UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS  The superintendents of Tennessee’s two largest school districts are among 1,500 education leaders to sign a petition asking for continued protection from deportation for “Dreamers,” young people brought to the U.S. as children. Chalkbeat

DACA ANXIETY  What Donald Trump’s inauguration means for one undocumented Nashville student-turned-teacher. Chalkbeat

KIDS COUNT REPORT  While noting some improvements, the overall picture is fairly grim on factors that impact the healthy development of children in Memphis and Shelby County, according to new report. The Commercial Appeal

STUDENT LEADER  A high school junior in Memphis earns the title of student assistant principal for patrolling the hallways between classes, serving as a mediator for students, and pitching in to help faculty. The Commercial Appeal

PRIORITY SCHOOLS   Under the state’s proposed education plan, the biggest change for students in Tennessee schools most desperate for help is a guarantee of an immediate intervention. The Commercial Appeal, Chalkbeat

TENT CITY  As Shelby County Schools again prepares to kick off its optional school registration, parents camp out again to get in line for the most popular programs — even though district leaders say it’s not necessary. WMC-TV

TRUMP INAUGURATION  A Memphis principal asks her teachers not to let their students watch the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump on TV. Local Memphis

SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION  Hamilton County school officials consider bringing busing in-house and expanding the role of its pool of independent drivers in the wake of a crash that killed six children last year. Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Associated Press, The Chattanoogan

SCHOOL BOARD EFFECTIVENESS   “You’re meeting too much, you’re meeting too long,” Hamilton County’s school board is told by the head of the Tennessee School Boards Association. Chattanooga Times Free Press

CHOOSING LEADERS  Hamilton County Schools is working to revamp the way it develops and selects new principals. Chattanooga Times Free Press

SCHOOL BOARD THANKS  During School Board Appreciation Week, Kingsport Superintendent Lyle Ailshie talks about the role of a locally elected board of education. Kingsport Times-News

SNOW DAY PAY  Nashville public school employees who couldn’t make it to work on the city’s recent snow day will need to take personal leave if they are to be paid in full for the day, according to an HR memo. The Tennessean

DEPARTURE  The head of communications for Metro Nashville Public Schools announces she’ll leave the job in March to start her own communications consulting business. The Tennessean

TEACHER PRANK  A former Wilson County teacher suspended for his role in alleged pranks at an elementary school has a Chancery Court hearing scheduled March 8 to appeal the school board’s decision. The Tennessean

KNOX Q&A  Buzz Thomas, the interim superintendent of Knox County Schools, talks about the state of the district. Knoxville News Sentinel

MIT PARTNERSHIP  Williamson County Schools partners with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a new autonomous vehicle program. The Tennessean

FIRE HEROES  Alcoa’s school board recognizes a bus driver and students who acted quickly this month to safely evacuate everyone before flames engulfed the vehicle. The Daily Times

ONE BOOK BLITZ  A Maryville elementary school creates a “Charlotte’s Web” obstacle course as part of a collaboration among three Blount County districts to have all K-5 students read the same book. The Daily Times

CHALKBEAT EXPANDS  Why we’re putting down roots in Detroit, and our commitment to you as we grow our news organization. Chalkbeat

DEVOS DELAY   A Senate panel delays a vote on conforming Betsy DeVos’ nomination as U.S. education secretary until Jan. 31, a week later than planned. The Associated Press

GROWTH VS. PROFICIENCY  During confirmation hearings, President Trump’s pick for education chief was slammed for her failure to differentiate between growth and proficiency. Here’s how states currently measure achievement. The Atlantic