DECATUR, TN (WRCB)- Renae Martin has spent 14 years in the classroom at Meigs Middle School, teaching sixth-graders the basics of language, writing and spelling. But next year will be different, as Mrs. Martin hits the road as one of Tennessee's 15 Rewards Ambassador Teachers.
Honored for her students' high test scores, and her own flawless evaluations, she will be assisting schools in need of a boost in neighboring Tennessee districts. Her students compliment her, using words like "enthusiastic," "energetic" and "fun." They enjoy her high-energy classroom style, which incorporates games, music and contests to encourage active learning.
She says she will miss her sixth-grade classroom next year, but is excited about the challenge of meeting new people and helping other Tennessee schools. She said after her one-year tour as a Rewards Ambassador, she has the option of returning to her classroom, or pursuing an administrative role.
Here is information about the program from the state Department of Education:
The Tennessee Department of Education announced today a new First to the Top initiative that enlists highly effective teachers from the state's top schools to share best practices and help improve student achievement across the state.
The 15 teachers named to the Reward Schools Ambassador Program each come from 2012 Reward Schools-- the top 10 percent of schools in Tennessee for performance and progress—and will work with neighboring schools in each region to improve student achievement and reduce achievement gaps.
"There are schools in Tennessee that have shown impressive growth and reached high levels of performance thanks to their effective approaches to instruction and training. We want to make sure that other schools can learn from what's working for them," said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. "It's in the best interest of Tennessee students that our schools and districts share this kind of information and knowledge. The department is doing more to facilitate opportunities to learn from each other."
The teachers named Reward School Ambassadors are:
Reward School Ambassadors—all teachers who earned an overall "5," the top score on Tennessee's teacher evaluations—were nominated by their schools and selected for this year-long, paid position through a competitive application and interview process. Reward Schools whose nominees were selected into the ambassador cohort will also receive a $20,000 grant to further their educational programming.
"The goal of the ambassador program is to provide leadership opportunities for highly effective teachers and resources to winning Reward Schools so that they can take their already impressive achievements to new heights and serve as models of success for others across the state," said Mike Koprowski, who oversees the program in the department's data division. "Through the program, we aim to leverage the talent of our top teachers, spark the development of robust partnerships between schools, and spread best practices – all of which will help increase student achievement in Tennessee."
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