Area teachers presented with special Valentine's Day gifts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Area teachers presented with special Valentine's Day gifts of gratitude

(WMC-TV) - Teachers at Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary received a special Valentine's Day thank you from students and more than a dozen pastors and ministry leaders.

Giant red hearts with messages that captured "what my teacher means to me" were presented to teachers on Friday after a read-along between the ministry leaders and children.

In addition to a special luncheon, teachers also received a Certificate of Appreciation from Shepherding the Next Generation, a nonprofit organization of faith leaders that has supported the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness initiative in Memphis.

Leaders presented a report, "Teachers are turning around Memphis schools," which highlighted results of the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS).

Established in 2010, the TVAAS set specific expectations for academic improvement for all Tennessee students – but Memphis' 4th and 8th graders, in particular, are now exceeding those expectations in reading, math, social studies and science.

"These teachers enabled their students to learn at a pace that now surpasses the state's expectations for improvement in every subject," said Jackie Flaum of the Germantown United Methodist Church.

Through the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness initiative, which began in Memphis began in 2009,  unions and the school district and community leaders have worked together to define and measure effective teaching, improve the teacher hiring process, and offer better professional development opportunities to teachers.

"Our teachers are the driving force every step of the way," said George Parks Jr.  of Riverside Missionary Baptist Church.

The initiative has revised the teacher evaluation process, which has been useful for identifying teachers who may need extra support. It ensures every Memphis teacher receives detailed feedback about performance as a resource for improvement.

"The journey to excellence is a marathon of effort and faith and the absolute will to succeed," added Parks.

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