Governor Haslam Rallies ASD Teachers

By Achievement School District

MEMPHIS, TN – July 26, 2012 – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam made a surprise visit Thursday to Achievement School District (ASD) teachers at Corning Achievement Elementary School in the Memphis neighborhood of Frayser, delivering a strong message of support.

Haslam visited teachers while they were in a planning session to encourage them as they prepare for their difficult and rewarding work.

”What you’re doing here is incredibly important to your community and state,” Haslam said. “I am certain that with your incredible talent, experience and motivation your hard work will pay off in the form of student success, and I can’t wait to see what you and your students will accomplish this year.”

Haslam has been a strong advocate for students and a driving force behind Tennessee’s efforts to dramatically improve education across the state.  The Achievement School District (ASD), created as part of Tennessee’s federally funded “Race to the Top” initiative, is the statewide school district that will move the bottom 5 percent of schools straight to the top 25 percent within five years.  69 of the 85 schools in the bottom 5 percent in the state are located in Memphis.

“We cannot reach our full potential as a state unless we ensure that all students in Tennessee have access to great schools.  That work begins here in Memphis on August 6th,” ASD Superintendent Chris Barbic said.

ASD teachers have been in meetings since the beginning of July, taking an entire month to plan for the start of school on August 6th.  Principal of Corning Achievement Elementary, Jessica Jackson, described the work as “intense, energizing, and urgent.”  “We are going to do whatever it takes to make sure every Corning Coyote has what he or she needs to be successful in life,” she commented.

Teachers—representing each of the ASD’s five schools in Memphis—were excited to see the Governor.  “I was thrilled to see Governor Haslam here.  It shows that the community, city and state are behind this mission to create the best schools for our students.  People actually believe in this and it goes beyond the ASD and beyond us as teachers,” said ASD teacher Erica Allen

“I have been teaching for a very long time,” said Glenda Moses, a veteran teacher with more than 20 years of teaching experience. “That’s the first time I’ve had a Governor give me a pep talk.  I have never felt this kind of support as a teacher, and now I feel even more motivated to get going on August 6th and prove what’s possible.”