The Tennessee Department of Education announced 16 more districts are joining the Read to be Ready Coaching Network this year to strengthen the youngest students’ reading abilities, bringing the total to 99 – about two-thirds of all districts in the state. In addition, the department is also releasing the Read to be Ready Coaching Network report on year one, which highlights some key takeaways and pieces of feedback from the first year of the network and indicates that participating educators have seen growth in their content knowledge, instructional practices, and coaching skills.
The coaching network is part of the state’s Read to be Ready initiative that launched in February 2016 with the goal to move 75 percent of Tennessee students to reading proficiency by the end of third grade by 2025. The coaching network aims to improve literacy instruction in early grades classrooms across the state by encouraging more effective literacy education practices.
“The best way we can set our students up for a lifetime of success is providing them a strong educational foundation from day one,” Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “The Read to be Ready Coaching Network is a critical piece of the department’s broader efforts to support strong literacy skills throughout a student’s educational journey, while directly giving educators the tools they need to help our students to be successful.”
Since the launch of the coaching network in September 2016, more than 200 teacher-coaches have provided support and professional learning opportunities for educators focused on grades K-3 reading. These reading coaches have worked directly with more than 3,000 teachers to improve reading programs and practices in schools across the state. The department worked with districts in the network to provide training and support focused on deepening both coach and teacher knowledge of interactive read alouds, shared reading practices, and the department’s tenets of effective coaching.
As noted in the report, pre-and post-surveys regarding coach and teacher content knowledge show substantive growth in both coaches and teachers in the inaugural year of the network. Additionally, a majority of teachers in the network reported receiving critical supports from their Read to be Ready coach at least once a month, and 92 percent report that working with their coach is improving their teaching.
To join the coaching network, districts must commit to the network assurances, which include funding a reading coach who will support a cohort of approximately 15 teachers. This year, the coaching network is expanding to welcome 16 additional districts, bringing the total number of participating districts 99. The new districts joining the Read to be Ready coaching network for the 2017-18 school year are:
Scott County Schools
Smith County School System
Pickett County Schools
Jackson County Schools
Macon County Schools
Clay County Schools
Sumner County Schools
Dyer County Schools
Wayne County Schools
Bedford County Schools
Benton County Schools
Alamo City School
Polk County Schools
Kingsport City Schools
Oak Ridge Schools
Dayton City School
A complete list of participating districts is available in the complete Read to be Ready Coaching Network update report, available online here.
For more information about the Read to be Ready Coaching Network, contact Elizabeth Norton, director of reading, at Elizabeth.Norton@tn.gov. For information about the Read to be Ready Initiative, contact Becky Cox, executive director of reading at Becky.Cox@tn.gov.