It’s not often a teacher makes such great strides in the classroom it grabs the attention of the governor.
Warren County resident Jon Simmons has that distinction after a recent meeting with Gov. Bill Haslam to discuss how he helped his students to a more than 50 percent increase in their math and reading scores on the latest TCAP test.
“He wanted to know where our success came from and it came from a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours,” said Simmons of his meeting with Gov. Haslam and state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “It took parental support with parents really getting on board this program. It took support from my colleagues, and it took support from the kids, who decided it was time to turn this around and figure out how we could do better.”
Simmons is a Warren County High School and MTSU graduate. When he finished college, he was offered a job at Black Fox Elementary in Murfreesboro and has taught there ever since, a total of 15 years.
While teaching in Murfreesboro, he resides in the Lucky community with his wife, Karyn, and their three children, Sadie, Sadler and Syler.
Simmons, a sixth-grade teacher, said his push to improve test scores came because Black Fox Elementary was listed by the state as a target school. In order to improve math scores, Simmons convinced his students to forgo their recess time to stay in and study.
“I made it up to them at the end of the year after the test,” said Simmons. “But they deserve the credit because they put in hard work and long hours.”
Simmons says it was that hard work which was key to improving scores, not any educational gimmick.
“It takes the whole community to make a difference,” said Simmons. “Everybody has to want to improve, the parents, the students and the teachers. I’m more excited about this year because we have the entire year to work with. Last year, we were really doing it on just half a year.”