Tag Archives: College of Education

STEM Tour gives visiting high school students a taste of TSU excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 200 prospective STEM majors from three local high schools got a taste of Tennessee State University’s excellence on Wednesday.

Students from Antioch High, Cane Ridge and Hunters Lane participated in the 2019 TSU STEM Tour. They arrived on campus early and spent half the day visiting several of the university’s Colleges, as well as enjoying some TSU spirit.

High school students listen to Engineering instructor. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations).

Highlights of the day included a visit with TSU President Glenda Glover, and a special pep rally featuring the famed Aristocrat of Bands.

While many of the high school students are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), they are also considering other majors and fields.

Ninth-grader Erick Guzman plays trumpet in the band at Cane Ridge and said he enjoyed the energy of TSU’s band.

“Man, I was hyped,” said Guzman, adding that he’s seriously considering TSU when he graduates because of the band.

Zybria Holliday wants to be a pediatrician, but the 15-year-old said after visiting TSU, she’s considering it for undergrad.

“I had a wonderful time,” she said. “TSU is great!”

The Colleges the students visited were Agriculture, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Liberal Arts.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, talked to the students before they viewed some of the College’s research. Even though they still have a few years before graduation, he said now is the time to be thinking about attending a higher education institution.

“I’m sure all of you are bright students,” Hargrove said. “Now is the time to be thinking about what you want to do when you graduate. And I hope it’s engineering.”

High school students enjoy TSU pep rally. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations).

The students, who were accompanied by guidance counselors from each of their schools, also heard from other TSU officials and faculty, including Mr. Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for enrollment management, and Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College.

The guidance counselors lauded TSU for having the tour.

“The students got the opportunity to be exposed to Tennessee State, to see what’s available to them,” said Antioch counselor Tamika Reed. “A lot of times they don’t get that opportunity.”

Hunters Lane counselor Joe Levickis agreed.

“A lot of our kids are going to be applying to college and are going to be first generation students,” Levickis said. “It’s important that they get on a college campus, because it becomes more real to them. It’s also important to see people being successful, to see what their future could look like.”

Earlier this year, President Glover surprised about 20 students visiting the university with full scholarship offers. Most of the students were interested in STEM majors.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Felicia Taylor Pursues Doctorate in Education, Continues Family Legacy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – After completing her undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences at Tennessee State University, Felicia Taylor took an internship with the agricultural extension service in West Tennessee. Her career path seemed to be set, until she started working with youth in the 4-H program.

Felicia Taylor

“Going to 4-H camp and working with the students is what inspired me to want to go into education and to teach. So I came back to TSU, and I majored in education, with a concentration in administration and supervision,” she said.

Taylor, who was born in Tennessee but reared in New Orleans, said her journey as an educator started by working as a substitute teacher.

“I was a substitute teacher for two years while working on my master’s degree. While I was an interim sub, a teacher at one of the schools where I was subbing didn’t return,” said Taylor, who is currently a doctoral student pursuing her Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction at TSU. “The principal asked me if I wanted the job. I said yes, and so I have been at my school, DuPoint Hadley, the entire time, since 1999.”

After noticing the low literacy rate of students in Tennessee, Taylor, who has an Ed.S. in administration, set her sites on helping students become better readers.

“My goal ultimately is to do curriculum development and even work on a collegiate level as well,” she said. “Being an educator and a literacy teacher, I am able to see some of those deficiencies that students have, and I am looking to help develop a curriculum to address some of the issues that the students are facing.”

Taylor said a great deal of her research focuses on helping students with reading across all content areas. She said Dr. Clara Young, professor and department chair for Teaching and Learning in the College of Education, has been instrumental in providing students like her with the support necessary to make progress on her dissertation while teaching full-time.

Young, who has worked in higher education for nearly 24 years, said she sees Taylor as a committed and enthusiastic educator who can make a meaningful contribution to higher education.

“The fact that she has been a teacher for 20 years, in addition to completing this degree, will better equip her to move into higher education to become a teacher educator and to actually teach people how to become teachers. So this will definitely be an opportunity for her,” Young said. “She can bring her experience to future teachers, and I think that will be really important.”

According to Taylor’s sister, Leah Dupree, education has always been central in their family.

Felicia’s father, Eric Dupree, oversees the family’s Century Farm in Alamo, Tennessee.(submitted photo)

“Education has always been very important. It wasn’t, ‘Are you going to college?’ or,  ‘Are you going to school?’ It was, ‘Where are you going?’ It was never an option for us,” said Dupree, a TSU graduate and director of Legislative Services for the Tennessee Department of General Services. “It was just a way of life, and most of the people in our family have multiple degrees because we truly value education, but we also value the service.”

Taylor and Dupree, both members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., credit their father, Eric Dupree, who oversees the family’s Century Farm in Alamo, Tennessee, for having a great influence on their academic pursuits.

“My father was definitely an influence on my career. He is also an educator, and he just encouraged me to always make a difference in the lives of people and students if I could,” Taylor said.

Dupree, who also serves as vice president of the accounting board for the TSU College of Business, described her sister as a “phenomenal teacher who connects with her students.”

“Her personality is just so vibrant, and I know TSU is probably the reason for so much of that. Some of the connections she made, the mentors that she still has today, came from TSU, and I just hope that people know how much she loves TSU, she loves her community, and she loves education,” Dupree said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU preparing students to teach growing “English Learners” population

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure its students are prepared to teach individuals who are learning to speak English.

Dr. Kisha Bryan

Nashville is home to the largest share of “English Learners” (ELs) in the state, about 15 percent of its 86,000 students, according to the most recent data.

A National Public Radio report recently found that ELs are often concentrated in low-performing schools with untrained or poorly trained teachers. In 2016, Tennessee was among 32 states that reported not having enough teachers for EL students.

To address the issue, TSU has revised its curriculum so that teachers are better prepared to teach ELs.

“There are many ELs in the system right now,” said Dr. Heraldo Richards, associate dean of the College of Education at TSU, and director of teacher education. “So we need to make sure that our teachers are prepared to address the needs of these individuals who are populating our school system.”

Dr. Kisha Bryan, an assistant professor in TSU’s Department of Teaching and Learning, has led the effort to better prepare teachers.

Dr. Clara Young

“Our shared goal has always been to prepare highly qualified teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population,” said Bryan.

Dr. Clara Young, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, said she talked to one Nashville principal who said about 80 percent of the students at her school are ELs.

Young said changes to the curriculum include infusing “foundational issues” to more closely consider when working with an EL student. For instance, checking to see if someone in the family speaks English, she said.

“You need to see their background, how this will help you figure out how you can help those students,” said Young.

TSU has remained a major supplier of well-trained teachers not only for the Davidson County and Metro Nashville Public Schools, but school districts across the nation.

Dr. Heraldo Richards

Last year, TSU was one of four institutions in the state to receive a Tennessee Innovation in Preparation award, or TIP.

TIP grants, awarded by the Tennessee Department of Education, are designed to support an increase in the development of a diverse educator workforce, an increase in the production of educators in high-demand licensure areas, and promote collaboration to improve educator preparation in literacy.

TSU and the other three winning institutions, all designated Education Preparation Programs, equally split $200,000 to design and implement individual projects to meet TIP requirements. About 70 percent of funding from the grant is being used to provide tuition waivers to teachers interested in teaching ELs.

A few months before it was awarded the TIP grant, TSU was ranked as the No. 1 producer of teachers among historically black colleges and universities in the nation. HBCU Lifestyle, which published the ranking, noted that TSU’s undergraduate and graduate offerings and concentrations in biology, chemistry and elementary education made the school’s teacher preparation program more attractive.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Education, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

TSU Receives Tennessee Education Innovation Grant to Strengthen State Teacher Supply Pipeline

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Just months after Tennessee State University was  ranked the highest producer of teachers among HBCUs in the nation, the university’s teacher preparation program has received yet another boost.

It has been awarded a grant to ensure a strong and vibrant new teacher pipeline for the future.

Out of 18 applicants, TSU was one of only four institutions in the state, designated as Education Preparation Programs, to receive the 2017 Tennessee Innovation in Preparation award, or TIP.

TIP grants, awarded by the Tennessee Department of Education, are designed to support an increase in the development of a diverse educator workforce, an increase in the production of educators in high-demand licensure areas, and promote collaboration to improve educator preparation in literacy.

Dr. Clara Young

TSU and the other three winning institutions will equally share $200,000 to design and implement individual projects to meet the TIP requirements.

“We are really excited for this grant, and to be one of only four selected in the state, is an honor,” said Dr. Clara Young, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, who, along with two other professors in the College of Education, wrote the winning proposal for TSU.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi, associate professor; and Dr. Kisha Bryan, assistant professor, both in the Department of Teaching and Learning, along with Young, will spearhead the TSU project called English Language Acquisition through Technology and Teacher Education or ELATTE.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi

According to Young, ELATTE is a four-month “comprehensive professional development” summer institute for 15 pre-service teachers and 20 recent secondary education graduates from TSU.

“The goal is to produce 6-12 content area teachers who have a strong foundation of English as a second language, theory, knowledge of technology tool for second language acquisition and professional practice with a diverse population of English learners,” Young said.

TSU has remained a major supplier of well-trained teachers not only for the Davidson County and Metro Nashville Public Schools, but school districts across the nation.

In July, TSU was ranked as the No. 1 producer of teachers among historically black colleges and universities in the nation.  HBCU Lifestyle, which published the ranking, noted that TSU’s undergraduate and graduate offerings and concentrations in biology, chemistry and elementary education made the school’s teacher preparation program more attractive.

Dr. Kisha Bryan

The ranking did not surprise Baris Johnson, a TSU graduate who teaches general music and band to 5th-8th graders at East Nashville Manget Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from TSU.

“With the kind of rigorous curriculum students go through, TSU deserves to be at the top,” said Johnson. “In just my first year of teaching, I have done so well. The number one ranking … shows how hard the faculty and staff work.”

Arrighi said the grant offers an opportunity for English language practitioners to leverage technology in a manner that supports today’s digital learners.

“We know that students are more tech-savvy than ever before,” she said. “Therefore, we want to strategically enhance their EL (English language) instructional competencies through digital tools.”

Bryan said the project will contribute to partnerships with MNPS.

“Our shared goal has always been to prepare highly qualified teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population,” Bryan said. “We hope that this intensive summer program might be a model for other Educator Preparation Programs in Tennessee.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Prominent Educator and Author Gloria Ladson-Billings to Hold Two Lectures at TSU

UnknownNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned educator and author, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, popularly known for engaging educators in dialogue about improving schools for urban children, will be a guest of the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership at Tennessee State University on Tuesday, Sept. 29. More than 200 area educators, including principals, faculty, school district and university administrators will hear Ladson-Billings talk about the nation’s “education debt” and race theory relative to current education policy, during two lectures.

TSU President Glenda Glover is expected to welcome Ladson-Billings at a luncheon in the Executive Dining Room.

“We are excited to host Dr. Ladson-Billings at TSU because of her ability to contribute to a discussion that will inevitably benefit K-12 students and the men and women who teach them,“ said Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, Dean of the College of Education. “Dr. Ladson-Billings, across her career, has engaged educators in critical discussions about how to inspire diverse students to excel academically.  Her focus has been on the need for teachers to know their students, to identify and elevate students’ gifts amidst the challenges associated with urban schooling.”

Best known for her groundbreaking and influential book, “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children,” Ladson-Billings will also discuss what schools and colleges are doing about the increasing drop in the number of racially diverse teachers, even though PK-12 student demographics reflect an increase in racial and ethnic diversity.

“This is precisely why the department extended the invitation to Dr. Ladson-Billings,” said Dr. Trinetia Respress, chair for the Department of Educational Leadership.

Dr. Ladson-Billings will lead two discussions. The first, “When My Teacher Doesn’t Look Like Me: The Crisis in the African-American Teaching Force,” in the Executive Dining Room at noon on the main campus. The second lecture will be held from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., on “Hip Hop/Hip Hope: The (R)Evolution of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy,” on the Avon Williams Campus.

Ladson-Billings, a pedagogical theorist and teacher educator, is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education. She is also a researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

For more information on the lecture or on how to register, call 615-963-5450.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Remains Key Pipeline to Recruit Metro Area Teachers

University Ranked No.1 Among Top 10 HBCU Teacher Producers 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renita Perkins is a second-generation graduate of Tennessee State University. Her mother, a retired teacher, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from TSU, and so did her daughter and son-in-law who are working on their doctorate degrees.

Renita
Renita Perkins, Principal, Taylor Stratton School of Excellence

“I continue to be a part of the school’s heritage,” said Perkins whose tie to TSU spans more than 30 years. “Tennessee State University is truly a ‘school of excellence.”

When it comes to excellence, many agree with Perkins, principal at Nashville’s Taylor Stratton School of Excellence, who earned her bachelor’s, master’s and Education Specialist degrees from TSU.

“Tennessee State taught me the value of professional collaboration and networking,” said Whitney Bradley, a 2009 TSU graduate and teacher at Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School, who earlier this year was recognized as “Teacher of the Year” in her school, and for the Tennessee Mid-Cumberland Region, for her approach to team building. “I believe in highlighting the good in my team members so that we all shine together.”

With graduates like Perkins, Bradley and many others, teacher preparation is serious business at TSU, and a mainstay in the supply of qualified teachers and school administrators serving in the area and across the nation.

A year ago, as Metro Nashville Public Schools wrapped up the year with the need to hire or name principals to new assignments for 2014-15, TSU-trained teachers and administrators answered the call. With the exception of three, all of the 10 principals hired or assigned received all or part of their training from TSU. Perkins, who was named “Principal of the Year” in June by the Greater Nashville Alliance of Black Educators, was one of the newly assigned.

Unknown-1This achievement has earned the TSU teacher preparation program many national and local recognitions over the years. Just recently, HBCU Lifestyle, a publication dedicated to “black college living,” ranked TSU No. 1 among the “Top 10 HBCUs that Produce Teachers” in the nation. The publication, which provides HBCU students and their families with “valuable advice” about college admissions, campus life and financial aid resources, said TSU’s undergraduate and graduate offerings and concentrations in biology, chemistry and elementary education made the school’s teacher preparation program more attractive.

“Obviously we are very excited about this ranking,” Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy, said. “This only shows that Tennessee State University is a leader in this area as is reflected in the quality of students we are graduating.

Dean's Shot
Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter

The Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, was equally excited about the HBCU Lifestyle ranking. “We are thrilled about this No. 1 ranking,” she said. “Our goal is to contribute to the production of diverse, highly qualified and culturally responsive teachers who can meet the needs of all students.  We believe that when schools hire our candidates, they are capable of inspiring and helping students realize their own dreams.”

TSU has long been a popular spot to recruit top educators into the Nashville school system. During the 2013-2014 school year, of the 636 new hires, 54 were from TSU, second only to MTSU with 56. Vanderbilt University followed in the third spot with 44, along with Lipscomb and Trevecca Nazarene Universities, which tied for the fourth spot with 40 among area institutions pipelining students directly into Metro. In 2012, TSU beat out all area universities for the most teachers hired.

“We have a great working relationship with Metro schools, with nearly 9 percent of TSU’s teachers going on to teach within the school system over the past two years,” said Dr. Heraldo Richards, associate dean of the College of Education, about a year ago. “We have a direct pipeline with our students who are highly recruited. In fact, some of our students have been offered positions prior to finishing their program.”

According to Richards, one of the most successful programs is the Ready2Teach training that students receive in their senior year. An undergraduate teacher residency preparation program, Ready2Teach emphasizes problem-based learning, co-teaching, and performance-based assessment.

“This (program) gives our students the opportunity to stay in the same class the entire year and receive valuable training with the same students and mentor teacher. Students in the program are ready to teach after just four years and are prepared to walk into a classroom and teach immediately,” Richards added.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Birmingham BOE Names TSU Alum as New Superintendent

Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gacutan
Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gacutan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Birmingham Board of Education has named an alumna from Tennessee State University as the system’s new superintendent.

Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gacutan, who currently serves as the deputy superintendent of operations at Bibb County Schools in Georgia, was announced as the new superintendent on Tuesday. She is expected to start her work in Birmingham no later than July 1.

Castlin-Gacutan has worked in education for 20 years, serving in various roles ranging from a K-12 educator and assistant principal, to district-level administrator.

Dr. Castlin-Gacutan earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Tennessee State University in 1991, her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from Brenau University, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Alum Named Regional Teacher of the Year

Whitney Bradley (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – An alumna from Tennessee State University was recently named one of the best teachers in the state, selected by her peers as one who is, “leading the charge and making a real difference for students.”

Whitney Bradley, a teacher at Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School in Nashville, was named Teacher of the Year at her school and will compete for the Metro Nashville Public Schools district-wide Middle School Teacher of the Year. She was also named the Teacher of the Year for the Tennessee’s Mid-Cumberland region and will compete for the Tennessee Teacher of the Year award later this year.

“I am humbled,” said Bradley after winning these awards. “It is a blessing to bring positive attention to the school and to this community. I am honored because people count out our students and staff all the time and now we get to celebrate the goodness of Bailey Middle School and urban educators.”

Bradley, who graduated from TSU in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, is in her second year as an eighth grade team leader at Bailey. She has also held positions at White Creek High School, and served as co-director of Camp Wisdom Summer enrichment program.

Bradley said that for her, teaching is a calling or a ministry of sorts. She loves working with the, “least of these,” because they need it the most.

“I love to see my (students) smash the menial expectations placed on them just because of their backgrounds or life circumstances,” she added. “They are lights and when they own it, I love it.”

Bradley is an instructional leader at Bailey, which allows her to work with students, and help mentor and lead a group of her colleagues to improve instructional practice through the, “Learning Through Practice” approach.

“This approach I can attribute to my days at TSU,” Bradley said. “Tennessee State taught me the value of professional collaboration and networking. I believe in highlighting the good in my team members so that we all shine together.

Working as a team allows teachers to teach to their own strengths. We hold each other accountable. “We work together to make sure the students understand the content.”

She said she also learned valuable “life lessons” at TSU, which she carried into the classroom, specifically citing Dr. Samantha Curtis, director of the Write program, who taught her about time management and not to forget what is important to her personally.

“It’s all about pacing,” said Bradley. “Dr. Curtis taught me that everyone doesn’t want 100 percent of me 100 percent of the time. That lesson has been invaluable in my classroom and at home. I love my students and give my all when I am teaching, but I still have some love left over for my son and loved ones at the end of the day. Its all about balance.”

All Teachers of the Year, including Bradley, will be celebrated at a formal dinner and awards ceremony May 11 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena, where district-level winners will be chosen.

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

“Do Not Change Tennessee Education Standards,” TSU Panel Tells State Leaders and Lawmakers

Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, welcomes the audience to the Forum and explains her thoughts on the education standards in Tennessee. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, welcomes the audience to the Forum and explains her thoughts on the education standards in Tennessee. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Without an outright endorsement, a panel of educators and legislators meeting at Tennessee State University Thursday appears to support the position of many who are urging lawmakers to rethink making any changes to the state’s academic standards for grades K-12.

Giving what they called a “balanced” representation of views on one of the biggest and controversial issues facing the Tennessee General Assembly, the panel said the focus should be on preparing students to think beyond graduation either for successful college careers, or technical or trade education that prepares them for the work place.

The panel was part of a forum under the theme, “Viewpoints on Tennessee Academic Standards for K-12,” hosted in partnership with the American Association of University Women of Tennessee, and the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs at TSU. It brought together key members of the House Committee on Education, including Rep. Harold Love Jr. (D-Nashville), member of the Education Instruction, and Programs Standing Committee; and Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis), chair of the Education and Administration Planning Subcommittee.

State Representative Harold Love Jr. (left) comments on the current education standards in Tennessee at a Legislative Forum today at the Avon Williams Campus. Representative Mark White (right) also attended the Forum, as well as Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, and Dr. Linda Gilbert, director for Murfreesboro City Schools. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
State Representative Harold Love Jr. (left) comments on the current education standards in Tennessee at a Legislative Forum today at the Avon Williams Campus. Representative Mark White (right) also attended the Forum, as well as Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, and Dr. Linda Gilbert, director for Murfreesboro City Schools. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Urban Planning, who moderated the panel, welcomed participants on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, who was away on travel.

In a statement earlier, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, Dr. Candice McQueen, welcomed the discussion on the standards, pointing to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Nation’s Report Card, which shows Tennessee as the fastest academically improving state in the nation.

But even with this level of success, the commissioner sees a “widening gap” in the achievement level. She said more than half of the state’s students are from disadvantaged backgrounds who lack the resources to keep pace.

“If we want to be successful then we must find ways to help these disadvantaged students,” she said. “We have to prepare these students to think about success after graduation by steering them toward college or skills sets such as auto mechanic, welding or other trade or technical areas that improve their chances for successful life careers. To achieve this we must develop the ability to work together as K-12 educators and higher education professionals.”

Representative Love, a staunched supporter of education, citing his own late mother’s role as a longtime educator, said he understands the need for fully trained people in the classroom, and parents who are actively engaged in their children’s education.

A proponent of the current K-12 academic standards, Love said the role of the standards should be to prepare students for world-class jobs, which they emphasize.

“The current standards do not need changing,” he said. “Maybe some minor tweaking, but we do not need to change them.”

Responding to a parent’s concern about the lack of resources for their underperforming student, Love called for more funding to provide after-school tutoring for children who need it.

His House Colleague, Rep. White, concurred that students must be prepared to be competitive with the technical and job-ready skills to be successful in the work place.

He also sees no need to change the standards. “Keep the standards in place,” White added.

Another strong proponent of the standards, Dr. Linda Gilbert, director of the Murfreesboro, Tennessee City Schools, said she supports school superintendents who are calling for no change in the standards.

“We are at a crossroad, at the center of which is a child, and we must do everything to provide the environment and learning necessary to make that child successful. We cannot turn back now. …we cannot turn back on education in the state.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, 114 superintendents from the state’s 141 school districts presented a letter to lawmakers asking that “no legislative action be taken during the 2015 legislative session to change our academic standards.” This action follows a recent press conference by leaders of all 13 of Tennessee’s community colleges emphasizing their support for the K-12 academic standards.

Many argue, that the success of the recently signed Tennessee Promise law that offers future graduates of any Tennessee high school the opportunity to receive two years of community or technical college tuition-free, hinges on how prepared students are to succeed.

“This is an issue that the public needs to be informed about, and kept abreast on what is facing our schools, our students and our legislators,” Dean Harris said recently as he prepared for today’s forum.

Speaking earlier, the President-elect of the AAUW Tennessee, B. Ayne Cantrell, said her organization, whose mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research, was pleased to partner with TSU to host the forum.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Women in Higher Education in Tennessee, the American Society for Public Administration, and the Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict management, sponsored the forum.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Academic Excellence, Parental Engagement Earn TSU “S.W.A.G.” Awards for 50 Elementary Students and Families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Fourth-grader Marlee Sabria Wade was all smiles as she looked at the blue lapel pin she had just received. The wording on the pin read, “Students with Academic Greatness.”

All semester-long the 9-year-old from Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School in Nashville came to class every day and on time, participated and scored very high on all her class work, she had no unexcused absences, and no office referrals for bad behavior. Marlee displayed the behaviors necessary to succeed in school.

State Representative Harold Love Jr., pins TSU Students with Academic Greatness Award  winner Marlee Sabria Wade, a fourth-grader from Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School, during the inaugural S.W.A.G. Award ceremony at TSU on Thursday, Jan. 29. (photos by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)
State Representative Harold Love Jr., pins  Academic Greatness Award winner Marlee Sabria Wade, a fourth-grader from Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School, during the inaugural S.W.A.G. Award ceremony at TSU on Thursday, Jan. 29. (photos by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

That seems like a badge of excellence, but for Marlee, standing barely 3 feet tall, it is an understatement.

“When I was younger I always knew I had academic greatness but I just didn’t know what it was,” said Marlee, with a grin and a show of confidence that explains how proud she is of her own ability. “I want to be a doctor or a fashion designer and I know I will make it because I do well in all of my work and I am never late.”

She definitely will. Her “no-nonsense” grandmother, Margaret Thomas, a retired seamstress, is a major influence, and already has Marlee watching as she (Thomas) stiches different styles — in case fashion design becomes the choice.

Being on time, working hard and already having career choices have certainly earned stripes of excellence for Marlee, her younger sister, Ilee Wade, a kindergartener, and about 50 other students from their school, thanks to a Tennessee State University initiative that keeps the students on track and their parents engaged.

Participating in the inaugural S.W.A.G. Awards ceremony at Tennessee State University were: State Representative Harold Love Jr., left, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School Principal Trellaney Lane, the Dean of the College of Education Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, and Robert Churchwell Jr., after whose late father the elementary school was named.
Participating in the inaugural S.W.A.G. Awards ceremony at Tennessee State University were: State Representative Harold Love Jr., left, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School Principal Trellaney Lane, the Dean of the College of Education Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, and Robert Churchwell Jr., after whose late father the elementary school was named.

About a year ago, the University, through the College of Education, entered a partnership with Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School through the S.W.A.G. (Students with Academic Greatness) initiative to acknowledge and recognize families and students who strive to achieve behavior and academic benchmarks identified by their home school.

Every nine weeks the Dean of the College, Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, and the S.W.A.G. Team travel to Churchwell Elementary School to award certificates to students for maintaining the program’s goals. Students who received two certificates during the fall semester were recognized with a pin and a certificate at the inaugural S.W.A.G. Award ceremony in the Ferrell-Westbrook Complex at TSU on Thursday, Jan. 29.

Essential to the academic greatness of any students are engaged parents. So, the Team recognizes parents for what they do to encourage academic greatness.

SWAG“The goal of ‘S.W.A.G.ging’ these students from K-4th grade is to stress the importance of not just going to school but to do their best academically,” said King-Jupiter. “So often, kids only receive acknowledgement for sports and entertainment. Or, they receive notoriety for bad behavior. The goal of the S.W.A.G. Initiative is to reward students publicly for academic excellence while also exposing them to alternative career choices.”

And the message is getting across, S.W.A.G. officials say. They say parental and family engagement – a key indicator to students’ academic success – is overwhelming.

For instance, Marlee says she does not worry about getting to school on time. It just happens, as she puts it. Her mother, Treva Wade, a TSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, knows the importance of being on time and she makes sure Marlee and her sister are out the door in time to be in class on time.

“My mom gets me and my sister up early and ready for school everyday, so we are never late, and she makes sure we do our homework,” said Marlee.

With no direct University or government funding, how is such a novel program staying afloat, dean King-Jupiter was asked.

“We see the S.W.A.G. Initiative as a low-cost way to build a pipeline, but we are looking for funding sources through grants and other means to sustain the program,” she said.

Until then, resources, including award and gift items, are donated by some of her fellow deans, vice presidents, professors and the core of staff members who help run the program. That’s in addition to members of the community who contributed to the purchase of Kindle tablets for each family. “We got by with a lot of help from our TSU family and friends.”

At the inaugural S.W.A.G. award ceremony that included a catered buffet dinner, University, state and local officials formed a procession to receive the students as they came up to be pinned and presented with their certificate of excellence. A parent, representing each of the more than 40 families at the ceremony received a gift bag stuffed with a Kindle tablet and other University paraphernalia.

Officials included TSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy; State Representative Harold Love Jr., Churchwell Elementary School Principal Trellaney Lane, and Robert Churchwell Jr., after whose late father the elementary school was named.

“Your child has been a model student in the partnership’s examination of parental involvement and academic achievement,” Hardy said to the parents, as he presided at the ceremony on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, who was away on business. “And to you the Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School, and Dean King-Jupiter and our College of Education, we applaud you for promoting academic excellence. Your presence here tonight along with all of these officials is an indication of how much importance we attach to the S.W.A.G. program and what it is doing for these young people.”

While S.W.A.G.’s primary target is student academic excellence, parents received rousing ovations for encouraging their children.

“In SWAG we recognize and reward the model of parenting that is engaged. This is the only way we can be sure these students will succeed. We also want ‘S.W.A.G.gers’ to know that a focus on academic excellence will open doors to opportunities,” King-Jupiter noted.

Principal Lane added that the TSU/Robert Churchwell partnership offers an opportunity to recognized students who have academic greatness and parents who give it their all to make sure their children are achieving at their very best.

“Today we celebrate academic excellence and congratulate these students for their accomplishments,” she said. “We thank you parents. You are doing something special; please continue to be the great role models you are.”

The College of Education S.W.A.G. Team received high praise for their contribution. They include: Assistant Dean Alethea Hampton, Assistant Professor Thurman Webb, Assistant Professor Calli Holaway, John Barfield, of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs; and graduate assistant Darreon D. Greer Sr.

The team also receives support from other members of the college including Associate Dean Heraldo Richards, and department chairs Trinetia Respress and John Tiller; and Ruth Gordon, Jo Mercer and Jennifer Sparks.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.