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Seven Metro high school students (who like to get their hands dirty) are taking on prestigious leadership roles in Nashville's volunteer community.

Hands on Nashville has named ten high school students to it's Urban Agriculture Fellowship program and seven of them come from Metro Schools!

After a highly competitive application process last fall, ten outstanding young people were selected to serve as the inaugural class of Urban Agriculture Fellows. These inspiring students have already proven themselves to be real rock stars, having completed an intense two-day training session over the winter break. Throughout the spring, they will attend monthly workshops here at HON that will help them acquire the project development, volunteer management, public speaking, and organizational skills needed to become effective community leaders.

Students selected for this honor are:

  • Audaris Blades – Glencliff High School

  • Chloe Vaccaro – MLK Magnet High School

  • Daniel Pannock – University School of Nashville

  • Janie Liu – MLK Magnet High School

  • Lydea Adkins – Nashville School of the Arts

  • Michael Ding – MLK Magnet High School

  • Natalie Beck – Brentwood High School

  • Nick Dietrich – MLK Magnet High School

  • Rachel West – Brentwood High School

  • Sara Shaghaghi – MLK Magnet High School

READ MORE about these students and the Hands on Nashville Urban Agriculture Program.


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

I Saw the Light

Friday was one of those days…the horrific tragedy in Connecticut …unspeakable terror…dominated the news, monopolized our thought, exponentially multiplied our fears, and left each of us searching for elusive answers. Social media constantly reiterated the questions – Where did we go so wrong? Why would someone inflict such horror? What in his background would make him act in such a way? How can such evil exist? Why?


With that backdrop, I planned to attend a high school basketball game as I do every Friday evening. This week, I was heading to Green Hills for the Hillsboro Burros’ showdown with the Hunters Lane Warriors. It would be my first chance to see Burros star Jamonte Davis, a 6-7 (or 6-8 depending on which recruiting service you subscribe to) forward whose complete game, including mastery of the lost art of the mid-range jump shot, has catapulted him to national recognition as a college prospect. I knew he would be tested by Hunters Lane’s scrappy, tenacious zone defense.

My daughter, home from college, accompanied me to the game, an unexpected and particularly heartwarming treat considering the events of the day. She warned that she might not pay too much attention to the game because she concentrates on and enjoys the spectacle that surrounds the actual game. True enough…and I responded that I try to notice things other people overlook and provide a different perspective through the North Sports Report. Sitting together, we watched the game in our own ways, occasionally sharing our unique commentary.

During a break in the action, late in the game, the Hillsboro cheerleaders tossed souvenirs into the crowd. You know the routine…cheerleaders throwing little basketballs and rubber bracelets all along the sideline, and every fan standing, hoping to catch a keepsake. Just like every fan at a baseball game wants to catch a foul ball, everyone in the gym wants to catch some cheerleader-thrown gift. Did I stand and wave, encouraging a toss toward me? Of course I did. Did any souvenirs land within my reach? Of course not. So, we sat back down as action resumed on the court.

Then it happened.

A Hillsboro student, sitting three people down from me, leaned over and tapped my arm. As I turned, she handed me a rubber Hillsboro souvenir bracelet the cheerleaders had thrown into the crowd. What? I had never met the young lady, and she didn’t know me from the man in the moon. What makes a high school student give a gift to a stranger? Why so nice to me? How can such grace and beauty exist? Who gets the credit…her parents? …a teacher? Where did we go so right?

I have no answers, but the cynical veil of despair was lifted. A bright light… I swear I saw a bright light…shone down on that child like a spotlight. Or, was it shining up, emanating from her kind heart? Looking around the gym, I saw light shining on everyone. I could actually see the beauty and grace in every spectator, shining through like a beacon of hope to the world. Was her light of kindness contagious, or were my eyes simply opened to the light of kindness that shines from all those around me?

I still have no answers, and that light doesn’t change the past or hide the horrors of tragedy. It does, however, expose the hope for healing and for the future.

As the New Year approaches, may we open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us; and more importantly, shine our own light of grace, beauty and kindness in whatever small way we can.

Oh, and Go to a Game!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Hope for the Future


Our students' voices will be heard loud and clear... on TV, in movie theaters, in the newspaper, wrapped around city buses and more.

They'll tell the whole city how the Academies of Nashville have impacted them and share their success stories. The ads are designed to encourage students and families to explore their high school options and find the right path for them.

It's an amazing outreach effort, fully paid for and produced by the Ford Motor Company Fund and other amazing Academy partners:

  • The James Stephen Turner Family Foundation

  • The Memorial Foundation

  • Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

  • HCA

  • IBM

  • Bridgestone Firestone

  • Belmont University

  • CMT

  • Caterpillar Financial Services

  • Trevecca Nazarene University

  • The Southwestern Company

  • Rogers Group, Inc.

  • ESA

  • ACE Mentor Program of Greater Nashville, Inc.

  • Hiscall, Inc.

  • LP Corp.

  • Permanent General

We want to give a HUGE thanks to these partners for their generous donations of time and money. Because of them, we'll see these ads all over town!


The Nashville Public Library Foundation invites all Davidson County High School students (ages 13-18) to submit a very short story in honor of the 2012 Nashville Public Library Literary Award recipient, Margaret Atwood.

About the contest

Students are asked to write an original and creative story of no less than 5 and no more than 10 sentences inspired by Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or this photo:

The Handmaid's Tale

Three finalists and the winner will be honored at the Literary Award Public Reading on October 27. One winner will receive the grand prize of a Kindle and $50 Amazon gift card. Finalist stories will be published on the Nashville Public Library Foundation website.

 View complete rules and entry guidelines.

Entries will be accepted

September 20 – October 4, 2012

Entries may be submitted online



Mail one printed copy of submission to:

Nashville Public Library Foundation

Essay Contest

615 Church Street

Nashville, TN 37219

Handwritten entries will not be considered. Finalists will be notified beforehand. Winners will be announced at the NPLF Literary Award Public Reading on Saturday, October 27. Contact Stephanie.Koehler@nplf.org with questions.


You may have heard about and executive order from President Obama that will stop deportations of young people under certain conditions.


This executive order means many people will need to access school documents demonstrating they have graduated from high school or are currently enrolled.

  • If you plan to apply for President Obama’s immigration Deferred Action program, please remember that as of now there is no established deadline to apply.

  • We are working hard and have brought in additional staff (3 full-time employees, plus 5 temps and others cycling in from other departments) to handle student record requests.

  • We have also brought in additional equipment to help review the micro film and print transcripts.

  • Even with these additional resources, please understand each request takes 30 to 90 minutes to process. Therefore, please allow 10 business days before each request is completed. With the unprecedented volume we are not able to respond to requests any faster.

  • Records from students who were in school within 3 years should go to their most recent school of record.

  • Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we are working very hard to fill all record requests within 10 business days.


To find out exactly what you need to do to request deferred action, visit the Conexión Américas website.

You may have heard about and executive order from President Obama that will stop deportations of young people under certain conditions.

This executive order means many people will need to access school documents demonstrating they have graduated from high school or are currently enrolled.

How to Request Student & Graduate Records

If the student is currently enrolled or graduated within the last three years (in 2010, 2011 and 2012), the records are at the Metro Nashville high school from which the student graduated.

If the student graduated prior to 2010, the records must be retrieved. The student must complete a Records Request Form found at this link:
http://www.mnps.org/Page58540.aspx. The fee for this request is $3.

Who is eligible for deferred action under this new directive?

Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012, memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:

  1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;

  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;

  3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

  5. Not be above the age of 30.

Individuals must also complete a background check and, for those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must be 15 years old or older.

More information from the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition


There's a big change happening this summer in the district's Technology Services, and it's getting some national press.

The Metro Schools Technology & Information Services (TIS) team is moving to provide email accounts to all employees and students using Microsoft's Office 365 platform. This means transitioning away from the Metro government email system that was used in the past, a move that will reduce the district’s cost for email services while also addressing storage, security and information sharing needs. Employees will keep their current email addresses and existing emails will transfer to the new platform.

Office 365 for education is a new platform just made available this summer. Metro Schools is one of the first institutions to take it on, which garnered us a mention in a blog post last month.

From GettingSmart.com:

Eighty thousand students will switch from Google to the Microsoft solution while 9,500 faculty and staff will be moving to the cloud from on-premises solutions, saving the district $400,000 annually in IT services costs.


“It’s important we have a consistent toolset across the district so people can work together effectively. With Office 365 everything from the features and functions in the applications to the way the toolbars look exactly the same no matter where or how it’s being accessed, helps improve both teacher and student productivity,” said John Williams, executive director, Technology and Information Services, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. “This consistency, combined with the collaboration capabilities of Office 365, will be essential in supporting the blended learning environment we’re striving for across our district.”

Read the full article on GettingSmart.com


This transition will allow a seamless method for communication and collaboration throughout the district. Additionally, the district will be poised to meet the increasing demand for mobility, conferencing, social media, file-sharing and file storage.

Thanks, TIS for all you do to serve Metro Schools employees and students!


Metro Schools are officially closed for Winter Break! The Central Office will be open throughout the break, with the exception of Dec. 22, 23, 26, and Jan. 2. All classes will resume Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Have a great break, and we'll see you in the new year!


Have your say in how your children are taught by giving us feedback on the new textbooks up for adoption.

MNPS is looking to adopt new textbooks for literature, fine arts, and career & technical education. Once adopted, they will be purchased and used for six years. They will all be on display throughout December and January for your review. Details are below:


Parents, teachers and the community are invited to view textbooks Metro Nashville Public Schools is considering adopting for literature, fine arts and Career & Technical Education courses. Books may be viewed daily; a feedback form will be available. The books selected will be used for six years.


Weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Friday, Dec. 9 through January 20, 2012. Limited hours December 19 through 21, 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Closed December 22, 2011 through January 2, 2012.


Cohn Adult Learning Center, Room 100, 4805 Park Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209

Parking is suggested on the street closest to the corner of Elkins Avenue and 49th Street. Enter through the door facing Elkins closest to 49th or the door on 49th closest to Elkins. Room 100 is just inside.


MNPS students do not report to school Oct. 17 - 21. The Central Office will remain open throughout the week. Classes Monday, Oct. 24.

We hope you have a great Fall Break!


Our students are on the air!

You may have caught them on TV or heard them playing on the radio during Tennessee Titans games. A new series of commercials spotlights high school students and their experiences in The Academies of Nashville. Check them out!

CLICK HERE to listen to the radio ad

The students are very excited to be featured, but even more excited about the opportunities offered through their high school Academies. Check out what our high schools have to offer over on the Academies of Nashville page. For even more student stories - written by the students themselves - check out MyAcademyBlog.com!

These ads were put together with the help of Ford Next Generation Learning and put on the air as part of a local Ford dealer advertising buy. 

For more information on Ford Next Generation Learning, you can visit their website or Facebook page. They have been a continue to be a key partner for the Academies of Nashville.

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