Maury County, Tenn. Contains the Keys to College and Career Readiness
By Chris Marczak (@cjmarczak), superintendent, Maury County Public Schools, Tenn.
What an exciting time to be a student in Maury County, a teacher in a Maury County classroom, a principal leading innovative Keys to College and Career Readiness change in Maury County, or the fortunate soul to be the Superintendent leading strong educational entrepreneurship in the greatest county in Tennessee! Maury County Public Schools is on fire with community-based empowerment around true College and Career Readiness concepts to ensure that ALL students are Future Ready upon graduation!
Our community-created Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness ensures that we are systemically and systematically investing in the future of our county. The Keys were created with community input over a ten-week period, at over forty-six different information gathering sessions, and through collecting 9,327 individual statements about what our community felt students need to know and be able to do before graduation. We officially enacted the Keys to College and Career Readiness to make sure that 1.) all students will be reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade; 2.) all students will be able to do math on grade level by the end of 4th grade; 3.) all students will be on grade level with both English and Math by the end of 6th grade; 4.) all students will be proficient in Algebra I by the end of 8th grade; 5.) all students will meet all of ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks by graduation; 6.) all students will be financially literate by graduation; and 7.) all students will participate in either Advanced Placement courses, dual enrollment, industry certifications, work-based learning, or military preparation by graduation. Our School Board has invested in this model financially; our County Commission has invested in this model financially; and all of our schools have invested in this model educationally.
How will we work to ensure that ALL students meet all of our Seven Keys? We have deployed 96 trained, school-based coaches, in all schools, that are current practicing teachers, to implement Professional Learning Communities so that educators know how to work better together to impact high levels of learning for all students; Data coaches to work with our digital formative assessment programs to provide current and accurate data for teachers to make on-the-fly educational decisions for students; and Problem-Based Learning Coaches to adjust instruction from textbooks, worksheets, and lectures to universal activities in the classroom that mimic real-life work for adults in the 21st century. As a result of the work of implementing Problem-Based Learning, we are on the precipice of deploying school-to-home laptops to all 3rd-12th grade students to facilitate the use of the world’s online information, to digitize and personalize each students’ curriculum, and make their daily learning experiences more holistic by critically thinking, collaborating, communicating, and creating content to further their own learning.