Back to School Central 2015

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The first day of school in Metro Nashville Public Schools is Wednesday, August 5. You read that right. We’re just a few days away from school bells 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 5.

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.

The Metro Schools Customer Service Center is open to answer your questions.
Call (615) 259-INFO (4636)
Email CustomerService@mnps.org
Visit 2601 Bransford Avenue, 37204

Important Back to School Articles and Posts

Important Back to School Links

Back to School Flyers You Can Download

Important Back to School Events

  • First Day of School (half-day) – August 5
  • No School / Election Day / Teacher Planning Day – August 6
  • Full Day of School for Grades 1-12 – August 7
  • Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday – August 7-9
  • Full Day of School for All Students – August 10

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

Academic achievement results show Metro Schools outpacing the state

District continues steady improvement in
9 out of 10 subject areas

Key takeaways:

  • Metro Schools showed achievement gains in 9 out of 10 tested subjects. In seven of those subjects, gains were larger than the state average and as much as double statewide gains in several high school subjects.
  • The district scored a 5 out of 5 on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, which measures achievement growth.
  • The district met 10 out of 11 academic targets set by the state accountability system – the highest number the district has ever met.
  • Metro Schools is in good standing with the state once again at Intermediate status under the Tennessee Department of Education accountability system. Four years ago, the district was in Restructuring status, the lowest possible rating under No Child Left Behind.
  • TCAP tests, which measure student performance in grades 3-8, saw moderate single-year gains in the number of students scoring proficient or advanced in math and science and a small decline in reading. Five-year gains, however, show growth in every subject, including significant growth in math and science.
  • End-of-Course (EOC) exams, which measure student performance in grades 9-12, saw single-year gains in the number of students scoring proficient or advanced in every subject. Five-year gains are very strong, reaching double digits in most subjects.
  • The percentage point increases over five years equates to 13,808 more students scoring proficient or advanced on TCAP tests and 5,129 more students scoring proficient or advanced on EOC exams for a total of 18,937 more students when not accounting for student population growth.
  • In total, 51% of all Metro schools (75 schools) are growing and/or achieving at levels higher than the state average: 39% in elementary, 65% in middle and 58% in high.

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Academic achievement data for the 2014-15 school year shows Metro Nashville Public Schools overall proficiency increasing at a faster rate than the state. As a result of last year’s gains, Metro Schools met 10 out of 11 achievement measures on the state’s accountability system – the most ever for the district.

District data also shows student growth outpacing the state, which reflects year-over-year academic progress for students regardless of proficiency. Metro Schools received a growth rating of five – the highest possible score – in the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS).

Last year’s scores mark a five-year trend of steady increases in student proficiency in 9 of 10 tested subject areas. In 7 of those 10 subjects, Metro Schools’ increases were significant enough to outpace improvement statewide, which similarly saw increases in every subject area except Reading / Language Arts for grades 3-8.

“Teachers and principals need to be proud of the progress their students are showing. We are certainly proud of them,” said Interim Director of Schools Chris Henson. “They have all worked very hard to improve academic opportunities and outcomes for Nashville’s children, and the progress they have made is significant in many areas. Though some years’ gains may seem modest, added up over time they are often quite large. That means more than just a score on a report – it means thousands more students performing at grade level and preparing for higher education.”

The Tennessee Department of Education implemented new standards and assessments in 2010. Since then, the number of students scoring proficient or advanced (P/A) grew significantly in every subject tested, particularly at the high school level, with most climbing by double-digit increases over five years.

If current proficiency levels were applied to the same student population size that the district had in 2010, nearly 19,000 more students are scoring proficient or advanced on the state’s standardized tests than were back then. Although the actual increase in the number of students meeting proficiency is even higher since the district’s student population has grown significantly during that time.

Grades 3-8 TCAP Single-year Gains
(in percentage points)
Five-year Gains
(in percentage points)
Increase in Students Scoring P/A compared to 2010
Math 2.8 20.4
Reading / Language Arts -1.4 4.5 13,808
Science 1.0 12.9

 

Grades 9-12 End-of-Course (EOC) Exams Single-year Gains
(in percentage points)
Five-year Gains
(in percentage points)
Increase in Students Scoring P/A compared to 2010
English I 1.3 15.1
English II 1.2 8.9
English III 6.9 8.1*
Algebra I 8.6 27.7 5,129
Algebra II 11.8 23.3*
Biology I 2.3 10.8
Chemistry 11.4 N/A**

*Since 2012, first year of English III and Algebra II EOC exams.
**The Chemistry EOC exam began in 2014.

All Grades TCAP and EOC Exams Increase in Students Scoring P/A compared to 2010
 
TOTAL 18,937
 

High school subjects are the most consistently improving areas of academic performance. In fact, Nashville’s high school students grew at a faster rate than the state average in six out of seven EOC subjects. Though they have seen large jumps in long-term growth, elementary and middle school achievement levels are still a concern. Literacy, in particular, remains a needed area of focus after a slight decline in overall scores last year and flat scores over the last four years.

“Growth across the board is very promising, but the fact is that fewer than half of our elementary and middle school students are performing at grade level,” said Henson. “It is extremely important that we continue and accelerate this growth. We are ready to keep pushing forward this year with expanded programs to address our weak spots, particularly literacy, and added resources to help special groups of students like those living in poverty or learning to speak English.”

Read about efforts to improve literacy in Metro Schools.

When considering those special groups of students, called subgroups, and the achievement gaps that exist between them and the student body as a whole, the results are mixed. Overall, achievement gaps in Metro Schools are still smaller than achievement gaps statewide in 15 of 16 measures (see chart below). High schools fared better than other grades, meeting targets for minority and economically disadvantaged students, the two largest subgroups in grades 9-12. While all subgroups improved in at least half of the subjects tested, elementary and middle schools only met one target for achievement gap closure.

Read about efforts to improve English learner services.

About half of all Metro schools are achieving or growing at higher levels than the state average. In total, 75 district schools, or 51 percent, exceeded the state average in academic growth and/or achievement. Nineteen of those schools, or 13 percent, surpassed the state for both growth and achievement. These schools exist in every cluster and at every grade level, representing magnet, charter and zoned neighborhood schools.

“Schools all over Nashville are improving, which is good news for students and families,” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele. “This shows that our teachers and school leaders are developing solutions to meet the unique needs and challenges of their students. There is no secret trick to a successful, growing school. It takes empowered principals who can set goals and make instructional decisions at the school level, along with a great faculty to carry it out.”

That kind of flexibility is gaining even more ground in the 2015-16 school year as student-based budgeting has rolled out district-wide. Principals will have access to more funding for subgroups of students so they can better address their particular needs.

In addition, there are district-wide supports available to principals in areas that need improvement. The district’s literacy program is expanding this year thanks to a $1.3 million investment aimed at meeting aggressive three-year goals. The Office of English Learners is also prepared to enhance support for teachers, students and their families through a new department strategic plan and $1.1 million in additional resources.

Long term, the expansion of prekindergarten to every child who wants or needs it is expected to make a major impact in the years ahead as students enter kindergarten with better literacy skills and a much better grasp on the English language. The district received a major federal grant for the expansion and development of high-quality pre-K programming with $8.3 million being invested this year and the possibility for a total of $33 million over four years.

“There is an enormous amount of hard work happening in our schools, but to really accelerate the pace of learning, we will need the full backing of our community,” said Dr. Steele. “Particularly when it comes to literacy, there is a lot parents and community members can do. All of our schools have volunteer opportunities for tutoring, literacy clinics, after school programs and more. Anyone who wants to pitch in to help a child should contact a school or visit SchoolVolunteers.org.”

“We are fortunate to have an excellent strategic plan guiding our way forward,” said Henson. “It calls for greater supports for our schools, personalized learning for every student and empowering principals to make decisions. That is the philosophy driving our actions now and into the future. Regardless of my status as Interim Director of Schools or the on-going search for a permanent leader, this plan and the leadership team that has been carrying it out are still pushing us forward. There is a lot of work still to do and we are unwavering in our commitment to our students.”

Back to School: Three Metro schools will have longer school days this year

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What Time

When will that school bell ring on August 5? 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 2015-16:

  • Jere Baxter Middle Prep – 8:25 a.m. – 3:55 p.m. (30 minutes longer)
  • Madison Middle Prep – 8:15 a.m. – 3:55 p.m. (40 minutes longer)
  • Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School – 7:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. (45 minutes longer)
  • Napier Elementary School – 8:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. (five minutes shorter)

These four schools changed their schedules last year and will keep these altered schedules for 2015-16:

  • 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.
  • Creswell Middle Prep School of the Arts – 7:55 a.m. – 3:05 p.m.

The Goodlettsville Middle building is still under construction, so the school will remain at the Dalewood campus in East Nashville (1460 McGavock Pike) for another school year..

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

Metro Schools receives more than $4 million in School Improvement Grants for 2015-16

Funding is renewable for 2-4 more years, could top $11 million total by 2020

Six of Metro Schools’ priority schools are starting the new year with an infusion of funding to help accelerate turnaround efforts. Combined, the schools will receive more than $3 million this year with the possibility of another $5 million over the following four years. The money comes from a School Improvement Grant (SIG) awarded by the federal government through the Tennessee Department of Education.

In addition to the school-based SIG awards, the district will receive a $1 million innovation zone grant for the upcoming school year to provide leadership, oversight and support for priority schools. This grant is renewable for two more years for a total of $3 million, meaning altogether Metro Schools could receive more than $11 million by 2020 for district and school support in turning around priority schools.

The six schools and their award amounts are:

  Year 12015-16 Year 22016-17 Year 32017-18 Year 42018-19 Year 52019-20 5 Year Total
Inglewood Elementary $399,000 $399,000 $391,000 $113,900 $90,500 $1,393,400
KIPP at Kirkpatrick Elementary $270,000 $204,910 $182,907 $657,817
Whitsitt Elementary $364,550 $243,800 $243,800 $102,500 $78,300 $1,032,950
Jere Baxter Middle $402,000 $295,315 $240,000 $150,000 $75,000 $1,162,315
Madison Middle $762,030 $198,200 $124,600 $73,600 $73,600 $1,232,030
Pearl-Cohn High $853,842 $793,800 $793,800 $150,000 $100,000 $2,691,442
TOTAL $3,051,422 $2,135,025 $1,976,107 $590,000 $417,400 $8,169,954

“We feel very fortunate to receive these grants, and the money will be put to good use right away supporting students, teachers and school leaders in this important work,” said Dr. Euna McGruder, the district’s new executive officer for priority schools. “Just as much as they need this additional funding, these schools need support from the district and the community. That’s what my office is tasked with doing. We will work closely with principals and teachers to ensure they have what they need to give students the high-achieving education they deserve. We have high expectations, but we also have high hopes for success.”

Priority schools are those listed in the bottom five percent statewide in terms of raw achievement scores. The SIG money is to be used to focus on three areas that are most critical in turning around high-need schools: strong leadership, effective instruction and time for learning. If these schools are able to demonstrate progress and growth, the awards can be renewed for up to four more years, with the final two years designed to promote sustainability of newly instituted programs.

Students at priority schools will benefit from targeted interventions focused on reading and math, developed by school leaders based on their individual schools’ needs. Inglewood and Whitsitt Elementary Schools will also use SIG funds to expand prekindergarten offerings and better align learning from pre-K through fourth grade. At three of the six schools receiving SIG funds, students will get an extended school day with 30-45 minutes added to their daily schedules:

  • Jere Baxter Middle Prep – 8:25 a.m. – 3:55 p.m. (30 minutes more)
  • Madison Middle Prep – 8:15 a.m. – 3:55 p.m. (40 minutes more)
  • Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School – 7:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. (45 minutes more)

This extra learning time is a requirement of receiving SIG funds under the turnaround model used at these schools. Central office leadership will help support school efforts by implementing high-quality professional development for teachers, finding appropriate instructional strategies for extended learning time and helping develop intervention programs to meet students’ needs.

School leaders in each of these six schools began work last spring on developing school improvement plans, which became the basis for their SIG applications. By starting this work months ahead of the first day of school, they were able to conduct a full review of their schools and develop ways to address historical challenges. Of the district’s 12 priority schools, eight were eligible for SIG funding. Joelton Middle, Neely’s Bend Middle and Kirkpatrick Elementary did not receive SIG funds but will be part of the district’s innovation zone and will benefit from the district-level grant. The remaining four priority schools were previous recipients of SIG money and therefore ineligible to apply.

Teachers report to priority schools July 27, a full week ahead of their peers at other schools, to get a head start on the new year. Students return to school August 5.

Back to School: What’s new for students in 2015-16?

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School starts August 5! As always, the new year will bring some changes to Metro Schools. There will be new faces, new buildings, new policies and more.

So what’s new this year for students in Metro Schools?

 


 

1. There are several new academic choices in middle and high schools.

We are proud to offer new and exciting academic programs for students this year. There’s a new foreign language option, new advanced academic offerings and a new way to teach high school level math. This list goes over some of the major changes, but it doesn’t include everything. Individual schools may change and offer their own courses (like Maplewood High School offering Cinema Studies and Global Religion), so call your school if you want to know about those.

Integrated Math
High school level math courses – including high school courses taught in middle schools – are changing to an integrated model. What does that mean? This article does a pretty good job of explaining it. This will be a three-year process phasing in one course at a time. It begins in 2015-16 with Integrated Math I replacing Algebra I. That means if your child was expected to take Algebra I this year, he or she will now take Integrated Math I instead. Don’t worry. It teaches all the same concepts and is just as challenging as the old course. It just does it in a different order than before.

Arabic
Six Metro schools in South Nashville are teaching Arabic this year. There are two separate courses: one designed for beginning speakers interested in learning the language for the first time and another designed for native speakers who want to strengthen their skills or maybe read and write Arabic for the first time. So far these courses are only offered at:

  • Antioch High School and Margaret Allen Middle Prep
  • Cane Ridge High School and Antioch Middle Prep
  • Overton High School and McMurray Middle Prep

Metro Schools now offer six different foreign languages, including some of them offered K-12:

  • Spanish, offered K-12
  • Mandarin Chinese, offered K-12
  • French, offered 7-12
  • Latin, offered 7-12
  • German, offered 9-12
  • Arabic, offered 7-12

Learn more about the Arabic language courses here.

More Advanced Academic Options
Adding to an already deep roster of advanced academic choices, students can now choose International Baccalaureate at Antioch High School and Cambridge at Croft Middle Prep. Both programs offer students an internationally developed advanced curriculum that challenges them and pushes them to achieve at higher levels. You can learn more about International Baccalaureate and Cambridge on MNPS.org.

 

2. Middle school students can ride MTA for free – only if their parents want them to.

Last year, the hugely successful StrIDe program from MTA gave every high school student in Metro Schools the freedom to ride MTA buses for free. This year, the program is expanding to middle school students – but with an important catch.

If you want your child to receive a StrIDe ID badge that gives them free rides on MTA, you must request and complete a permission form. Only students who have signed permission forms may take part in StrIDe. The only way to get a form is to ask for it from your school’s main office or the Customer Service Center.

 

3. Expect more use of technology this year for all students.

Your child can expect to get more hands on more technology more often this year. Properly integrating technology into classroom instruction has been a major priority for the district because digital learning is the right thing to do. It lets teachers personalize learning for individual students’ needs, gives students valuable experience with the technology they will use in the real world and helps them prepare to take online assessments at the end of the year.

But don’t expect iPads and laptops just for the sake of using technology. It needs to serve a necessary educational purpose. All Metro teachers are trained on how to incorporate the latest educational technology into their lessons.


Have more questions about what your child should expect this school year? Visit Back to School Central to find valuable resources and links to information you need to know. If you still have questions after that, call your school or the Customer Service center for a back to school chat.

The Metro Schools Customer Service Center is open to answer your questions.
Call (615) 259-INFO (4636)
Email CustomerService@mnps.org
Visit 2601 Bransford Avenue, 37204

Back to School: 5 MORE things you need to know before the first day of school

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1. We need to update your family information. It’s really, really, really important.

If you have moved in the last year, please call your school, call the Customer Service Center at (615) 259-INFO (4636) or visit an Enrollment Center to ensure they have updated your contact information. They make ask for proof of residency. It is very important that your school knows how to get in touch with you. If you have moved to a new school zone, you will need to enroll at one of our 12 Enrollment Centers.

A couple of weeks after school starts, your child will bring home a very important form that needs to be filled out and returned to school the next day. This form will ask you to confirm this information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Number of people in your household
  • Income level

Don’t be alarmed by this last question. We are not interested in knowing your exact income or even a range. This will be a simple “yes or no” question asking if your income is above or below a certain number. It helps us determine how many of our families are economically disadvantaged, which we need to know for federal reporting purposes. Even if you do not believe you are economically disadvantaged, we still need you to fill out and return the form so we have the most accurate numbers possible.

 

2. School supply lists, dress codes and open houses/orientation are all school-based decisions, and your school’s main office is open to answer questions about them.

Each school and its teachers determine the specific supplies needed each year. They will give you a supply list soon. That may be on the first day of school or it may be posted to the website before then. Here is a list of all schools with links to their websites.

The dress code works the same way. Colors, types of acceptable shirts and pants and all other dress code decisions are made by principals. School main offices are open throughout the summer, so if you have a school specific question about something like supply lists or dress codes, give them a call. Here’s a list of all schools with their contact information and website links.

 

3. The Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday is August 7-9.

Speaking of school supplies and clothes… Don’t be in a huge rush to buy them just yet! The Sales Tax Holiday is August 7-9, 2015. During this period, sales tax in Tennessee will be waived for school supplies and clothes under $100. Learn more on the Tennessee state website.

 

4. If anything about your child’s school zone or optional school choice has changed, tell us now.

If you have moved to a different school zone, visit one of our 12 Enrollment Centers to enroll in your new school. If your child is attending an optional school and wants to make a change – including ninth and tenth graders who made choices within the Academics of Nashville – we need to know that right now so we can accommodate you. Call the Customer Service Center at (615) 259-INFO (4636) to discuss it.

You can visit our School Options website to check wait list status. If vacancies open up in the first five days of school, the Student Assignment Office will call you to offer you a spot. You will have 24 hours to decide to accept the placement. Please ensure we have your current phone number and address on file so we can contact you. You can also call the Customer Service Center at 259-INFO (4636) to check your wait list status.

 

5. If your child needs to take medication to take during the school day or has health issues, you will need to fill out these forms.

Take the completed forms and medication to your school’s main office for processing. Medications must be in the original container. Forms are available online, at school and in the Customer Service Center in multiple languages.

 

The Metro Schools Customer Service Center is open to answer your questions.
Call (615) 259-INFO (4636)
Email CustomerService@mnps.org
Visit 2601 Bransford Avenue, 37204

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