Metro Schools chosen for nationwide English language learner professional development pilot

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Pictured: A Tusculum Elementary School EL Teacher goes over site words with students. 

Metro Schools is one of six large urban districts in the U.S. chosen to implement the first course of a new professional development resource for English language learner (ELL) educators by the Council of Great City Schools. The results of the pilot will be used to create courses nationally for educators who teach english language learners.

The pilot began in October and will be complete by the end of December, according to Kevin Stacy, Metro Schools executive director of the Office of English Learners.

“I am honored that the Council of Great City Schools has seen our hard work and has asked us to be a part of this professional development trial. This learning is an extension of the work we have begun to ensure our ELs are challenged with complex and compelling text,” Stacy said.

Metro Schools was chosen because it is familiar with the work of Lily Wong Fillmore, Jeff Zwiers and other nationally-recognized experts who are involved in content development of English language learner resources, according to the Council of Great City Schools. The second course, to be launched nationally in January 2017, is related to academic conversations in mathematics as part of an enhancement to initiatives already being implemented by Metro Schools ELL coaches.

“MNPS teachers and staff are playing a critical role in shaping valuable, job-embedded professional development that will be implemented by urban colleagues nationwide,” said Debra Hopkins, ELL Project Manager for the Council of Great City Schools. “Their specific, actionable feedback related to experiences delivering the trial course has already been rolled into a new and improved iteration of the course, which will be rolled out nationally in 2017.”

PHOTOS: CMA Foundation continues visionary commitment to music education in Metro Schools with $1 million grant for 2017

Kelsea Ballerini And CMA Foundation Announcement

Left to right: Debbie Linn of Music Makes Us, Shannon Hunt, CEO of the Nashville Public Education Foundation, Nola Jones of Music Makes Us, Laurie Schell of Music Makes Us, Robert Swope, District 4 Council member, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini, Metro Schools Chief of Staff Jana Carlisle, Anna Shepherd, board of education chair, Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association, Ron Samuels of the CMA Foundation, Bill Simmons, CMA board member. The CMA Foundation announced a $1 million donation to the Metro Schools Music Makes Us program at Oliver Middle School on Dec. 6 in Nashville. Photo credit: Terry Wyatt for Getty Images.

Country star Kelsea Ballerini and the CMA Foundation celebrated a long-standing commitment to Metro Nashville Public Schools Tuesday, awarding a $1 million grant to support initiatives aimed at strengthening music education programs and music teacher support in classrooms across the city. This donation brings CMA’s support of music teachers and education in Nashville to $11 million since 2006 making it one of the largest local, private investments in the district’s public school system.

Funds for the 2017 grant were raised through CMA’s annual CMA Music Festival, held in Nashville each June. In 2017, the CMA Foundation has earmarked a record $3.1 million to 44 in- and after-school music education programs across the country, bringing the Foundation’s total contributions to date to $17.5 million (including the Metro grant).

“I think it is so important to give kids the opportunity to learn what they are passionate about,” said Ballerini. “When I was in middle and high school I took as many chorus and theater classes as I could, and I use the tools I learned then in my career today!”

See a clip of Ballerini’s performance below:

The extraordinary public/private partnership received additional awareness today as part of a Metro initiative to help non-music education and civic leaders better understand the role of music education in school improvement efforts. Groundbreaking research, funded in part by CMA, demonstrated sustained participation in music correlates directly with improved student academic performance. “CMA’s long-standing commitment to Nashville’s public schools is a shining example of the power of private/public partnerships. Their level of commitment in terms of total dollars and tenure of support is tremendous,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. “My hope is that their leadership inspires others to step forward in a similar fashion.”

 

“As we think about a more aggressive effort to strengthen and improve our public schools, music education is a central ingredient – not just because we are Music City, but because the research shows it can have a lasting impact on student success,” said Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph. “I am so proud of what the District has already done to build one of the strongest music education programs in the country, but even more optimistic about what the future will bring with partners like CMA.”

In partnership with MNPS/Music Makes Us and the Nashville Public Education Foundation, the CMA Foundation grant goes directly toward providing instruments and teacher support impacting more than 89,000 local students. The partnership between MNPS, the CMA Foundation (CMAF), and the Nashville Public Education Foundation (NPEF) is one of the district’s longest-standing and most significant public/private ventures. The generous support for music education and long-time commitment to the City of Nashville has been an essential ingredient to getting the music education program to the nationally-recognized prominence it has today. Part of CMA’s ongoing mission is funding teacher development in addition to support for music instruments and equipment.

Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have understood that, for Nashville to continue being Music City, Metro Schools require and deserve robust music education programs. CMA and the CMA Foundation have invested $11 million in 11 years in an unprecedented public/private partnership to strengthen and improve music education in Nashville schools.

Previous grants were used to stabilize programs by purchasing instruments and equipment, and to create a repair shop for the district. This year’s $1 million gift continues that tradition, while also providing substantial resources for educators based on feedback from our district’s music teachers.

“When this program began, it was important to fund instruments, which hadn’t been purchased in decades,” said Joe Galante, Chairman of the CMA Foundation and a member of the CMA Board of Directors. “Now that we have instruments in every Metro school, the CMA Foundation is expanding our focus to include teachers by providing recognition of their work, which is critical in developing and maintaining strong, sustainable music programs.”

The 2017 grant will go beyond instrument support and will benefit music educators throughout Davidson County. Supported teacher initiatives include:

  1. Side by Side – customized coaching by experts for all music teachers with 32-56 hours per teacher, with select schools also receiving support for subsidized private lessons.
  2. CMA Music Teachers of Excellence – a competitive teacher recognition program with a grant award of $2,500 for up to 20 teachers.

The District’s Prelude study, completed in 2013, indicated students who participate in music and the arts are more likely to graduate, have better attendance rates, and earn higher GPAs than those not enrolled in music programs. The CMA Foundation recognizes the benefits of music education in keeping kids engaged and the importance of supporting local music educators.

Students from the Wind Ensemble at Oliver Middle School performed during the presentation. In addition, several other city leaders were on hand to celebrate the news of this year’s grant including School Board Chair Anna Shepherd, District 4 Council member Robert Swope, and various other music industry and civic leaders.

See more photos from the event below:

Kelsea Ballerini And CMA Foundation Announcement

Singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini performs a song for the Oliver Middle School wind ensemble during the CMA Foundation’s announcement of a $1 million donation to the Metro Schools Music Makes Us program at Oliver Middle School on Dec. 6 in Nashville. Photo credit: Terry Wyatt for Getty Images

Kelsea Ballerini And CMA Foundation Announcement

Singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini attends the CMA Foundation’s announcement of a $1 million donation to the Metro Schools Music Makes Us program at Oliver Middle School on Dec. 6 in Nashville. Photo credit: Terry Wyatt for Getty Images

Kelsea Ballerini And CMA Foundation Announcement

Kelsea Ballerini celebrates with the Oliver Middle School wind ensemble after announcing a $1 million grant to support music education in Metro Schools on behalf of the CMA Foundation on Dec. 6 in Nashville. Photo credit: Terry Wyatt for Getty Images

Eighth graders can jumpstart high school and college studies by applying to SSMV

Holding a real human brain is something Carlos never thought he would ever do, but a STEM program at Vanderbilt helps the sophomore at Hume-Fogg Magnet High School explore his interests.

The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV) begins taking applications on Monday, January 2.  A joint venture between the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach (CSO) and Metro Schools, the four-year high school program is held on Vanderbilt’s campus and is led by a team of Ph.D. scientist instructors. Metro Schools eighth graders or eighth graders who plan on attending a Metro Schools high school are eligible to apply.

“The SSMV is the hardest, craziest, most wonderful thing that has happened to me,” Carlos said. “Thanks to the SSMV, I have gotten to do things that I would have never even dreamed of doing, at least I don’t think I would ever dream of holding a brain. It’s the highlight of my week, and I always look forward to it because I know that I’ll get to expand my knowledge in the craziest, most unimaginable ways possible.”

When he’s not reading scientific articles on self-healing clothes and robotic stingrays, Carlos spends his time volunteering with adult English language learners and teaching basic math and computer skills.

For more information on applying to SSMV, here are some helpful links:

Contact SSMV Admissions at 615-322-7132 for any questions.

Metro Schools students document Nashville civil rights history

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Hume-Fogg High School student Clarkston Ellerby interviews Ernest “Rip” Patton, a Freedom Rider and a participant in the Nashville sit-ins.

 

A new podcast series pairs Metro Schools students with those who have had a front seat to iconic moments in Nashville’s civil rights history.

“My Witness” is a collaboration with One Voice Nashville facilitated by storyteller and narrative journalist Mary Margaret Randall. The 20-minute podcasts feature intergenerational interviews pairing seven Metro Schools high school students with Nashville civil rights activists. In one additional podcast, artist Walter Hood discusses his inspirations and hopes for how people will experience Nashville’s new Civil Rights-inspired artwork, Witness Walls.

“The podcasts, along with a blog and educational curriculum, are designed to support Witness Walls, currently under construction next to the Historic Metro Courthouse and expected to be completed in February 2017,” says Anne-Leslie Owens, public art project coordinator for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.

Date: November 7

Title: “The Most Successful Civil Rights Movement”

Description: Westley Dunn (Hillsboro High School) interviews Linda T. Wynn


Date: November 14

Title: “Teachers, True Role Models”

Description: Isabella Killius (Hume-Fogg High School) interviews Ola Hudson


Date: November 21

Title: “The Reluctant Desegregation of Nashville Public Schools”

Description: Cassius Smith (Overton High School) interviews Canzada Hawkins

 


Date: November 28

Title: “On the Job Training at the Lunch Counter Sit-Ins”

Description: Doneisha Wells (Maplewood High School) interviews Frankie Henry


Date: January 2

Title: Sit-Ins and Freedom Rides Reveal the Power of Nonviolence

Description: Clarkston Ellerby (Hume-Fogg High School) interviews Rip Patton


Date: January 9

Title: “If You Can’t Tell Them Why You Are Marching, Get Out of the Line”

Description: Gabby Depalo (Hume-Fogg High School) interviews Vencen Horsley


Date: January 16

Title: “Passing on the Lessons of Civil Rights Activism”

Description: Danny Harp (Nashville Big Picture High School) interviews Howard Gentry


Date: January 23

Title:  “How Artists Contribute to Conversations about Civil Rights”

Description: Genevieve Jean-Pierre (MLK Jr. High School) interviews Walter Hood

Metro Schools tackles dyslexia with tech

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Clara Thorsen holds her iPad loaded with the Easy Spelling Aid tool, which helps her write. Clara has dyslexia and she is one of many Metro Schools students who utilize special tech tools in the classroom to help her with learning.

Eakin Elementary fourth grader Clara Thorsen likes to write stories using apps like Cowriter, Easy Spelling Aid and Snaptype Pro – tools that help her work around dyslexia.

“Having a child who is very gifted, but struggles with Cat and The Hat when her friends are reading Harry Potter – having dyslexia is a social issue. It’s a self esteem issue,” said Anna Thosen, Clara’s mother.

Nationally, one in five children have dyslexia – a reading disorder that is classified as a learning disability in which someone has difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters and other symbols.

“Not every student who has a learning disability has dyslexia,” said Debra McAdams, executive director of exceptional education in Metro Schools. “In addition, not every child who has dyslexia has an individualized education plan (IEP).”

At Eakin Elementary School, technology bridges the gap and shows how Metro teachers are skilled and adaptable to diverse and changing student needs. Clara was diagnosed with dyslexia in second grade.

“In Metro Nashville Public Schools, we do an exceptional  job of providing any number of supports to students who have a need,” said Drinkwine.

As an Encore student who craves reading, Clara takes tools to class that help her keep pace with her peers, with supports like extra time on tests and having tests read out loud to her.

“There’s a perception that children with dyslexia have low IQs, and that is actually reverse. Children with dyslexia tend to have average or high IQs,” Thorsen said, explaining that children with dyslexia may be put in a remedial reading program, but also need to be challenged with high ideas and bigger concepts to supplement a broad verbal vocabulary.

Finding tech tools Clara can use at home is also an essential part of her learning as well, Thorsen said. Learning Ally and Bookshare are both nonprofits providing dyslexia support through audiobooks & parent support services. “These programs from our school are free, and I want to get the word out. It’s a huge asset for all children,” said Thorsen.

Each school has different levels of technology use, according to Krista Bolen, who is part of the assistive technology team in Metro Schools.

“The assistive technologies used by students with dyslexia vary, but many times include digital accessible books and use of spell check and word prediction. All of these can be provided on multiple platforms, many times with existing technology available in the school,” Bolen said. “When technology use is integrated into day-to-day teaching, it makes it more seamless for students with disabilities using assistive technology.”

 

Metro Schools receive national recognition for career academies

Metro Schools was recognized by the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) for being a champion of the career academy model, marked by small learning communities, college-prep curriculum with career themes and partnerships with local employers, higher education institutions and the community. Several schools as well as community partners were honored at the NCAC conference held in Tampa earlier this month.

McGavock High School Receives Jeffrey N. Stein Award

The Jeffrey N. Stein Award recognizes a school with career academies that demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to and passion for career academies as catalysts for helping all students, and especially disadvantaged students, according to Susan Katzman, recent past-president of the National Career Academy Coalition.

“I had the pleasure of knowing Jeffrey Stein for many years, and as a businessman and an educator, he exemplified passion, commitment and the pursuit of excellence. He did not do anything if he could not do it well. His widow Judy and a former executive director of NCAC wanted to create an award in his honor for schools that exhibit the same qualities,” said Katzman. “I am pleased to present this year’s award to McGavock High School in Nashville, Tennessee. They began the career academy process in 2008 and perfected their work over the next eight years. They have model academies, numerous business partners and successful students. You cannot google McGavock without seeing a YouTube video of President Obama visiting and speaking at the school in 2013.”

Meharry Medical College and Bridgestone Americas Receive Partnership Awards

Also recognized at the NCAC conference were Meharry Medical College and Bridgestone Americas, which both received the Henk Koning Exemplary Partnership Award for their continued support and partnerships with academies in Metro Schools.

Dr. Susan DeRiemer, a professor at Meharry Medical College has led Meharry’s partnership with the Glencliff High School Academy of Medical Science & Research (AMSR) almost since its beginning. Meharry, founded in 1876, is one of the oldest and largest historically black medical colleges in the United States that has always focused on training talented individuals from challenging socio-economic backgrounds and prepared them to go into underserved areas to work. Highlights of the partnership includes:

  • Externships for the academy teachers;
  • Curricular support throughout the course of the school year to carry out the project based learning endeavors;
  • Medical Interpreting pathway (started in 2014) that was co-written by Dr. DeRiemer and members of the AMSR faculty. This curriculum is the first of its kind in the nation and has been adopted by the Tennessee Department of Education as an approved pathway.

Bridgestone Americas has embraced the Academy of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, even exposing the students to international business leaders from Japan and South America, supporting students to develop beyond basic mechanic skills and become potential corporate executives. Highlights of the partnership with Maplewood High School include:

  • Transforming Maplewood’s high school automotive shop into a one-of-a-kind automotive training center in cooperation with Firestone Complete Auto Care. This included building an official Customer Service Center inside the school and providing students with access to and training on the proprietary software used in the Firestone organization;
  • Enhancing course offerings by encouraging all students to take at least one course in Marketing and Management;
  • Investing more than $300,000 in building the Firestone training center, the organization provides 2 to 3 staff members on a regular basis every couple of weeks to provide industry training to students.

Thirteen Metro Schools Receive NCAC Accreditation

In addition, the following Metro schools officially received NCAC Accreditation during the conference:

  1. Cane Ridge High School – Academy of Health Management
  2. Glencliff High School – Academy of Medical Science and Research
  3. Hillsboro High School – Academy of Global Health and Science
  4. Hillwood High School – Academy of Health Science
  5. Hillwood High School – Academy of Business and Hospitality
  6. Hillwood High School – Academy of Art, Design, and Communication
  7. Maplewood High School – Academy of Energy and Power
  8. McGavock High School – US Community Credit Union/ Gaylord Entertainment Academy of Hospitality and Finance
  9. McGavock High School – CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication
  10. McGavock High School – Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Life Science and Law
  11. McGavock High School – Academy of Aviation and Transportation
  12. Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School – Academy of Entertainment Management
  13. Whites Creek High School – Academy of Education and Law

For more information on the National Career Academy Coalition, visit http://www.ncacinc.com.

Simon Youth Foundation names Metro Schools principal as National Administrator of the Year

AOTY Billy Fellman with T. Clark%2c JMD & D. Simon.jpg

Left to right: Simon Youth Foundation Vice President of Programs Tim Clark, Simon Youth Foundation CEO Dr. J. Michael Durnil, Academy of Hickory Hollow Principal Billy Fellman, who was named Simon Youth Foundation National Administrator of the Year and Simon Youth Foundation Chairman of the Board Deborah Simon.

Simon Youth Foundation has named Metro Schools’ Academy at Hickory Hollow principal Billy Fellman as its 2016 National Administrator of the Year.

Fellman was honored on Sun., Nov 13 at an awards ceremony in Indianapolis, receiving a crystal plaque and a check for $1,500.

Simon Youth Foundation gives the award annually to a high-performing educator in its network of 29 academies across the country. These academies are built primarily in Simon shopping malls and help students who were once at-risk of dropping out of high school return and get their diploma, according to the foundation.

Fellman has served as principal at Simon Youth Academy at Hickory Hollow since 2012, but has spent his entire career serving students in the greater Nashville area.

“Since joining the staff at Hickory Hollow, he has produced more than 1,000 graduates, and collaborates with his students’ support network to ensure that those graduates have clear post-secondary plans,” a press release announcing the award said.

Principal Fellman holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Tennessee State University, and a master’s in education leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.

“Billy is a rare administrator whose enthusiasm is contagious. He is able to motivate his staff and students to achieve some incredible results,” Simon Youth Foundation CEO Dr. J. Michael Durnil said. “Even among out extremely talented network of administrators around the country, his passion for his students stands out.’”

For more about the Simon Youth Foundation, visit syf.org.

$5M NIJ grant funds public-private partnership to expand youth opportunity in Nashville

Written by . Original article from Vanderbilt University.

A nearly $5 million grant from the National Institute of Justice will fund an unprecedented five-year partnership between the Office of Mayor Megan Barry, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Oasis Center and Vanderbilt University. The project stems from the mayor’s youth opportunity initiative.

“We want to be a city that leads the nation in expanding opportunities and improving outcomes for our youth,” said Barry. “In order to do so, we need to have hard data and evidence of what works for Nashville’s youth in order to inform sound policy decisions going forward. This generous grant from the National Institute of Justice and our partnership with MNPS, Oasis Center and Vanderbilt University, will help future leaders in Nashville and around the country make decisions that positively impact all youth.”

The Nashville Longitudinal Study of Youth Safety and Wellbeing (Award #2016-CK-BX-K002) is one of only three Category 4 proposals funded by NIJ this year. Through the study, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, educators, city government and juvenile court staffers, police and youth development workers will develop a dataset to better inform decision-making with a goal of positively impacting the climate for youths in Nashville. The start date is Jan. 1.

Continue reading on Vanderbilt University Research News: https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2016/11/21/right-resources-at-the-right-time-goal-of-public-private-partnership-for-nashville-youths/

Opportunity NOW Launches Employer Recruitment Effort

At a launch event held at Emma Inc. for Opportunity NOW, Mayor Megan Barry praised support from local businesses and called on more business and community leaders to join the effort of providing paid summer jobs for Nashville’s youth next summer.

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“Opportunity NOW will be most successful with public, private and not-for-profit organizations collaborating to connect our youth to opportunity and jobs,” said Mayor Barry. “Employers serve as the foundation of this initiative and the key to providing meaningful worksites, engaged supervisors, and quality opportunities for young people. I’m calling all local businesses to join us as Opportunity NOW partners, and help us make a difference in the lives of Nashville’s youth.”

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Opportunity NOW is a coordinated initiative launched by Mayor Megan Barry to provide young people in Davidson County access to employment. In Nashville, we have seen fewer and fewer teenagers and young adults working during the summers and after-school. At the same time, Nashville employers across various industries are concerned about the lack of “soft” skills among their youngest employees—skills most readily learned through actual work experience.

Read more from the Mayor’s office: http://www.nashville.gov/News-Media/News-Article/ID/5895/Opportunity-NOW-Launches-Employer-Recruitment-Effort.aspx

Head Magnet partners with Positive Images and IDS to provide students with project-based learning opportunity

Through a partnership with Innertainment Delivery Systems (IDS), about 30 young men from Head Middle Magnet had the chance to learn what it’s like to work on a high-tech, collaborative team.

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At IDS, the students were placed in groups of five or six and partnered with a developer who helped them to complete a specified project. After their projects were complete, the groups presented them to the IDS team and their classmates.

In addition to being exposed to coding, students were also shown the collaboration skills and communication skills that are needed to work in a team in a tech environment.

Dr. Rubin Cockrell and his organization Positive Images lead the mentoring program at Head Magnet, Tools for Intentional Excellence. It is through this program that this partnership was made possible.

 

 

 

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