Tennessee

Rise & Shine: A look back on Penny Schwinn’s first week in Tennessee

Good morning!

We've got the inside look at the first week for Tennessee's new education commissioner Penny Schwinn. She's planning to be in Memphis this week, so stay tuned for our coverage on her visit to the focus of the state's work in improving low-performing schools in recent years.

And don't miss our Q&A with a Nashville teacher who recently won the Milken Award, which is like the "Oscars" of teaching.

— Laura Faith Kebede, reporter

WEEK ONE In her first week, Tennessee’s new education commissioner Penny Schwinn visited seven schools, appeared to wow to a group of superintendents, and attended a State Board of Education meeting. Chalkbeat

HOW I TEACH What do teachers need most? More time, says this award-winning Nashville educator. Chalkbeat

BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL Backed by the co-founders of Twitter and Square, a free 20-week computer science course launches in Memphis with the support of Southwest Tennessee Community College. High Ground News

W-I-N-N-E-R Shelby County Spelling Bee returns to Memphis after stint in Nashville. Daily Memphian

HIGH PRAISE Gov. Bill Lee says more Tennessee high schools should model themselves after those in Sumner County with vocational, technical, and agricultural opportunities. The Tennessean

AT THE STATEHOUSE Maury County’s first-year state Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Columbia, has introduced a bill that would bring a harsher penalty to those caught with a small amount of marijuana inside a Tennessee school zone. The Daily Herald

STUDENT HEALTH Williamson County has seen the number of unvaccinated students entering the district spike significantly in the last year as more parents request religious exemptions to state immunization rules. The Tennessean

Unvaccinated teens are fact-checking their parents — and trying to get shots on their own. The Washington Post

While students and teachers were out of school last week due to the spread of illnesses, the Knox County Schools custodial staff worked to disinfect the nearly 90 school buildings. Knoxville News Sentinel

With three elementary school students on suicide watch at one Blount County elementary school, the district is paying special attention to the mental health of their students. Knoxville News Sentinel

LEARNING The school board approves homelessness and poverty sensitivity training for Hawkins County educators. Kingsport Times-News

ACCOLADES Hawkins County Schools’ special education department was one of six in Tennessee honored for providing high-level instruction and intervention for students with disabilities. Kingsport Times-News

NO DEAL Denver teachers will strike on Monday after school district and union leaders failed to reach an agreement in a last-ditch bargaining session Saturday. Chalkbeat

STUDENT SAFETY Parents question whether shooting drills traumatize kids. The Associated Press