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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


    Metro Schools brought home three honors at the Parthenon Education Awards this month.

    • Parthenon Teacher of the Year - Nancy Ives, Charlotte Park Elementary School

    • Parthenon Student of the Year - Mitchell Mielnik - John Early Museum Magnet Middle School

    • Parthenon School of the Year - Hillwood High School

    School of the Year is not an annual award and Hillwood is only the second school to receive this honor. The photo below shows Parthenon Education Director DeeGee Lester presenting the Parthenon School of the Year Award to Daniel Shelton, student representative for Hillwood’s Academy of Art, Design and Communications.

    Parthenon School of the Year Award


    The Avery Give Back to Schools™ campaign has launched, marking the third year the office supply company has given back to schools, students, educators and communities throughout the United States. Schools are selected to win through an online voting process.

    May 7th – September 14th 2012, communities, students, families and school supporters (ages 18 and older) can vote for their local K-8 school at http://www.avery.com/giveback.

    Avery is expanding the 2012 campaign to award 40 schools with much-needed educational resources and offering cash benefits through Avery’s partnership in Box Tops for Education®.

    This year, Avery will award the top 35 schools with the most online votes in a tier-based structure:

    • The top five schools with the most online public votes will each receive $10,000 worth of Avery office products and school supplies of their selection, 25,000 Bonus Box Tops coupons (redeemable for cash by schools) and ten $100 gift cards to be split among the teachers for purchase of additional classroom supplies; the school with the most votes overall will receive an in-school donation presentation.

    • The next 25 schools with the most votes will each receive 10,000 Bonus Box Tops coupons (redeemable for cash by schools).

    • 10 randomly selected schools with over 100 votes will be awarded 5,000 bonus Box Tops.

    Head to the Avery website and vote!


    Latino high school juniors across America can apply to the Youth Awards program presented for the 15th year by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF). The 2012 Youth Awards applications are available at www.hispanicheritage.org and must be postmarked no later than Friday, July 6, 2012. William Levy, who is the official spokesperson for the 2012 Youth Awards, will be part of a national public awareness campaign in both English and Spanish.

    Much more information available on the Hispanic Heritage website.

    Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards


    Lakeview Elementary Junior Docents at the Hermitage


    Students in the Teaching as a Profession course offered through the Academy of Teaching and Service at Antioch High School gained valuable “real world” teaching experiences during the 2011-2012 school year. In partnership with The Hermitage, these students created lesson plans related to Andrew Jackson and the Jacksonian era. The students taught various lessons to Mr. Ben Oldham’s fourth grade class at Lakeview Elementary Design Center over the course of several weeks. As a culminating event to celebrate their hard work and achievement, the fourth graders were able to use what they had learn and perform as junior docents at The Hermitage on May 14, 2012.

    Teaching as a Profession is a dual credit course (meaning it can be taken for college credit) designed to capture the interest of secondary students as potential teachers, introduce students to teaching as a profession, and foster respect for the teaching profession. Students gain knowledge and skills that will enable them to establish a foundation for a successful pathway to a teaching career. The course at Antioch High School is taught by Patricia A. Deas and is also offered at Whites Creek High School.



    The Cole Elementary 4th Grade Chorus received Superior ratings and the Highest overall score in the Elementary Division at the 3rd Annual Beech Bend Band and Choral Festival held in Bowling Green, KY.

    The 25 member chorus, chaperones, and director Bill Laarz enjoyed many hours playing in the park together, traveling and finally bringing home 2 trophies to celebrate with the entire school. Principal Chad High and Vice Principal Dr. Natalyn Gibbs were both excited with how well the Chorus represented the school, the community and MNPS.


    Public-private partnership will make the Metro Schools program the nation’s best

    Laurie SchellAfter a nationwide search, Metro Nashville Public Schools has selected the inaugural director of the Music Makes Us education project, Laurie Tobian Schell, who has 25 years of experience as an arts education advocate and leader.

    “When school starts August 1, we will also start a new era in music education for Metro Schools,” said Dr. Jesse Register, director of schools. “Laurie Schell brings expertise in both the education and arts policy arenas as well as a passion for music. It’s evident she cares deeply about the success of all our students.”

    Schell joins Metro Schools from California, where she served as the executive director of the California Alliance for Arts Education, a statewide policy and advocacy organization, from 2001 – 2011. She garnered a national reputation for innovative, effective leadership for her role in securing $105 million for ongoing state funding for arts education for all 6 million California students in 2006. Most recently, she has worked as founding principal of Laurie Schell Associates, providing consulting services and issue expertise to nonprofits with a focus on the arts and K-12 education.

    She holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Stanford University and a master of arts in liberal studies in dance from Wesleyan University.

    “Music Makes Us will transform music education in our city, and Nashville is fortunate to have an innovative leader like Laurie Schell shape this important program,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “She has been a champion in making arts and music a core part of every child’s education in California, and I welcome to Music City her proven ability to work with educators and music industry professionals.”

    Music Makes Us: The Nashville Music Education Project is a public/private partnership among Metro Schools, Mayor Karl Dean, the Music City Music Council, and music industry leaders in Nashville. The initiative will move Metro Schools beyond a traditional performance-based music curriculum to an expanded curriculum that includes diverse music genres. New classes in composition, rock band and hip-hop performance will be added, while traditional music curriculum in band, orchestra and choir will be enhanced.

    “It is exciting to see the Music Makes Us initiative take shape,” said Nancy Shapiro, vice president of member services for The Recording Academy and an early advocate for Music Makes Us. “Laurie’s hiring is another step toward our goal of making Nashville’s music education program the best in the nation.”

    The initiative is under the overall direction of Jay Steele, associate superintendent of high schools, with a community advisory board to be appointed by Mayor Dean and Dr. Register. The staff also includes Dr. Nola Jones, music coordinator, and long-time Metro Schools educator Carol Crittenden. Schell will begin her duties June 15.

    About Music Makes Us

    Music Makes Us is a new approach to music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools that focuses on enhancing the traditional music curriculum and adding a contemporary curriculum track that uses new technologies and reflects a diverse musical landscape. Reaching 79,000 students in Metro Public Schools, Music Makes Us pledges to make Nashville the worldwide leader in music education. The initiative was announced in 2011 as a partnership among Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and the Music City Music Council.


    On May 21, 2012 when Metro Nashville Fire Department decided to evacuate the Parthenon Towers located at 301 28th Avenue North Nashville, Tennessee 37203, the Metro Schools Transportation Department was called upon to assist. The following Transportation employees went to the aid of the residents.

    • Ms. Carol Bayless, Exceptional Education Driver

    • Ms. Jackie Bazzell, Exceptional Education Driver

    • Ms. Sandra Burton, Exceptional Education Transportation Manager

    • Mr. Dennis Cantrell, Senior Mechanic

    • Ms. Arlinda Clark, General Education Driver

    • Ms. Tracey DeMoss, Special Services Coordinator

    • Mr. Dewayne Ferrell, Shop Foreman

    • Mr. Bill Fryer, Exceptional Education Driver

    • Ms. Barbara Hudson, Field Supervisor for Hillwood Cluster

    • Ms. Donna Jones, Exceptional Education Driver

    • Ms. Anita Lewis, General Education Driver

    • Ms. Tamara Mitchell, Field Supervisor for Hillsboro Cluster

    • Ms. Angela Renz, Field Supervisor for Pearl Cohn Cluster

    • Ms. Irene Richardson, General Education Driver

    • Mr. Ronnie Wilson, Mechanic

    These dedicated employees worked into the early hours of the morning and into the following day providing transportation services to the displaced residents.

    We love our transportation employees! This is not the first time they've assisted in needed evacuations. They were also on cal during the 2010 flood bringing people all over the city to safety.

    It's just one of the countless ways they impact Nashville every day on the job (and even way, way after hours). Great job!


    Metro Schools will mail elementary students’ report cards to their home address this year. To ensure everyone receives a report card, it is very important for families who may have moved to check with their child’s school to make sure their home address is listed correctly.

    The report cards are not available at schools today due to an unexpected problem with grade calculations by the grading software. Metro Schools’ Information Technology staff worked through the night with the Gradespeed software vendor to identify and resolve the problem. Those efforts will continue today.

    Online grades available to parents do not appear to be affected.

    While the district has used Gradespeed effectively for a number of years to generate report cards for middle and high school, this is the first time to use the product to generate elementary report cards.

    The middle and high school report cards are not affected and will be mailed as usual.


    Expect a few phone calls from us this summer. When you answer there will be the familiar recorded greeting “Good evening, Metro Schools families.” What comes after may determine whether or not your child can attend school next year.

    When school starts Wed., August 1, 2012, any student entering the seventh grade must have an updated Tennessee Immunization Certificate showing a recent tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) booster and verification of immunity to varicella (chicken pox). Without it, students will not be allowed to attend school.

    That’s why we’re urging everyone to take care of these requirements now, not later. Have your child vaccinated and give the updated certificate to your school before summer break starts. It’s easier for everyone and takes another item off your summer to-do list.

    The Metro Public Health Department offers immunizations required for school each Monday through Friday at its three Health Centers. Health officials emphasize that children with insurance coverage should visit their own healthcare provider for these shots, along with an added benefit of getting an annual well child physical exam. Tell your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and church groups. Send it to your neighborhood list-serv. Announce it at your next PTA meeting. It’s important information for the entire community.

    Go to your family doctor or one of the three Public Health Centers to make arrangements for your child to receive these immunizations. Then when the phone rings with our friendly reminder, you can go on with your evening. For full information about required immunizations and where you can get them, call your child’s healthcare provider or visit the Metro Public Health Department website:


    Donna WilburnThe first day of school is always special, but for Cane Ridge Elementary School students, August 1, 2012, will be particularly memorable. It is not only the first day of class for Metro Nashville Public Schools, but also the first day of operations for Cane Ridge Elementary. Veteran educator Donna Wilburn, who will be the school’s first principal, will start work even before then to prepare for the school’s 700 students.

    “Students never forget their elementary school teachers and principals because they provide the foundation for children’s academic achievement and personal development,” said Brenda Steele, associate superintendent for elementary schools. “I know Mrs. Wilburn will be a great principal for Cane Ridge Elementary and will give Cane Ridge students a solid foundation for middle school success.”

    Wilburn currently serves as principal of Bellshire Elementary Design Center. She began her career in the Hardeman County School District and also served as a teacher in Memphis City Schools. Prior to becoming principal at Bellshire, she taught third grade at Amqui Elementary School and served as a first grade teacher, reading specialist and assistant principal at J.E. Moss Elementary.

    She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Tennessee at Martin, a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Memphis, and an educational specialist degree from Tennessee State University.

    Cane Ridge Elementary School, located at 3884 Asheford Trace 37013, is included in the district’s proposed 2012-13 operating budget at an incremental cost of more than $1.1 million. Teachers and students will move from other schools to Cane Ridge Elementary’s 45 classrooms in 90,000 square feet. The budget request must be approved by Metro Council.

    In addition, the proposed capital spending plan includes funds to acquire land for another elementary and middle school in the area because of enrollment growth. Projected enrollment in the Cane Ridge and Antioch clusters for the 2012-13 school year is about 2900 students more than five years earlier; an additional 1900 students are expected by 2016.


    Melva Stricklin

    Congratulations to Melva Stricklin, principal at Stanford Montessori Elementary Design Center, recently named the #1 Elementary Principal in Middle Tennessee by the Education Consumers Foundation!

    Ms. Stricklin was chosen according to the growth made by students at Stanford.

    From the Education Consumers Foundation:

    Education reformers have made teacher quality a top concern in Tennessee and elsewhere – and rightly so. But without the support of a great principal, working quietly behind the scenes to create the conditions for success, even the best teachers will inevitably be limited in what they can accomplish in the classroom. The Education Consumers Foundation is, therefore, proud to recognize the achievements of 18 principals from across the state through its annual Value-Added Achievement Awards.

    “These 18 principals show what a dedicated principal and teaching force can achieve in Tennessee schools,” noted ECF President Dr. J. E. Stone. “If every school performed at the level of our 18 winners, Tennessee would lead the nation in educational improvement.”

    According to Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman, “I am pleased to join with the Education Consumers Foundation in recognizing some of our most effective principals and schools,” Huffman said. “Value-added achievement is a central focus as we work to boost student achievement across the state, and these education leaders are shining examples of what’s possible in Tennessee.”


    Three Hume-Fogg students are organizing a great benefit concert with all proceeds being donated to UNICEF.

    There will be a wide range of performers including bands such as Peter and the Tinseys, Joey and the Indian Wonders, and HFA's Silver Jazz sax quartet; dancing, from traditional Indian dance to hip-hop dance; and covers like Celine Dion's Aun Existe Amor, Beatles songs, and Edward Sharpe's Home by extremely talented singers!

    Come support these great artists and also donate to a great cause.

    Friday, May 25th

    Baha'i Center

    1556 Bell Rd, Nashville, TN 37211

    Dinner starts at 6:30 pm.

    Performance starts at 7:30.

    Tickets are $3; dinner not included.


    Music education is getting a big bookst at Lakeview & Oliver thanks to an influx of cash from the Nashville Singers.

    These schools have been awarded the
    Music Makes a Difference Education Grant. It will fund a new chorus program at Oliver and help fund music classes at Lakeview.

    From Oliver's Choral Music Teacher Franklin Willis:

    The Oliver Middle School community advocates in the importance of music education in students' lives. Receiving this award not only serves as monetary gain to fund the new chorus program, but motivation to meet the challenge of engaging students in finding their own voice through music. It is truly an honor to be a recipient of the Nashville Singer's Music Makes a Difference Grant. I look forward to future collaborations with the Nashville Singers and the Oliver Middle School Chorus.
    Nashville Singers started the Music Makes a Difference Education Grant to help support music education in our schools and the community. The program is designed to provide financial assistance to school music programs serving “at risk” youth.


    Maplewood High School Unit TN-933 was one of 80 units to receive the 2011-2012 Air Force Junior ROTC Distinguished Unit Award with Merit. This award recognizes Air Force Junior ROTC units that have performed above normal expectations and have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the Air Force Junior ROTC mission of producing better citizens for America.

    Cadets completed more than 500 hours of community service including “The Get Motivated” Seminar, Veteran’s Wreath Laying Ceremony, Veterans’ Day Parade, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Congressman Cooper’s Academy Day, GNASBE, United Way’s McGruder Playground Groundbreaking Ceremony, the Mayor’s Field Day, and most recently, the Department of Defense Small Business Conference.

    The objectives of the Junior ROTC program are to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship and life skills, promote community service, instill responsibility, character, and self-discipline through character education.


    After more than 15 weeks of rehearsals and performances at their own schools, Metro students took the stage at TPAC's Andrew Jackson Hall to showcase their adaptations of three classic Disney musicals.

    Before an audience of parents, teachers, administrators, and folks from the community, students performed excerpts from The Jungle Book, Aladdin, and 101 Dalmations.

    Glengarry, Hattie Cotton, Hull-Jackson, Kirkpatrick, and Percy Priest Elementary Schools took part in the Disney Musicals in Schools program carried out with strong cooperation from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. This is the first time this program has been available outside of New York City. The expansion to MNPS is a pilot program leading up to a rollout in school systems nationwide.

    And you can expect to see more of this in Nashville next year. Disney has awarded the city of $75,000 after-school "creativity grant" which will allow more students to perform more Disney musicals next year.

    Great job, students! And thank you, Disney!


    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!


    You may have heard a lot about Common Core Standards recently. They represent a huge shift in how subjects are taught across all grades. Here in Metro Schools we started implementing Common Core in middle schools some time ago, and now some of those first educators to use the curriculum will help train others in our district.

    The Houghton Mifflin Lead and Learn Organization, led by nationally recognized Doug Reeves, has approved 25 MNPS educators as certified trainers for middle school Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.

    SEE a list of the certified trainers in Metro Schools.

    These trainers have gone through a rigorous preparation process, concluding with a juried presentation evaluated by Lead and Learn consultants according to a challenging performance rubric. These 25 educators are now licensed to train middle school English language arts and mathematics educators within Metro Schools using the exclusive research based materials developed by the Reeves' organization, and will have access to all future materials, research, and resources to use with our educators in MNPS.

    This is not only a huge honor for these teachers, but a big boost to the implementation of Common Core in MNPS. We now have many more in-house resources for training, information, and research in this major shift in educational curriculum. Great work!


    Lt Col Martha Shaffer has been selected as the 2012 Outstanding Instructor Award with Merit (OIAM) winner for AFJROTC!

    Those selected represent the top 10% of all officer and NCO instructors. She was selected for her exemplary dedication to the corps, Maplewood High School, and the community, as well as her exemplification of the Core Values (Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence) each and every day. She was also selected for her continuing dedication to developing "Better Citizens for America", exceptional classroom management, outstanding instruction, and leadership to over 100 students, completing over 500 community hours for the 2011-2012 academic term. This dedication to the corps earned her unit the Distinguished Unit Award with Merit for the 2011-2012 school year.


    Cole and Kirkpatrick Elementary Schools participated in the first-ever debate championship May 10, at the Estes Kefauver Building in downtown. The debates were held in federal courtrooms, with five teams from each school debating. Each school’s debate team consisted of 4th grade students with one 3rd grader.

    The topic of the debate was “Parents should not be held legally responsible for their children’s poor choices.” Kirkpatrick argued the affirmative and Cole the negative. Kirkpatrick Elementary took home first and second place and Cole placed third. This was only the second debate between these two schools. This was the first year for each team of elementary students, coaches and principals.

    Congratulations to both teams!


    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.


    Dan Mills Kindergartener Julia S. and her parents recently set up a lemonade and cookie stand at their home to raise money for the Dan Mills library book fund. The Schencks raised $650! Julia presented a check to the Dan Mills librarian Starra Withers during the morning announcements on Wednesday, May 9.

    Dan Mills Lemonade Fundraising Dan Mills Lemonade Fundraising


    Mayor Dean at Harris-Hillman

    Mayor Karl Dean joined Harris Hillman families, friends and staff for the dedication of the new Wiggle Room Therapy Facility at Harris Hillman School.

    The Wiggle Room is an environmental support that supplies an opportunity for students with performance exceptionalities to address academic goals. It uses movement and body input to help prepare students for learning readiness while also challenging the student in appropriate IEP goals. It is implemented using a integrated team approach and plans are individualized for each student to help promote successful engagement.

    Funded by the
    Shelby Foundation, an organization that has been extremely dedicated to the students and growth of Harris-Hillman School since 2006. Since its inception, the Shelby foundation has raised more than $318,000 for much needed projects at the school!


    Do you know...

    • What your child will do this summer? (Metro Parks/Others)

    • What are your school options? (Student Assignment Office)

    • How to keep your child safe in the community and in social media, including electronic resources for students and parents?

    • What new standards your child will be required to master next year? (Information on new Standards)

    • What school immunizations are required? (Metro Health/MNPS)

    • What will be the Metro Planning updates for our community? (Metro’s Planning Dept)

    • How to plan for your child’s education? (Katie Morgan, EdSouth)

    If you are looking for answers to these questions and more, specialists will be available to give you answers.

    Antioch Middle School

    5050 Blue Hole Road

    Thursday, May 17th

    6:00 p.m.


    Made weekend plans yet? Don't bother! We know what you'll be doing.

    Grammy nominated mariachi star José Hernàndez is giving a FREE performance at Glencliff High School this Friday night! He'll be joined by the Veterans Juvenil de America Mariachi Band from Rio Grande City, Texas.

    It's all a fundraiser for the Music Makes Us Mariachi program kicking off next year. This new program will bring middle and high school students into the world of mariachi, practicing and performing in school ensembles. Donations will be accepted at this free concert event.

    This is a wonderful opportunity to not only enjoy a free concert, but to support a budding music program that could change the lives of young students. Don't miss it!!

    La música nos hace Mariachi

    Music Makes Us Mariachi Concert






    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!


    Congratulations to you and your student who is about to finish 6th grade! There is one last requirement before your student can begin 7th grade.

    Students currently enrolled in a Tennessee school and entering the 7th grade in August 2012 must provide the school an updated Tennessee Immunization Certificate with proof of two additional immunizations:

    1. Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster (“Tdap”):not required if a Td booster dose given less than 5 years before 7th grade entry is recorded on the DTaP/Td line

    2. Verification of immunity to varicella; (2 doses or history of disease)

    The Metro Public Health Department and Metro Nashville Public Schools encourage you to get these immunizations NOW to avoid long waits in clinics and doctor’s offices. Below are some suggestions of places to get your child immunized before school begins:

    1. Your private health care provider

    2. The Metro Public Health Department (addresses below)

    Lentz Public Health Center

    311 23rd Avenue North

    Nashville, TN 37203

    (615) 340-5616

    Walk-In Hours

    East Public Health Center

    1015 East Trinity Lane

    Nashville, TN 37216

    (615) 862-7916

    Walk-In Hours

    Woodbine Public Health Center

    224 Oriel Avenue

    Nashville, TN 37210

    (615) 862-7940

    Walk-In Hours


    The law requires parents provide an updated immunization certificate to the school before the student can start 7th grade. You will only need to have proof of the two additional immunizations mentioned above on the updated immunization certificate. You can turn in the certificate to your child’s school as soon as you have it completed.

    For more information you may contact:

    Metro Public Health Dept.

    Immunization Program


    Metro Schools Customer Service Center


    Remember 2-4-7:

    2 Immunizations

    Be 4 my student

    Can start 7th grade

    To view in Spanish, click here.


    On May 11, 2012, McGavock High biology teacher Nae'Shara Neal is hosting the Second Annual Science Symposium.

    This is a competition between high school students and includes a variety of science projects from Overton, Hume Fogg, and McGavock High Schools. The students invited to the symposium are all part of a
    National Science Foundation Grant called GK12.

    These are original science research projects completed by Nashville high school students with the help of “real” scientist mentors. There will be no vinegar/baking soda volcanos. The mentors participating in this program practice in a number of different scientific fields. The students have used the scientific method to investigate their projects and have worked with their science mentors for the last 7 months.

    The Middle Tennessee area is one of only two such National Science Foundation programs currently in place in Tennessee schools. This symposium will showcase the hard work of the students, teachers, and their science mentors.

    Students will be at the competition from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at McGavock High School. Feel free to stop by at your convenience!


    After a nationwide search for outstanding educators, Metro Nashville Public Schools Innovation Cluster has selected school principals, called iLeaders. Four are new to their schools and six are veterans; all are charged with leading dramatic improvement at Innovation Cluster schools.

    • Bailey STEM Magnet Middle - Dr. Christian Sawyer (New)

    • Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elementary - Michelle McVicker (New)

    • Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary - Jahi Rohrer (New)

    • John Early Museum Magnet Middle - Risè Pope (New)

    • Napier Enhanced Option Elementary - Dr. Ronald Powe (Returning)

    • Gra-Mar Middle - Dr. Antoinette Williams (Returning)

    • Margaret Allen Middle - Dr. Dorothy Gunn (Returning)

    • Cameron Middle - Chris Hames (Returning)

    • Jere Baxter Middle - Dr. Corey Walker (Returning)

    • Brick Church Middle - Chirelle Jefferson (Returning)

    Learn more about the Innovation Cluster on its website.

    What are iLeaders?

    “iLeaders are an elite group of educators committed to transforming Innovation Cluster schools into exceptional schools,” said Alan Coverstone, director of Innovation Schools. “These iLeaders will analyze data and implement strategies to improve student achievement at each school. We want rapid results and will work with teachers, students, parents and the community to achieve them.”

    Who are our new iLeaders?

    McVicker is a product of Metro Schools as a member of the first graduating class of Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. She began her teaching career at Norman Binkley Elementary and then moved to Bordeaux Elementary where she taught sixth grade until becoming the outreach manager for Nashville Public Television. In 2004, she joined Rutherford County Schools as school technology specialist. In 2007, she became an assistant principal in Murfreesboro City Schools, splitting her time between Hobgood Elementary: A NASA Explorer School and The Discovery School. During her tenure, both schools have been recognized for student achievement. Hobgood is 13th in the state and second in Middle Tennessee for improving student achievement in Education Consumers Foundation rankings.

    McVicker earned an associate’s degree from Columbia State Community College and a bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb University, both in elementary education. She holds a master’s degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University and the Ed. S. from Tennessee Technological University.

    Rohrer has five years’ experience in school leadership in New York, the British West Indies, and Washington, D.C. He joined DC Prep in 2010 as an instructional coach and became executive principal of the school’s Benning Elementary Campus in 2011. Previously, he was regional director of Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School, also in Washington. In the British West Indies, he was the principal of the Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute. He began his career as a Teach For America Corps member in New York where he was a semi-finalist for the New York Sue Lehmann Award for teaching effectiveness. He has four years of elementary teaching experience.

    Rohrer holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, a master’s degree in elementary education from Pace University, and has completed the Principal Leadership Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also earned the M.Ed. He is the first African-American to win the overall title at the United State Alpine Skiing Junior Olympic Championship and was on the U.S. Olympic Development Ski Team.

    Sawyer returns to Metro Schools from Louisiana where he worked to integrate 21st century learning technology into classrooms. He taught at Hillsboro High School and served as "Teacher in Residence" at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education, where he taught in the Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools program. He has been an instructor of Geopolitics at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and an Atlantik-Bruecke Fellow studying German-American relations with the Tennessee Department of Education. He was named 2006 National Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the National Council for the Social Studies and the 2006 Tennessee Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year. In 2008, he received both the Tennessee Distinguished Educator honor and Nashville’s "Educator Award" from the Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities.

    He has written and edited curriculum, including books on Human Geography. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the honors program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

    Learn more about the Office of Innovation.

    Metro Nashville’s Innovation Cluster schools are “priority” schools in the bottom 5 percent of Tennessee’s schools based on proficiency rates in math, reading, and science. Under the new statewide accountability system, these schools must improve student achievement at twice the rate of the rest of the district to remain under district governance.


    Hume-Fogg Magnet High School has been selected by the College Board and Cambridge International Examinations as one of only 20 schools in the world to pilot the new AP® | Cambridge Capstone Program and Credential program. This rigorous new program, which was designed to equip students with knowledge and skills that are increasingly valued by colleges and necessary for life in an interconnected world, combines the in-depth subject matter offered through AP courses and exams with the interdisciplinary global seminar curricula and the assessment of research projects and presentations offered by University of Cambridge International Examinations.

    The pilot program, which will determine how the AP | Cambridge Capstone Program and Credential can best be implemented across the range of schools that AP serves, will begin this fall. Hume-Fogg Magnet was selected as a pilot school based on a number of factors including Advanced Placement® participation and performance, and a commitment to providing equitable access to AP for all academically prepared and motivated students.

    The College Board and University of Cambridge International Examinations created the AP | Cambridge Capstone Program based on feedback from colleges and universities requesting that high school students develop stronger backgrounds in independent research, collaborative teamwork, and 21st-century knowledge and skills now essential for success on college campuses and in today’s global marketplace.

    “The students from Hume-Fogg who participate in the AP | Cambridge Capstone Program will be engaged in some of the most challenging issues facing our world today,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of Advanced Placement and College Readiness for the College Board. “With its concentration on research methodology, global issues and challenges, and team collaboration, this program will enable motivated high school students to take their advanced studies to the next level.”


    Three students from the Academy at Hickory Hollow have racked up big scholarship dollars from the Simon Youth Foundation, to the tune of $28,000 each!

    Lance Dowling, Clinton Ekwuazi, and Simone Ross-Thompson were awarded the scholarships during the Opry Mills Mall grand re-opening celebration on Saturday, May 5.

    SYF established the Community Scholarship to meet the financial needs of students in communities that host Simon® shopping centers. The goal of the Foundation is to apply a holistic approach to the educational experiences of our youth. Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of financial need, academic record, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, statement of goals and aspirations, and an outside appraisal. The Academy at Hickory Hollow relocated from Opry Mills after the May 2010 floods that submerged the Opryland area, but still receives great support from SYF. The Academy at Opry Mills, will re-open this fall.

    Lance Dowling is a May 2012 graduate, who will be attending Middle Tennessee State University to study sports medicine. Clinton Ekwuazi, also a May 2012 graduate, has been accepted to Middle Tennessee State University and waiting on a response from Austin Peay State University. Simone Ross-Thompson, a December 2011 graduate, has been accepted to Tennessee State University.


    Adam Taylor, Biology teacher at Overton High School, has been busy chatting on twitter with other Metro teachers. Taylor has created the "#scistuchat" hashtag on Twitter, where he coordinates a technology conference in the summers to raise awareness for learning technologies. He also leads professional development in his school to help more teachers become comfortable with teaching with technology.

    Taylor was recently featured in The Scientific Muse for his work with Twitter in the classroom.
    Check out his interview here.

    Great job, Mr. Taylor!


    School for Science & Math at Vanderbilt


    Twenty‐six students from thirteen area middle schools have been selected for the School for Science and Math Class of 2016. Students were selected on the basis of test scores, grades, personal essays, teacher recommendations, and in‐person interviews. These students are the sixth class to begin the program.

    SSMV allows students to spend one full day per week studying with scientists and experts at Vanderbilt all through high school. Find out more on


    the School's website.


    See the full 2016 Class.


    Common Core Coaches
    Front Row: Debra Jenson, Kimberly Osborne, Jennifer Norton, Keri Davis, Lauryn Crabtree Back Row: Lisa Baranoski, Darcie Finch, Ernestine Saville-Brock (math coordinator), David Williams

    The Tennessee Department of Education is putting the work of the Common Core transition into the hands of those who know best - a few of Metro's top teachers!

    As Tennessee gears up to implement the Common Core State Standards in grades 3-8 math next school year, more than 200 teachers from across the state will spend their summer as Core Coaches, helping colleagues in their districts navigate the transition to the rigorous standards.

    “This is an exciting moment for Tennessee as we take the important concepts of the Common Core State Standards directly to classroom teachers where they will have the biggest impact for children,” said Emily Barton, assistant commissioner for curriculum and instruction for the Tennessee Department of Education.

    More than 400 teachers applied to be Core Coaches, and the 205 chosen state-wide went through a rigorous application process. Kicking off the transition process to new standards and assessments, they will now spend the spring training to lead sessions this summer for more than 11,000 teachers across the state.


    Our very good friends at the Simon Youth Foundation want to give Nashville students a chance at $5,000 for college just for telling their own stories of perseverance.

    Simon Youth is sponsoring the contest to mark the reopening of Opry Mills Mall after the historic flood of 2012 - and the upcoming relaunch of The Academy at Opry Mills.

    All you have to do to win is write an essay with the theme "Back in a Big Way: My Personal Story of Perseverance." It's open to all current Metro students who are juniors in high school. You must also be in good academic standing and have plans to enroll in college full-time. The deadline is June 1, 2012.

    Full details, including where to enter, are in the flyer below.

    Simon Youth Essay Contest



    One and all were invited to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Hume-Fogg Academic High at its Centennial Block Party!

    There were games, food, performances galore, and two brand new flavors of Hume-Fogg ice cream developed by Jenny Piper of the Pied Piper Creamery. Music was provided by the winners of the 2012 Battle of the Bands, the HFA Jazz Combo, the HFA Gospel Choir, and the HFA Steppers. Headliners were The Co., which includes 2004 alumnus Troy Akers. There was also an historical exhibit of HFA memorabilia from the last 100 years displayed in the front hallway and recognition of Alumni outside at the stage.


    Carmon Brown, Debbie Booker to lead new Metro Schools

    Two innovative Metro Nashville Public Schools will open August 1 with veteran educators at the helm. Carmon Brown will lead the Academy of Opry Mills and Debbie Booker the new Bridge School. Brown and Booker are currently assistant principals at Antioch High School.

    “Carmon Brown will be a strong leader for the Academy at Opry Mills. He has worked with high school students for 20 years and understands how the Academy can help students overcome obstacles and earn a high school diploma,” said Jay Steele, associate superintendent for high schools. The original Academy at Opry Mills was displaced by the historic May 2010 flood. With support from the Simon Youth Foundation, the Academy will return to Opry Mills August 1 for the 2012-13 school year.

    “Debbie Booker has worked in high schools and middle schools and, most recently, has been the principal of Antioch’s ninth grade academy,” added Steele. “She is very well qualified to serve as principal for the new Bridge School, which will help struggling students in grades 8 to 10 get back on track academically before they continue to high school.”

    Brown has public and private school experience, having taught at Brentwood Academy and Friendship Christian School in addition to teaching social studies at Brentwood, Maplewood and Hunters Lane high schools. From 2004-11, he was an assistant principal at Hillsboro High School where, among other duties, he helped implement the Academies of Nashville small learning communities program. He also served as International Baccalaureate principal when the school received its Middle Years Programme authorization. Brown earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from David Lipscomb University.

    Booker currently serves as the principal of the Academy of Hospitality at Antioch High. Previously, she taught mathematics at McGavock High and chaired the mathematics departments at Lake Taylor High and Booker T. Washington High, both in Norfolk, Virginia. She began her career teaching mathematics to military dependents at Ft. Irwin Middle School in Ft. Irwin, Calif. Booker holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in education from Alabama A&M University and the Ed. S. degree in administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

    Billy Fellman, who was previously announced as the principal of the Academy at Opry Mills, will instead lead the Academy at Hickory Hollow. That position opened when the current principal decided to move out of state.

    Metro Nashville Public Schools is earning a national reputation as the district’s graduation rate has climbed, the annual dropout rate has nosedived and community involvement in schools has accelerated since Jesse Register, Ed.D., became the director of schools in 2009.


    This school year hasn’t closed out yet, but the first day of next school year will be here before you know it! So where will your child be going to school on August 1st?

    Enrollment confirmation letters are in the mail and headed to your house. They state very clearly which school your child will attend in 2012-13. Every student in Metro Schools will receive one.

    Here’s the important part: if the letter is correct, you do not need to do anything. If the letter is not correct, you must correct it and return it to the Customer Service Center by May 22. You may do this by mail or in person.

    I think that’s worth repeating.

    If your child’s enrollment letter is correct, do nothing and enjoy the school year!

    If your child’s enrollment letter is wrong, correct it and return it to the Customer Service Center by May 22. The corrected letter must be mailed or delivered in person. Faxes, phone calls, and emails will not be accepted.

    The Customer Service Center is located at 2601 Bransford Avenue, 37204. It is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

    Now that that business is out of the way, I’ll take a moment to wish everyone a happy and successful end of the year!

    And don't forget school starts August 1st!


    It’s not a science fair. It’s a STEM Fair, the first of its kind in our city, and it’s changing the face of Nashville.

    Metro Nashville Public School students compete against one another individually and in teams using videos, presentations, and on-site demonstrations to see which of their projects has the best potential to improve the city.

    Don’t come expecting to find science fair stand-bys like plaster volcanoes and three-panel display boards. The Metro Schools STEM Competition is a district-wide high school event. Students have worked with Nashville’s top STEM professionals to share their ideas, investigations and recommendations to “Change the Face of Nashville.” At the competition, individuals and teams will use videos, presentations, and on-site demonstrations to showcase the project with the best potential to improve the city in any of five categories: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, STEM Career.

    Stratford STEM Magnet High School will host this inaugural competition on May 16.

    More information about registering to compete and other contest details
    can be found here. The deadline to register is Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

    Stratford STEM Logo


    When it comes to growth from year to year, Meigs is number one!

    The magnet middle school was recently named the top performer in all of Tennessee when looking at growth in testing scores over a three-year period. The Education Consumers Foundation has been analyzing TVAAS data in its 'Tennessee Project' to find out just how effective our schools are.

    As parent David Kern said, "This speaks volumes about the hard-working teachers at Meigs and even more about the strong leadership."

    Congratulations to the students, faculty, and families at Meigs!


    Big congratulations are due to three Metro high schoolers who are so determined to go to college they just received a combine $60,000 in scholarships from Dell Computers!

    Brandon P. and Escarlet E., both of McGavock, and Dustin Binkley of Maplewood were all named 2012
    Dell Scholars. The Dell Scholars program honors students who have a strong determination to succeed and great academic potential.

    That's exactly why Brandon, Escarlet, and Dustin participate in the
    AVID program at their schools. AVID stands for 'Advancement via Individual Determination' and is designed for students who have a determination to graduate and attend college. AVID students work on their own and with tutors to learn study skills, leadership skills, test taking skills, organization skills, career opportunities, and time management as well as many other strategies for success in high school, college, careers, and life.

    It took a lot of hard work to get where they are, and we say congratulations to all three of them. You are all stellar students!

    P.S. - If Dustin's name looks familiar, it's because he was also the winner of this year's
    Hume Award for athletic sportsmanship and academic achievement AND he played on Maplewood's near-championship football team. What a year this guy's had!


    National Merit Scholarship

    It's one of the top national awards a high school student can receive, and Metro students earned three of them!

    The National Merit Scholarship is given to students who have "the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies." Narrowed from a starting group of 1.5 million students (!) down to 15,000 finalists, just 2,500 Merit Scholars are chosen nationwide.

    Three of our graduating seniors will receive honors and $2,500 to be used at the university of their choice.

    • Hui C. of MLK Magnet

    • Austin P. of Hume-Fogg Magnet

    • Jaron R. of Hume-Fogg Magnet

    What an honor!


    In his May 1 State of Metro Address, Mayor Karl Dean announced his proposal to fund $100 million in capital needs for Metro Schools. That would go a long, long way toward helping a number of our schools and communities with needs identified in our Capital Master Plan for 2012-13.

    If the Metro Council approves the proposed budget, major projects expected to be funded include:

    • $20 million in renovations at aging Stratford High School

    • A new gym for Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High

    • Purchasing land for new elementary and middle schools in southeast Davidson County

    • Purchasing land adjacent to Julia Green Elementary

    • Renovations and/or expansions at

      • Rose Park Middle

      • Joelton Middle

      • Antioch Middle

      • Oliver Middle

      • AZ Kelley Elementary

      • John Early Middle

      • Norman Binkley

    Those are all schools and areas that need attention, but as some of our families have pointed out, they’re not the only ones.

    Here in Nashville, the average age of our public school buildings is 42 years old. Sometimes a school is aged and needs renovation. Sometimes it needs to be expanded. And sometimes it’s just not built to support the level of technology or specific programs we need.

    Our total capital funding needs for 2012-13 as listed in the Six-year Capital Master Plan come to $185 million. We didn’t expect to get the full amount and we won’t. So how do we decide which projects will be funded?

    Short answer: they’re prioritized.

    Long answer: All buildings are assessed in a process done by a company outside of MNPS using a software tool that objectively looks at more than 30 components of each building and assigns it a score. District officials then put together a plan based on the needs of existing schools and projected needs for new schools.

    The whole idea is to take any one person or group’s point of view out of this decision-making process. It’s done objectively and independently.

    And keep in mind capital needs doesn’t just mean buildings. It also means any equipment expected to last for ten years or more, like school buses and technology, and access improvements for people with disabilities.

    It’s been two years since Metro Schools received any capital funding and $100 million will go a long way toward improving the district’s infrastructure and our schools. There will always be more to be done – after all, nothing ever stops aging – but we’d be thrilled to receive such an investment.


    Last year we spent $674 million educating more than 79,000 students. Every year that number goes up – and not necessarily because we want it to. Inflation hits individuals and organizations alike. We have to pay more for many of the same services we receive year to year.

    For 2012-13, the Board of Education has approved a budget increase of more than $48 million over the 2011-12 budget.

    So where would it all go? Let’s take a look.

    Monday we saw how people are the biggest expense in Metro Schools. Yesterday we looked at a plan that will pay teachers more and help recruit the best new teachers available.

    Today we give you a plan to replicate some of the success we've already had in graduating more students and preventing drop outs. And we need your help to make it happen.


    We already mentioned the new Cane Ridge Elementary School. That’s an area that needs a new school and will get one no matter what. But we also need new schools for those students who may need a little extra help or a second chance.

    No one wants a student to drop out of school. We want every child who enters our schools to leave with a high school diploma. One way in which we’ve made huge strides toward making this happen is with our Academy schools. The Academy at Old Cockrill and the Academy at Hickory Hollow are terrific schools for students who need another option for earning their diploma. They opened three years ago and have since graduated 1,000 students. And they do it at a fraction of the cost of a traditional high school. It’s one reason for the significant rise in our high school graduation rates.

    They have been so successful, in fact, that we’d like to open another one. Opry Mills was the original home of the Academy at Hickory Hollow, but the school had to move after the May 2010 flood destroyed the mall. Now that the mall is back open, we’ve been invited to reopen the Academy at Opry Mills. We know a third Academy will turn out as many graduates as the other two. But it requires more teachers, an investment in technology, and supplies. And all of that costs money.

    WATCH a news report on Academy successes

    Another step in fighting the dropout rate is catching students early, before they get to high school. That’s the idea behind the new Nashville Bridge School proposed in this budget. Bridge would be a place for middle school students who are over aged and under credited, which are warning signs of dropping out. These students would attend Bridge until they get back on track academically.

    These are proven strategies to boost the graduation rate. And they’ll do it for less money than traditional schools: $2.1 million. That takes our total increases up to $47.5 million.




    SEE the approved budget proposal in its entirety.


    Where does the other million in expenses go? Several smaller increases are listed below:

    • Match for Teacher Incentive Fund Grant: $292,000

    • Increase in contract with New Teacher Project: $261,000

    • Increase in contracts for Health Services for school nurses (Red Cross, Metro Health, & Vanderbilt): $398,000

    • Hiring more school translators: $117,400

    • Hiring more parent outreach translators: $165,000

    • Making up for funds in a now-expired grant for Smaller Learning Communities: $198,800

    • Music Makes Us, the collaboration among Mayor Dean, the district and private supporters to improve music education: $540,900

    • Staffing adjustments in various departments: $1,783,000

    There are also savings!

    • Staff savings (including changes to pension, FICA savings, and new hires replacing higher paid retirees): $3,632,000

    • Not purchasing new literature textbooks (they must be further studied for compatibility with Common Core Standards): $2,000,000

    And when it’s all added together it comes out like this:

    • NEEDED CHANGES: $39,401,200

    • PROPOSED CHANGES: $9,484,300

    • TOTAL ADDITIONAL FUNDS: $48,885,500






    How can the district get the funding needed? You are the answer. We need your public show of support for fully funding Metro Schools.

    Mayor Dean has presented his full budget proposal for Metro Nashville to the Metro Council. In June the Metro Council will vote on a final budget, including funding for schools.

    Call and email your Council Member and the five at-large Council Members and ask them to vote for the Mayor’s budget for schools.

    List of Metro Council Members

    Metro Nashville’s public schools are making strides. Support full funding for education, so schools can continue the journey to success.










    High school students got a crash course in running a business from Junior Achievement and a team of business professionals acting as mentors.

    Teams from Antioch, Cane Ridge, Glencliff, Hillwood, McGavock, and Maplewood took part in the JA Titan Business Challenge presented by Catepillar Financial. The team from Cane Ridge came out on top, besting teams from Metro schools and some from out of county. McGavock was close behind in second.

    Congratulations to all who took part!

    JA Titan Business Challenge

    From a full Junior Achievement press release:

    Nashville—On a typical business day in April, 20 companies sold products, developed product innovations, analyzed financial reports, implemented marketing plans and donated to charity. However, these companies were anything but typical—they were run by high school students and all business was performed virtually.

    On April 24th, 60 students from eight different high schools in three Middle Tennessee counties competed in the JA Titan Business Challenge presented by Caterpillar Financial and hosted by Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee (JA). In teams of 3, 20 student-led companies vied to become the most successful company.

    Student participants hailed from Antioch High School, Cane Ridge High School, Glencliff High School, Hillwood High School, McGavock High School, and Maplewood High School in Davidson County; Pope John Paul II High School in Sumner County; and Mt. Juliet High School in Wilson County.

    Cane Ridge High School took first place in the JA Titan Business Challenge. McGavock High School placed second and Pope John Paul II High School finished third. Teams scored points based on business strategy and overall company performance.

    Prior to the event, students received the 7-session, JA Titan classroom-based program which introduces critical economics and management decisions through an interactive computer simulation and was taught by volunteers from Caterpillar Financial and FirstBank. Only the top team from each classroom was invited to compete in the JA Titan Business Challenge.

    The winning team from Cane Ridge was mentored by Ritzon Fernandez of Caterpillar Financial Services, who taught the program in the classroom and then coached the students through their decision-making during the competition. He explained, “The JA Titan game is extremely intricate, from basics such as setting price, to deciding on capital expenditures, to monitoring the cost of holding inventory. You don’t realize how much the students have learned in such a short time until you watch them go in with a business strategy, make these complex decisions, and then continuously adjust their strategy according to their competition.”

    Most of the students received the program through a business management or marketing class at school. Teacher Amanda Davoli of Antioch High School said she provides the JA Titan program to her students because “it is a natural fit with the business principles students are already learning” in her classroom.

    “The JA Titan Business Challenge allows students to put together all the components of running a business and helps them understand how all these aspects combine to make a business successful,” said Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee President Trent Klingensmith. “Not only does the JA Titan Business Challenge give students a chance to learn and interact with each other in a fun environment, it also gives a competitive advantage because they have a better understanding of how a business operates before they enter the workforce.”

    Students agreed that the JA Titan experience will be helpful to them in the future. Kelsea Sullivan, a student at Cane Ridge High School, wants to major in business in college. She said, “The lessons I learned in class through JA Titan were applied in a business setting in the competition. I was really applying my learning.”

    Rina Dervishi, also a student at Cane Ridge, said the competition “gave me an idea of how the real world will be and what will be important.”

    JA Titan is just one of the classroom-based programs Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee provides to students in Kindergarten through high school. These programs promote financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship through interactive, volunteer-led curriculum. More than 30,000 students will receive JA programs in their classrooms during the 2011-2012 school year.

    About Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee: Locally, Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee, a franchise of Junior Achievement USA® (JA), provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement offers classroom-based programs, JA BizTown, JA Job Shadow, and the JA Company Program to students in Kindergarten through high school. Founded in Middle Tennessee in 1957, Junior Achievement now operates in 18 counties in the region, reaching over 30,000 students annually in over 2,000 classrooms throughout Middle Tennessee. For more information, visit www.janash.com.

    About Junior Achievement USA® (JA) Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches four million students per year in more than 120 markets across the United States, with an additional 6.5 million students served by operations in 117 other countries worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.


    Bottle rockets may be child’s play to some, but to NASA and students at Bailey Middle Magnet, Cora Howe Middle and Wright Middle schools, they are serious business. The space agency has awarded its 2012 Educational Engagement Award to a combined team of Vanderbilt University engineering and education students for their work with about 500 students in the three Metro schools.

    Nine mechanical engineering students in the Aerospace Club worked with six students in Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development to develop lesson plans for the middle schoolers. The Peabody students teach in Metro Schools as part of their teacher licensure requirements.

    Together, the Vanderbilt students taught teams of Metro students scientific and engineering concepts and then worked to design, construct and launch the rockets. Metro students calculated their rockets’ altitudes based on the rockets’ time aloft and the group from each school with the highest-flying rocket earned a visit to Vanderbilt, including a tour of engineering laboratories, workshops, project demonstrations and lunch.

    Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School is part of a K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) continuum that includes Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet Elementary, Isaac Litton Middle, and Stratford STEM Magnet High School.

    This post is based on an online article “Engineering, Peabody effort lands NASA STEM outreach award”
    www.news.vanderbilt.edu. Posted with appreciation to Brenda Ellis and Vanderbilt University.


    Proving that whole 'entertainment' part of Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, students showcased their musical chops at Puckett's Grocery on 5th and Church Street downtown Monday.

    In a night described as a "momentous occasion," several singers and a backing band performed a diverse musical set for the restaurant's Up 'n Comer's Night. Everyone agreed that the show was a raging success, including the folks at Puckett's.

    Management at the restaurant said the show was "amazing" and called the student performers "stars in the making." They were so impressed they plan to bring students back for more live events like this one!

    Thank you to Puckett's Grocery and the hard working folks at Pearl-Cohn and in the high schools office for making this night such a success. And congratulations, students! You've earned the accolades!



    The Stratford STEM Magnet High School baseball team played ball for the first time on its new baseball field Monday. The new field was made possible by Michael Holt, a volunteer in the Inglewood community who gave a generous donation to the school’s athletic department to renovate the baseball field. Now that it's updated the field is one of the nicest in Inglewood. To thank Holt for his contributions, the team invited him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the team’s last home game.

    Great team effort in the Stratford High community!

    Stratford's Baseball Team




    Hunters Lane High School has won a $1,000 grant from a major restaurant chain to feed those who need it most. The grant from Darden Restaurants, Inc. allows the school to provide food on the weekends to students who do not have access to consistent food sources outside of school. The money comes from the inaugural Restaurant Community Grant Program from Darden Foundation.

    Hunters Lane is one out of 900 schools taking part in the program. It is a $1.7 million local grants program intended to help support nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities where Darden has restaurants. Those include Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52. Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden’s three key focus areas: access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources, and hunger.

    Thanks, Darden for helping our students!


    Last year we spent $674 million educating more than 79,000 students. Every year that number goes up – and not necessarily because we want it to. Inflation hits individuals and organizations alike. We have to pay more for many of the same services we receive year to year.

    For 2012-13, the Board of Education has approved a budget increase of more than $48 million over the 2011-12 budget.

    So where would it all go? Let’s take a look.

    Yesterday we saw how people are the biggest expense in Metro Schools, and how inflation, raises, and needed new hires account for a huge majority of the requested budget increase. But that's not all of it. We also have some new ideas that will continue the strides we're making. And as usual, it starts with teachers.


    No one will argue over the importance of hiring the very best teachers we can find. But that’s actually a lot harder than you think.

    Working in an urban school district is not easy. As Director of Schools, Dr. Jesse Register, has said so many times, “We’ll never be the easiest place to work, but we can be the best.” Attracting great teachers to an urban district is tough when a suburban rural district pays more. Currently Metro Schools is ranked 30th in the state in starting teacher pay.

    Let that sink in. We are the 2nd largest district in the state, but 29 districts pay teachers more than we do. That has to change.

    And we don’t just compete with Tennessee districts for the best teachers; we compete with cities from across the region. Teacher recruiters from Houston have visited Nashville three times this year offering new teachers $44,000 a year.

    SEE the approved budget proposal in its entirety.

    Under the 2012-13 budget, teachers would start out making $40,000 annually, placing us 3rd in the state and positioning us to hire more of the strongest teachers who have their pick of jobs. That also means current teachers with up to five years’ experience who make less than $40,000 will get bumped up to that level. We’re also proposing changes to teacher pay at the top end, allowing them to reach the top level after just 15 years, not 25.

    SEE a list of starting teacher salaries across Tennessee.

    These are the kind of dramatic steps that will draw great teachers and college graduates to Metro Nashville Public Schools. Our hiring recruiters are already hearing positive buzz building around our district just at the very mention of a $40,000 starting salary. It must be done if we are to be considered a top destination for the best of the best.

    What’s the price tag on this huge step in the right direction? Just under $6 million, bringing us to a total of $45.3 million in additional costs for 2012-13.


    Tomorrow we’ll talk about giving more of a very good thing. When a school helps produce more graduates and fewer dropouts, why not open another?



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