Press Releases

Feds Award TN $34.9 Million Grant for Teacher Performance Bonuses

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, Sept. 23, 2010:

NASHVILLE–The Tennessee Department of Education has been awarded a $34.9 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs. The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant will support local efforts to improve student achievement by increasing teacher and principal effectiveness.

“This grant will help us provide our students with the effective support they need and improve the overall education climate across the state,” Education Commissioner Tim Webb said. “I’m very pleased Tennessee will receive this funding over the next five years to develop and implement new performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems in high-need schools.”

These performance based reforms incorporate multiple performance measures for evaluating educators and their schools—to include student academic achievement , financial incentives and educator recognition to encourage teachers to take on additional responsibilities and leadership roles. The first year of the grant will be a planning year, allowing district and school level teams to design reform plans in conjunction with key stakeholders.

Through the grant, the department will also continue to develop and refine a comprehensive communication strategy, a fair and transparent evaluation system, performance-oriented data and information management systems, and state-of-the-art professional development and technical assistance activities.

The Teacher Incentive Fund Program seeks to strengthen the education profession by rewarding excellence, attracting educators to high-need and hard to staff areas, and providing all with the feedback and support they need to succeed. Tennessee wins the competition in partnership with more than 100 high-needs and key professional organizations, including the Tennessee Education Association, Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, and Tennessee School Boards Association.

Press Releases

TN’s Race to the Top Website Goes Live

State of Tennessee Press Release; Aug. 23, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee has launched a new First to the Top website to help keep Tennesseans informed about the state’s Race to the Top program implementation.

Located online at, the site includes Tennessee’s application and related documents, resources for educators, school systems and vendors, and details about First to the Top programs and projects. Visitors to the site can also subscribe to receive periodic updates about First to the Top implementation.

“The success of Tennessee First to the Top will depend on the involvement of educators, parents and other education stakeholders across the state and nation,” said Education Commissioner Tim Webb. “This is a four-year program that will allow us to build and implement a comprehensive roadmap for transformational reform for the entire state and the First to the Top website will be an important informational resource throughout that process.”

“Communication is key with First to the Top,” emphasized Senator Jamie Woodson, who chairs the First to the Top Advisory Council. “I’m pleased to see the website launch and view it as just one of many resources that will be utilized to inform parents, educators, community members and other stakeholders.”

View this release online at:

Visit the First to the Top website at: