North Sports Report – April 24, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Middle School Track Extravaganza – April 24 & 26

IMAG1323The future is now as Middle School student-athletes from across Middle Tennessee converge on Antioch High School’s new track surface for the inaugural Middle Tennessee Middle School Track Invitational. The meet will introduce middle school athletes to a broader range of competition and prepare them for the big high school meets in their future. More than 22 schools will be represented including Antioch Middle; Apollo Middle; East Nashville Middle; Gra-Mar Middle; Haynes Middle; Jere Baxter Middle; John F. Kennedy Middle; KIPP Middle; Isaac Litton Middle; Meigs Middle; MLK Middle; Oliver Middle; public schools from Rutherford County, Sumner County, Williamson County, and Wilson County; and area private schools.

This is a great opportunity to support middle school student-athletes and coaches, so come to Antioch High School on Thursday and Saturday to enjoy the fun. The running events start at 6:00pm on Thursday evening April 24 (the shot put competition starts at 5:30pm) and 9:30am on Saturday morning. Admission is $5 each day.

Awards Season

Callee Brooks with her Moss-Oliver Award.

Callee Brooks with her Moss-Oliver Award.

Hume-Fogg’s Callee Brooks took home the prestigious Moss-Oliver Award after starring in the classroom and on the soccer, basketball, and softball teams.

The Tennessean named its All-Midstate teams for the winter sports:

  • Aaron Ruiz of Cane Ridge – First Team All-Midstate Bowling;
  • Terry Holt of East Nashville – First Team All-Midstate Basketball
  • Jordan Majors of MLK – 2nd Team All-Midstate Basketball
  • Clarence Mathis of Antioch – 2nd Team All-Midstate Wrestling
  • Chelsea Nelson of Overton – 3rd Team All-Midstate Basketball


The Decision … “I’ll Be Taking My Talents to ____”

Life is a continuous series of future-altering choices. The path chosen at a fork in the road leads to another fork in the road which leads to another fork … and so on, et cetera, ad infinitum. Around this time each year, high school seniors reach a major intersection and decide where to continue their education. Yep, where to go to college is a biggie.

Last week, several MNPS student-athletes decided to continue their athletic pursuits and take their education to the next level.

  • At Hillsboro, four student-athletes signed to play Basketball in college: Ian Harrison at Rhodes College; Antorian Moore at Garden City CC; Juanya Smith at Vol State CC; and Kindravious Webster at Walters State CC.
  • At Overton, two student-athletes signed to play Volleyball and two signed to play Soccer: Gohdar Mohammed (Soccer) at Trevecca; Victor Tsado (Soccer) at Trevecca; Domynique Kloss (Volleyball) at Martin Methodist; and Arei Logoleo (Volleyball) at Alabama-Birmingham.
  • At Hume-Fogg, the signings cover schools from coast to coast: Kiersten Bell (Track) at Duke; Kyle Kmech (Soccer) at Otterbein; and Claudia Rodriguez (Track) at Pepperdine.

Congratulations to all the Seniors!

A Fitting Tribute: The MNPS Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014

The North Sports Report loves attending the induction luncheon for the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame each year. Seeing the all-time great athletes and childhood heroes and hearing the stories of amazing feats… well, it’s like Disneyland for the public school sports fan. The influence for good on the Nashville community by this year’s inductees cannot be overstated.

Dr. L. Dale Beck (Howard, Class of 1949) was a two-time Hume Award winner, played football at Vanderbilt and baseball in the Yankees organization, and served as chief of the medical staff at two hospitals.

Joe Campbell (Stratford, Class of 1988) ended his high school career as the all-time leading rusher in MNPS history, was a two-time All-American in college, and played in the NFL before returning to Nashville to raise his six children.

Larry Cantrell (Goodlettsville, Class of 1985) won 10 individual state track championships and single-handedly won the team state track championship, was a two-time SEC champion and All-American in college at Alabama and now serves as a minister at the Nashville Inner City Ministry.

Coach Nick Coutras (Hillsboro, Class of 1953) turned down job offers from the Washington Redskins to stay at Overton and win a state championship in 1981, compile a record of 144-36-1, coach six Hume Award winners and influence countless young men.

Kenneth Duke (Litton, Class of 1949) is considered one of the greatest running backs in Nashville history, and went on to play at SMU before serving valiantly in the Marine Corps in Korea. When word that he had been killed in action reached Litton, his number 33 jersey was immediately retired.

Julie Brown Rollins (Madison, Class of 1962) was a four-time all-city basketball selection in high school, scoring 44 points in one game, coached high school basketball and compiled more than 650 wins, and has taught hundreds of children to swim.

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MNPS: The First Choice for Heroes

Hume-Fogg and MLK are the Best High Schools in Tennessee; Middle College also honored

Three Metro schools earn medals from “U.S. News and World Report”

Fresh off the announcement that they were the two most academically challenging high schools in Tennessee, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School (MLK) have yet another national ranking to be proud of.

In its annual ranking of America’s best high schools, “U.S. News and World Report” has named Hume-Fogg as number one in the state with MLK close behind at number two. Both schools also earned gold medals from the magazine. If this sounds familiar, it’s because both schools topped last year’s list, as well as a similar list from “Newsweek” last May.

New to the list this year is MNPS Middle College High School, which is unranked but given the title of “Recognized Nationally” and a bronze medal.

“It’s not surprising that the most challenging schools in Tennessee, Hume-Fogg and MLK, would also be named the best,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “We’re particularly pleased to see Middle College honored, as the students and faculty there work very hard in a real college environment. It’s not unusual for students there to graduate with associate’s degrees and high school diplomas at the same time, so their bronze medal is well earned.”

Middle College High School is located in the Nashville State Community College campus, and students there take both college and high school courses every school day. It is open to any student in grades 10-12 who is ready for the rigors of college course work.

“Our students aren’t just preparing to be college-ready. It’s an expectation that our faculty have for all Middle College students,” said Rod Manuel, principal of Middle College High School. “We are striving to bridge the gap between secondary and higher education. They are expected to be college-ready from day one. We are a small and unique school in a unique environment, so this kind of recognition means a lot to all of us. Our students and faculty are dedicated to their work and to each other.”

Hume-Fogg and MLK also made the national “Best” list, coming in at numbers 54 and 74, respectively. With more than 31,000 high schools considered for the list, it is a big honor to be included, not to mention making the top 100. Adding to the honor, Hume-Fogg is listed as the 23rd best magnet school in the country, with MLK coming in 30th on the same list.

The ranking is based on overall student performance and minority and low-income student performance as compared to the state averages. Writers also looked at college readiness as measured by Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test data.

Metro Nashville scores “phenomenal” results on teacher survey

2014 TELL MNPS survey shows growth in all categories; research links satisfied teachers to increased student performance

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools teachers report increased community support, high professional standards and a curriculum aligned with Common Core State Standards according to the recent TELL MNPS survey of district teachers.

Survey results improved year over year across the board, with more respondents agreeing, “Overall, my school is a good place to work and learn,” 83.7% agree this year up from 79.0% last year.

“We want to be the best place to work so we can recruit and retain great teachers,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “The TELL survey is such a valuable tool because it tells us what we need to do and where we need to focus to reach that goal. This year’s results confirm that we are making great progress.”

Among the survey’s highest-rated queries:

  • Teachers are held to high professional standards for delivering instruction (94.5% of respondents agree in 2014 vs. 92.9% last year)
  • The school leadership facilitates using data to improve student learning (95.6% vs. 94.9%)
  • Teachers in this school use assessment data to inform their instruction (95.8% vs. 94.2%)
  • The curriculum taught in this school is aligned with Common Core Standards—up 3 percentage points to 93.3% from 90.3% last year.

Notably, Metro Schools educators report community support for schools is increasing and school conditions are improving.

  • Parents/guardians support teachers, contributing to their success with students: 73.0% agree, almost 7% more than last year (66.2%)
  • The community we serve is supportive of this school:  85.4% agree in 2014 v. 80.1% in 2013
  • Community members support teachers, contributing to their success with students: 83.2% agree vs. 79.1% in 2013
  • Teachers report improved student conduct with +6.1% agreeing, “Students at this school follow rules of conduct” (71.5% in 2014 v 65.4% in 2013)
  • The faculty work in a school environment that is safe, 92.5% agree v. 88.2% in 2013

Research has proven positive teaching conditions are essential to creating schools where teachers and administrators want to work and where students thrive. The TELL MNPS Survey provides data about school environments and whether educators are valued, trusted and have the time and ability to collaborate and improve instruction. Survey results are critical because:

  • Positive teaching and learning conditions have been tied to improved student achievement,
  • School conditions affect teacher retention, and
  • Survey results provide information to help the district and individual schools assess, celebrate and improve school environments.

The nonprofit New Teacher Center administers the survey on behalf of Metro Schools every other year in off years of the biennial TELL Tennessee Survey. This is the fourth iteration. This year, 79.17% of the district’s licensed educators responded compared to 83.41% last year.  NTC first conducted the survey in North Carolina in 2002 to assess statewide working conditions. It has gathered data from more than one million surveys with data reports to more than 26,000 schools. Metro Schools results are available online at

R&B superstar Usher encourages Metro students to do well on TCAP

Who’s that in a Gra-Mar Middle Prep t-shirt? Oh, no big deal. It’s just multi-Grammy winning artist and “The Voice” judge Usher.

Usher sent this video to Gra-Mar principal Dr. Antoinette Williams as special encouragement for students ready to take TCAP tests next week. She plans to show it at a school-wide assembly this week to get the kids pumped up and ready to perform.

Unbelievable. You never know who will pop up in support of Metro Schools!

Cambridge advanced academics program expands to Hermitage Elementary

McGavock Cluster has Tennessee’s first K-12 Cambridge Continuum

Increasing the rigorous academic offerings in the McGavock cluster, Metro Schools is proud to announce the expansion of the Cambridge program into Hermitage Elementary School, completing Tennessee’s first K-12 Cambridge continuum.The Cambridge International Examinations program is affiliated with the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and offers courses comparable in rigor to British A levels and the International Baccalaureate Programme. It is already in place at McGavock High School and its feeder school Donelson Middle Prep. By expanding into the elementary feeder school, students of all grades in the Donelson area can experience an internationally developed curriculum that fosters enquiry, problem solving and next-level thinking.

Hermitage Elementary and Donelson Middle (also a Cambridge School) both have open seats in all grades for 2014-15.

If you apply today, your child can get right into either school without a wait list.

APPLY to Hermitage Elementary or Donelson Middle

“By starting Cambridge Primary in kindergarten here at Hermitage, students can move from year to year and school to school with consistently challenging course work that better prepares them for what’s next,” said Hermitage principal Kellee Akers. “We’re thrilled to give our current students this opportunity and to provide families a school choice option that offers a proven, rigorous, international curriculum. We know the Cambridge International program will make Hermitage Elementary and the McGavock cluster even stronger in the future.”

Cambridge Primary, as the elementary arm of the program is known, develops English, mathematics, science and computer skills. It helps students understand, respond to and interact with the world around them, including media and texts. It gives strong support to teachers while allowing them flexibility to be creative in delivery and assessment.

Learn more about Cambridge Primary:

Now in seven schools in four clusters, Cambridge is also offered at Oliver Middle School and Overton, Whites Creek and Cane Ridge High Schools. The program culminates in the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Diploma. The Cambridge program helps students see the world from an international point of view and promotes cross-cultural understanding.

“Thanks to the hard work of the leaders and faculty at Hermitage, students in the McGavock cluster have another great choice for rigorous academics,” said Metro Schools’ Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele. “We are very proud to bring the first Cambridge continuum to Tennessee. This kind of focus on the K-12 experience for all students is exactly how we want to approach everything in our district.”


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