Rise & Shine: Why this Memphis Spanish teacher loves to teach about the evolution of the piñata

HOW I TEACH A Memphis teacher talks about how she’s using language to introduce students to a world beyond Memphis, why “uno, dos, tres” are the magic words in her classroom, and how piñatas can be a tool to encourage good behavior. Chalkbeat

HIGH STAKES It’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that. Chalkbeat

BREAKAWAY DISTRICTS Gov. Bill Haslam and the county superintendent are both skeptical of Brentwood’s possible break from Williamson County Schools. The Tennessean

BUDGET TALKS Disagreements among Shelby County Commissioners on the county budget reveal political divides, including on the funding of schools. Memphis Daily News, Chalkbeat

SCS VS ASD A parent weighs in on a disagreement between the state-run Achievement School District and Shelby County Schools over whether an ASD school can add grades. The Commercial Appeal

CLEARING THE AIR Attempting to clarify misconceptions, Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen hosts a series of meetings in Hamilton County, sharing more about her Partnership Zone proposal for turning around five of the district’s chronically underperforming schools. Times Free Press

WATER WORRIES Johnson City Schools will test water fountains at all 13 of its schools next week after learning Nashville Metro Public Schools found higher levels of lead in some of its schools last year. WJHL

REVAMP East High Transportation STEM Academy in Memphis prepares for its opening year as with a science, technology and transportation focus. Local Memphis

ALTERNATIVE ED Johnson City Schools is taking a new approach to alternative education. Johnson City Press

VIGIL Murfreesboro’s Blackman High School is planning a vigil for several students who were involved in what was reportedly a fatal automobile crash. Daily News Journal, WKRN

HIGH HONORS Jesse Brewer, a teacher at Dayspring Academy in Greenbrier, Tennessee, has been awarded a James Madison Fellowship and is the only recipient in Tennessee. The Tennessean