Tennessee Approves School Specialty as Professional Development Provider for Race to the Top School Reform Program

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Company's Comprehensive Professional Development Plan for Accelerated Learning Model Focuses on Differentiated Instruction, Data-Driven Decision-Making

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With its emphasis on professional development, differentiated instruction and data-based decision-making, School Specialty's accelerated learning model maps directly to Tennessee's forward-thinking plans for implementing school change.

Tennessee has approved School Specialty Literacy and Intervention as an official professional development provider for helping the state's 136 school districts move forward in implementing comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years. One of only two states to receive federal Race to the Top Funding in the first round in March, Tennessee will target 196 schools for intervention in the first year of the grant, and 226 by year four.

Tennessee's "First to the Top" plan is designed to address four key areas of school reform:

  • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace
  • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction
  • Recruiting, developing, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most
  • Turning around the lowest performing schools

School Specialty Literacy and Intervention will provide state teachers with comprehensive professional development for an accelerated learning model that focuses on proven instructional strategies specifically designed to meet the needs of diverse populations, close the achievement gap and turn around low-performing schools. This accelerated learning model uses differentiated instruction and data-based decision-making to provide effective intervention solutions for struggling students.

In collaboration with each individual Tennessee school, School Specialty Literacy and Intervention will customize this accelerated learning model to include services such as site-specific program planning, ongoing professional development, leadership workshops for accelerated learning, research-based instructional programs, coaching on data analysis and decision-making, formative and summative evaluation tools, browser-based Response to Intervention (RTI) tools, and reporting for teachers, administrators and parents.

"Already a national leader in educational change, Tennessee is now in a position to leverage its Race to the Top plan to make dramatic improvements in its schools and, ultimately, ensure that all students in the state graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and careers," said Steven Korte, President of the School Specialty Accelerated Learning Group. "With its emphasis on professional development, differentiated instruction and data-based decision-making, School Specialty's accelerated learning model maps directly to Tennessee's forward-thinking plans for implementing school change."

School Specialty Literacy and Intervention gives K-12 educators powerful instructional tools that deliver high-quality materials in the most effective modality for each struggling student. The company's reading and math intervention systems combine the power of effective teaching with computer-based learning and data-driven decision-making. From screening to intervention, progress monitoring, reporting and professional development, School Specialty offers an integrated approach to RTI that simplifies every stage of the process.

For more information on School Specialty Literacy and Intervention and the Tennessee First to the Top program, visit http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/tnrt3.

About School Specialty
School Specialty is a leading education company that provides innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to help educators engage and inspire students of all ages and abilities to learn. The company designs, develops and provides preK-12 educators with the latest and very best curriculum, supplemental learning resources and school supplies. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help educators, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. School Specialty Literacy and Intervention delivers comprehensive reading, math and Response to Intervention (RTI) solutions to help K-12 schools close the achievement gap and make a measurable difference in the outcomes for 30 million struggling students who fall below proficiency benchmarks. Trusted brands from School Specialty Literacy and Intervention include Academy of READING®, Academy of MATH®, S.P.I.R.E.®, MCI, Wordly Wise 3000® and Explode The Code®. For more information about School Specialty, visit http://www.schoolspecialty.com. For more information about School Specialty Literacy and Intervention, visit eps.schoolspecialty.com.

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Lisa Wolfe

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