Dr. Register to give State of the Schools Address April 15

Dr. Jesse Register will give his final State of the Schools Address for Metro Schools on Wednesday, April 15, in the Overton High School Auditorium. In his speech, Dr. Register will go over the journey Metro Schools has taken from being on the brink of state takeover in 2009 to good standing in 2015. He will also look ahead at the path forward for Metro Schools and how Nashvillians can support excellence for every student.

State of Schools Invite

The 4 keys to kindergarten readiness

Metro Schools Kindergarten Enrollment Week is April 6-10, 2015

Welcome to KindergartenOne of the most exciting times in a child’s life is the first day of school. When Metro schools open August 5, 2015 they will welcome thousands of new kindergarteners starting a lifelong journey in education.

But how can parents tell if their child is really ready for kindergarten? And what can they do to ensure they are?

After they fill out the paperwork and register their children during Kindergarten Enrollment Week, parents can spend the months before school starts working with their children on activities and lessons that perfectly align with Metro’s kindergarten readiness standards.

iTrails.org is a website designed by Metro Schools and the Alignment Nashville Prekindergarten Committee. It is a free resource for parents to replicate the lessons of prekindergarten at home or in private daycare. It takes parents step-by-step through the prekindergarten standards and what they can do to support them, including a readiness calendar with almost daily activities for parents and children to do together.

If they have questions about whether their child is ready for kindergarten, iTrails.org also has a readiness assessment and a transition guide.

What does kindergarten readiness mean? Metro Schools’ educators look at four main areas to decide if a child is ready for kindergarten.

1. Intellectual Development

Kindergarten Enrollment Flyer - 2015Academic success in Kindergarten can be influenced by a child’s ability to independently master or begin to show mastery of some basic skills.

Literacy

  •       Shows an interest in books and reading
  •       Sings and is familiar with some songs and rhymes
  •       Identifies some letters (especially those in his/her name)
  •       Begins or pretends to read and write (stories and names)
  •       Identifies rhyming words
  •       Describes an experience and retells a familiar story

Numeracy

  •       Identifies, names and sorts some basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle)
  •       Identifies, counts and sorts numbers and objects from 0 to 10
  •       Solves puzzles
  •       Recognizes, names and sorts basic colors (red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, white, black and brown)

2. Physical Development

Physical development means a child can complete various tasks with ease.

  •       Draws with crayons, pens and pencils showing control of the tool
  •       Copies simple figures and shapes (straight lines and circles)
  •       Runs, jumps and hops (as they mature – skips)
  •       Bounces and catches a ball
  •       Writes name forming letters from top to bottom

3. Social and Emotional Development

Kindergarten gives children opportunities to work together and to feel a part of the “classroom/school family.” The social skills children developin their early childhood grades will be an important part of their success in kindergarten and on into their adulthood.

  •       Listens to an adult and follows simple directions
  •       Cooperates and plays well with others
  •       Sits still for short periods of time (15 minutes or less to begin)
  •       Shows signs of taking turns
  •       Begins to share
  •       Communicates feelings, thoughts, and needs
  •       Talks and listens to others in conversation

4. Taking Care of Personal Needs

Independently completing some personal care tasks will assist a child in developing a feeling of confidence while in his/herKindergarten classroom.

  •       Uses the bathroom without assistance
  •       Washes own hands
  •       Eats using utensils
  •       Begins to snap, button, tie and zip independently
  •       Recognizes personal belongings (lunchbox, jacket, etc…)
  •       Recites own first and last name and some family member’s names

Parents planning ahead for kindergarten or prekindergarten are encouraged to visit iTrails.org and make use of the resources available there. They are 100% free and open to anyone who wants to use them.

You can also download our readiness guide, Welcome to Kindergarten.

Antioch High School principal receives major award from the University of Tennessee

Dr. KogerAdding to a string of accomplishments and honors earned this year, Antioch High School has renewed reason to celebrate this week. Dr. Adrienne Koger, executive principal of Antioch, has earned the prestigious William J. and Lucille H. Field Award from the University of Tennessee.

During Dr. Koger’s tenure, Antioch High School has seen tremendous academic gains including an increase in ACT scores, graduation rate, attendance rate and End of Course exam scores, as well as an overall decrease in discipline incidents. Last fall, Antioch was named a Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education for placing in the top five percent of all Tennessee schools for academic growth. Just a few weeks ago, Antioch was named a Model School by the International Center for Leadership in Education.

In recent years, the school has twice received a Level 5 TVAAS rating, been accepted as a candidate to become an IB World School, launched the Community Achieves program and won the Academies of Nashville Ninth Grade Academy of the Year award (2013-2014). Antioch also opened a student-run youth court earlier this school year and won a grant from NASA to further its robotics program.

Dr. Koger has been described by her peers as a “true servant leader” possessing “unquestionable passion.” Her vision for improving the educational culture, climate, and experience for students from a wide range of backgrounds shines through in her work and will continue to positively impact the lives of the students she so selflessly serves.

The Field Award was established to recognize one outstanding secondary school leader each year who demonstrates leadership excellence through commitment to the values of civility, candor, courage, social justice, responsibility, compassion, community, persistence, service and excellence. Administered by the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, the Field Award identifies a Tennessee secondary school principal whose life and work are characterized by leadership excellence and encourages secondary school principals to pause and reflect upon their current leadership practice and to consider their experience, challenges, and opportunities in light of the personal values that they embody.

Last year’s winner of the Field Award was Dr. Terry Shrader, executive principal of Hillsboro High School.

Metro Schools Budget Book wins sixth consecutive national award

Cementing the Metro Schools budget and finance team as one of the best in the business, Metro Schools has once again won the Meritorious Budget Award for excellence in budget presentation from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO). This is the district’s sixth straight win for this award.

The Meritorious Budget Awards (MBA) program promotes and recognizes excellence in school budget presentation and enhances school business officials’ skills in developing, analyzing, and presenting a school system budget. After a rigorous review by professional auditors, the award is conferred only on school districts that have met or exceeded the program’s stringent criteria.

“School budgets are vast and complicated, but ultimately it is taxpayer money, and they deserve to know how their money is spent,” said Chris Henson, Metro Schools’ chief financial officer. “Our team works hard to ensure our budgets are transparent and easy to understand. That’s not always an easy task, but it is worth the effort.”

The 2014-15 Budget Book is available on MNPS.org along with the five previous award-winning budget books. It includes an in-depth look at all of the district’s finances including local funding, state funding and federal funding. It also includes deep dives into individual school budgets, a feature that will grow even richer in the next budget book as all Metro schools take control of their finances through the student-based budgeting model.

The 2015-16 budget process is underway now. The first draft of the operating budget includes increases for English Learners, wrap-around service for families and literacy, as well as extra pay for teachers who take on leadership roles. Important documents, dates and explanations of where the money will go can be found on MNPS.org.

New principal named for Napier Elementary School

With Napier principal Dr. Ronald Powe retiring at the end of this school year, a new leader is ready to come on board. Angela Underwood will be principal at Napier starting July 2015, and next week she officially begins work planning for the new year.

Underwood is a turnaround principal who is ready to get to work crafting a plan for rapid improvement at Napier. She comes to Nashville from Michigan, where she served as principal at a combined elementary and middle school. She is a goal-oriented leader with a strong track record in transforming student achievement, school culture and community involvement.

“Angela is definitely a superstar principal, and it’s great to welcome her to Napier,” said Dr. Alan Coverstone, Metro Schools’ executive officer for innovation. “Napier has made a lot of progress under Dr. Powe. He and his team have built a strong sense of community around that school. They made gains academically and brought needed wrap-around services to families through a terrific partnership with United Way. Angela will continue that legacy and strengthen Napier’s place as a positive force in the community.”

At her previous schools, Underwood gained hands-on experience in turnaround. She brought 1:1 technology and blended learning to students and gathered dozens of community partners and hundreds of volunteers to commit to helping her school. She increased attendance, increased parent involvement and cut discipline incidents in half.

Underwood holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in educational leadership. When she starts work next week, she will meet with the faculty and families at Napier. She will spend the rest of this school year writing a turnaround plan and preparing for 2015-16.

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