Tusculum Elementary celebrates new building with ribbon cutting ceremony


After opening its doors to students and teachers for the first time on Aug. 7, the new Tusculum Elementary officially celebrated the new building with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 17.

Originally built in 1911, Tusculum Elementary began as a two-room building that served 15 families. Tusculum Elementary’s last building opened in 1936 and had five additions to accommodate the growing student population. Today, the school serves close to 800 students in its new 98,080 square foot building.

Tusculum has long been a source of pride in Nashville – a place where students and teachers love learning together. Tusculum is now home to one of Metro Schools’ most diverse populations where students come from 20 different countries and represent dozens of languages.

Dr. Alison McMahan and her team are proud to begin the next chapter of Tusculum’s tradition of building community within their school. In addition to modern learning spaces, the new building includes a family resource center and community room with after-hours access.

The ribbon cutting ceremony featured remarks from Dr. McMahan, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, Mayor Megan Barry, Board member Dr. Jo Ann Brannon and Council member Davette Blalock. Tusculum’s choir also performed several songs for the crowd including the debut of their new school spirit song.

See photos from the event below:

Metro Schools offering signing bonuses for teachers in high-need subject areas


Metro Schools is seeking talented educators passionate about inspiring students and receiving an incentive in the process.

Cash in on your bonus by joining the MNPS team and becoming eligible to receive up to $6,000 per school year for high-quality instruction in these high-need subject areas:

  • Math (7-12)
  • Science (7-12)
  • Exceptional Education (K-12)
  • ESL (K-12)
  • Spanish

Signing bonuses are based on school ranking, content area and district priority, and will be paid in two equal payments (less applicable taxes) at the completion of the first semester and after successful completion of the second semester.

To join our team, visit mnps.org/careers.

McGavock FFA chapter of Nashville named finalist for 2017 National Model of Excellence award


The McGavock Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter of Nashville has been chosen as a finalist to compete for a 2017 National FFA Model of Excellence award from the National FFA Organization.

“In a short five-year span, our students have taken our chapter from non-existent to one of the best in the country. Our diverse membership proves that FFA is much more than just farming. It takes everyone to feed a growing population,” said Jessie Lumpkins, McGavock FFA Advisor. “The leadership skills and real-world experience they have developed through participating in this organization will catapult them into success at the next level, whether that is a career or college.”

The National Chapter Award program recognizes outstanding FFA chapters from throughout the country that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality FFA Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasizes growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.


High school chapters that received high three-star ratings during judging July 23-28 are eligible to compete for the Model of Excellence award, the highest honor awarded to a high school FFA chapter by the National FFA Organization. Ten FFA chapters will compete in a presentation and interview process for the top honors at the 2017 National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis.

The FFA chapter selected to receive the Model of Excellence award will be announced on stage during convention.

All winning FFA chapters receive honors made possible by corporate sponsor John Deere.

“Feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century brings with it unprecedented challenges for today’s farmers,” said Amy Allen, manager, national corporate contributions for John Deere. “The skills and experiences learned though the National Chapter Award Program will help meet the critical needs.”

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Metro Schools names new director of STEAM


Today, Metro Nashville Public Schools is proud to announce the selection of Robert Blankenship, current principal of Rose Park Science and Math Middle School, to lead the district’s STEAM initiative as the director of STEAM. Blankenship will replace the current director of STEM, Dr. Kris Elliott, who has accepted a position with Oregon State University.

Blankenship has served the students of Metro Schools for more than 30 years as a teacher, an assistant principal and an executive principal and he has solidified Rose Park Science and Math Middle School’s reputation as a nationally recognized STEM school. Under his vision and leadership, Rose Park has achieved many accomplishments, including being awarded the esteemed National Center for Urban School Transformation’s Award of Excellence twice, most recently in 2017 and also in 2013. This award recognizes transformation in the nation’s highest-performing urban schools. In the last five years, Rose Park has also been named both a SCORE (State Collaborative on Reform Education) finalist and a winner.

With Blankenship’s leadership and experience, Metro Schools will continue the work related to the recently announced STEAM initiative, which will completely transform teaching and learning in all of our middle schools. Blankenship’s appointment will directly support the “Our Students” goal area of the district’s three-year plan by continuing to design an interdisciplinary STEAM curriculum that promotes active student engagement and yields consistent improvement in academic achievement.

“Shifting to a STEAM curriculum approach is a transformation for our district,” said Dr. Monique Felder, chief academic officer. “We are confident that Robert’s extensive science and STEM experience, his vision, and his passion for science education will help lead Metro Schools to have the best STEAM program in the nation.”

Blankenship begins his new position Monday, Aug. 14. Mr. Rommie Vasser, the current assistant principal, has been named interim principal for the remainder of this school year.

#BacktoMNPS: Metro Schools celebrates first day of school

On Monday, Aug. 7, Metro Schools kicked off another year that will exceed great expectations. The 2017-2018 school year will bring new programs for students, like the new STEAM initiative that will be introduced in 18 of our middle schools.

Today, the district welcomed approximately 88,000 students, including 7,259 new kindergartners who started the first day of their journey at MNPS. The district opened nearly 291,000 square feet of new or renovated space, including a much-anticipated brand new Tusculum Elementary School that opened its doors today.

Today is the first day of a year filled with infinite possibilities for students. We’re excited to welcome back all of our students and begin another year of exceeding great expectations!

How Metro Schools’ Nutrition Services is preparing for the new school year


In less than a week, Dr. Braina Corke, the assistant director of Nutrition Services, will be a part of her 19th first day of school with Metro Schools. She is most excited for school to return so she will know students are receiving hot meals again—and completely free of charge.

“The opportunity to serve great meals again to our students warms my heart,” Corke said.

What has kept her here for so long? Her love of the people — the students and her employees. Corke started as a nutrition services clerk almost two decades ago, with focus, additional schooling and professional development, she worked her way up to a leadership role. In 2016 she earned her doctorate. Now in addition to being Dr. Corke, she is also president Corke. She was recently named the president of the Tennessee School Nutrition Association, an association that focuses on the advancement and promotion of good nutrition for all children, lifelong wellness and professional growth and development for nutrition services professionals.

Corke and her team have been preparing for the school year all summer, but have recently geared up in the weeks before with staff hiring, kitchen and menu prep and required professional development. Along with general classroom training and workshops, Corke makes sure her staff knows how important high-quality and joyful service is to the department.  Her advice to her staff is to always treat students with kindness, respect, be friendly and smile. Your students cannot only expect a healthy and delicious meal, but great customer service and a friendly greeting.

“We are here for the students— for some these school meals are the only ones they receive,” Corke said.  “Every student has a story, so it is our job to make sure they receive a meal and our best service.”

Parents may not know that cafeteria staff require a certain number of professional development hours each school semester. Two weeks before school began, hundreds of managers met for a three day professional development and training. All MNPS managers are Servsafe certified, a national certification administered by the National Restaurant Association. The program specializes in teaching and certifying responsible food service measures and prepares staff to implement essential food safety practices and create a culture of food safety.

What’s new this year in MNPS cafes? Middle and high school students can look forward to “Flavor Stations.” Flavor Stations will be in all MNPS cafeterias to offer a set of low and no calorie spices and herbs for kids to shake on their vegetables and entrees to boost flavor.

Another change — six hour employees have been changed to seven hour employees. While this may not seem like a big deal to an outsider, not only does this give staff more hours a week to improve their income and increase the value of their job, but most importantly it gives staff the opportunity to add more prep time to meals for students. This means more healthy hand-made recipes. Overall it will lead to better customer service from happier employees and high quality meals for students.

Did You Know?

  • All Students receive meals at no cost
  • All Students receive breakfast
  • If your student has special dietary needs, the Nutrition Services Department can help! Call the Nutrition Services Department before the school year starts and they will be happy to help and make sure your child’s needs are met.
    615-259-8472 or 615-259-8467

Below are some important take-aways from the nutrition services policy. These are guidelines that our nutrition services staff abide by all of our schools. Review the wellness policy to get understanding of the guidelines and resources available to students.

School Meals (Pre-K-12)

  • Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will
  • Be appealing and attractive to children.
  • Be served in clean and pleasant settings.
  • Meet, USDA’s “All Foods Sold in Schools” standards.
  • Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Serve only low-fat and fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by USDA).
  • Ensure the offering of whole grains as prescribed by USDA.

Breakfast (Pre-K-12)

  • Operate the National School Breakfast Program.
  • Encourage all children have breakfast, either at home or at school.
  • Arrange bus schedules, to the greatest extent possible, in order to utilize methods of serving school breakfasts that encourage participation, including serving breakfast in the classroom, “grab-and-go” breakfast, or breakfast during morning break or recess.
  • Notify parents and students of the availability of the National School Breakfast Program (for schools that serve breakfast).
  • Encourage parents, through flyers, posters and school newsletter article, to provide a healthy breakfast for their children.

Visit http://mnpsnutritionservices.org/ for more information.

Metro Schools welcomes 400 new teachers at New Teacher Academy


Metro Schools kicked off the 2017-18 school year with New Teacher Academy, a three-day new teacher retreat, on July 25-27.

Through inspirational talks, breakout sessions, hands-on simulations and networking opportunities, Metro Schools’ newest educators learned about not only the district’s students and teaching and learning in the district, they also tapped into why they chose to become educators, and most importantly, why they chose to teach in Nashville’s public school system.

Guest speakers for the retreat included Mayor Megan Barry, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, Dr. Mona Ivey-Soto, an assistant professor at Belmont University, and Dr. Martha Shepherd, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University.

The district aims to create a work environment where people are valued, supported and personally invested in professional growth. The three-day retreat gave the opportunity to the district’s newest educators to become familiar with MNPS. New Teacher Academy is also an investment in the district’s culture and is significant work towards reaching the district’s organizational capacity goals.

See photos from the event below:

Metro Schools to host Parent University Conference in August

preview-full-Parent University 2014_wide - CopyJoin Metro Schools for the 10th Annual Parent University Conference on Saturday, August 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.at Trevecca Nazarene University in the Boone Business Center.

The Parent University Conference is a free event designed to prepare MNPS families for the start of the school year and to support academic and social/emotional learning at home. Each year an average of 500 families attend the conference.

This year’s theme is, “Preparing for Our Children’s Future ‘Selfie’: 21st Century Skills – Learning for Their Times.” Families will benefit from parent and youth workshops, childcare enrichment activities, student performance, health screenings, community resources, school supplies, MNPS Next info sessions, door prizes and much more to help ensure families are ready for the start of the new school year. The featured keynote will be Byron V. Garrett, a national advocate for education.

Please join us for this exciting conference to launch the new school year. You can receive free MTA transportation for the event by mentioning Parent University to the bus driver.

To pre-register for conference and childcare, please visit,  www.eventbrite.com/ParentU2017 or fax registration form to 615-298-8056. You can also email the form to parent.univeristy@mnps.org

For more information on this event, visit, www.mnps.org/parent-university-conference.

Evelyn Waheeb: My internship experience with Metro Schools

EvelynMy name is Evelyn Waheeb and I will be a junior at Antioch High School this year. I was a summer intern at Metro Schools in the communications department. My supervisor was Allison D’Aurora, the community engagement specialist, along with many great office workers that were such a great support for me along the way.

Meeting each and every person that I did in central office was such an honor. I had so many people ask me why I chose the communications department. I simply said that any career field that I choose requires communication skills and I knew that choosing this worksite will definitely help me improve and grow in that skill.

This internship gave me so many experiences such as getting to meet and talk with Dr. Shawn Joseph, the director of schools. My supervisor was such a great support and motivator for me. She taught me so many things that I will definitely use later on in school and in college. She also helped me network and make connections with a lot of great people that I can learn so much from.

Working on projects and logistics such as the MNPS Next meetings gave me many 21st century skills. I attended many events such as the groundbreaking ceremony event at McMurray Middle Prep, a site visit for the ribbon cutting at Tusculum Elementary, an MNPS Next meeting and a radio talk show with Ruben De Pena. I also had one-on-one meet and greets with office leaders and workers that helped me work on my goal of becoming a lawyer and also getting the most out of this internship.

Although this internship will come to an end, I know that I have made so many connections that I can refer back to later on. Here is something I will always take with me wherever go: I had Panda Express for lunch one day, and the fortune cookie read, “Striving for the best will bring you closer to the best.” This came at the right time and I know that the harder I work for my dreams, the more open doors I will find along my path to success. Overall this summer internship was such a great experience and I can’t wait for the next one!

Metro Schools hosts Fatherhood Festival


Metro Schools welcomed MNPS fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, mentors and other father figures for the Fatherhood Festival at Watkins Park Community Center in June.

The men spent a day of family fun with their young scholars including games, activities, music and food in the park. The event also featured rotating hands-on activities, workshops and community vendor booths that provided education materials and giveaway items to participants.

Men who have volunteered in the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program were honored by the MNPS Department of Family and Community Engagement and the Mayor’s Office.

The goal of the event was to empower men from Metro families to become even more engaged in their local school community.

Check out photos from the event:


%d bloggers like this: