special section: “While I fundamentally believe that smart policy has pushed Tennessee’s educational outcomes forward, there is another, significant element that is at work: smart, pragmatic people.” ~Commissioner Candice McQueen Our Read to be Ready update in early 2018 will point to dramatic instructional changes and supports we are already seeing in our classrooms, with over two-thirds of school districts participating in our statewide reading coach network. We are also seeing how a focus on improving instructional materials can accelerate our reading growth as we engage students in texts and building conceptual understanding that inspires them to learn more. Our work to grow every teacher into an effective teacher has been focused on professional learning on the new math and English standards, an aligned statewide assessment with 2018 focused on science, a renewed emphasis on teacher feedback as part of teacher evaluation, and more support for Response to the Instruction and Intervention (RTI2). Finally, 2018 will be a banner year for career and technical education with the release of our transition council’s commendations and innovative recommendations, with focused implementation as we move more students to earning industry credentials. It will also mark a baseline-setting year for alignment to early postsecondary coursework as we ensure readiness through a more robust accountability system that looks at how students are being prepared for life and options after high school. 2018 and beyond holds great promise. If we continue to equip our smartest people and build on our smart policies, students will continue to succeed – and Tennessee will continue be a leader for our nation in education and beyond.