evidence-based interventions for schools that are not improving .
ESSA provides an important opportunity to implement a new school improvement model that provides districts and schools with the support they need to turn around the state ’ s lowest-performing schools . To support this work , TDOE , working with TERA , should ensure interventions in high-priority schools – including comprehensive turnaround efforts — use evidence-based practices , with focus on core competencies of effective leaders . This work will involve TDOE to ensure that the state ’ s School Improvement Office can adequately support the needs of priority schools and connect these schools with resources that will aid their success . Tennessee should ensure the interventions provided through the state ’ s new school improvement model extend beyond schools in the lowest 5 percent and result in clear , actionable change . Students cannot afford years of incremental change in our highest-needs schools .
Third , Tennessee should ensure all students have the opportunity to take advantage of rigorous early postsecondary and career opportunities . Every high school in Tennessee should provide and promote early postsecondary and career opportunities and ensure students take advantage of these opportunities to prepare for further postsecondary study or a job . School leaders , teachers , and counselors will need to pay special attention to including historically underserved students in this effort , with targeted support . ESSA also provides an opportunity for Tennessee to elevate early postsecondary and career opportunities in Tennessee ’ s accountability system . At the same time , district and state leaders must maintain focus on course rigor to ensure students are engaging in coursework that will result in postsecondary success or job readiness .
Finally , employers have an expanded role to play in students ’ career readiness . Tennessee should explore policies that incentivize and reward employers who offer work-based learning in partnership with schools and districts . Local and state tax credits , as well as policies that protect students and employers in the workplace , should be considered by policymakers . Pathways Tennessee , the Tennessee Business Roundtable , and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development should engage Tennessee business leaders through local chambers of commerce and other business groups to identify policies to broaden employer participation in work-based learning . Policymakers should then be engaged to enact these policies .