Public education throughout the state of Tennessee is facing numerous challenges as it responds to a variety of reform initiatives that are aimed at the continuous improvement of student outcomes.
A new partnership between the University of Tennessee at Martin College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences and area school districts hopes to respond to these challenges and the needs of Northwest Tennessee rural school districts.
On June 13, Cliff Sturdivant, field services director for the Tennessee State Department of Education, along with Warner Pace, from the Tennessee Department of Education, and Dr. Mary Lee Hall, dean of the College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences, met with UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes to secure his signature on a formal memorandum of understanding to establish the Northwest Tennessee Rural Education Collaborative (NWTREC).
The NWTREC serves the purpose of meeting the mutual needs of its members as they strive to continually improve student outcomes and meet the educational needs of their communities. Membership is open to school districts in the following Tennessee counties: Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion and Weakley.
The UT Martin College of Education, Health, and Behavioral Sciences, will serve as an ex-officio member. Twenty-three school directors from the nine counties also signed the memorandum.
Members will work together to advance education in their respective school districts by collaborating on projects of mutual interest.
The NWTREC completed work on its first project by partnering with the Upper Cumberland Region Collaborative, Southeast Tennessee Education Collaborative and Southwest Tennessee Education Collaborative to submit an i3 (Investing in Innovation) validation grant proposal.
If funded, the grant will provide the opportunity for school districts to focus on strategies to increase ACT scores for high school students to assure readiness to attend college.