Survey to add parent voice to school accountability, planning
Today Metro Schools opens its first ever district-wide parent survey to gather parent opinions on instruction, school climate, communications and the overall school experience. With the information gathered in this survey, a teacher survey and the student survey completed earlier this year, district leaders will have a complete picture of the on-the-ground experience in Metro schools.
“Parent voice is so important to the work we do in schools and here in central office,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “Their perspective can help us see what’s working and what’s not working inside our schools. It will help shape our plans as a district, including school improvement efforts.”
Survey results will be shared with school leaders to impact the ongoing developing of individual School Improvement Plans. District leaders will include them in the Academic Performance Framework (APF), the accountability measure that rates schools according to academic performance, growth, college readiness and school climate. The APF already includes survey results from teachers and students to judge school climate. Adding the parent voice ensures all stakeholders are included when evaluating schools.
The survey is offered online at www.mystudentsurvey.com/parents, and will be open through January 16. It is available in four languages: English, Spanish, Kurdish and Arabic. Parents should complete one survey for each child they have in the district because questions are about an individual child’s experiences in a specific school. Responses will be completely anonymous.
Each school is aiming for a goal of at least 50 percent participation. Principals and parent group leaders will be given toolkits to help them reach out to their families. Links to the survey will be placed on every school website and shared on social media. Postcards will go home with every student, and multiple callouts will occur between now and the survey deadline.
For families without Internet access at home, there will be computers available in their school’s library. There will also be an open computer designated for the parent survey in the Metro Schools Customer Service Center at 2601 Bransford Avenue. Public library computers are also available.
Project is a partnership with DCS and PENCIL through the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action
Metro Schools’ the Academies of Nashville, in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and the PENCIL Foundation, is announcing plans for a new initiative focused on creating pathways to success for youth in foster care. Called the United Project, this program is a Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America annual meeting, which these organizations attended this summer.
The United Project will expand education, training and employment pathways for Davidson County foster youth. MNPS, DCS and PENCIL will work collaboratively to identify, recruit, and serve foster youth in order to develop meaningful relationships between these students and local business. Business partners will have the opportunity to:
- provide students with work-based and service-learning opportunities,
- model and coach youth on appropriate work-place behaviors, and
- offer mentorship experiences that support student’s personal and professional growth.
“The Nashville community has consistently demonstrated its willingness to make a difference in the lives of our students,” says Dr. Chaney Mosley, director of the Academies of Nashville and career and technical education for Metro Schools. “This initiative will be the first of its kind in Davidson County that specifically targets youth in foster care. For these students, successfully transitioning to adulthood is challenging without the support network of family. We recognized the potential for combating this through a partnership with DCS.”
“We are thrilled that our youth are going to get these opportunities,” says Michael Leach, director of Independent Living at DCS. “As our young people prepare to leave foster care, they need to make connections with adults that will help them succeed in the working world.”
While the Tennessee Department of Children Services will work to identify and recruit students into the program, the PENCIL Foundation will act as a liaison between Nashville businesses and organizations that wish to participate in the program.
“The United Project is an innovative and forward thinking program that allows PENCIL, MNPS and the Department of Children’s Services to help students succeed academically and prepare for life,” says Matt Seaton, Vice President of Partnerships and Programs for the PENCIL Foundation. “For nearly five years, the PENCIL Foundation’s College and Career Mentors program has helped hundreds of students reach their college aspirations and begin planning for a productive career. The United Project will allow us to expand that reach and serve a population of students in need of additional support.”
There are currently more than 8,000 youth across the state of Tennessee that are served by DCS. Those youth who are also students of Metro Nashville Public Schools will have the unique opportunity to develop life and social skills as well as become college and career ready.
CGI commitments are new, specific, and measureable plans to address a significant challenge – in the case of CGI America, economic recovery and growth in the United States. Commitments range broadly in scale, value, approach, and in the types of partnerships they employ. The CGI commitment signaled the intent of the United Project to mobilize with its partners a multi-year change effort, providing a way to leverage the enormous scale and reach of the Nashville community to help solve social problems.
Overton High School is the most diverse school in the state of Tennessee and they are proud of it. How proud? They put diversity front and center with the city’s first theater troupe specifically for English learners.
The John Overton ELL Theatre Class recently performed at Tusculum Elementary – another school filled with international diversity – in an effort to help mentor younger children and lead by example. The actors showed off their literacy gains by memorizing and performing titles perfect for the young audience: “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss and “The Littlest Monster,” by Overton teacher and ELL Theatre Class sponsor Gina Kelley.
“The goal and purpose of the trip is to teach younger EL students that it is ok to be different,” said Kelley, “and that the possibilities for them in the United States are exciting and limitless.”
The troupe already has a request to perform at another Metro elementary next semester. Great job!
Mayor Karl Dean recognized 70 Metro Nashville Public School elementary art students from 38 schools as finalists and winners in the “Nashville Beautiful” art contest on at a ceremony at LP Field on Saturday, Dec. 6. The contest, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by Red River Service Corporation, Metro Public Works, Metro Beautification & Environment Commission, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Metropolitan Arts Commission and Nashville Arts Coalition.
Mayor Dean will present finalists with certificates and formally congratulate the five grand prize winners, who earned prize money for their respective schools’ art departments from Red River Waste Solutions.
GRAND PRIZE: Madi Risner (left) & Tommy Zarth (right), Shayne Elementary School, 4th grade
SECOND PLACE: Erica Annette Kimbrough, Chadwell Elementary School, 4th grade
THIRD PLACE: Cora Williams, Andrew Jackson Elementary School, 4th grade
RED RIVER AWARD OF DISTINCTION: Jonathan Cortez, Haywood Elementary School, 4th grade
For the next 6 months, all of the qualifying contest submissions will be displayed on household waste collection trucks as part of a citywide campaign and rolling museum to promote this year’s contest theme of “I am an Environmental Superhero”. NOW THAT’S COOL!
by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc
Wet…Cold…Ooh look, a Donut
The North Sports Report followed the Hillsboro Burros down I-40 to Cookeville for the state championship football game last week. After a great season, the Burros faced a blustery cold rain and gale force winds, and the weather was definitely a factor in the game. It is tough to play in those conditions, and it is grueling on the fans. So, a shout out to the Burros on a great season and to the good crowd of Burros Nation that made the trek to Cookeville. The atmosphere and excitement at a state championship game is unlike anything else in high school sports, the weather notwithstanding.
Of course, the North Sports Report prepped for the game with a stop at Cookeville hot spot Ralph’s Do-Nut Shop for two (yes, I said two) butter twists and a milk before the game, and then warmed my bones with two (yes, I said two again) butter twists and a coffee for the drive home. After a tough game as a fan, somehow donuts make things okay.
I Love These Schools
In the midst of a tough week for two middle schools, their basketball teams met on the court for some hoops as the Madison Rams made the short drive to their neighborhood rival Neely’s Bend Beavers. This is not the appropriate forum for a political discussion, so just know that the North Sports Report loves these two schools and everyone associated with them.
Awards Night for Metro Football
The Metro Nashville Football Coaches Association held its 30th annual Awards Banquet last week at the State Fairgrounds and inducted three legends into their Hall of Fame. Sports writer Mike Organ, longtime assistant coach Dorris Armstrong, and administrator Mike Tribue were inducted to rousing applause. The influence these three had on Metro sports over the years cannot be overstated.
The Defensive Player of the Year is Hillsboro’s Kyle Phillips, the Offensive Player of the Year is Pearl-Cohn’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and McGavock’s Jay Gore is the Coach of the Year. The All City teams are loaded with talent as this season was one of the best for MNPS football in recent memory.
- QB – Isiah Upton, East Nashville
- TE – Austin Sherman, Hillwood
- QB – Michael Hughes, Hillsboro
- OL – Edgar Rosas, Antioch
- RB – Lennox McAfee, East Nashville
- OL – Joseph Cartwright, East Nashville
- RB – Vincent Perry, Hillsboro
- OL – Immanuel Newsom, Maplewood
- RB – Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Pearl-Cohn
- OL – John Orr, Overton
- WR – Jay King, Hillsboro
- OL De’Marqueze Douglas, Pearl-Cohn
- WR – Antwon Edmondson, Maplewood
- K – Hayden Hilt, Hillsboro
- WR – Rontavius Groves, Pearl-Cohn
- Ath – Chris Claybrooks, McGavock
- DL – Kyle Phillips, Hillsboro
- LB – James Hughes, Stratford
- DL – Justin Ignacio, Hunters Lane
- DB – DeVarius Cortner, East Nashville
- DL – Malik Harris, Maplewood
- DB – Shandon Mayes, Hillsboro
- DL – DeAngelo Holt, Overton
- DB – Ugo Amadi, Overton
- LB – Lamonte Roberts, Antioch
- DB – Michael Bullard, Whites Creek
- LB – Gage Smith, Maplewood
- LB – Koreyon Jordan, Pearl-Cohn
- Ath – Walter Holmes, McGavock
Congratulations to all MNPS student-athletes, coaches, and supporters on a great season!
Retro Classic is Back to the Future
The FANS Retro Classic is headed to a new location on the west side of town as high school hoopsters wear throwback uniforms from bygone schools. This year’s event is Saturday January 3, 2015 at the historic Cohn High Gym, 4805 Park Avenue. Games start at 2:00pm. Don’t miss the action as McGavock faces MLK; Hillwood takes on Pearl-Cohn; and East Nashville plays Hunters Lane. You will want to be there for a special appearance by the Madison Rams in the famed polka dot uniforms. Tickets are available at the door for $6 and proceeds benefit The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools.
MNPS: The First Choice for Devoted Fans
A new leader is coming to Bellevue Middle Prep. Mark Pittman, currently assistant principal at Glencliff High School, will take over for principal Jim Mann, who is leaving the district for personal reasons.
Pittman brings diverse experience to Bellevue, including years spent in urban, suburban and rural school districts, working with students of all backgrounds. In his fifth year as an Academy principal at Glencliff, Pittman knows exactly what students need to prepare for and succeed in high school and college, knowledge that will serve the students of Bellevue Middle Prep very well.
“Mark is a proven leader and comes from a very successful high school,” said Dr. Jay Steele, Metro Schools’ chief academic officer. “I know he will bring stability and strength to Bellevue Middle. The students and families there are getting an involved principal who will help students grow academically, socially and emotionally.”
Pittman led the Glencliff English department to the highest possible scores for student growth and is skilled at mentoring teachers in instructional practices. He is also head of Glencliff’s Advanced Placement courses, which will translate well to Bellevue Middle’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.
Pittman holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in educational administration, both from the University of Illinois in Champaigne.