The UT Knoxville Center for Educational Leadership partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education to provide virtual professional learning opportunities to principals to support them in addressing the immediate challenges facing schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These optional sessions were offered to all Tennessee public school principals at no cost.
The Tennessee Department of Education chose UT Knoxville to lead and facilitate the 2020 Tennessee Rural Principals Network. The network provides an intensive yearlong collaborative professional learning experience for a cohort of 54 rural school principals from across the Volunteer State. Principals receive focused leadership coaching and participate in ongoing professional dialogue through small virtual conversations called Mastermind Groups.
In order to promote the importance of education across rural west Tennessee, UT Martin hosts an educator development program called WestTeach to help teachers become leaders in their schools and communities. WestTeach, sponsored by the WestStar Leadership Program, also gives PK-12 teachers in west Tennessee an opportunity to learn how agriculture, entrepreneurship, community building, leadership and educational partnerships for economic development affects their school and community.
Tennessee Teacher Pipeline Support
UT Chattanooga and UT Knoxville partnered with local school districts and the Tennessee Department of Education to offer “Grow Your Own” programs. The “Grow Your Own” partnerships work to increase access and remove barriers to the teaching profession.
UT Martin’s Call Me MiSTER program recruits and trains students from underrepresented backgrounds to become transformational teachers within the state of Tennessee. Students become master teachers who are effective educators and valuable mentors. The program offers tuition assistance, housing and/or loan forgiveness, an academic support system to help ensure students’ success, a cohort model for social and cultural support within the Department of Educational Studies, and assistance with job placement.
STEM-Focused Teacher Shortage
The Vols Teach for Appalachia program tackles the persistent shortage of mathematics and science teachers in the heart of Appalachia. UT Knoxville and Pellissippi State Community College partnered with five school districts to grow and diversify east Tennessee’s STEM teacher workforce by supporting community college students in their journey to becoming the next generation of high-quality, successful STEM teachers.
Everywhere you look, UT is serving Tennessee.