(WJHL) — Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn visited multiple school districts across the Tri-Cities region on Thursday, June 9.
Schwinn made stops at Greene County Schools, Greeneville City Schools, Washington County Schools, Carter County Schools and Elizabethton City Schools as a part of the ‘Accelerating TN 2022 Tour.’
The initiative spans 50 school districts in three weeks to highlight summer learning opportunities in different school systems.
These summer programs stem from the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act and Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act, which is the first update in over 30 years to the way the state funds public education.
“I think it is critical that the department, not just me but the whole department, gets out and sees the incredible work that districts are doing,” Schwinn told News Channel 11 Thursday.
When it comes to the ongoing threat of pandemic learning loss, Schwinn believes Tennessee is bouncing back well.
“I remain very optimistic and think that Tennessee is going to show the country how many gaps we have closed and how far we have come,” said Schwinn.
Washington County Schools Superintendent Jerry Boyd told News Channel 11 during Schwinn’s visit to Boones Creek Elementary that with changes to the state’s funding model for public education, it is good to have leaders committed to Northeast Tennessee priorities.
“Certainly we are going to be transitioning to a new funding model after next school year so continued work on establishing rules and clarity on how we are going to utilize those funds in a new way to best serve kids,” said Boyd.
He added Washington County Schools leaders were excited to welcome Schwinn to learn more about their summer learning programs, which host about one thousand students this summer.
“I certainly value that she and her team have planned to commit to our districts and we see them in our classrooms. That is very important. Being out there and leading by example is important, and certainly to me,” said Boyd.
The tour also includes Reading 360 Early Reading Training and roundtables at some locations to talk about strategies to accelerate student learning and achievement.
“Certainly I want to hear directly from staff at the district and the school level about what is working, what is not working and what we can do to support their great efforts in our school communities,” said Schwinn.