Platinum Partner Spotlight: The College Board

The College Board programs and services work together to help all students clear a path to their future.

The redesigned SAT Suite of Assessments provide actionable college and career readiness measurement at key points in a student's K-12 experience, in time for students to develop personal study paths proven to increase post-high school readiness. Advanced Placement opportunities, including new courses in Computer Science Principles and Seminar and Research, allow students to demonstrate and earn college credit that is recognized nationally and internationally, not just at in state colleges and universities.

Virtually EVERY Tennessee school and district utilizes a combination of College Board's PSAT, SAT and/or AP programs in support of moving more students toward college and career readiness. Each district has their own College Board data portal.

To put the power of your PSAT, SAT and AP data to practice, contact Jim Morris at 319-329-4590 or

Testimony from Shelby County Schools:

Shelby County Schools (SCS) implemented a number of exciting initiatives to ensure increased college and career preparedness for our students. Those initiatives included a partnership with the College Board to provide AP and Pre-AP professional development for our teachers as well as the implementation of SAT School Day in seven of our high schools and PSAT 9 in every SCS high school. Many of our students shared that having 43% more time per question on the SAT vs. the ACT made a big difference in allowing them to truly demonstrate what they know and are able to do. Additionally, our students took full advantage of the post-exam support provided by the College Board. The individualized practice and skills development that our students were able to access through the linking of student PSAT or SAT scores to Khan Academy will positively impact future performance for our students. We are now diving into the rich, online data reporting and will use the results to guide future instruction and intervention. I highly recommend that you reach out to Jim Morris, our Tennessee representative for the College Board. Jim has been an incredibly knowledgeable and valuable partner in bringing awareness to our district.

- Linda Sklar, Director of Optional Schools and Advanced Academics


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The TOSS Superintendent Spotlight for May 2019 is Mr. Bobby Cox who has been the superintendent in Warren County for seven years.

In Mr. Cox’s district, they have been working hard to improve literacy in all grades, and have started to see positive outcomes as a result. They have also developed a state of the art CTE program that provides students with opportunities in mechatronics, robotics, welding, culinary arts, nursing, and various other areas. This will help to meet the needs of the workforce in Warren County.

“I have many favorites in my job, but the one that stands out would be visiting classrooms and interacting with students. This time of year when we are registering new kindergarten students is one of the most enjoyable times. The students are what keeps me motivated day in and day out.”

FUN FACT: Mr. Cox hopes to visit all major league baseball parks in the coming years. He’s also a big Star Wars and Avengers fan!

Platinum Partner Spotlight: BetterLesson

BetterLesson is the North American leader in providing high-quality, personalized, and job-embedded professional learning support to teachers, instructional coaches, and school and district leaders. Their goal is to build the capacity of Tennessee schools and districts to create and sustain learning environments that are dynamic, engaging, and highly student-centered.

Through their Platinum Partnership with TOSS, they have created a bulk discount structure for all TOSS member districts who want to access their services, including coaching of teachers and leaders and workshops (virtual and in-person) on complex topics such as blended and personalized learning, SEL, giving effective feedback, and culturally-responsive teaching and learning. They have supported hundreds of Tennessee educators in the last three school years with significant impact for students and educators.

BetterLesson is already working with several school districts in our state.

Instructional Coach Workshops and Coaching

  • Johnson City School District

  • Benton County Schools

  • Obion County Schools

  • Paris Special School District

  • Gibson County School District

Teacher Coaching: Blended and Personalized Learning

  • Tennessee Department of Education (2016-2018)

  • Fulton High School (Knox County Schools)

Effective Implementation of Open Educational Resources

  • Athens City School District (ELA)

"This is the best coaching training that I have been to in 5 years. This is more realistic than anything I have ever done." - Instructional Coach, Gibson County Schools

"BetterLesson is the best coaching experience I've ever had. It's tailored to the individual teacher's needs, which is rare to find in PD. You can see an immediate impact in your classroom since you try strategies so frequently." - Teacher, Knox County Schools

"I feel that if I did not have this PD, I would not have reached as many students that I have this year.” - Teacher, Hamblen County Schools

"BetterLesson's trainers were awesome! I enjoyed learning about strategies and ideas that I can pass on to my faculty." - Assistant Principal, Obion County Schools

Please contact Jeff Liberty to discuss how BetterLesson can help you meet your district's PD needs.


SUPERINTENDENT SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Jeff Perry (Hamblen County)

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The Superintendent Spotlight for April 2019 is Dr. Jeff Perry who has been the Director of Schools in Hamblen County for two years. While they are working on a wide variety of projects in Hamblen County Schools, they base their work on three questions: 1) What should we be teaching? 2) How do we know if students learned what we taught? 3) What are we going to do if they didn’t learn it?

Take a look at the many great things they’re working on in Dr. Perry’s district!

  • Right now, they are attempting to better define the curriculum and ensure their teachers know exactly what to teach.

  • Second, they are developing an online depository of resources, materials, and support documents which will allow their teachers to effectively implement the curriculum so they can spend more time teaching as opposed to spending time looking for resources.

  • Third, they are developing and refining their pacing guides to ensure they are able to implement the entire curriculum during the year.

  • Fourth, they are creating quarterly benchmark assessments to determine the progress students are making throughout the year. This will enable them to provide surgical instruction and to effectively intervene before the end of the year.

  • Fifth, they are placing a huge emphasis on preschool and attempting to address the growing number of students with serious cognitive and emotional issues.

  • Sixth, they are reviewing their intervention strategies and procedures to ensure they provide the necessary actions to help students be successful.

  • Finally, current research indicates approximately 70% of the future jobs will require less than a two year degree. They are promoting CTE as a viable pathway for their students. Hamblen County is a heavy industry-based community and they offer a number of quality careers for their students.

Dr. Perry has a true passion for education, which was evident when we asked what motivates him in his work.

I came from a very poor family from south-western Virginia. My mother raised four children alone because our father left us when we were very young. Neither my mother or father graduated from high school and education was not seen as important. However, I was fortunate to have a number of quality educators come into my life and provide me with an opportunity to succeed. I have always held the belief that public school education is the great equalizer in this nation. It is the single source that can provide anyone with the opportunity to be successful. I possess the deep conviction that public school education is the only hope that many of our students have and it is my job to provide that opportunity. I have dedicated my entire professional career to this endeavor and I still have that deep passion for helping staff and students be successful.

Fun Fact about Dr. Perry:

I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. We are currently building our own log home in Hamblen County and love building. We have climbed to the highest mountain in 49 states and over 40 of the peaks above 14,000 feet. Alaska is a tough high point to conquer because of the time commitment and time of year to climb. We have hiked over 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail and hope to complete it section by section. I was extremely proud to be ranked 4th in the state of VA as the highest academic producing districts. This was with over 50% of our students being economically disadvantaged. I believe this is my calling and my entire professional career is simply an attempt to give back to those who gave so much to me.

SUPERINTENDENT SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Fields (Campbell County)

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The Superintendent Spotlight for March is Jennifer Fields from Campbell County Schools. She has been the Director of Schools in her district for one year.

Ms. Fields has had a very busy first year, and she shared some of the exciting things taking place in Campbell County Schools:

  • Improving the safety of our schools by adding two additional SROs and three additional nurse positions. Our district now has a full-time SRO at each of our 13 schools as well as 11 schools that have a full-time or part-time nurse.

  • Building the capacity of our teachers through high quality professional development in standards aligned instruction in all content areas, portfolio training, and implementation of Unit Starters.

  • Empowering and promoting leadership through the district's new Aspiring Leader Academy and our Teacher Leader Network.

  • Leadership support opportunities for administrators have been implemented. We proudly have principals and an assistant principal participating in GASL, the Rural Principal Network, and the Turn Around Principal Cohort.

  • The Ayers Institute is delivering Instructional Coaching Training to the academic coaches that have been placed in each school in the district.

  • Early Post Secondary Opportunities are being increased through the addition of CTE classes being offered and providing transportation to our students who wish to take classes at TCAT.

WOW! Keep up the amazing work, Ms. Fields!

“The favorite part of my job is visiting schools and supporting my students, teachers, and staff. I want each and every one of them to feel valued and encouraged. I am my happiest and most fulfilled when I am helping and building up others.”

“It is difficult to say I have a favorite memory since this is my first year as director and everything is actually in the present, but a very special moment for me was hiring an excellent assistant principal who was also a former student of mine. As a product of the Campbell County School System and 26 year educator in the district serving as a teacher, assistant principal, middle school principal, and now director or schools, I am deeply connected to this community and am honored to serve in this capacity.”