TN First Lady, Education Commissioner McQueen visit area schools

ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) – Tennessee’s First Lady Crissy Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen visited some local schools in the Tri-Cities area Tuesday, where they observed teachers interacting with students, as well as spoke to children about their experience with the TNReady tests.

Haslam and McQueen visited classrooms at West Side Elementary School in Elizabethton and asked students how their teachers were helping them learn.

Haslam said it was special for her to see educators teaching their students.

“I do get into the schools and I read a lot to the kids, and I talk about the importance of reading and reading 20 minutes a day as a minimum. But I don’t get a lot of time to see the teachers in action,” Haslam said. “So that’s what has been so special for me today.”

They are encouraging parents and educators around the state to emphasize the importance of reading to their children.

“Keep doing the work to move all of our students to become readers,” McQueen said. “It is a predictor of whether students go further into completing high school. It is a predictor of post-secondary readiness. It’s a predictor of whether students go into a successful career field.”

This was an opportunity for Haslam and McQueen to see how reading is being taught first-hand in a Northeast Tennessee classroom.

McQueen also held a roundtable with educators from schools in Elizabethton, hoping to hear what is working and what is not working in schools as they focus on reading.

“We worked a lot on what we’re calling the ‘what.’ What are the standards, what are the expectations?” McQueen said. “And now we are working as a state on ‘how.’ How do you go deeper, how do you implement? So, to see those practices in the classroom that we’ve been talking about for the last year are very rewarding.”

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