During its annual convention each year, the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) offers an award to a board of education that has an innovative and successful program operating within its district. The 2019 Award for Excellence in Education Program winner is the Oak Ridge’s “The Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness.” The district developed seven keys to college and career readiness for their students. The Board and Superintendent felt that by improving the college and career readiness of all of their students would provide them with a better foundation of knowledge and skills that would allow the students to be prepared for a more technologically sophisticated and internationally competitive working world.
The district has a collective commitment to these Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness, beginning as soon as our students enter our doorways. The first 3 Keys focus on math and reading proficiency. Key 4 centers on meeting ACT benchmarks on the 8th grade Aspire test. Keys 5-7 focus on college and career readiness, emphasizing financial literacy, ACT scores, and our ultimate Key 7, which ensures that every student graduates with some form of early postsecondary credential such as dual enrollment credit, Advanced Placement (AP) coursework, industry certification, military preparedness, and or work-based learning.
In addition to these academic skills, Oak Ridge Schools are committed to STEM-based learning, including the essential elements of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. These are commonly called “The 4 Cs” and are widely recognized as workplace skills that increase productivity and accountability.