New Metro Schools food program supports families during summer break

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A new food program from Metro Schools and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help school-aged children in Nashville who may experience hunger during summer break.

Through the district’s Nutrition Services Department and Department of Extended Learning Programs, four locations in Nashville will fill the nutrition gap and make sure children get the nutritious meals they need. The program will be free to children ages 0 to 18, regardless of whether or not they attend Metro schools. Adults aged 19 and over can receive meals at a reduced cost of $3.75.

The program is paid for through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and comes to Nashville at no net cost to taxpayers.

“We recognize that families sometimes need assistance meeting the health and nutrition needs of their children, particularly when school is not in session,” said Dr. Tony Majors, chief support services officer for Metro Schools. “We are happy the summer feeding program can play a part in supporting our families during the summer break.”

According to the latest Map the Meal Gap study, one in five children in Middle Tennessee are food insecure, or without access to enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not only is hunger one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process, but inadequate nutrition can lead to long-term health consequences.

“Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again, making children more prone to illness and other health issues,” said Jennifer Bell, director of Extended Learning Programs for Metro Schools.

“During the school year we serve 92,000 meals a day district wide. We are happy to continue serving students who may otherwise miss out on a meal during the summer months,” said Spencer Taylor, executive director of Nutrition Services for Metro Schools.

Summer Feeding Program Schedule and Locations

Location Address Dates Time
Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elementary 1531 9th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 June 13 – July 22 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Fall-Hamilton Elementary 510 Wedgewood Ave, Nashville, TN 37203 May 31 – July 22 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Cole Elementary 5060 Colemont Drive, Antioch, TN 37013 June 13 – July 22 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Pearl Cohn High School 904 26th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 June 13 – July 14 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

 

Families can call the Family Information Center at 615-259-4636 for any questions about the Summer Feeding Program.

Meet the 2016 Blue Ribbon Teachers

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City leaders to honor outstanding educators through ad campaign,
cash prize and third annual recognition event

The Nashville’s Agenda Steering Committee, the Nashville Public Education Foundation and Metro Nashville Public Schools are teaming up once again to recognize outstanding teaching in Metro Schools by naming 46 of the district’s best educators as Blue Ribbon Teachers for 2016. The award is part of a larger, citywide effort to recognize and honor public school teachers.

“There is no ingredient more important to great schools than great teachers,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “It is imperative that as a city and a community we do more to recognize and reward everyday teaching heroes working in classrooms across the city. The Blue Ribbon Teacher Award brings much-needed community support for outstanding teaching and is a great example of the kind of public-private partnership I want to encourage more of across Nashville.”

Since its creation in 2014, only 99 teachers have been honored as Blue Ribbon Educators. With this year’s honorees, the total comes to 145. This year, in addition to a $1,000 cash prize and an event in their honor hosted at the Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Residence, educators will be celebrated in an ad campaign.

“Having great teachers in every classroom is at the heart of our city’s ability to strengthen and improve,” said Tom Sherrard, chairman of the Nashville’s Agenda Steering Committee and a member of the NPEF Board. “There is simply nothing more important than recruiting, retaining and better supporting our best teachers. This year we really want to drive that point home with a more visible tribute. We want great teachers to know just how much we appreciate the work they do and the contributions they make to our city.”

This year’s 46 honorees were chosen from among 707 nominations by students, parents, colleagues and members of the community in one or more of three categories: leadership, impressive data or relationships with students. Each nominee was evaluated through a blind screening process that culminated with the selection of the 46 winners by a panel of community and business leaders from various backgrounds.

“The large number of nominations received this year shows that Nashville’s teaching ranks are filled with dedicated professionals who go above and beyond to care for their students and see them succeed not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well,” said Chris Henson, interim director for Metro Schools.  “We appreciate those involved with Nashville’s Agenda and the Nashville Public Education Foundation who have committed their time, money and resources to celebrate and recognize our teachers.”

The Blue Ribbon Teacher awards program began in 2014 and is a joint project of the of the Nashville’s Agenda Steering Committee, The Nashville Public Education Foundation and Metro Nashville Public Schools. Funding for this initiative includes support from the HCA Foundation, Ingram Industries, Dan and Margaret Maddox Charitable Fund, Memorial Foundation and The James Stephen Turner Family Foundation, as well as this year’s corporate sponsor, First Tennessee Bank.

The Blue Ribbon Teacher Award is distinctly different from the Teacher of the Year program. The Teacher of the Year program is an internal celebration that recognizes teachers selected by colleagues in their schools, while the Blue Ribbon Teacher Awards are a community-wide celebration of great teaching. In addition, no more than 50 teachers are honored each year as Blue Ribbon Teachers based on a rigorous selection process.

The 2016 Blue Ribbon Teachers are:

Julie Adams Bellshire Elementary
Kelly Aldridge Bailey STEM Magnet
Misty Ayres-Miranda Nashville School of the Arts
Sean Bethune Whites Creek HS
Rhonda Burgess Julia Green Elementary
Will Butler Hillsboro HS
Chaz Carothers Una Elementary
Jessica Cola Two Rivers MS
Donna Michelle Copas Glencliff HS
Christian E “Beth” Cyrus Hickman Elementary
Jeremiah Davis Whites Creek HS
Claudeen Bryant Denning Rose Park Math & Science Magnet
Caroline DuBois Head Magnet
Theresa DuLaney Bellevue MS
Paige Elliott Hillwood HS
Lauren Fredericksen East End Prep
Kathleen Fuller Antioch MS
Amanda Funderburk Bellevue MS
Lindsey Garcia Oliver MS
Lori Green J.T. Moore MS
Vickie Irowa Nashville Big Picture HS
Sandy Irwin Bellevue MS
Jill Ivey Harpeth Valley
Winston Ly Margaret Allen Middle Prep
Melissa Martens LEAD Academy HS
Adrienne Mayo Cane Ridge HS
Ryan O. Murphey Nashville School of the Arts
Lonny Nelson Hillsboro HS
Mindie Norman KIPP Academy
Wesley Roberts Hume-Fogg
Meaghan Berry McGavock HS
Shauna Russell Purpose Prep
Hannah Sacco Nashville Academy of Computer Science
Caroline Sharp Oliver MS
Catherine Shull Harpeth Valley
Leticia Skae Hillsboro HS
Danielle Stein Julia Green Elementary
Beverly Alisa Taylor Stratton Elementary
Brittany Tharrington Hillwood HS
Christina Theodoru Intrepid College Prep
Kimberly Townsend-Christian Gateway Elementary
Deborah Weakland Hattie Cotton STEM Elementary
Rebecca Welch Dan Mills Elementary
Dana Westveer DuPont Elementary
Franklin Willis Madison MS
Karen Dorris Wolfson Bailey STEM Magnet

Three Metro Schools students earn national merit scholarship

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A computer scientist, a biochemist and a biomedical engineer – the three Metro Schools graduating seniors who earned National Merit scholarships each have impressive aspirations.

David X. Feng of Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, Tahj M. Starr of Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School and Xiuya Yao of Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School were selected for the prestigious $2,500 National Merit scholarship, officials announced earlier this month.

The students were chosen from a pool of 15,000 finalists nationwide, meeting a strict set of criteria set by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation:

These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

Congrats, David, Tahj and Xiuya!

 

PHOTOS: Metro Schools’ retirement reception honors certificated and support employees

A reception was held on Wednesday, May 11 for retiring Metro Schools certificated and support employees and their families.

“As you end your career with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools we wish to extend our thanks for the work you have accomplished, the friendships you have shared and the dedication you have shown. We offer our best wishes as you begin a new chapter in your life,” the reception’s program said.

View the program:

View photos from the reception below and download high resolution photos from the reception on Flickr:

Dr. Shawn Joseph to spend time in Nashville to prepare for official start on July 1

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Dr. Shawn Joseph, the newly-selected Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, will immediately begin spending time in Nashville working on his transition to the district in preparation for his official start date of July 1.

Over the next several weeks, Dr. Joseph will meet with members of the Metro Nashville Board of Education, community members and staff to assist him in developing plans for his first 100 days as director.

During this time, Dr. Joseph will also announce dates for “Listen and Learn” sessions in all nine school board districts. The sessions will be an opportunity for Metro Schools families, staff and other concerned community members to meet Dr. Joseph and share their ideas for the district.

Dr. Joseph and Board Chair Dr. Sharon Dixon Gentry sent a joint email to Metro Schools staff this morning pointing to a quote by the late Scottish author Samuel Smiles to describe the opportunity that comes with new leadership in the district: “Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”

“We are excited to embark upon a new chapter in the history book of the Metro Nashville Public Schools,” Drs. Joseph and Gentry said in the email. “On Friday, we committed ourselves to cast the shadow of our burden behind us, and we re-committed to ensuring that every child, in every school, in every classroom is at the center of all of our decision-making.”

Over the next few weeks, while the Board of Education and Dr. Joseph are finalizing his “100 Day Plan,” Dr. Joseph will also be forming a transition team comprised of staff, members of the community and national educational leaders. The committee will be charged with advising Dr. Joseph on his initial steps in critical school system areas by thoughtfully studying the district from an objective point of view. At the same time, Dr. Joseph will be looking at critical data points to help him develop a detailed understanding of the current state of Metro Schools.

“We are committed to engaging and effectively communicating with the community as we collaboratively move through a phase of studying, reflecting, planning and doing,” Drs. Joseph and Gentry continued. “As we close this school year, we are optimistic that our best days are ahead of us.”

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Watch Dr. Joseph’s first round interview.

Watch Dr. Joseph’s second round interview.

Watch Dr. Joseph’s community forum.

View Dr. Joseph’s presentation.

See Dr. Joseph’s candidate dossier.

 

PHOTOS: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivers commencement speech at Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School graduation

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At the May 14 graduation ceremony, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson spoke to the 192 graduates of Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School in a moving commencement speech. Secretary Johnson charged the class of 2016 with classic life lessons, urging them to make the most of their lives, embrace change and diversity, be the best at what they do and to consider a life of public service.

“Consider a life serving others,” said Secretary Johnson. “There are two members of your class who are going into United States Military. Consider the opportunity to serve your country. If not in uniform, then in other ways… Serving others is fulfilling.

“You have it within you to do far more than sitting there right now you can possibly appreciate. Your limits as a human being are far higher than what you can possibly imagine right now.”

Sec. Johnson has close ties to Nashville. He is the grandson of former Fisk University president, sociologist Dr. Charles S. Johnson, who led the university from 1947 to 1956, and his father graduated from historic Pearl High School, in whose building MLK is now located.

View and download photos from the graduation on Flickr.

One-hundred percent of the senior class of 2016 at MLK graduated Saturday, according to MLK Principal Dr. Angela McShepard-Ray. The class of 2016 has many impressive accomplishments, including:

  • two National Merit college scholars attending Texas A&M University and the University of Oklahoma
  • two National Merit scholarship award winners
  • two students who were accepted to Yale University
  • student athlete scholarships to Bethel University, Centre College, and Bryan College
  • one student appointed to the Air Force Academy

The graduation, held at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena Saturday, May 14, was also attended by Metro Board of Education Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry.

View photos from the graduation below:

Follow our announcements as we celebrate the Class of 2016 by following the hashtag #MNPSco2016 on Twitter, Facebook and on Children First.

May 2016 Kindergarten Readiness Newsletter

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The May Kindergarten Readiness Newsletter is now available on iTRAILS!

This monthly newsletter was created by Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Pre-K Department to provide an additional resource to support families in getting their child ready for kindergarten. This month’s newsletter is available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

Click HERE to view and download the newsletter.

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This weekend, Maplewood student artists will showcase skater culture

Maplewood High School student artists will display an exhibition of handmade and reclaimed skateboards this weekend.

Maplewood collaborated with Rocketown, Sixth Ave Skatepark and Stansell Electric to create handmade skateboards and reclaimed boards for its first ever skate-art exhibit.

“Students used various saws, router, drill press, steam box and sander to bring their boards back to life with new graphics of their own design. Several students reclaimed 65-year-old planks used as shelves from a kitchen remodel in a nearby house and made them into rideable skateboards,” said Maplewood art teacher Michael Mitchell. “We feel that the experiential act of skating can play a part in the reinvention of education. This is what the Maker Movement looks like when everyone is invited.”

Students were able to express their ideas through the lens of skateboard culture, creating, “an excitement to get to use a tool they’ve never used before, and the permission to be part of something that they didn’t expect to be part of,” Mitchell said.

Students will also present their artified skateboards at Saturday’s Youth Music Expo at Rocketown.

Details on the exhibit

Radical Education: Rise of the Maker Movement, an exhibition of work by Maplewood students composed of custom skateboard art from repurposed materials.

Date: Saturday, May 14

Time:  3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Sixth Avenue Skatepark, 601 4th Avenue S., Nashville, TN 37203

View videos and highlights from the skate-art creation process from the @artpanthers on Instagram.

BUDGET TALK: What’s in the revised budget?

Back in March, the Board of Education approved an operating budget proposal that called for $852 million for the 2016-17 school year. In April, Mayor Megan Barry recommended a reduced funding amount of $843 million, which still represents a $33 million increase over the current operating budget.

On Friday, May 13, the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee met to look at a revised budget proposal that meets the Mayor’s recommended amount. The revised budget reduces spending by $9.1 million.

Here is a breakdown of what was reduced and what still remains in the proposed operating budget. To see everything that was originally included, take a look at our original budget breakdown.

  • Current year operating budget (2015-16): $810 million
  • Original operating budget proposal for 2016-17 (approved by the Board): $852.4 million
    • Increase of $42.4 million from current year
  • Revised 0perating budget proposal for 2016-17 (to match the Mayor’s recommended budget): $843.3 million
    • Increase of $33.3 million from current year
    • Reduced by $9.1 million from original operating budget proposal approved by the Board:
      • $1.62 million reduction in the EL expansion plan
        • Original expansion plan cost: $12.7 million
        • Revised expansion plan cost: $11.1 million
      • $2.25 million reduction in the Reading Recovery expansion plan
        • Original expansion plan cost: $8.97 million
        • Revised expansion plan cost: $6.72 million
    • $2.34 million in student-based budgeting reserves
    • $2.94 million in textbooks / science kits

SPENDING REDUCTIONS EXPLAINED

EL Expansion Plan

  • After-school Tutoring – Tutoring will expand its reach from eight schools to 15 – instead of 21 as originally proposed.
  • EL Professional Learning – The district will spend $450,000 to expand EL professional development opportunities for teachers instead of $1.3 million as originally proposed.
  • Family & Community Literacy Nights – Community partners and educators will help families learn English and give more literacy opportunities to students. The district will fund one location instead of three as originally proposed.

Reading Recovery Expansion Plan

  • Reading Recovery Teachers – The district will hire 30 additional Reading Recovery teachers instead of the 48 originally proposed. The revised expansion plan will bring the 24 schools currently using the program to full Reading Recovery implementation and add an additional six elementary schools.
  • Part-time Reading Interventionists – The district is eliminating the addition of 15 part-time reading interventionists and will continue serving the same number of schools with the reading interventionists already on staff.
  • Summer School – The district is eliminating the $90,500 request for a new literacy summer school program at 10 elementary sites. Many of the students who would have been served by this program will benefit from the new EL summer program that remains in the EL services expansion plan.
  • Other Expenses – Funding for supplies/materials, contracted services and travel have been reduced from the original budget proposal by $430,848.

Student-Based Budgeting Reserves

  • Under the student-based budgeting model, school budgets are developed using projected student enrollment. The district sets aside extra funds to assist schools that enroll more students at the start of the year than expected.
  • The set-aside to cover increased student enrollment at individual schools will be $3 million instead of $5.3 as originally proposed.

Textbooks / Science Kits

  • The annual allocation for textbook purchases will be reduced. All required textbooks will still be purchased. However, this will limit the district’s ability to purchase textbooks for the 2017-18 school year during the 2016-17 fiscal year. Purchasing textbooks in advance with the prior year’s budget has been common practice since fiscal year funding becomes available only one month before the start of school.
  • The district will end its science kit program, where hands on science materials are shipped to schools. The science kits no longer align with state standards for science curriculum and have not been widely used.

 

Fresh, local strawberries coming to seven Metro Schools cafeterias in May

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Strawberries from Green Door Gourmet, a local farm that sits on 350 acres along the Cumberland River in Nashville – the same strawberries coming to seven Metro Schools cafeterias in May.

 

Metro Schools is bringing more local, fresh produce to student lunches. The district has expanded its Farm to School pilot program during the strawberry harvest season as part of its U.S. Department of Agriculture Planning Grant. This grant is helping the district’s Nutrition Services team develop a sustainable model for district-wide Farm to School – an initiative to get wholesome, farm-fresh produce into school kitchens and onto the plates of students who need it most.

Casa Azafran Early Learning Center, Fall-Hamilton Elementary, Glengarry Elementary, Glenview Elementary, Park Avenue Enhanced Option Elementary, Rosebank Elementary, and Wright Middle Prep will begin receiving fresh, local strawberry deliveries beginning the week of May 9 through May 24.

For the second year, Green Door Gourmet is the only farm to provide fresh strawberries to Metro Nashville students.

Green Door Gourmet’s owner, Sylvia Ganier, supports the Farm to School movement and the connection between students, producers, and where the food system begins. “Green Door Gourmet is once again honored to be the only local farm participating in this important community program, feeding our kids fresh food grown here in Middle Tennessee,” Ganier said.

With the help of School Nutrition Alignment Team through Alignment Nashville, the $38,682 planning grant will continue Metro Schools’ efforts forge and strengthen relationships with more local farmers, aligning food education resources and partnerships.

The Nashville Farmers’ Market is very excited to support Metro Schools’ efforts to provide more locally grown food in school cafeterias. Nashville Farmers’ Market Program Manager, Jackie Contreras, serves as co-chair on Alignment Nashville’s Farm alongside School Nutrition Director Spencer Taylor.

“The Nashville Farmers’ Market is committed to supporting Farm to School by sharing Farm to School information with the agricultural community and engaging local farmers in opportunities to provide food and educational resources to MNPS,” Contreras said.

Through collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Department of Education, Nashville Farmers’ Market and others, the Alignment Nashville School Nutrition Team and Metro Schools has been working over the last year to develop a two-pronged tactical plan around healthy eating, local sourcing, and food/agriculture education:

(1) Working with local farms (within 250-mile radius), extension offices, and other agricultural stakeholders to build partnerships and farm capacity to provide local produce to Metro Nashville Public Schools and

(2) Working with educators, partner farms, and other agricultural/educational stakeholders to develop engaging educational content to work in tandem with the fresh produce being served in MNPS cafeterias.

Along with the Farm to School program, Metro Schools Nutrition Services, with support from the Alignment Nashville School Nutrition Team, has implemented whole-food from scratch cooking in Metro Schools cafeterias through the Healthier Cafés initiative.

See Metro Schools cafeteria food from @MNPSChefRebecca on Instagram and Twitter.

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