Tennessee’s ACT K-12 Champion is Oak Ridge Superintendent Bruce Borchers. The ACT College and Career Readiness Champions include high school seniors, K-12 professionals, postsecondary professionals, and workforce professionals who are making a positive impact on their communities through their efforts to advance college and career readiness for all. The ACT College and Career Readiness Champions are individuals across the country who support ACT’s mission of education and workplace success. ACT State Councils--comprised of education and workforce professionals from all 50 states—serve as the selection committee to select one Champion per category for each participating state.
Bruce Borchers received this award for his commitment to the Seven Keys for College and Career Readiness he formulated with members of the Oak Ridge community. Borchers explains, “The Seven Keys are intended to improve the college and career readiness of all Oak Ridge students and to provide them with a better foundation of knowledge and skills, allowing them to be prepared for a more technologically sophisticated and internationally competitive working world. The Seven Keys allow us to measure just how well we are doing in preparing our students for their futures.” They start with Key 1, focusing on all students reading at grade level by grade 3. Key 2 states that math proficiency will be at grade level by the end of grade 4. The focus for Key 3 is to have all students at grade level in both subjects by the end of grade 6. Key 4 focuses specifically on ensuring 8th grade students meet college and career readiness benchmarks on the ACT Aspire test. Key 5 states that students will be fluent in financial literacy by the time they graduate. The goal of Key 6 is a lofty commitment to get all of our students scoring a 27 or higher on the ACT. “That key progresses all the way to the ultimate key, Key 7, which asks all of our students to participate in advanced placement, dual enrollment, industry certification, or our Navy JROTC program.”
In 1943, the city of Oak Ridge was born in innovation, technology, and creativity. We continue that legacy through our focus on STEM and project-based learning. Our entire district is now AdvancED STEM certified in all grades K-12. Our middle school students are working with NASA to send a cube satellite into space. Teachers collaborate across the curriculum to create a problem-based learning environment for our students. Borchers continues, “They are passionate and committed individuals who go the extra mile for students every single day. By focusing on the Seven Keys, we have seen our graduates go on and be very successful because of the skills they have developed right here in the Oak Ridge Schools.”