2015-16 Optional Schools Application period is now open

New application includes more opportunities for eighth and ninth grade students

Today Metro Schools re-launched one of its most powerful tools for school choice with a new twist for high school families. The Optional Schools Application is now available, allowing thousands of families to choose their schools for the 2015-16 school year. The application is online now, and paper copies will go home with every student in the district this week.

For the first time ever, the Optional Schools Application will allow rising ninth and tenth graders (current eighth and ninth graders) to not only choose their school, but to choose their area of study, too. The application will include more than 75 different academic pathways from the Academies of Nashville. Students can find one to match their areas of interest and choose to study that all the way through high school, even if that pathway is not offered at their zoned school. The StrIDe program from MTA allows high school students to use their student ID card to ride an MTA bus free of charge, making school choice more accessible for some families. All zoned high schools are open for application, except Antioch, Cane Ridge and Overton, which are full and unable to accept students not in their zones.

“Students need to be empowered in their learning, and that’s exactly what this does,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “High school students have been taking ownership of their learning in the Academies of Nashville for nearly a decade. The choice they make is a powerful one. It ties nearly all of their learning to something they are interested and invested in. That makes learning more relevant and gets students more engaged.”

Learn more about high school pathways in the Academies of Nashville virtual tours.

Learn more about high school pathways in the Academies of Nashville virtual tours.

Teachers and school counselors are working with eighth and ninth graders this week to select their preferred academic pathway. Once students have filled out an application and had it signed by their parents, counselors will help them make their choices at school on November 5, known as “Choice Day.” However, all families have until the application deadline in early December to complete the form, if more time is needed.

In addition to the zoned high schools, there are 76 more traditional, magnet, charter and specialty schools open for application at all grade levels. Families can select up to seven schools on the application, looking at factors like academic programming, location, scheduling, instructional style and more.

“There is a school for every family in our district,” said Dr. Register. “No matter what your child wants to learn – or how, where and when – there is at least one choice for you. We have many schools with advanced academic opportunities, schools focusing on math and science or liberal arts, schools for students who want to graduate more quickly or get real world work experience, schools for the arts and a lot more. Everything is at their fingertips with this one application.”

Families should explore all the options available to them before applying. School information is available online, but in-person visits are strongly encouraged. All schools are open for tours Tuesdays during the application period: Nov. 11, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2. Information about the Academies of Nashville and available pathways can be found on MyAcademyBlog.com and in these 12 virtual tours on the MNPS YouTube Channel. The Metro Schools Customer Service Center is also available to answer any questions and provide additional information at (615) 259-INFO (4636) or by emailing CustomerService@mnps.org.

The application deadline is Friday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. There is no advantage to turning in an application early as it is not a first come, first served system. Eighth and ninth grade families who do not make selections by the November 5 “Choice Day” will not be penalized. All applications will be randomly selected on Selection Days, Jan. 9 and Jan. 11.

2015-16 Optional Schools Application Process

Explore School Options and Apply Online

Learn More About Eighth and Ninth Grade Pathway Selection

Download the Optional Schools Application Booklet

FAQ: Optional Schools Application

FAQ: Eighth and Ninth Grade Pathway Selection Process

Pearl-Cohn’s Music Video Wins 1st Place in International Film Festival

Two Pearl-Cohn high school students and their teacher are on their way to Santa Monica, California this morning to accept an award from an international film festival.

The video for the song “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” won 1st place in the Student/Mentor Music Video category of the 2014 MY HERO International Film Festival. The song already received lots of national and international attention when it was released and the video for it went viral.

The video was created by Aneia Cody from Pearl Cohn’s Academy of Entertainment Communication along with the song writer Queen McElrath from Pearl-Cohn’s Academy of Entertainment Management. Anthony Young is their teacher for Media Concepts in the Academy of Entertainment Communication. All three left for California this morning to accept their award.


North Sports Report – November 20, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

“Grapple me this Batman” –The Grappler

Wrestling tournaments are like a three-ring circus with an extra ring. I guess that would be a four-ring circus – four simultaneous matches of non-stop action. The North Sports Report enjoyed a season opening tournament at Antioch High School last weekend where referees, wrestlers, scorekeepers, timekeepers and coaches crowd around four mats of competition. What might at first glance seem like chaos is a well-orchestrated athletic competition. Everyone knows where they are going, what they are doing, what the score is and who wrestles next. The logistics and organization were as fascinating as the competition. Good luck to all MNPS wrestlers this season!

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Guest Fan Reports

The North Sports Report is proud to provide the fan’s perspective on MNPS sports and will occasionally include submissions from guest fans. This week, Bonnye Pinkerton Holt reports from the Middle School Basketball Jamboree.

The Next Big Thing, Middle School Basketball
by Bonnye Pinkerton Holt

Saturday, November 15th, Maplewood High School hosted a Middle School Basketball Jamboree for several boys and girls teams from Metro Schools. Bellevue Middle, Two Rivers, Head, East, John Early and Jere Baxter are a few of the schools that participated in this awesome event. Each team played two 20 minute periods to showcase their talent and preview some of the exciting elements that are sure to come during this basketball season.

Additionally, 6th graders are now eligible to participate on sporting teams which added to the adrenaline throughout the day. Coaches were pumped, the players were driven and the fans were enthralled as these players showcased that the next big thing in sports will be Middle School Basketball.

The regular season started this week, and games are played on Tuesday and Thursday, with the girls’ game usually starting at 5pm. So mark your calendars and get the schedules of your favorite middle school and watch the excitement of future basketball stars.

Football Playoffs – The Quarterfinals

Which of the two huge playoff games will you attend this week? In 5A, the undefeated and top seeded Hillsboro Burros host Shelbyville with a trip to the state semifinals on the line. In 4A, the high-flying Pearl-Cohn Firebirds look to light up the scoreboard as they host White House. So, will you be at Hillsboro or at Pearl-Cohn? Pick one and go to a game!

All-America Selection

Hillsboro’s Kyle Phillips has been invited to play in the prestigious US Army All American Bowl as one of the top high school football players in the country. Congratulations!

MNPS: The First Choice for the Best Fans

Make informed school choices with NashvilleSchoolFinder.org

Nashville education community comes together to create NashvilleSchoolFinder.org

Metro Schools, Mayor Karl Dean, the Tennessee Charter School Center and the Nashville Public Education Foundation are proud to unveil a powerful new tool to aid families in school choice. NashvilleSchoolFinder.org is a website where parents can learn about schools, compare their performance, schedule a visit and apply all from one place. This tool is the product of collaboration among Nashville’s education community with the single goal of helping families make informed choices about education.

“There are 157 public schools in Nashville representing different neighborhoods, academic programs, schedules, instructional styles and more,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “Families deserve an easy-to-use tool to explore these schools to make the choices that are best for their children. School Finder is that tool.”

School Finder gives complete and objective information on schools, including academic performance, programming, offerings like transportation and after care and more. It is optimized to be viewed on any device – computer, phone or tablet – and gives families the power to easily research all schools before making an important decision.

“School Finder is essentially step one in the choice process,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “Families know what they are looking for in a school, and School Finder tells them where to get it. They can look for great schools right in their neighborhoods or other options that cater to their child’s particular needs and interests. Either way, School Finder is a one-stop shop for exploring their choices now and in the future.”

At the center of Nashville School Finder is the district’s Academic Performance Framework (APF). This powerful tool assesses school performance on several levels, including student achievement, academic growth, school culture and student satisfaction. Families can easily see how each school measures up on the APF and use that knowledge in making a final choice.

“The Academic Performance Framework is an incredibly powerful tool because it looks at a wide array of factors to examine school culture and how students are learning,” said Justin Testerman, Chief Operating Officer of the Tennessee Charter School Center. “Families deserve to know as much as they can about schools so they can make informed choices. Dr. Register and his team have built a measurement system that gives them what they need.”


On the homepage of NashvilleSchoolFinder.org, parents will find search tools allowing them to search for schools by address and grade level or to find schools by name. The results of their search will be plotted on a map with the ability to filter results according to schools’ performance ratings on the APF and availability of before and aftercare. Once they select a school, they can dive more deeply into information about each school, including programming, special offerings, demographic information and detailed achievement data. From the school’s information page, parents can contact the school to schedule a tour and go straight to the online application.

“There’s much more to a school that its test scores and reputation. There are so many options in Nashville, and they all have something unique to offer,” said Dr. Register. “The best way to explore those offerings and to find out if a school is the right fit for you is to research it for yourself and visit it in person.”

“Parent engagement and high quality options for all kids are at the heart of Nashville’s ability to have strong public schools,” NPEF President and CEO Shannon Hunt said. “And perhaps just as important as the product itself is the fact that this was done through a strong public-private partnership. Kids and parents win when we work together rather than against one another. I hope this becomes a model for future collaboration.”

School Finder is a joint effort co-financed by MNPS, the Nashville Public Education Foundation and the Tennessee Charter Schools Center. Its development marks another strong collaboration among Nashville’s education community to improve outcomes and offer families high-quality educational options for their children. It will serve families during the current Optional Schools Application period and in the months and years to come as they make future decisions.


“The work is always better when you do it together,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “I’m proud of the collaboration this project represents and the joint focus on Nashville families finding the right school for their children regardless of label or location. Everyone on this project worked together to give all parents real, informed school choices.”

Though the vast majority of optional schools in Nashville use a shared application through the Optional Schools Application process, some charter schools use their own applications. Links to all applications can be found from individual school pages on School Finder.

Metro schools on the Optional Schools Application are open for tours Tuesdays during the application period, with one remaining date available Dec. 2. Tours at other times can be scheduled on an individual basis.

The Optional Schools Application deadline is Friday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. for the paper application and 11:59 p.m. for the online application. There is no advantage to turning in an application early as it is not a first come, first served system. All applications will be randomly selected on Selection Day, Jan. 9.

The Metro Schools Customer Service Center is also available to answer any questions and provide additional information at (615) 259-INFO (4636) or by emailing CustomerService@mnps.org.

WATCH: Nashville Public Television documentary and live town hall on immigrant and refugee students

Deana Conn, OverDeana Conn, English Language Teacher at Overton High School is featured in the PBS documentary.

Deana Conn, English Language Teacher at Overton High School is featured in the NPT documentary.

Nashville Public Television will present the online event and documentary American Graduate: Translating the Dream TODAY, November 18 at 3:30 pm.

This program deals with the challenges that immigrant and refugee students face in graduating high school. It follows several Metro students and teachers including Deana Conn, teacher at Overton High School.

During the documentary, Deana and other education experts will participate in a live town hall, answering your questions and giving additional insights into the issues explored in the film.

To chat during the live event: http://bit.ly/AmGradChat

North Sports Report – November 13, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Middle School Football City Championship – Bulldog Battle

Bulldogs were all over the field last week at McGavock High School for the Middle School Football City Championship between the Oliver Bulldogs and the DuPont-Tyler Bulldogs. These two teams are loaded with talent, well-coached and came into the game undefeated. The North Sports Report had the honor of presenting the championship trophy to the DuPont Tyler team in the middle of the field, and I am looking forward to seeing the players from these two teams playing on Friday nights for the next four years.

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Check with a middle school near you for their Winter sports’ schedules. You will enjoy watching the competition, and they need your support.

Blue Knights Take Home Prestigious TSSAA Award

At its regional meeting last week, the TSSAA presented the BlueCross Championship Series award to Hume-Fogg for the 2013-14 school year. According to Assistant Principal Kelly Harned:

“Now in its fourth year, the BlueCross Championship Series… awards points based on quarterfinal, semifinal, final round and championship appearances, with the potential points earned increasing at each level of competition. At the end of the school year, those schools with the top average point totals in their division, as well as no citations for unsportsmanlike conduct, win.”

It’s an award for winning AND sportsmanship. Congratulations to Hume-Fogg coaches, students, parents and fans.

College Ready

A big day of signings this week as MNPS student-athletes prepared to take their education and athletic endeavors to the next level. McGavock’s Deann Whitlow signed to play basketball at Florida A&M; MLK’s Shon Jordan signed to play softball at Carson-Newman; Hillsboro’s Janel Pate signed to run track at Alabama; and Hume-Fogg’s Shannon Chelsvig will compete on the swim team at the University of Wyoming. Congratulations!

Firebird Named Mr. Football Finalist

Pearl-Cohn’s tremendous running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn was named a finalist for the TSSAA Mr. Football Award for the second straight year. Again this year, Vaughn rushed for over 2,000 yards and has his team primed for a run at the state championship.

Basketball Starts

The hoopsters hit the hardwood this week as MNPS looks to send even more teams to the state tournament this year.

Football Playoff Time – Friday November 14

The second round of the state playoffs features three MNPS teams.

  • In 4A, the Pearl-Cohn Firebirds host Spring Hill.
  • In 5A, the undefeated Hillsboro Burros host Springfield.
  • In 6A, the McGavock Raiders travel to Ravenwood.

In the playoffs, the name of the game is survive and advance … no, make that … dominate and advance.

MNPS: The First Choice for Scholarship, Championship and Sportsmanship


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