P-16 is the shorthand term for a student-focused, comprehensive and integrated system that links all education levels from preschool (P) through post-secondary. It is a powerful framework for citizens and policymakers to use to improve teaching and learning and thus better prepare students for living, learning, and working in a changing world.

State P-16 Council   

A public/private partnership, evolved from the Tennessee Commission on Higher education in March of 2003, to focus on key education improvement initiatives including promotion of the link between public awareness and an educated citizenry and a healthy economy. The work of the Tennessee P-16 Council will improve student achievement by getting children off to a good start raising academic standards, conducting appropriate assessments, improving teacher quality, and smoothing student transitions.

Regional P-16 Council

Tennessee Community Colleges were asked to coordinate and develop regional councils for their service areas to help implement the state’s education improvement initiatives. Walters State Community College developed the Mid-East Regional P-16 council which became the state’s first recognized regional council in November 2004 and includes Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Sevier, and Union counties.

Local P-16 Council

Local Councils were formed and raise the education bar. Through a community partnerships efforts local councils were formed to look at tough issues facing education and promote collaboration, commitment and trust to advocate educational excellence.

State P-16 Council Goals

Improve student learning at all levels and strengthen the connections between Pre K-12 and higher education. Ensure that all students have access to competent, caring and qualified teachers, and Increase public awareness of the link between an educated citizenry and a healthy economy

Mid-East Regional P-16 Council Goals

Increase public awareness of the link between an educated citizenry and a healthy economy Strengthen connections and smooth transitions between Pre K-12 and higher education to improve student learning at all levels Promote access to competent, caring and qualified teachers in grades P-16.


Local Member Councils






Steps to P-16 Council Development


Phase 1

Identify Convener: Identify community organization that is willing to assume the role of convener.

Identify Facilitator: Secure neutral party with experience in developing collaborative partnerships. (Volunteer or paid position)

Identify Leadership: Identify key stakeholders, expectations, and timeline for a Steering Committee.

Invitation: Contact key stakeholders personally to discuss P-16 concept. Mail letters of invitation and agreement to key stakeholders to review, sign, and return. Agreement needs to advise stakeholders of their responsibilities and that two participants per organization are required to ensure continuity.

Organization: Convener and facilitator set site, date and time for initial meeting. Welcome letter is sent to participants introducing facilitator. Facilitator follows up with a phone call and an e-mail soliciting stakeholder input prior to initial steering committee meeting. Convener and facilitator develop agenda and notebook for initial meeting.  

Initial Meeting: Convener welcomes committee members, outlines state and regional guidelines and purpose for P-16 effort. Facilitator shares input from stakeholders and conducts meeting. Collectively group creates a meeting schedule and a timeline for development of vision, mission, goals and timed objectives to align with those of the state and region. Between meetings facilitator continues to solicit input from stakeholders through personal interviews, e-mails and phone calls.

Phase 2

Local P-16 development process The vision, mission, goals and timed objectives, for initial process are develop through a consensus building process directed by the facilitator. In addition, a financial plan, a potential membership list, P-16 Council meeting schedule, committee structure and participant responsibilities need to be created.  Once process is completed the steering committee can apply for recognition by the State Council. Having an organizational and financial support system in place for the first year will assist in building a more organized and effective effort. 
Adopt and utilize Template for Action.

Phase 3

P-16 Recognition: Upon state recognition, letters of invitation and agreement are extended to potential participants. Invitations are followed by phone calls to potential participants to illicit support and commitment. Steering committee sets time, place and agenda for initial Local P-16 meeting. 
Petition for Recognition of Local P-16 Council.

Initial Local P-16 Council Meeting: The local vision, mission and goals developed by the Steering Committee are presented at the initial meeting. Co-leaders present initial organizational structure and outline committees’ purposes and areas of work. (Areas of work could include: students, educators, strategic sustainment and community collaboration committees.) Council participants select areas of work that their organization will support through active committee membership and vote on meeting schedule for year. Structure, sustainment and flexibility of organization are discussed. Input of members is vital to continuation of process.


Convener and co-leaders

  • Funds could possibly be raised or committed to hire a coordinator to assist leadership in scheduling committee meetings, tracking details, taking and sending out meeting minutes, surveys, reminders and communicating on a regular basis with all P-16 Council members.
  • Strategic Plan: The facilitator and Convener assist co-leaders in developing a strategic plan for first year operations and future development.

Local P-16 Council Members:

  • Attendance: Must meet attendance requirement for Council and committee meetings.
  • Organization: Be involved in growth and support of organization.

P-16 Council Guidelines:






Walters State Community College · 500 South Davy Crockett Parkway · Morristown, TN 37813-6899
Phone: (423) 585-2600 · Toll Free: (800) 225-4770 · Contact Walters State