NO LONGER AT THE BOTTOM  Here’s the list of 20 schools that Tennessee leaders say have improved enough to learn from. Chalkbeat

READ TO BE READY  One year after Tennessee launched a literacy initiative aimed at its youngest students, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen takes stock of the progress. Chalkbeat, The Tennessean

AMERICORP AT RISK  President Trump’s proposed cuts to AmeriCorps would trim .03 percent of the federal budget — and slash support at 11,000 schools across the nation, including Tennessee. Chalkbeat

TRAVEL BAN  Leaders of several hundred education nonprofits, charter school networks and other education groups sign an open letter expressing “unequivocal disagreement” with the travel ban instituted last month by President Trump.  Chalkbeat

TRANSGENDER STUDENTS  U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks publicly in support of the Trump administration’s decision to pull guidelines outlining which restrooms transgender students can use. Chalkbeat

The leader of the Tennessee Senate says he sees no need for lawmakers to debate regulations on which bathroom transgender students get to use. Nashville Public Radio

TESTING  After the botched rollout of Tennessee’s TNReady test last year, some lawmakers propose giving districts the option go with a national test instead. Nashville Public Radio

VOUCHERS  A controversial school voucher proposal being considered by state legislators could cut $18 million from the budget of Shelby County Schools if passed. WMC-TV

FIFTH GRADE  With studies showing that many parents choose to leave Nashville schools after elementary school due to safety concerns, Director Shawn Joseph considers a recommendation to move fifth grade from middle to elementary school. The Tennessean

COURAGE UNDER FIRE  A Cheatham County middle school counselor will receive a national honor for coaxing a student last fall to give up a loaded gun at her school. The Tennessean

JUST SAY NO  School resource officers in Sumner County develop a summer camp to discourage students from gang life. The Tennessean

FARM TO SCHOOL  Murfreesboro City School’s grant-funded Farm to School program has a new greenhouse to teach students about agriculture year-round. Daily News Journal

SOFT SKILLS  Some Maryville teachers are helping their students learn how to make a good first impression with a firm handshake and good eye contact. The Daily Times

IMPACT FEE  A fee on new houses begins in March in Williamson County to help fund capital projects for local schools. The Tennessean

SCHOOL PLANNING  Dickson County commissioners decline to approve funding for design work for a new middle-high school. The Tennessean

REZONING  Sumner County’s school board approves a zoning change aimed at alleviating overcrowding at one high school. The Tennessean

RIBBON CUTTING  Kingsport City Schools opens a new blended learning space to help students expand pathways to college and career. Kingsport Times-News