What is LIFT

LIFT is a group of committed superintendents from across Tennessee working together to explore innovative approaches and share best practices that will benefit their students, as well as students across the state and nation. The purpose of this website is to share their collective learnings and the resources that have helped them improve literacy outcomes for students.

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Professional Learning

“What I’m seeing is that there is an excitement and re-energizing in teachers that I’ve never seen in my 30 years. It’s contagious with the kids. The kids see how excited the teachers are, so they’re excited.”

Curriculum Supervisor, Putnam County

“When I’m in the grocery store, parents come up to me and say they don’t know about the curriculum we’re using, but that their son or daughter’s vocabulary and their knowledge about the world is so much better than it was.”

Director of Schools, Trousdale County

The Importance of Strong Literacy Instructional Materials

Teachers are trying out new instructional materials to support students’ reading and listening comprehension. So far, they’re seeing lessons that better reflect the demands of the Tennessee English language arts (ELA) standards and significant development in students’ abilities.

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Beth Dutton

“It’s been really interesting watching both teachers and students learn the different roles of text in their classroom and really coming to appreciate the role of complex text in their classrooms.”

ELA Instructional Coach, Loudon County

Shawn Kimble

“Students are so engaged, and you can tell the level of thinking that’s happening in the classroom. Students are making connections, and they’re not just using the vocabulary words. They’re engaged in deep thinking about what those words mean, and that’s ultimately what’s going to get our students to the level of comprehension that we need.”

Director of Schools, Lauderdale County

Our Work

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We work on student-focused issues important to all of us, in areas like professional learning and other teacher supports, instructional leadership, and ensuring instructional rigor. This work includes a broad network of leaders from within our districts, including teachers, principals, instructional coaches, and district-level staff. With research and support, we engage in innovative practices to try to tackle high-leverage issues, such as early literacy.

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When we identify innovations or policies that benefit students, as well as superintendents and school districts across the state, we advocate for those approaches or reforms. We try to actively share our voices on important education-related issues by serving on state-wide committees and task forces, regularly communicating with key stakeholders, and attending important community events such as learning institutes or town halls.

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Professional Learning

Leaders are key to student success and, therefore, the leader’s opportunity to engage in high-quality professional learning experiences with like-minded superintendents is valuable. The LIFT network has engaged in professional learning on topics such as, human capital strategies, communication strategies, school scheduling, principal development, and early literacy, among others.