The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) operates and manages the state’s public school system and is focused on the ambitious goal of ensuring that Tennessee has the fastest improving student achievement in America.  Serving both urban and rural communities across the state, the TDOE works to provide a range of academic services for approximately 950,000 students in 1,763 schools at 142 districts. One prominent district, the Achievement School District, was created as a result of Tennessee’s 2011 winning application to the national Race to the Top competition, which aims to transform the bottom 5% of schools into top performing institutions.

Despite facing stark challenges, public schools in Tennessee have made impressive strides in recent years. By 2013, Tennessee was the fastest improving state in the National Assessment of Educational Progress and was one of only two states to achieve “statistically significant gains” on all tests. As a result, the state has been able to reach an 86% graduation rate.

Our Impact

Since 2012, five Education Pioneers leaders have made an impact for the Tennessee Department of Education. Our Graduate School Fellows and Analyst Fellows:

  • Worked with school leaders and data professionals to create a replicable system for calculating graduation rates, allowing decision makers to better identify best practices within high-performing schools and share them broadly.
  • Identified best practices in parent communication and designed a state-level communication strategy to better engage with the families of Tennessee public schools. 
  • Redesigned the state-level accountability system for Tennessee’s Race to the Top grant, providing easily accessible data for parents, teachers, and administrators so they can make data-driven decisions in the best interest of their students. 
  • And more.