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2015 Tennessee

Name:  Tennessee Department of Education
PR Award #:  H323A150011
City, State:  Nashville, TN
Project Director:  Theresa Nicholls
Project Director email:


The purpose of the Tennessee State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) project is to build on the professional development delivery systems established through our State’s prior SPDG.  We anticipate that project activities will improve academic outcomes for students with disabilities and their post-secondary opportunities as well as increase alignment between early childhood programs and the K-12 system in order to ensure that students enter Kindergarten with the academic, social, and emotional skills necessary for success.


We plan to conduct a series of in-person professional development events, supplement those trainings with continuing Communities of Practice and coaching, and extend the learning opportunities throughout the State via online modules based on the trainings.  We have reviewed literature on adult learning to identify the best methods for delivering professional development.  We plan to train approximately 4,500 general and special education teachers via a train-the-trainer model that will teach 50 coaches how to facilitate the professional development sessions.  We are partnering with the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky to conduct ongoing formative and summative assessments that will both evaluate the program overall and provide project staff with valuable input during the grant period so that we can make adjustments as needed to maximize results.