Back to School Central 2014

Back to School Central

The first day of school in Metro Nashville Public Schools is Wednesday, August 6. You read that right. We’re just a few weeks away from school bells, new school supplies and big yellow buses.

This page is your headquarters for everything you need to go back to school. You can find links to all of the important information you need, including enrollment, immunizations, school bus routes and more. We will also be collecting your questions and posting the answers from now until August 6.

Get started today, because #MNPSDay1 will be here before you know it!

We will update this page regularly with new posts and information, so come back often.

Important Back to School Articles and Posts

Important Back to School Links

Important Back to School Events

  • Facebook and Twitter Q&As – Wednesdays and Fridays in July
    We’ll take your questions on Twitter and Facebook anytime, but on Wednesdays and Fridays at noon we’ll be holding full Q&A sessions with representatives from Customer Service. Ask any question you have about the start of school, and we will answer it. Join us on and for more.
  • First Day of School (half-day) – August 6
  • No School / Election Day / Teacher Planning Day – August 7
  • Full Day of School for Grades 1-12 – August 8
  • Full Day of School for All Students – August 11

Important Back to School Articles and Posts from 2013 (that are still relevant)

New principals for Gra-Mar, Eakin and Harpeth Valley in 2014-15

Three more Metro Schools will begin 2014-15 with new principals. District leaders have hired educators with extensive experience in key areas that will serve their new schools well.

Eakin Elementary School – Dr. Timothy Drinkwine

Though he is coming from a leadership role in Williamson County, Dr. Drinkwine is a product of Metro Schools through and through. He was educated here, elementary school through graduation, and began his career as a teacher at Gra-Mar Middle and wrestling coach at Hume-Fogg High School. For four years, he has served as an assistant principal at Spring Station Middle School in Spring Hill where he was seen as a school and district leader in technology integration, teacher professional development and student behavior, among many other things. He describes himself as a “voracious learner” ready to lead by example for his teachers and his students.

Dr. Drinkwine earned his bachelor’s in education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, his master’s in education leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University and his doctorate in leadership from Trevecca.

Harpeth Valley Elementary School – Dr. Ann-Marie Gleason
Dr. Gleason is a familiar face for many Metro parents and teachers. She has been a teacher and a principal here for more than ten years, most recently leading Eakin Elementary. She may also be familiar to Harpeth Valley families, as she lives – and now works – in Bellevue.

Dr. Gleason is a graduate of the Principals’ Leadership Academy of Nashville (PLAN) at Vanderbilt University and has spent time in China as part of the Educational Leadership Learning Exchange through Vanderbilt. She was elected by her fellow principals to serve on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Principals Association (TPA). Ann-Marie is currently serving as President-Elect, and will serve as President during the 2015-16 school year.

Dr. Gleason holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and elementary education from Belmont University, a master’s in instructional effectiveness, a plus 30 administration endorsement and a doctorate in education, all from Trevecca.

Gra-Mar Middle Prep – Sonya Voltz-Brooks
Ms. Voltz-Brooks is used to guiding middle school students on a path to success in high school. As principal of the Freshman Academy at Antioch High School, she has helped hundreds of students make the transition and knows exactly what they need to succeed. She has been a teacher for nearly 20 years, including 18 in Metro Schools. Her primary experience is in high schools, meaning she will have the skills and knowledge to prepare the students of Gra-Mar for what lies after middle school.

Ms. Voltz-Brooks has been through extensive leadership training, including PLAN. She holds a bachelor’s degree in math education from Alabama A&M University, a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Tennessee State University and an administrator’s license from TSU.

Free prekindergarten seats available in East, North and South Nashville

Metro Schools has some seats remaining in the three new Early Learning Centers at Ross, Bordeaux and Casa Azafrán. To register, families can visit any Metro school offering prekindergarten. For a list of those schools and more registration information, including student and parent requirements, visit The Casa Azafrán Early Learning Center is not currently open for visitors due to construction.

The pre-K program taught at these locations is brand new and has been developed with the leading early education researchers at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. All three Early Learning Centers will offer a full school day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with before and after care available. They will ensure the best quality education with:

  • Excellent Teachers – Dynamic, innovative leaders certified in early-childhood education
  • Enriching Curriculum – Hands-on, experiential and center-based learning
  • Engaging Environments – A physical environment that expresses and cultivates a reflection and appreciation for beauty, wonder and joy
  • Strong Connections Between Home and School – Family Resource Directors at Ross and Bordeaux; the Parents as Partners program at Casa Azafrán

The Early Learning Centers will start their school year next month, a little later than the rest of the district:

  • Ross Early Learning Center, 601 McFerrin Avenue – August 13
  • Bordeaux Early Learning Center, 1910 South Hamilton Avenue – August 13
  • Casa Azafrán Early Learning Center, 2195 Nolensville Road – August 18
    • Students at Casa Azafrán will begin their year at Ross while construction on their school is finished. It is expected to be ready in early September.

Watch NPT report on the Metro Schools prekindergarten expansion and the importance of early learning.

Back to School: What’s new for gifted and talented students in Encore?

Back to School Central - SmallDr. Schunn Turner, former principal at Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School and Lead Academy Middle School, has moved into the Metro Schools central office this year as the head of Gifted Services and the Encore program.

Along with a new leader, there are several other changes coming to Encore this year. Dr. Turner outlines some of the big ones below.

by Dr. Schunn Turner, coordinator of gifted services

What is Encore?

Encore is a gifted services program that provides advanced instructional opportunities for students who are intellectually gifted or academically talented.

How do students get into Encore?

We are always seeking out children who qualify for gifted services. We will automatically test children who meet certain benchmarks in the classroom or on state testing. If you feel your child is eligible but he or she has not been tested, you can seek out a gifted determination from a psychologist. Otherwise, children will be tested at these times:

Pre-K students who meet the state criteria for intellectually gifted when tested by a psychologist may participate in the Encore program at Robertson Academy.

Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grade
Every spring, K-2 students who perform above grade level in reading and math are invited to test for Encore eligibility.

Grades 4-8
Every fall, Students in grades 4-8 who scored advanced in reading, math or science (or all) on the previous year’s TCAP are invited to test for Encore eligibility.

All Year Long
Throughout the year, students in any grade who meet the state criteria for intellectually gifted are invited to participate in Encore. That testing is done by school psychologists.

What’s new in Encore this year?

More Parent Involvement
Encore is re-establishing the parent organization. The parents in this group will provide program feedback and help plan activities for Encore students and families. Encore families should look for information about the organization soon after the school year starts.

Enrichment Every Day
This year, all students K-8 will get 30-60 minutes of personalized instruction every day during regular class time. For high performing students, Encore teachers work with classroom teachers to help build enrichment activities. That way the high-fliers in elementary and middle school will get enrichment every day, not just during Encore times.

Finding and Developing More Gifted Students
Encore is changing the abilities test that determines eligibility. Research shows that the new test is better at identifying students from diverse backgrounds and students who have limited English proficiency.

One of our biggest goals in gifted education is to identify more students in more places who have academic talents. We need to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter where they come from or what their background.

Another way of finding and developing more academically talented students is a new pilot program called the Young Scholars of Nashville (YSN). It will be in 15 elementary schools this year:

  • Alex Green
  • Charlotte Park
  • Cockrill
  • Cumberland
  • Gateway
  • Glencliff
  • Glengarry
  • Glenn
  • Inglewood
  • Kirkpatrick
  • Lillard
  • Napier
  • Park Avenue
  • Tom Joy
  • Tusculum

This program will identify and nurture academic talents and gifts of K-2 students from minority and other historically underrepresented groups so they can get a head start on advanced academics. By finding and developing them early, they will be more likely to participate in advanced programs in later grades like Encore, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge and other programs designed for high achieving students.

Soledad O’Brien inspires students and teachers at Maplewood High School

UPDATE: If you missed the Chill ‘n’ Chat with Soledad O’Brien at Maplewood High School, watch the whole thing right here, courtesy of Maplewood and Humcrush Productions:


PREVIOUSLY: Despite plane trouble that kept her from visiting during the school year, Soledad O’Brien made good on her promise and brought a message of perseverance to Maplewood High School last week.

The award winning and internationally respected journalist joined Mayor Karl Dean and News Channel 5’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas on stage for an in-depth conversation about her life, her career and her views on education.

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The Tennessean was there and had this to report:

To O’Brien, there are many obstacles students, educators and schools face — poverty being a major example — that require creative solutions in addition to hard work to meet individual needs and improve education systems overall.

“We have to figure out a way to run those two trains at the same time, where you’re serving the students you have, but also where everybody is sort of on board — it’s got to go in a certain direction,” she said.

Maplewood has much recent experience in overcoming obstacles and creating solutions. When Woodard came on as principal, graduation rates and access to college were major issues — in 2011, graduates collectively had $91,000 in scholarships. This year, that figure was up to $3.3 million.

Read the full story on the Tennessean website.

Big thanks to Ms. O’Brien for coming, the Maplewood faculty for putting it all together and to Mayor Dean and Aundrea Cline-Thomas for participating!

Back to School: Some Metro schools change schedules for 2014

Back to School Central - SmallWhen will that school bell ring on August 6? While the vast majority of Metro schools will start at their regular times, some have changed schedules for the new year.

Here are the altered school schedules for 2014-15:

  • Goodlettsville Middle Prep, 9:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
  • McKissack Middle Prep, 9:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
  • John Early Museum Magnet Middle Prep, 9:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
  • Napier Elementary School, 8:00 a.m. – 3:50 p.m.
  • Brick Church Middle Prep, 8:35 a.m. – 3:55 p.m.
    • Note: This is only for the 8th grade at Brick Church Middle Prepnot the lower grades in the charter school Brick Church College Prep.
  • I.T. Creswell Arts Magnet Middle Prep, 7:55 a.m. – 3:05 p.m.

The Goodlettsville Middle building is being rebuilt from scratch, so this year the school will be temporarily located at the Dalewood campus in East Nashville (1460 McGavock Pike).

School bus transportation will still be available for all schools as normal. Bus routes and times are available on


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