Tennessee Children’s Cabinet Creates Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Early Foundations

Seeking Nominations for Projects Supporting Tennessee School Readiness Model

The Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, co-chaired by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam, announced today it is accepting nominations for the first Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Early Foundations. These awards have been created to recognize collaborative and innovative projects that are helping Tennessee students enter the classroom prepared to learn.

“Strong economic and community development starts with our youngest citizens,” Governor Haslam said. “We are excited to create these awards to honor the community leaders and volunteers who reach across systems to help Tennessee children succeed.”  

The Tennessee School Readiness Model describes goals to help Tennessee students enter the classroom prepared to learn. It provides indicators of what communities, schools and families need to do to promote children’s early learning and development. “Readiness” is not seen solely as a condition within a child but is a condition that exists when communities, schools, and families create a nurturing environment for child development starting at birth.

“Children reach their fullest potential when they grow up in a responsive and engaging environment,” Mrs. Haslam said. “These awards allow us to celebrate organizations and individuals who are working to support those important early foundations for learning.”

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Early Foundations include three organizational award categories – Community Excellence, School Excellence and Excellence in Supporting Children and Families – and six individual innovator award categories, each sponsored by one of the Children’s Cabinet departments:

  • Excellence in Promoting Physical Activity (Department of Health)
  • Excellence in Building Resiliency (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services)
  • Excellence in Promoting Early Literacy (Department of Education)
  • Excellence in Keeping Kids Safe, Healthy, and On Track (Department of Children’s Services)
  • Excellence in Promoting Wellness (Health Care Finance and Administration/TennCare)
  • Excellence in Promoting High Quality Early Care and Education Programs (Department of Human Services)

Nomination materials and instructions can be found at http://tn.gov/earlyfoundations. All nominations must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. CST on January 15, 2016.

The awards will be presented in partnership with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth’s Children’s Advocacy Days in March 2016. 

The mission of the Children’s Cabinet is to coordinate, streamline and enhance the state’s efforts to provide needed resources and services to Tennessee’s children.  

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Early Foundations provide an opportunity for the Children’s Cabinet to raise awareness about the importance of the early childhood years and to lift up shining examples of community leadership and collaboration.