SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Tennessee governor Bill Haslam spent Friday in Sullivan County saying 'thank you' to teachers for all their hard work.
It all starts in the classroom, where kids begin building for their futures as soon as they walk through the door.
Students in Tennessee are making great strides according to Haslam. "We're not where we'd like to be, but to move that much in two years is extraordinary," says Governor Haslam.
Governor Haslam was at the Holston Elementary and Middle School Friday talking about the growth in education across Tennessee.
The National Assessment for Education Progress tests students every year on four subjects. "[They test] fourth grade and eighth grade reading and math," adds Haslam.
Haslam says this year Tennessee is the number one state for education growth in 2013 on the NAEP, up 22 percent from 2012.
Seventh grade math teacher Robin Jones believes the reason for the changes students are being challenged more. "They've got to work through problems and challenges. They're thinking," says Jones.
Teachers say the biggest improvement they're seeing inside the classroom is the kids' positive attitudes, because they're doing better on tests and they're excited about learning. "They don't just say, 'Oh, I can't do this,' and shut down on you. They work harder so it's very exciting and very encouraging for us," adds Jones.
Jones tells us that's what teachers strive for -- children taking pride in learning. "It's always gratifying when your kids do well on scores, not to reflect on us, but you know they're learning," says Jones,
Governor Haslam says he hopes to continue education improvements in the state and move up in rankings.