Teaching, Empowering, Leading & Learning Survey

"A successful school has a great principal leading it and great teachers in the classroom.

We want to ensure that every Tennessee principal and educator has the tools and supportive environment necessary to be effective in the classroom and in their schools."

Governor Bill Haslam

Welcome! We are in the process of transferring all TELL information to our  new 2013 TELL site.  The process should be completed shortly, and viewers may access all of the needed materials for the upcoming  2013 survey by clicking here. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you!

Congratulations, Tennessee educators! Thanks to you, the first statewide TELL Tennessee Survey was a tremendous success. Over 57,000 educators, representing 77% of the state's educators, completed the survey. 1,594 of the state’s 1,745 schools now have their own data to use for school improvement planning purposes.

With the 2012-2013 school year starting, there are some new resources available to educators in Tennessee:

  • Lessons from Tennessee’s Exemplary Schools - The New Teacher Center selected ten schools across Tennessee- based on educator response to the TELL Tennessee Survey as well as other criteria such as poverty, size, urbanicity, student growth, etc., for in-depth analysis, interviews and studies. Click here to read more about these schools and the findings.
  • Training and Professional Development - NTC developed a series of three-day training to assist schools in incorporating their 2011 TELL Tennessee data into school improvement plans. Click here to view the site.

Please be sure to check this website in the coming months for information about the upcoming 2013 TELL Tennessee survey!

About the 2011 TELL Tennessee survey:

As part of Tennessee’s First to the Top initiative, the TELL Tennessee Survey, Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning, will be administered in the spring of both 2011 and 2013.

The state’s education leaders want to ensure that every Tennessee educator has the supportive environment necessary to help students achieve at the highest levels. The TELL Tennessee Survey is an opportunity for every educator to "TELL Tennessee" if they have positive teaching and learning conditions, which research has shown to be important to student achievement and teacher retention.

A coalition of partners was convened in the fall of 2010 to design TELL Tennessee, which will capture the perceptions of all school-based licensed educators about learning conditions through an anonymous process. By documenting and analyzing how educators view critical teaching and learning conditions, this initiative focuses on providing each Tennessee school with its own data that can become a part of the on-going improvement planning processes in Tennessee's First to the Top program.

Dr. Timothy R. Setterlund

“Tennessee is poised to become a national leader in education. With the support of our state government, the resources available through the Race to the Top funding, and most importantly the determination, dedication, and ingenuity of our teachers, Tennessee will be the first to the top emerging as the national model for excellence in learning. Measuring the current status of learning conditions, resources and support in Tennessee is critical for the development of models for improving the school environment so that teachers can better help their students learn.“

Dr. Timothy R. Setterlund, Principal
2011 Tennessee Principal of the Year
Collierville High School
Collierville, Tennessee

Dr. Cheryl Deaton

“The Tennessee TELL Survey represents the first coordinated state-wide effort to gather information about conditions which affect teaching and learning conditions in our state's schools. TELL represents the beginning of a systematic and on-going process for improving conditions in all schools across Tennessee. TELL recognizes the importance of teacher experience and perceptions in understanding how school conditions play a role in improving teaching and learning. I want to vigorously encourage all teachers to anonymously express their perceptions about the conditions which influence both the teaching and learning climate in schools across our state so that we may help all students in Tennessee "Reach the Top." Remember TELL: Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning is what teachers do everyday in our efforts to create a better tomorrow for students in our state and across our nation.“

Dr. Cheryl Deaton
2011 Tennessee Teacher of the Year

Gera Summerford

“TELL Tennessee provides an unprecedented opportunity and a powerful tool for teachers and other licensed staff to share their perceptions of the teaching and learning conditions in their schools. The data generated will prove invaluable to individual schools, school districts and state-level policymakers.
“I urge every teacher to complete the survey and TELL Tennessee what's happening in your school. When you participate, we can all benefit from the results.“

Gera Summerford
President, Tennessee Education Association


The TELL Tennessee Survey was open February and March 2011. All responses were anonymous and confidential. Educators had the opportunity to go online and provide their perceptions on the critical issues of time, empowerment, leadership, facilities and resources, student conduct, community engagement, professional development, and mentoring/induction programs.

The initial data will be available in 2011 for schools and districts to use in identifying strengths and recognizing areas in need of improvement. TELL Tennessee partners believe the results will help place educators' experiences and perceptions at the center of school, district, and state efforts to improve education in Tennessee.

Members of the TELL Tennessee Coalition of Partners include:

Bill Haslam
Patrick Smith
Acting Commissioner, TN Department of Education
Gera Summerford
President, Tennessee Education Association
Janice Womble
Tennessee Principals Study Council
Brad Smith
Executive Director, Tennessee State
Collaborative of Reforming Education (SCORE)
Tammy Grissom
Tennessee School Boards Association
Dan Lawson
Tennessee Association of School Superintendents
Debra Owens
Chief LEA Support and Improvement Officer
Tennessee Department of Education
Barry Olhausen
Great Teachers and Leaders
Tennessee Department of Education
Matt Throckmorton
Tennessee Charter Schools Association