Education commissioner visits local high schools to hear from students

HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. — The state’s commissioner of education made her way across West Tennessee on Wednesday to visit local high schools.

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 11.26.03 AMHaywood High School students had a different start to their day with a visit from Dr. Candice McQueen.

“Having all the students at the school, just getting to talk about how Haywood High School is to a state official, that was very nice,” senior Adara Donald said.

The morning started off with a roundtable with the education commissioner, discussing issues such as racial tension, bullying and plans for their future.

“As a senior I’m heading to college soon, so being able to discuss where we all plan on going and how prepared are we for that was very nice,” Donald said. “Being able to discuss how Haywood High School has helped us reach our levels to be able to prepare for college — I really enjoyed that.”

McQueen said she has been to more than 90 school districts across the state, visiting more than 10,000 students and teachers. She said this year’s Classroom Chronicles Tour’s goal is to help get students to secondary education.

“I wanted to spend more time with high school students as we think about building our strategy to align to Tennessee Promise, and to make sure that our students have the opportunity to access the opportunities that are in front of them,” McQueen said.

McQueen said she is focusing on feedback from the students this year. She said opportunities like internships and dual credit are harder to access in rural counties like Haywood County.

“And our rural communities experience that deficit at a lot higher rate than our larger communities, and so how can the state actually be a partner in ensuring that our students will have those opportunities across the state,” she said.

The commissioner also visited Chester County High School Wednesday afternoon before making her way to Memphis.

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