Caldwell Elementary students participate in reading event with First Lady Crissy Haslam

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Students from Caldwell Elementary School helped kick off Tennessee’s Imagination Library Week on Monday, Sept. 18, by attending a reading event at the Senate Library of the Tennessee Capitol with First Lady Crissy Haslam, Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (TNECD) Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development (TDLWD) Burns Phillips.

Imagination Library Week is part of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), which promotes early childhood literacy in Tennessee’s birth to age five population. In partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, all preschoolers in Tennessee can sign up to receive high quality, age-appropriate books in the mail every month at no cost to families.

“When we come together and align our resources around early literacy and education, we can truly make a difference for Tennessee’s children,” said First Lady Crissy Haslam in a release. “Tennessee’s Imagination Library helps our children develop the early literacy and life skills to ensure their educational success, from kindergarten to the Tennessee Promise. Bill and I are proud of TNECD and TDLWD’s recognition of early literacy in preparing our children from the ‘cradle to career’.”

See photos from the event below.

Metro Schools students invited to perform in Charlottesville

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In the wake of the attack in Charlottesville, a group of Metro Schools students wanted to show their love and support for the Charlottesville community.

Along with Pearl-Cohn Magnet High School music teacher Cedric Caldwell, students Yaubryon Chambers (Pearl-Cohn), Trent McCrary (Overton High School), Tiyanna Gentry (Hillsboro High School), Elijah Simmons (Pearl-Cohn) and Jess Clements (Overton) recorded the song “Right Now (We Need One Another)” and put together a heartwarming video message for Charlottesville.

Chad Prather, a Charlottesville native and teacher at Pearl-Cohn, sent the video to a friend who teaches at Charlottesville High School. The song of encouragement was well-received by the school and ultimately caught the attention of Laura Thomas, the school’s orchestra director. Under her direction, the school’s orchestra learned “Right Now (We Need One Another)” and invited the five Metro Schools students to Charlottesville..

The two groups of student musicians came together on Friday, Sept. 15, to perform the song at a school-wide assembly at Charlotteville High School. The following day the Metro Schools students, along with some Charlottesville High School choir members, performed at various locations around the city – including the street where the attack happened just a few weeks prior.

Watch a video of the performance here.

This is a wonderful example of the impact students can make when they use their passions to inspire others. Thank you to the city of Charlottesville for inviting and hosting our students!

See photos from the students’ visit below.

 

Metro Schools receives Workplace Health Achievement Award from American Heart Association

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The 2017 results of the American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Index were announced today and Metro Schools achieved Silver level recognition for taking significant steps to build a culture of health in the workplace.

Metro Schools serves more than 11,000 employees in the greater Nashville area and the district is committed to giving all employees access to health and wellness services, including the Employee Health & Wellness Center, which opened earlier this year, and the Vanderbilt Health Clinics, strategically placed throughout the district.

On Monday, Sept. 18, the district will kickoff of the American Heart Associations’ District Heart Challenge, a wellness challenge designed to get MNPS central office staff moving while fundraising to fight heart disease. Similar campaigns are held in the district’s schools for staff and students throughout the year.

“With the opening of our Health & Wellness Center earlier this year, the district continues to provide a range of services that make it easier for employees to access the care they need at a more affordable cost,” Director of Benefits David Hines said.

“If we can improve the health and wellness of our teachers and support staff, we believe we can drive better student outcomes,” Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph said. “I’m proud of our team for continuing to make our employees’ health and wellness needs a critical part of our organization’s culture.”

The Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index allows companies to measure the effectiveness of their workplace health programs, as well as the overall heart health of their employees. Unlike other existing organizational scorecards, the Index also scores companies on the heart health of their employees based on Life’s Simple 7® – the Association’s scientifically validated definition of ideal heart health. The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index assessment is grounded in data-driven science, and a quality improvement framework. According to the Nielsen 2016 Employee Health Survey, robust and comprehensive strategies for well-being are associated with positive impacts on employees’ health.

Watch a video about MNPS’ Employee Health & Wellness Center

#MNPSVoices: Teresa Hunter, Crossing Guard

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When Teresa Hunter’s grandchildren were born, she wanted a job that was more flexible so she could help to raise them. Her solution? Joining the Metro Schools team as a crossing guard.

For more than 10 years, Hunter has spent her mornings and afternoons directing traffic at Sylvan Park Paideia Design Center and West End Middle Prep. She greets students and makes sure they get to and from school safely.

“I just love kids,” Hunter said. “That’s why I do it. I like to see myself as a ‘mother hen’ getting her little chicks across the way to safety. I always try to have a smile on my face and a kind word on my tongue because I’m often the first person a kid sees when they’re coming into school and the last one they see on the way home.”

She added, “I never know what these kids are dealing with before they come or after they leave. I want them to feel, if even for a brief moment as they cross the street, that warm feeling you get when you know you are loved.”

Not only has she enjoyed the flexibility her job provides, it’s also given her the bonus an “extended family.”

“I consider all of these kids my grandkids. Seeing these babies every morning and every afternoon is the highlight of my day,” she said. “I was excited to get back to school because I missed them and I would like to think some of them missed me, too.”

NSA students join Lady Antebellum for performance at Bridgestone Arena

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On Saturday, Sept. 9, a group of 24 brass and saxophone students from Nashville School of the Arts performed with country music group Lady Antebellum in front of a sold-out crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

The students were chosen as part of a contest held by Lady Antebellum at the beginning of the summer. Schools submitted videos of student musicians playing the horn part of the group’s hit song, You Look Good.

In August, the music group informed NSA that they had been selected to perform during their concert.

Watch the students’ performance here.

Oliver Middle Prep teacher named TPAC ‘Teacher of the Year’

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Caroline Sharp, a drama teacher at Oliver Middle Prep in Nashville, has been named the 2017 Teacher of the Year by the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

In addition to directing an annual musical through Disney Musicals in Schools, one of TPAC Education’s six arts education programs, Sharp collaborates with professional TPAC teaching artists in her classroom and brings students to performances at the arts center, where she also participates in professional development workshops for educators.

Now in its 23rd year, the award recognizes excellence in arts education and includes a $500 grant for the recipient’s school.

“A teacher as dedicated and encouraging as Caroline Sharp is a gem in today’s busy, over-committed world,” said Jessica Mitchell, whose daughter attends Oliver Middle School. “She deserves to be honored for improving the school’s drama program, producing exemplary musicals and, most of all, for positively impacting thousands of students. She makes a difference in the lives of her students every day.”

Participation in producing a Disney musical at Oliver Middle Preparatory School has quadrupled since its first year with the program in 2014. This past school year, 132 students joined the cast and crew for a school production of Disney’s Peter Pan JR. Their rehearsal schedule included four-hour sessions on select Friday nights, when dozens of parents came to the school to work on sets and costumes while the children practiced.

In 2016, Sharp was named a Blue Ribbon Teacher by Metro Nashville Public Schools and Teacher of the Year by Oliver Middle School, where she has taught for 13 years. She serves on the Metro Arts Content Council Committee and as a peer reviewer for the state department of education’s portfolio evaluation initiative. A graduate of Henry County High School in Paris, Tennessee, she attended Drury University and the University of Texas and did postgraduate work at Belmont University.

Metro Schools’ student-parent handbook video wins Telly Award

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Metro Schools’ student-parent handbook video, “PASSAGE: Rights and Responsibilities,” has been selected as a Bronze award winner in the 38th Annual Telly Awards for its production and collaboration with The Oasis Center, a community-based organization. Creative Communications LLC, a communications and media production company, is credited with creating and producing the video.

“Educating all of our children must be equitable and focused on healthy human development,” said Tom Ward, Oasis Center director. “PASSAGE is a movement designed to create systemic change that removes racial disparities by engaging all stake holders. In this effort, all are held accountable for ensuring that there truly are no expendable children.”

“As educators, we understand that it takes partnership in order to address many of the issues impacting our students and their families,” said Dr. Tony Majors, Metro Nashville Public Schools executive officer for support services. “Collaborating with the community empowers other organizations to play a constructive role in helping the school system develop the types of learning environments that provide all students with an opportunity to achieve academic and socio-emotional success. It is equally important for our parents and students to understand that along with our teachers, they also have a responsibility to help promote personally responsibility/respect and the right to be treated fairly and feel supported by fellow students, staff and the community.”

The Telly Awards, founded in 1979, is the premier award honoring outstanding content for TV and Cable, Digital and Streaming and Non-Broadcast distribution. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world, and are judged by a prestigious panel of 600+ accomplished industry professionals.

PASSAGE, which stands for Positive and Safe Schools Advancing Greater Equity, is a community-district collaboration in Nashville focused on addressing the inequities in school discipline and creating positive school climate, funded by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. PASSAGE – a partnership, between the Oasis Center, Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, and a diverse local Steering Committee of over 30 cross-sector leaders – spearheaded major revisions to the district’s discipline policy and the Student-Parent Handbook.

The video was developed as part of the dissemination and outreach efforts to notify the community at large about new approaches to student discipline that are focused on everyone’s role – not just students and teachers – in achieving a positive school climate and culture. In its second phase of implementation, PASSAGE leaders acknowledge that there is no silver bullet to eradicate disparities in discipline, and their logic model illustrates the road ahead for their work. In phase two, PASSAGE will focus on constituency building for systems change, data access and use, building teacher capacity to use alternatives to suspension, and supporting collaborative work between schools and communities.

As core community partner, the Oasis Center has been a national leader in serving youth for over 40 years and has offered safety and support to Nashville’s most vulnerable and disconnected youth, while seeking to also teach young people how to transform the conditions that create problems for them in the first place. Believing that Nashville should be and can be a model community where all young people enter adulthood connected with positive social support systems and prepared for productive and fulfilling lives, they embrace their responsibility to change the odds through a continuum of 19 individual, unique programs delivered in three areas of: Crisis and Residential Services; Youth Engagement and Action; and College Connection, and serve nearly 3000 youth and their families each year and also reaches more than 9,000 additional youth and adults through educational projects and presentations.

Hillsboro High School begins renovation and addition project

IMG_20170823_112729Hillsboro High School celebrated the start of a renovation and addition project with a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 23.

Hillsboro High School originally opened in 1939. Following a fire that totally destroyed the building in 1952, the current Hillsboro building opened in 1954. The students, faculty, staff and families are excited to break ground on this construction project that will provide modern learning facilities.

HHS+RenderingThe school will undergo a complete renovation of all interior spaces. Students will enjoy new project-based learning spaces and an enclosed courtyard, as well as a new enrollment center and MTA mini hub. The recycling center, fruit stand and Christmas tree lot will remain on campus. The project is expected to be completed in 2020.

Hillsboro has long been a place for the entire community. While the school will undergo many exciting changes over the next few months, one aspect will remain the same: the school will keep its historic facade that faces Hillsboro Pike, which pays tribute to the school’s long legacy.

Check out photos from the event below.

Tusculum Elementary celebrates new building with ribbon cutting ceremony

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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

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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.

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