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More students graduated from Metro Nashville Public Schools in 2012, according to state figures released today in the 2012 Report Card. The district’s graduation rate rose by 2.2 percentage points, up from 76.2 to 78.4 percent of students graduating in four years.

“Our goal is for every child who enrolls in our schools to earn a high school diploma,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “We are working hard across all grade levels to help students realize that goal and I am pleased to see continual improvement in our graduation rate.

“Achievement scores are up and our value-added scores compare well to state averages. We saw some improvement in our letter grades and expect more in the future.”

The percentage does not include students who require more than four years and a summer to graduate. Many students, including some English Learners and students with disabilities, need more time to complete the graduation requirements.

“As a community, we claim every graduate as a success even if students need a little more time than the state’s calculation allows,” said Register.

Metro Schools has focused on programs that allow students to learn in more personalized schools designed to fit their interests and educational needs.

Increases in the graduation rate are the result of many factors, including the success of the Academies of Nashville in zoned schools, the addition of magnet schools and specialized schools such as MNPS Virtual High School, Nashville Big Picture, Middle College High, the Academies at Old Cockrill, Hickory Hollow and Opry Mills, and the district’s data review, school improvement and support programs. Metro Schools’ employees at the middle school and elementary school levels are working to identify and address early indicators that students are at risk for dropping out.

The 2012 Report Card includes district data on the event dropout rate. The report shows an increase to 8.8 percent from the 2.3 percent reported in 2011. The state is using a new calculation to determine this rate. The district has asked the state for a list of students to cross-check against district records to develop an apples-to-apples, year-to-year comparison.

“Erin O’Hara and the data quality team at the Tennessee Department of Education have been very helpful,” added Register.

The Report Card for Metro Schools includes achievement and accountability data originally released in July. The district showed growth in achievement among all subgroups of students last year, placing the district in intermediate status - the second highest accountability category.

Under this new accountability framework, the top-performing districts are “Exemplary” while the bottom performing districts are in two “In Need of Improvement” categories; the remaining districts are in an intermediate category. Tennessee’s new accountability system replaces No Child Left Behind’s Annual Yearly Progress measures. Rather than expecting all districts to meet the same benchmarks year after year, the new system acknowledges that districts are starting from different places and rewards those that show the most growth. Under the new system, approximately 43% of districts were categorized as “In Need of Improvement” or “In Need of Subgroup Improvement.”

“These results show thousands more Metro Nashville students are performing at higher levels,” Register said. “Tennessee standards are among the highest in the country and this new accountability system is real and is holding districts to standards that are difficult, but attainable.

“The growth we have seen this year is the result of hard work, changes to instructional practice, professional development for principals and teachers, and meeting our students’ diverse needs. We want to accelerate that growth at all levels and close achievement gaps.”


Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

State Champions Galore – MNPS Total Track Domination

In all, MNPS finished the track and field season with one team state championship, 7 relay state championships, 4 individual girls state champions, and 4 individual boys state champions. MNPS was on the fast track. Here are the details.

MLK’s Girls Track Team won its third straight state championship last week. Their performance in the A/AA State Track Meet can only be described as dominating. MLK finished with 105 points, and no other team earned more than 61.

East Lit (5th) and Stratford (10th) both finished in the top 10 in A/AA.

In the AAA Girls track meet, Hillsboro finished 3rd and Antioch placed 4th in the state.

MNPS particularly dominated the Girls’ relay events, displaying the teamwork, precision and speed of champions.


  • 4x100 – MLK, State Champion

  • 4x200 – MLK, State Champion; Stratford, 2nd place

  • 4x400 – MLK, State Champion; Hume-Fogg, 3rd place

  • 4x800 – MLK, 3rd place.


  • 4x100 – Antioch State Champion

  • 4x200 – Antioch State Champion

  • 4x400 – Antioch State Champion

The Girls’ individual results reveal several state champions:


  • 100 – Berryhill, MLK, 3rd place

  • 400 – Owens , MLK, 2nd place; Rucker, East Lit, 3rd place

  • 100 Hurdles – Hagans, Maplewood, State Champion

  • 300 Hurdles – Cunningham, MLK, 3rd place

  • Long Jump – Curbeam, East Lit, State Champion

  • Triple Jump – Curbeam, East Lit, 2nd place; Butler, MLK, 3rd place

  • Discuss – Jones, Stratford, 2nd place


  • 100 – Pate, Hillsboro, State Champion

  • 200 – Pate, Hillsboro, State Champion; Jackson, Cane Ridge, 3rd place

  • 400 – Johnson, Antioch, 2nd place

  • 100 Hurdles – Eady, Hillsboro, 3rd place

  • Long Jump – Johnson, McGavock, 3rd place

The Boys state track meet was another great performance by MNPS. MLK’s boys track team placed runner-up (by less than one point), and Maplewood finished 6th.

The Boys’ individual and relay results reveal several state champions:

  • 4x100 Relay – Maplewood, State Champion

  • 4x200 – Maplewood, 3rd place

  • 4x400 – MLK, 2nd place


  • 100 – Scruggs, Stratford, 3rd place

  • 200 – Scruggs , Stratford, 3rd place

  • 800 – Klockenkemper, MLK, 2nd place; McCutcheon, Hume-Fogg, 3rd place

  • 1600 – Klockenkemper, MLK, State Champion

  • 3200 – Klockenkemper, MLK, 3rd place

  • 300 Hurdles –Wooten, MLK, State Champion

  • High Jump – Nightinggale, East Lit, State Champion

  • LongJump – Harris, Pearl-Cohn, 3rd place

  • Shot Put – Cain, Whites Creek, 3rd place


  • 800 – Prince, Antioch, State Champion

  • 110 Hurdles – Collins, Cane Ridge, 3rd place

  • Long Jump – Burns, Hillsboro, 3rd place

Congratulations to all MNPS Track & Field student-athletes.

Point Guard Signings

The North Sports Report received word that two MNPS superstar point guards will take their hoops talents to the next level. Hunters Lane point guard Billy Hughes signed with Chattanooga State and Hume-Fogg’s Will Harris signed with Maryville. Remember the point guard credo – handle it…dish it…score when you need to.

Alumni Alert

Hillwood Hilltopper tennis alumnus Brian Baker made his French Open debut with a victory on the red clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris. Let me repeat that to be sure you get it. Former Hillwood tennis ace Brian Baker is playing tennis this week in the French Open! That is grand-slam-diggity!

Cap and Gown

It was with pride that the North Sports Report witnessed several great MNPS student-athletes cross the graduation stage and turn the page to their future. We are proud of your accomplishments, and we have enjoyed watching you grow, learn and excel. The North Sports Report looks forward to including news about you in the alumni alerts.

Next Season is Upon Us

Fall sports season starts in just a few short months. Go ahead and mark your calendar to attend MNPS athletic events next year. It is a great evening of athletic entertainment, and the students will love to see you there. MNPS has the finest student-athletes in the country, and they deserve the support of great sports fans. You can make a real difference simply by being a fan.

For returning student-athletes – don’t waste your time this summer. Show up in shape and dominate the state.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Finest Student-Athletes


    There are a lot of reasons why students may not follow the traditional path to graduation. For Dylan Wright those reasons are deeply personal and tragic.

    When Dylan was a sophomore in high school, his brother was murdered. The two of them were extremely close, even starting a lawn care business together. After his brother’s death, Dylan had trouble at his Williamson County high school. He couldn’t focus and would suffer from emotional breakdowns in the middle of the day. Sometimes he would just skip school entirely, putting him far behind in his classes. After three months out of school, Dylan decided to give it another try – but not in the usual fashion.

    Dylan enrolled at The Academy at Hickory Hollow, which he heard about from a friend. At The Academy he was given the individual attention he needed to keep focused in class. He says he was treated like an adult, not “a little kid.” It was actually a lot like a college environment, where the faculty never gave up on him and pushed him to success.

    Now Dylan is graduating, applying to college, and is even a featured speaker at
    The Academy’s graduation this morning.

    Congratulations, Dylan. We’re so happy you found your place and your path to success at The Academy.


    Big congratulations and a round of applause are in order for MNPS Middle College High School seniors who will not only graduate from high school this evening, but have also earned Associate Degrees or General Education Core Certificates (earned 41 or more college credit hours) from Nashville State Community College.

    Each of these students participated in the Nashville State Community College graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

    • Kevin Goolsby – Associate of Applied Science in General Technologies and a Certificate in Computer Aided Drafting

    • Paul Porter – Associate of Science in Computer Science

    • Joy Sanders – Graduated Summa Cum Laud with an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies

    • Geneva Waynick – Graduated Summa Cum Laud with a General Education Core Certificate

    • Rosa Gomez – General Education Core Certificate

    The Middle College High School graduating class of seniors have earned 1,113 college credit hours while in high school. We’re all extremely proud of all of these students and their accomplishments.

    BONUS: Even though he's not graduating yet, we have to give a shout to Kahlud Shamsuddin. She's only a junior in high school at Middle College, but she's also been elected Student Government Association Vice President for all of Nashville State Community College. Talk about making an impact! Way to go, Kahlud!


    Chris Cotter decided early in life he wouldn’t be another statistic. He would not be “average” or accepting of the bare minimum. He would expect a lot out of himself – only the best – even if he didn’t expect much help from others.

    He moved around a lot, often changing schools in the middle of the year. Until high school, he had never stayed at one school for longer than one year, giving him precious little growing time in his classes and with friends. After suddenly losing their rented home to an unexpected sale, Chris’ family found themselves without many options. Through all of this misfortune and despite hard times, his mother stayed strong and provided for her sons. Chris was able to stay with another family, but it would not be the only time he found himself without a home. He realized then he couldn’t depend on others to help him succeed. He’d have to do it himself.

    One day while searching on the Internet, Chris found an article claiming young men in his situation would never lead successful lives, never rise above the statistics for “average black men.” He would not accept that.

    Through hard work, Chris earned a 3.5 grade point average and is graduating with honors this weekend from Hunters Lane High School. He never accepted Bs and only worked toward As – even in honors and AP classes.

    He has been accepted to Berea College in Kentucky, where he’ll study to become a math teacher. The school has offered him full scholarships for all four years, totaling $100,000.

    The young man who always has a smile, but hasn’t always had good fortune, has found his path in life. And he will soon be making a difference in the lives of young students very much like himself.

    Congratulations, Chris. We couldn’t be more proud of you.


    We have just learned End of Course (EOC) exam scores will not be available as soon as expected. This makes it impossible for us to calculate final grades and to award diplomas to any student who took an EOC this spring.

    Students who completed their EOC exams before this spring will not be affected by this delay.

    We have all been looking forward to the excitement of graduation and we will do everything we can to allow students and families to enjoy the celebration, despite this delay.

    • Students who are on track to graduate if they receive an appropriate score on an EOC may walk the stage at graduation and participate in any other graduation events.

    • When we receive the EOC scores this summer, we will calculate final grades and call families when diplomas are available to be picked up at the school office. Please make sure we have a current phone number for you so we can reach you!

    • Students may then pick up their diplomas at their high schools.

    • If a student does not pass an EOC, the student may participate in the summer extended learning program. Upon successfully completing the work and exam, students will receive their diplomas in July as part of the class of 2012.

      • Summer extended learning will be offered Monday-Friday, June 4-June 29, 8 AM to Noon, using the A+ program.

      • Classes will take place at Glencliff, McGavock and Stratford High Schools. There will be approximately 100 students per site and first priority will be given to 12th grade students who need credits to graduate in July. For more information, contact your school counselor.

    We know this is a disappointment to our families, as it is to us. We invite all our families to join in celebrating our graduates and look forward to awarding diplomas to affected students soon.


    Send your graduation and end of year celebration photos to MNPSCommunicationsOffice@mnps.org

    We want to see how our families are celebrating another successful school year and the end of an era for graduating seniors. Caps and gowns, diplomas, parties and proud, smiling parents - we want to see it all!

    Share your proudest moment with the entire MNPS community by sending your pictures to the Communications Office. We'll post them to our
    Flickr page.

    By submitting your photos, you allow Metro Nashville Public Schools to use and display them online.

    Graduation Photo

    CLICK HERE for a full graduation schedule.


    In just a few days, the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance will be heard throughout Davidson County as more than 4,000 Metro seniors receive their high school diplomas. Thousands more families, friends, neighbors, and guests of Metro Schools will join in the celebration of that accomplishment at graduation ceremonies.

    We want everyone to enjoy graduation, which is why we’ve developed a Graduation Etiquette Pledge (GEP) made up of four easy steps to an honorable, dignified, and civil ceremony.

    Guests of graduation pledge to:

    • leave air horns, whistles, fog horns and other noise makers at home;

    • allow seatmates to see the entire ceremony by not holding balloons, signs, or banners of any kind;

    • respect school and security staff present and follow requests made by them; and

    • wear appropriate clothing and behave in a manner befitting guests of Metro Schools.

    Our guests also understand that school staff may ask disruptive a guest to leave.

    Following our simple GEP, everyone can have a grand graduation and see his or her baby walk across that stage. Air horns and ten-foot signs can wait until the after party in your own backyard.

    Thank you to all of our guests and congratulations to all of our graduates!

    CLICK HERE for a full schedule of all graduation ceremonies!


    Freshman at Overton High School pledged their commitment to graduate this spring. In a special C2G (Commitment to Graduate) ceremony, the students signed a huge banner promising they will stay in school and help their peers stay in school. Throughout the year, the Class of 2015 have devoted time to writing down goals that will help them stay on track and identifying at least three people who can help support them on their journey.


    The Academy at Old Cockrill and The Academy, located at Hickory Hollow, have far exceeded expectations this school year. In less than three months, the schools have helped more than 40 students meet graduation requirements. The principals, Elaine Fahrner and Michael Flushman, recently presented about their successes at the National Dropout Prevention Network. Click here to learn more about their presentation.


    A new report released by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center shows that Tennessee must be doing something right in terms of helping students graduate from high school.

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