by Amanda Armstrong, Teachers and Leaders division at the Tennessee Department of Education
Students need support in seamlessly transitioning from high school to college and careers. In this first of four teacher leader action briefs, Increasing Access to Early Postsecondary Opportunities, four teacher leaders in East Tennessee share how they are taking action to expand access to and improve student outcomes in early postsecondary opportunities.
The following is an excerpt from the EPSO brief, released on Feb. 14, 2018 and written by Dr. Cerrone Foster, Kris Krautkremer, Terry L. Nickels, and Tammy Wolfe. Click here to read the complete brief.
Action 1: Partner with administrators to expand EPSO course offerings
Kris Krautkremer has firsthand experience with expanding offerings and access for her students at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport. In four years, enrollment in AP Biology at her school has increased 686 percent, from 14 students to 110 students.
“When I took over the AP Biology classes five years ago, I had a sincere conversation with my principal about our vision for increasing the number of students who are in AP and succeeding,” Krautkremer says. “Our district has the goal of increasing enrollment in EPSOs, but I needed to have a nitty-gritty discussion, one where we talked about our concerns and the challenges ahead. There were tough questions.”
Krautkremer’s school had already begun this work when she took charge of the advanced science courses. But after she and her principal talked about the situation, the principal was prepared to open the door even wider for students to enter AP Biology classes. Krautkremer adds, “My principal let students enroll past the course drop deadline, and we changed policy to make this a reality.” At Dobyns-Bennett, there were new course sections opened to make room for students who added AP Biology after the deadline. The school policy was that no one could drop AP Biology. Local funds were used to pay for AP exams for students who couldn’t afford them.
As Krautkremer says, “Change can start with one teacher, but it is so much easier when we pull together.”
With a grant from Chiefs for Change, teacher leaders across the state are partnering with the department to develop four action briefs, slated to be shared over the course of this spring, that focus on four key actions:
- Increasing Access to Early Postsecondary Opportunities (High School and Bridge to postsecondary)
- Using Inclusionary Practices for All Learners (All Means All)
- Productive Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) (Educator Support)
- Implementing K-3 Unit Starters (Early Foundations and Literacy)
Stay tuned to our blog for more information of our action briefs coming this spring!