges and then you say well I’m an eighth grade teacher and I have been
teaching for 10 or 12 years, how ready are my kids for college, what’s their path been
and how successful have they been and also to look back to say okay what’s the seventh
grade class that’s coming up, what’s been their academic history, what’s their value
added been, what trajectory are they on? I think that vertical incubation is also enormously
important. REVIEWER 2: The second question on TVAAS which
has more to do with your experience since you’ve had so many years of experience with
this and that has to do with sort of the state of the art around the model and issues around
the model those factors that for instance may not be attributable to teachers not random
assignment of students generally in schools, outside factors and so forth as well as the
issues of vertical alignment of the assessments that would allow you to reduce some of the
noise, anyway I’m just trying to get a sense of what your thinking is about since it plays
an important role in your plan your sense of thinking about the current caveats around
those models? DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I’m not a statistician
but from folks that I trust who know this information well, it’s got very good reliability,
it’s got great credibility across the state. I’m told that when you get to the very high
end and the very low end of the spectrum it may have less validity or liability but that’s
kind of conjecture based on what the methodology probably is. I think from what I hear from
the folks who use it most, who know it most; it really is a tool that we can use very reliably
to look at student academia. MR. PHIL BREDESEN: You don’t know me from
Adam but my college degree is in Physics so I love this stuff and I get involved in it.
This tool has got powers way outside of the ones that are described, I’ll give you one
specific example, and I spent a fair amount of time when I first became governor trying
to learn how this works and what was behind it and how the statistics work. One of these
for example is that a teacher they were able to show with the data was that a teacher who
is maybe in the bottom quintile a student can survive a year of that, where the real
problem comes it gets really difficult at two and it gets impossible at three. Now since
there will always be teachers in the bottom quintile no matter what you do that’s still
powerful information it says okay if somebody is in second grade with a teacher that’s
not doing so well part of our student assignment strategy ought to be to make sure that student
goes to a higher value teacher next time around. There’s a lot of ways you can use that data
that really can improve aside from just the accountability of individual teachers which
is the way its often talked about. REVIEWER 1: That’s our questions on A, B
and C. We’re going to move to E and F and then go back to section D just to make sure
we hit all the questions. On part E we’ve got three questioners, first reviewer 4, then
reviewer 5 and then reviewer 3. REVIEWER 4: Thank you, I have two questions
to start off with on the achievement school district innovative concept, we would like
to get a little better understanding what you mean by it, how’s it really going to
work, what will it do, we know some of the people involved but just how does it look.
So the first question is for a school that is a persistently low achieving school that
is destined to be part of the achievement school district, just how will it benefit
by being taken from its LEA and then put into the achievement school district?
MR TIM WEBB: One of the main benefits is that many, many times we find ourselves in a situation
where the primary obstacles to being able to turn these schools around are really adult
issues in many, many cases. Being able to separate the achievement from its LEA and
form all the associated adult issues with that LEA with that Local Education Agency
allows us to come in and bring in new staff, new leadership, whatever is needed based on
a needs assessment and the diagnostic assessment of that school but separate all of those things
that get in the way that keep us from being able to move children and intervene for children
like extended learning opportunities, differentiated calendars, modified calendars, all of those
kinds of things and so we believe that will allow and also quite honestly what we’ve
designed here is that school will still have a broken line attachment to the central office
in that school district because at year three according to our legislation at year three
a transition plan has to be developed. Are we being successful, are we not being successful,
if we are, are we going to return that school to that school district, are we going to charter
that school or are we going to close that school because quite honestly these schools
are at a very far place and you contain them with accountability, they’ve been failing
for a long time. So it’s important, number one we remove them from the school district
we maintain a broken line relationship to that school to provide such things as logistics,
transportation, child nutrition, all those kinds of issues to let our partners focus
on academics, let our partners focus on the instructional needs of the children in that
building so that we can get them up turn them around and allow them to be successful. So
that the benefit is that we remove the obstacles and we basically fresh start that school with
leadership and staff and let them focus on their business and teaching kids.
MR. JIM MCINTYRE: As you imagine as a school superintendent I might have a few thoughts
on this issue. Very honestly, very candidly no superintendent ever wants a school in their
district to be taken over I think that’s just (inaudible) but I think we also recognize
in the state of Tennessee that the population of schools that we’re talking about are
schools that have been chronically underperforming for a very long time and we recognize that
something different has to be done, some intervention that perhaps is more radical. I applaud the
governor and the commissioner and the team for their boldness in this effort and while
it might be personally painful if one of my schools were taken over I also recognize that
this is about kids, this is about making sure we provide a great education for every child
and sometimes you have to do something different. I will say, I think there’s also important
language in the Tennessee First to the Top Act and it was specifically put in there that
speaks to a continuing relationship with the home school district even if it goes into
the achievement school district. Recognizing that if you completely sever a school from
its home district you lose out on a whole set of expertise and assets and sort of community
involvement and other types of issues that could be real assets in the turnaround of
that school so there’s explicit language in the statute that talks about that and that’s
important because as the commissioner said these schools are going to come back to the
home district in the not too distant future you want to make sure you maintain that continuity
in that relationship. The other thing I wanted to say is that I really like the focus schools
and the renewal schools concept. The idea that we’re going to provide additional support
and intervention and partnership and resources in the schools that aren’t yet on that very
far end of the accountability continuum but are getting pretty close and to be able to
intervene earlier and to be able to bring in some of those national partners that we’ve
been talking about and those resources I think is going to be really beneficial to our schools
and our kids. MS. JAMIE WOODSON: If I might just add back
to the First to the Top legislation the achievement school district conversation was a major part
of it, the Tennessee Association of Superintendents, the Tennessee Education Association, all of
the folks who are partners with us in getting the work done supported this legislation and
this was one of the biggest pieces of it. MR. PHIL BREDESEN: When you think about the
achievement school districts I think it’s important to recognize it was not only a strategy
it was a container in the following sense, we have had the ability, the responsibility
for the state to intervene in failing schools for almost two decades now. Probably a little
over a year ago we came face to face with maybe having to actually do that in Tennessee
schools that worked their way through the accountability mechanism and then when I sat
down with my commissioner and others to look at the law you have this worst of all worlds
where you have this huge responsibility and not really the authority to go make the changes
that were necessary. So a lot of what this legislation was about was saying that for
schools that get to that point, we’re not going to claim the same sort of power over
every school, we want the kind of broad authority it takes to take that school, to put it in
a charter school, to not respond to the union contracts, to make all these changes that
it would take in a really failing school to have all the tools in the tool box. The other
thing I would say about it is that remember that so much of this stuff has been organized
over the years around the problems of big urban school districts, in Tennessee we’re
a very rural state there are a lot of small rural districts where the dynamics are totally
different. In a county that has three schools you’re not going to close one of them, and
in a county where it’s very difficult to recruit teachers to as opposed to there being
a pool available you’ve got much more reason to try to figure out how to make what you
have work than some of the more traditional techniques. So as you read these things and
I think it’s really important to read them in the context that it’s not only about
the big urban districts it also is trying to address where some of our real problems
are which are in these much smaller more rural districts, up in the Appalachian Counties
for example. REVIEWER 4: I can see that you have the legislation
and then this container and it also looks like it’s not going to be particularly easy
to run the schools in this container. So my question is what is the capacity in Tennessee
to run this container of schools? MR TIM WEBB: We have established already in
our restructuring process and restructuring plans the establishment of an office of the
Achievement School District, there will be a superintendent hired to actually be responsible
for that day to day operation, not only in doing that when we talk about this partnership,
this partnership is unusual in that we have one entity that will be the managing partner
of that entire partnership so we actually have as we have discussed previously one throat
to choke, if you will, around who’s responsible for the management and the operation of these
schools and a central office figure in the state education agency reporting directly
to the commissioner on a daily basis that is responsible for making sure that these
contractual obligations are met and we’re monitoring this situation on a daily, weekly,
monthly, annual basis to know what we need to do with these schools because we are at
the end of the road with these schools and we have to succeed here.
MR. PHIL BREDESEN: But you also have elaborate plans that you might just mention to bring
in outside third parties we’re not trying to do this all ourselves.
MR. TIM WEBB: That’s right, we have partnerships formed with agencies like New Leaders, New
Teacher, and Teacher of America, and TIP a plethora of five or six partners who have
agreed to come together, to work together under a common management structure and help
us get this work done. REVIEWER 4: If you could tell us a little
bit more of how you would turn around those schools that are not put into the Achievement
School District but be part of a turnaround, you’ve spoken a bit about it maybe a sentence
or two? DR. JIM MCINTYRE: For the renewal schools
and focus schools it’s really about schools that are in that place where they are getting
down that continuum and we really haven’t intervened in Tennessee until schools got
all the way that continuum path and I think we want to make sure that we are supporting
those schools and so as a superintendent what I would envision is a partnership, we have
these four potential strategies, turnaround schools, charter schools, restructuring. In
partnering with one of these outside agencies to really talk about what the needs of that
school is and how we restructure it for success. I think the notion of both an external partnership,
a partnership with the state along with some additional resources that are in our application
I think could really be a very powerful and important model for us to turnaround some
schools that are getting toward that precipice of being at the very end of the accountability
continuum. MS. TOMEKA HART: If I could just quickly add
as an example the governor came in some years ago with some of our school issues and had
our superintendent work with the department to devise strategy and we have seen great
success with some of those schools, some of those would be subject to the Achievement
School, but we went from 19 to 8 schools and that was because of the work that the state
came in requiring, you’ve got to make some changes and so it helped us as a system, school
board to superintendent had to come in because of the states intervention and this made things
differently for those schools. We have a track record with that in our state.
REVIEWER 3: On that point actually if you could summarize a couple of lessons, you’ve
had some experience with sort of various kinds of turnaround efforts and I would like to
know two or three major lessons you think you’ve learned off that and how it informs
the design of what you have here. MR. TIM WEBB: One of the lessons that we’ve
learned is that around one of our strategies which is the exemplary educator program it
has been a very successful intervention strategy in those early years because it’s more about
identifying pockets of students that could be moved, it’s not as much about changing
a culture or higher expectations, it’s not as much about re-engineering the teaching
staff and the leadership as it is about working with the data as it sits and finding students
that we can move across the line and get folks into a safe harbor or get them out of some
continuum. What we’re talking about here is more of a strategy of changing culture,
changing expectations and redesigning instructional processes and the government of these schools
as opposed to simply trying to look for if we could move these five students across the
line then we make a safe harbor, because that doesn’t change the culture of the school
it simply moves a subset of students through the data system much like the Secretary has
talked about in some cases. We want to move away from that and move toward a long term
intervention and turnaround strategies that set these schools on the road for success
and a much different environment academically then they have been in the past.
MR. PHIL BREDESEN: Are you saying to clarify, that one of the lessons is that the exemplary
educators as an effective intervention of the middle band but it does not work as well
when schools are in deep. MR.TIM WEBB: Yes sir, that’s correct.
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: Just in terms of my personal experience in Knoxville we have four TAP schools
(Teacher Advancement Programs) but it’s a great school reform model and what it is,
it’s based on a couple of major components one is teacher leadership, there’s mentor,
teachers who are part of the leadership team in school. Teacher collaboration is a focus
on professional learning communities, it’s got this great evaluation rubric and accountability
structure so it starts with a very detailed description of what good teaching looks like
and that’s what any good evaluation should start with, then that becomes the focus of
all the professional conversations in the school, are around, how did I do on this component
of teaching, where am I on the rubric, how do I get better, did I integrate that into
the lesson, that becomes the conversation. It also has financial incentives as well which
is kind of nice. But I think it really speaks to the commissioners point, at Holston Middle
School, one of the four schools that we have, it was an incredible turnaround the last four
years from being one of our really highest needs and lowest performing middle schools
to one where they are now number one or number two among our middle schools in terms of academic
growth and value added score. So it’s been this incredible turnaround, but it’s about
creating a culture that focuses on good teaching, it focuses on teachers working together to
improve their craft and getting better at what we do every day. It’s amazing to me
because they talk about this in terms of the culture and they say at the beginning it was
really hard to change the focus of what we did, to open our classrooms to each other,
to push each other on getting better, but now it’s just part of the culture, it’s
just what we do. That is really I think the power of transforming a school culture to
one of excellence and high quality instruction. MR. PHIL BREDESEN: I would close by saying
I think there’s probably a lot of things the educators learned. As governor the description
of this has been informed by something I think I learned along the way which I never appreciated
when some school gets in difficulty the readiness with which everybody circles the wagons to
explain why it really is not a problem. It’s not just teachers it’s parents. I guess
it’s because the cognitive dissidence of thinking your kid is going to some school
that’s not performing is just too great. That’s one of the things that really led
us to the direction of saying we’ve got to find some way to make a much quieter intervention
at the beginning of these things rather than fighting the political battles that come with
these interventions at the last moment because at that point everyone’s defense mechanisms
are just so high up about the thing that you’re just butting your head against the wall, we’re
getting it done in some places but it’s a lot easier to catch earlier. It’s like
managing somebody it’s best that you tell them when they stray as opposed to let them
go way off the road and then fire them and that’s what we’re trying to do here.
REVIEWER 1: Thank you Governor, under section F I’ve got one question related to charter
schools part of it looks back at where you’ve been and part of it looks forward at where
you think you’d like to go with the state. At the part looking back I want to get a little
bit more understanding of what the states thinking is in regard to the cap on charter
schools as well as restrictions on who’s illegible to attend certain charter schools,
what the history there is, what’s the reasoning just so we can understand that a little bit
better. Moving forward I just wanted to get a better sense of your view of the role of
charter schools, your vision for charter schools prospectively under Race to the Top?
MS. JAMIE WOODSON: Our public charter school can be a major tool in this application as
we move forward to increase student achievement in Tennessee. I’ve actually worked the house
version of some of the earlier iterations that are public charter statute and have continued
that process through my time in public service. I guess I’d say about how it started out
really much smaller, one, it’s new, there was a real concern in Tennessee to insure
that we have high quality, that you can talk about an incubator but you really want to
have some assurance that there are going to be tells within the system so that you don’t
throw children into an environment where all the folks that need to be watching are watching.
Some of it was political it was new and it was change, since then I have to say in a
decade now we’ve made great strides. Last year we really opened up the public charter
statutes in Tennessee and I think that was built on credibility of their success. We
actually saw they were incubators with innovation and wanted to figure out how we translate
that systemically across the state of Tennessee. On the caps it’s grown as success has grown;
it’s really sort of grown along with it. The traditional public schools that might
convert are not held to that cap and so of a 136 systems you could have potentially 136
systems convert completely with 100% of schools and it wouldn’t hit the 50 cap, that’s’
not our intent obviously but it would be. REVIEWER 1: The cap is 90? What is the cap
now? MS. JAMIE WOODSON: It is 35 in Memphis and
another 25 in another urban area, but its 50 schools total. In fact frankly that’s
just last year there’s a contemplation that as we get to the edge of that, as we build
on success perhaps, this is something that’s really evolved legislatively and as success
builds the credibility builds and we’ve seen really a lot of teaching opportunities
through this. One of the pieces of our legislation that we had about a year and a half or two
ago we talked about it a lot as an innovation tool but we didn’t have a system to communicate
that out to other districts and so in the last two years the department has actually
taken a lead role in saying what’s going right, all these great successes that we’re
seeing and their at risk population how do we translate that statewide and so we’re
in that process right now to make sure that these aren’t just lights under a bushel,
they’re something that can really shine for the state.
REVIERWER #1: The lower income or free and reduced restrictions, how does that work in
practice, are charter schools primarily for the low income schools or is that going change?
MS. JAMIE WOODSON: In schools systems with populations of 14,000 students or more so
they typically are larger more urban school systems they’re open and they move beyond
it. If a school board shows by 2/3 vote to open up the opportunity locally then it could
be statewide but it would be a local choice. MR. TIM WEBB: That was a major change in the
legislation last year. MS. JAMIE WOODSON: Yes it’s significant
and again it’s building on the credibility of success and innovation and the school systems
saying this is a tool for us, this might be another way we can move student achievement
and increase in gains and all that bolstered one by credibility but also by the sense that
time is of the essence and we’ve got to increase student outcomes in Tennessee.
MR. TIM WEBB: Just one anecdotal piece of information we have one of our schools that
is in that 13 list of schools that has been considered persistently lowest performing
and the district decided just a few weeks ago, in one of our urban districts that they
would actually charter that school, it’s a middle school. The conversation has gotten
to the point now that folks are really beginning to have the conversation around charter as
an intervention strategy in Tennessee. MS. TOMEKA HART: If I could just add, Memphis
school boards authorize charter schools and Memphis has far more charter schools than
any. I believe our early focus was on the performance of the students so really the
focus of charter schools was an option for students that the LEA is not reaching and
I think that the success of our charter schools is because the focus had to be these students
were not performing and so all of their resources, everything they did was about taking low performance
students and raising academic achievement and so I believe that is why we have set the
bar and they are so great and so it’s much harder to get a charter school now as we move
on it’s harder to get because the application process is very rigorous, we have now moved
to a free or reduced so more is at risk if you are at risk you can go in Memphis that’s
still huge 82% of our student body is free or reduced lunch so that still is a wide option
for many of our students. I believe that you can look at the success of our schools versus
some in other states. We have had only one charter school that has closed because of
low performance our charter schools are very high performing schools.
MS. JAMIE WOODSON: If I might clarify on the number it’s 35 in Memphis, it’s a set
total of 50 statewide but the charter schools statewide can be up to 90. I wanted to clarify
that. REVIEWER 1: We’re going to move on to Part
D. We have about 13 minutes left so I’m going to call this the speed round and we
will start off with reviewer 5. REVIEWER 5: In section D-1 of your application
it states that Tennessee will be facing a teacher shortage of over 31,000 teachers by
2014, if the current pipeline remains unchanged. The narrative was not so clear as how you
were aggressively trying to extend that pipeline of new teachers. For example the You Teach
Program will only graduate 102 candidates by 2013, so could you please clarify how you
intend to grow your traditional and alternative route teacher preparation programs to meet
this demand? MR. PHIL BREDESEN: Tim, Why don’t you talk
a little bit about that? MR. TIM WEBB: Very first and foremost a few
years ago the governor introduced a concept in Tennessee called Teach Tennessee, it’s
about bringing mid career professionals those folks who may not have wanted to teach coming
out of school or have chosen other vocations but decide they want to go back and give back
for maybe a short period of time. We’ve had over 177 fellows at this point and time
that have gone through that program in the last couple of years so we’re using that
program. We’ve broken down the barriers for non-traditional certification access through
the State Board of Education that controls that policy so now we have a new teacher project,
Teach for America, others that can come in and prove that they can actually bring valid
reliable teachers if you will, for lack of a better term to the table. Working with a
teacher quality initiative within our higher education area as well to try to change the
way that we train pre-service teachers and try to recruit those terachers. Basically
those are the primary means by which we’re recruiting and looking at alternative ways
into the classroom. MR. PHIL BREDESEN: I would like to add to
this, first of all the most acute area of shortage at the moment is in hard sciences
in high school and we have very specific programs for that of which Teach Tennessee is one.
We also have issues with recruitment in rural districts in particular and shortages there.
We have begun to address that and we have made several progresses and we’re going
to continue on the subject of improving teacher pay sufficiently in those districts so that
it becomes an attractive place to stay. I’d say that ten years ago a lot of people started
in more rural districts and then moved to Knoxville or something as soon as an opening
occurred because of the kind of pay differentials. The third and Tim touched on it, we made some
very large changes in the teacher certification process in Tennessee but really kind of flew
below the radar in terms of what people are looking at. The idea behind that was real
simple which is to say we have a lot of great teachers but the only place a great teacher
can come from is not someone who decided as a sophomore in high school they wanted to
go through a school of education and get a teacher certificate. We’ve now of opened
it up so a vast number of other people some of whom may want to teach for five years or
ten years as opposed to decide they want to do it for a career. I think it’s healthy
at a number of levels to have made that available and we’re looking to that I think to be
a significant source of teachers particularly in some of these hard to fill classifications.
DR JIM MCINTYRE: There’s also a program in Knoxville called Distinguished Professionals
and in our application we’re talking about expanding that and that is about someone who
might be a scientist at the Oakridge National Laboratory might be able to teach one section
of a physics class for us at one of our high schools and the commissioner and the governor
were instrumental in legislature in creating something called an adjunct license for teachers,
so someone who has a PhD in physics can get a teaching license and go in and teach a class
or two where some of those shortages are, and where we need the most help they can fill
some of those holes for us. MR. PHIL BREDESEN: We need to keep this tight
or we’re going to be down to a yes/no round. REVIEWER 5: We’ve touched on professional
development throughout the presentation for teachers but could you talk a little bit about
your plans for delivering professional development to administrators?
MR. TIM WEBB: In an online environment we will go out and train those teachers and administrators
both on the use of data. We also have the Tennessee Academy for School Leaders where
we actually provide administrative training we’ve done that for a number of years in
Tennessee focused on different strands and allow them to develop their weakness and their
growth plans drive. MR. JIM MCINTYRE: We just created a residency
program in Knoxville and I know Memphis is working on something, Nashville is working
on something. One of the things that I think is real exciting is we’ve got this organization
called CLASS which is the Coalition of Large School Systems, the five largest school systems
in Tennessee and instead of just getting together to lobby for more money which is what traditionally
we’ve done we’re getting together to try to work together to learn together to get
better at some of these key issues and one of them is leadership and I really foresee
us exchanging best practices, learning together on how to really do well in developing the
next generation of leadership in our schools and I can see us and part of the vision of
our application doing some regional leadership academies and residencies and things of that
nature. I think it’s a critical issue; it’s a huge issue if we want to have great schools
we have to have great leadership in our schools. MS. JAMIE WOODSON: Then back to the pressures
that come on them, our evaluations are not only for teachers in a meaningful way but
also our schools leaders they’re a big part of everybody building on each other’s successes
so the pressure will keep up. REVIEWER 2: Your application calls for the
creation of a teacher principal evaluation advisory committee and I think we talked a
little bit about that already, the adoption date in the application is July 2011, I believe
the question that I have is at the same time your plan sets a very ambitious goal reducing
the number of what the application might refer to is ineffective teachers from 30% to 10%
so I’m just trying to get a handle on how you plan to create this system for evaluating
and developing teachers and principals and reducing these numbers so dramatically and
significantly in a short amount of time it seems to be that it might take longer than
that to build a capacity of so many teachers in your school systems.
MR. TIM WEBB: Yes sir, we think critical to that whole process is the understanding and
utilization of data so the teachers that are ineffective understand why they’re ineffective
based on data and the utilization of that data so we’re going to focus all of our
energies in the short term on professional development activities around interpreting
the results of the data that they get from their evaluation process and from their student
evaluations and some of the assessments at this point in time. So the short term answer
is focusing on the data, continuing to roll our professional development around the standards
and answering the what then question for those teachers who might not otherwise know what
they don’t know about improving their own practice and their own craft.
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: The Tennessee First to the top Act actually does two things very quickly
that help also to remove and eliminate ineffective teachers from our classroom, one is the ability
to use the TVAAS data in the tenure decision which we haven’t been able to do before
because there has been a restriction of only using it in three year increments, well now
we can use it in one year increments or two year increments so I was able to say to my
principals this spring use the value added data in your recommendations for tenure. The
other is a technical issue but it’s a really important technical issue and that is when
we recommend removing an ineffective teacher who’s a tenured teacher from the classroom
and terminating them they used to require a hearing before the Board of Education the
law now allows for a hearing before an independent third party and it just removes that whole
conversation and that whole action from the political realm to, I think, a more objective
realm that will, I think, allow us to really have those conversations with teachers when
they’re not being effective to say you really need to find something else to do.
REVIEWER 1: We’ve got three questions left. Reviewer 3, do you want to do your two and
then reviewer 4? REVIEWER 3: Why don’t we turn back to the
issue of getting folks since you’ve been around human capital in this plan, getting
folks to particularly rural and low performing schools? Question, is it a recruitment issue,
how do you see the balance between recruitment and retention on this, I noticed that the
high priority schools have actually a larger percentage of more effective new teachers
than low poverty schools for instance and I’m wondering whether there’s information
from the working condition survey or other information that might help to give you an
understanding of what you’re looking at there.
MR. TIM WEBB: That’s exactly what our intention is to look through the working condition survey
to determine what keeps those teachers in those high poverty, hard to staff schools,
trying to discover what we really don’t know, is it about money, is it more about
burnout, are there things that we can do in the working condition survey.
REVIEWER 3: Do you have any sense so far from that?
MR. TIM WEBB: That’s part of the application process so we know that it’s all about money
we do know that. DR. JIM MCINTYRE: In the evaluation as both
an accountability tool and developmental tool I think is an important strategy as well and
using that professional development to build up our teachers and build capacity in all
of our schools, rural, urban, suburban. REVIEWER 4: Question about the consortium
search evaluation and development, how can the state insure that this consortium produces
high quality results and in particular high quality results that can and will be used
by teachers and our principals to improve student learning?
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I think a big part of it is by the folks that the governor and the
team have selected. These are folks with enormous credibility in the area of doing program evaluation,
it’s people like Dr. Saunders, it’s people from Vanderbilt, the University of Michigan
who have great credibility with our folks and I think it’s really about making sure
that the folks like myself who are hungry for that type of information, who want to
know what’s working and what’s not working really driving to make sure that we get that
data in a timely fashion and be able to use those to support what are the effective practices.
We really do think it’s a potential national asset as well and that if we get it right
and do it well we can share those best practices across the country.
REVIEWER 2: I have kind of a summary or capstone question, I’m a professor and this is your
final question that kind of sums up for us what you’ve learned about school reform.
How would you describe a classroom in Tennessee say compared to today and how it will look
in four years from now, if you could do that please?
DR. JIM MCINTYRE: I talked about Holston Middle School and I think you begin to see some seeds
of what that vision looks like in the future. You see a classroom where high quality instruction
is happening. You see a classroom that has the data, and the technology tools it needs
to really be scientific about how it informs instruction, I envision lots more collaboration
and working with other teachers around that school sort of opening up that door that we
usually close in our classrooms when we teach, figuratively, so that we really work together
to get better at our craft. I also envision a classroom where the conversation is continuous,
the evaluation conversation doesn’t happen one time in the spring as an isolated event,
conversation around how am I doing with effective teaching continues every single day and where
the focus is on high quality instruction for every child and every child done effectively.
MR.PHIL BREDESEN: What I hope to get out of this and to summary it is high respect for
teaching profession enormously. I think that what we are all doing together only grows
the professionalism of that profession. My hope in these schools is that we will continue
to have very fine people teaching but they will be acting in a way in which they are
measured, there is feedback to them about objective feedback about the results the same
as would happen if you were a doctor or in other kinds of professions and that they work
in an environment where the feedback means something to their careers and is important
to them. If we can achieve that we’re going to have some great classrooms in Tennessee.
Thank you all for your attention and courtesy today.