Rise & Shine: State comptroller to investigate Memphis Trezevant High School over grading scandal

Good morning and happy Monday!

We cover one big story at Chalkbeat: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education. As a nonprofit news organization, Chalkbeat relies on readers like you to help support our journalism. We invite you to be part of our end-of-year campaign here. (If you'd like your gift to support our local coverage in Tennessee, use the drop-down bar to indicate that.) Thank you, and happy reading!

— Marta W. Aldrich, bureau chief

TREZEVANT PROBE  The state comptroller agrees to investigate Trezevant High School due to a grading scandal — an inquiry that could result in criminal charges at the Memphis school. The Commercial Appeal, Local Memphis, Fox13

GRADE CHANGING  Teachers cite a pressure to pass undeserving students as one motivation behind the high rate of grade changing in some Shelby County schools. The Commercial Appeal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS  A former Tennessee Teacher of the Year is leaving her Memphis classroom to lead a citywide early literacy program. Chalkbeat

INNER-CITY RUGBY  Helped by Teach For America alumni, African-American high-school students in Memphis discover a whole new ball game. The Guardian

‘IT’S NOT OK’  Last week’s viral video showing an East Tennessee boy’s tearful plea to stop bullying reflects a statewide problem: More than 12,000 instances of bullying and harassment were reported in Tennessee schools last year. Knoxville News Sentinel

TEACHER SUPPORT  The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga joins with Hamilton County Schools to launch a mentorship and professional development program for teachers working at five high-needs priority schools. Times Free Press

RULES OF ETIQUETTE  Students at a Chattanooga middle school are treated to a unique dining experience that celebrates their school work and reinforces lessons in etiquette. Times Free Press

CONSOLIDATION PLAN  Greene County’s school board approves a $90 million consolidation plan that will include building a new 2,200-seat high school. The Greeneville Sun, WJHL

STEM STAR  Oak Ridge Schools is the first Tennessee district — and the second one in the world — to earn district-wide STEM certification from AdvancED. Oak Ridge Today

DUAL ENROLLMENT  Beginning in January, Jackson-Madison County high school students will have expanded dual enrollment opportunities through programs offered by three more regional colleges. The Jackson Sun

NO SMOKING PLEASE  A Chester County high school’s health council debuts an anti-smoking video that features students and community members. The Jackson Sun

TAX BILL  Here’s what the proposed GOP tax overhaul means for schools, students and parents. The Washington Post

OPINION: MISPLACED PRIORITIES  Academic shortcuts that may have contributed to state football championships for Memphis Trezevant High School were ultimately costly to student-athletes and the sports they play. The Commercial Appeal