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Here’s why we want to spend $13 million MORE on English Learners next year

MsConfer's classroom2

Ms. Brielle Confer’s English Learner support classroom at Cole Elementary School.

Cole Elementary is a great example of the great things happening in Metro Schools’ focus on helping EL students acquire language skills and succeed.

With students from Mexico, Malaysia and Nepal, Ms. Brielle Confer’s third grade English learner support classroom at Cole is reinforcing how to say and understand numbers. She says she is seeing more students who enroll in Metro Schools with no knowledge of English – otherwise known as level one English Learner (EL) students.

“I think we are seeing more and more level ones coming in,” Confer said.

The Office of English Learners is asking for $12.7 million in extra funding for the 2016-2017 school year to help students like these and many thousands more throughout Nashville.

With 15 percent of students receiving direct English Learner (EL) services and 31 percent of families speaking a language other than English at home, the need for teachers and quality programming are great.

Confer said students coming to Metro Schools with no knowledge of English can make significant gains once they get the support they need. She mentioned a student from Honduras who in less than a year went from a level one to a level three.

“Coming from nothing in August to a first grade reading level is tremendous. He’s already made a year’s growth in reading,” Confer said. “We can see students gaining language faster in some instances, depending on the student and their personality.”

But every student is different, and in addition to helping EL students acquire English, many students are coming to Metro Schools from other countries, which means more support is needed.

The Office of English Learners is in year two of a three-year strategic plan for service improvement and restructuring to give students more direct EL instruction. This year’s budget request includes increases across several departments to better serve students. The majority would go to additional hiring EL teachers, giving EL training for all teachers and acquiring technology.

For Cole Elementary principal Dr. Darwin Mason, literacy is the main focus on improving academic outcomes for the school.

He sees himself as a conductor putting together a very promising song of research-based student supports, interventions, multi-classroom leaders to coach his skillful – but young – teaching staff and academic conversations to spur classroom engagement.

With 833 students – more than a third of whom are Hispanic and nearly half of whom are English learners – Cole Elementary is one of the largest elementary schools in Nashville. Adding to the complexity, nearly 92 percent of the school’s students are considered economically disadvantaged.

“We feel like if we can teach a child how to read, they can pretty much do everything else. They can get the math, science and social studies. But reading is the basis for knowledge,” Dr. Mason said. “Our goal is to teach them how to read,  how to decode words, how to comprehend and how to write sentences, sentence structure – since writing is all part of reading – how to dig deeper into text, and how to understand text. These are all things that a child from an impoverished country or poor background need extra help to do.”


A word wheel in Ms. Confer’s English Language support classroom.

Extra help for English Learners means having “newcomer teachers” who will work with students who come to the school from other countries and aren’t used to the American public school setting. These students may be older, but they often bring all the anxieties of an incoming preschooler because the environment here is different than what they are used toCool. Dr. Mason brought in his first newcomer teacher a few years ago.

“We found success. In fact, 90 percent of her students moved out of a newcomer classroom and into a regular grade level classroom,” Mason said. “Next year we want to have five teachers. We see that it is helping and working really well.”

Kevin Stacy, director of the Office of English Learners in Metro Schools says that the $12.7 million budget request reflects best practices for EL student populations.

Through student-based budgeting, EL students are funded at a higher level than their English-speaking peers. Next year, the amount of extra funding an EL student received will double – from 10 percent to 21 percent. This will give schools even more opportunities to pay for the resources they need.

From after school programs and summer camps to literacy nights, bilingual tutors, and a newcomer academy, Stacy said building more capacity inside and outside the classroom is essential.

“More resources are needed for underserved populations … EL is one of them,” Stacy said. “Giving principals the ability to hire more teachers will help meet the district’s rapid growth in English learners, so that we can not only build more resources to help students and their families learn English, but give students the support to be successful.”

Click here to view the English Learners strategies budget proposal or view it below:

Budget Talk: How does the district office spend its money?

Student-based budgeting empowers principals  and gives schools direct control over more than half of the district’s $810 million operating budget to personalize learning and give every student a great public education.

But what about the rest of the money that’s left in the budget? Schools are not responsible for paying for everything that supports students in their buildings. Many services, like transportation, security, textbooks and others, are more efficient when funded and supplied centrally.


Once you take out the money that goes directly to schools, there’s about $356 million left. Of that, $73 million goes directly to charter schools, which, based on state law, receive the full funding we spend on average per student for each student they serve.

Another $9 million in revenue flows back to the city and state. And the remaining $274 million pays for centralized services for schools like buses, maintenance and technology. That $274 million may seem like a lot, but it covers a lot of ground.



The biggest piece – by far – pays for school bus transportation – more than $35 million. Another $31 million pays for electric bills, water bills and other utilities. Over $20 million is spent on custodial and grounds to keep school buildings clean. And another $18 million is spent on maintenance – things like air conditioning and roof repairs.

The rest goes to important services that benefit students, like technology , academic supports, substitute teachers, music education, advanced academics and a whole lot more. Even things that don’t go directly to students – like pension and benefits for teachers – are still there for their benefit.


Watch this video to learn how the district centralizes services for schools so principals can focus on what is most important: providing a great education for every student.

Budget Talk: How are Metro schools funded and how do they spend the money? Here’s how.

Metro Schools is one of the largest and most diverse school districts in America. It takes nearly 11,000 employees and countless community partners to educate 86,000 students in 166 schools. It also takes a large budget: more than $800 million, or 41 percent of the entire city’s operating budget.

We’re in the budgeting process for the 2016-2017 school year and we want you to know how schools and the district use taxpayer funds to give students a great education.

At the core of what we do, we believe instructional and support decisions should be made by the educators who know students best and see them every day. Rather than using a centralized, top-down approach, we give principals the authority to both design their own schools and decide how to use their resources to support them. We do it through a funding model called student-based budgeting.


With student-based budgeting, principals have direct control and authority over more than half of the district’s operating budget.

This means principals and school leadership teams can make their own major decisions like:

  • how many and what kinds of teachers to hire
  • whether to hire academic coaches to improve instruction
  • what extra supports their students need
  • how to offer tutoring
  • what kind of software will help improve literacy or math


“Student-based budgeting allows schools the flexibility to prioritize the needs of the school and community and spend funds accordingly,” said James Urquhart, principal of Norman Binkley Elementary School.  “One size does not fit all.”

The 2015-2016 school year marked the first year of district-wide implementation of student-based budgeting. This new way of funding schools supports the district’s strategic plan, Education 2018, by empowering principals and giving increased flexibility and discretion for personalized learning and student-centered decisions.

Student-based budgeting explained

Student-Based Budgeting (SBB) has two central components:

  1. Principals should have the flexibility to create personalized learning environments to meet their students’ individual needs.
  2. Resources should be provided equitably to schools based on the unique needs of those students.

In the 2015-16 school year, every student comes with a fixed amount of funding for his or her school — $4,250.


On top of that, we have identified student characteristics that are most directly tied to academic achievement and give schools extra money to serve those characteristics.

With that extra money, schools can give more resources to students who need extra support, like English Learners, students with special needs and students with a history of academic struggles. This ensures equitable funding that recognizes not all students are the same.

For example, an  student who is learning English comes with another 10 percent raise in funding. A student with a history of poor academic performance will need extra interventions and individual attention, so we add on another 5 to 10 percent, depending on the student’s grade level.

Taken on an individual basis, it may not seem like that much of an increase. But taken together as a school with hundreds or thousands of students, and suddenly principals could have much bigger budgets to use as they see fit.

In fact, when student-based budgeting went district-wide, 60 percent of schools saw more money per student than the year before. The other 40 percent received the same amount.

How do principals use the money?

Principals decide how many teachers they need based on their budgets, desired classroom ratios and the specializations they need. They can also choose to add more instructional support by hiring academic coaches, interventionists, classroom assistants and more.

“Allowing schools to use their funds for needs within their own school, we can cater the education for all students at a higher level than we have ever been able to do in the past,” said Clint Wilson, principal of Glencliff High School. “It has allowed us to hire additional teachers, thus reducing the teacher to student ratio in some math, English and ELL classes by over 30 percent. It also decreases past barriers of having to go to multiple channels to get what each school needs.”

Instructional materials.
Apart from people, principals have a wide variety of options available, including campus support, books and instructional supplies, software licenses, as well as extra money for teachers who take on leadership roles within the school.

“We are looking at ways to increase our students’ ACT scores. School-based budgeting allows me to allot funds to purchase practice ACT tests to use as pre-tests for the ACT for our juniors,” said Angela McShepard-Ray, principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School. “The funds also allow me to allot funds to pay for an official ACT report for each student that will be used with students to analyze their ACT results and what needs to be the focus of each student to improve his/her ACT score. The post test will be the test district purchases for each junior.”

For more on the Metro Schools budget process, visit this webpage.

Glencliff, Hume-Fogg, MLK and NSA all have National Merit Scholar semifinalists!

The school year is barely a month old, but student awards are already rolling in…

19 Metro students have been named National Merit Scholar semifinalists, putting them well on their way to earning one of the top academic honors in the entire country.

They were chosen from among 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools who took the PSAT last year. The PSAT is a test students have to choose to take, so the scoring is very competitive. Scoring well enough to be a National Merit Scholar semifinalist is a huge accomplishment.

These 19 students will now move on in the competition, where officials from National Merit will look at their applications, academic record, extra curricular activities, leadership roles and more. They will also have to write an essay and get an endorsement from a leader in their school. After all that they will have to take the real deal SAT and score well enough to advance to the finalist round.

It takes a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it. In the spring and summer, 7,400 students will win National Merit Scholarships worth a combined $32 million. Last year 20 Metro students won National Merit Scholarships, National Achievement Scholarships and College-sponsored National Merit Scholarships.

Congratulations to these students, and good luck in the spring!

Glencliff High School

  • Davis Truong

Hume-Fogg Magnet High School

  • Arthur Eff
  • David Feng
  • Varun Gudibanda
  • Adella Kuster
  • Caleb Obregon
  • Saba Rehman
  • Jacob Vest
  • Jonathan Warkentin

Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School

  • Matthew Bray
  • Elom Dumenyo
  • Lillian Ekem
  • Dylan Folsom
  • Matthew Jones
  • Alexander Staggs
  • Tahj Starr
  • April Townson
  • Xiuya Yao

Nashville School of the Arts

  • Blake Skelton

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.

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


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)
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)
Visit 2601 Bransford Avenue, 37204

North Sports Report – State champions all over the place

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

A Victory Lap… or Four

With only two events remaining and a 42 point lead, the Pearl-Cohn Boys track team gathered behind the stands with Principal Sonia Stewart, Assistant Principal Brian Mells, several teachers, coaches and supporters. The penultimate event, the 3200m run, included no Firebird, so the only thing between the Firebirds and the state championship was the 4 x 400m Relay, basically a victory lap for the team state champion… well, more like four victory laps – four very fast victory laps.

To pass the time during the 3200m races, Mr. Mells began introducing the North Sports Report to members of the team: Darryl Harris, Jr. is the Valedictorian of the Class of 2015; Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Cameron Watkins donned their Fighting Illini hats; and Rontavius Groves will be one of the state’s top football players this fall. A member of Pearl-Cohn’s track team told me a few weeks ago that the Regional Meet is the time to set personal records, but the State Meet is all about the team. Visiting with these young gentlemen on the verge of a state championship, I understood. They were all about the team.

We took our place in the stands for the final race. It had been a year since the team had fallen a point and a half short of a state championship, and for a full year, everything pointed to this race. The Relay team did not disappoint, pulling away for the icing on the state championship cake and 96 total points, 44 more than second place.

It was thrilling!

That Championship Feeling

Earlier this month, the North Sports Report made its bold Spring Fling prediction for Metro schools – one team championship and six individual or relay championships. Did you snicker when you read that, knowing how much I underestimated the MNPS springability and flingability?

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Actual results:

One team champion; one team runner-up; and six top-ten teams.

Four state champions; three runners-up; and one third place.

Nine state championships (that’s right, nine individual state championships); nine runners-up; and four third place finishers.

Pearl-Cohn’s Boys Track team was phenomenal in winning the state title. Stratford’s Boys Track team finished 7th and Maplewood’s Boys Track team finished 8th.

East Nashville’s Girls Track team finished 2nd in the state, while Hume-Fogg and MLK’s Girls teams tied for 9th.

East Nashville’s Girls won the 4 x 400m Relay, and Hume-Fogg’s Girls finished 2nd in the 4 x 200m and the 4 x 400m relays. Pearl-Cohn’s Boys swept the sprint relays, winning state championships in the 4 x 100m, 4 x 200m, and 4 x400m relays. Stratford’s Boys finished 2nd in the 4 x 400m relay.

Hillsboro’s Janel Pate won the 100m and 400m and finished 2nd in the Long Jump. Cane Ridge’s Maya Perry-Grimes won the state championship in the Triple Jump. East Nashville’s Grenetria Shell won the 100m Hurdles, 300m Hurdles and Pentathlon. McGavock’s Mikayla Thompson finished 2nd in the Discus. Hume-Fogg’s Stephanie Brown and MLK’s Denia Hill-Tate tied for 2nd in the High Jump. Stratford’s Jermesia Haynes finished 3rd in the 100m and 200m.

Pearl-Cohn’s Darryl Harris Jr. won state championships in the 400m and Long Jump and finished 2nd in the Decathlon. Pearl-Cohn’s Rontavius Groves won the 200m Dash. Pearl-Cohn’s Cameron Watkins finished 2nd in the 100m and Long Jump. Maplewood’s Ross Bagley finished 2nd in the 110m Hurdles. Maplewood’s T.J. Turner finished 2nd in the Triple Jump. Stratford’s Corey Simmons finished 3rd in the 100m and 200m.

Great performances!

A Bobcat among the Titans

Overton alumnus Dezmond Johnson earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters Degree in Christian Ministries from Duke University. He was named Academic All ACC three times during his college career. Now, he is a member of the Tennessee Titans. Visit Overton’s online student newspaper to read an interview with the new Titan. Congratulations, and go Titans!

MNPS: The First Choice for Champions of Education

North Sports Report – Sports are great. Scholarships are better.

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Big Sports Week…and Graduations

Don the cap and gown, cue the Pomp and Circumstance march, grab the tissue… the culmination of years of hard, sometimes tedious, work receives its reward. They’ve been at this school thing since they were four or five years old, and now their grown and ready to cross that stage and flip that tassel. Graduation gets first billing: everything else is part of the journey. As important as sports can be to a student (and it might be the best dropout prevention program ever devised), the diploma dash – down the aisle and across the stage – will always be the most important run of the season. Congratulations to all the graduates!

That being said…let’s talk sports.

World Cup has Nothing on this One

The Middle School Soccer City Championship might go down in history as the most riveting match in MNPS history with McMurray edging Croft in a penalty kick shootout. The soccer world will talk about this one for years.

Spring Fling – State Track Meet, May 18-22

The state track meet is a spectacle to behold! MNPS athletes competing with the best the rest of the state has to offer. Check out the schedule at and head to Murfreesboro to check out the action. MNPS has several teams that will be in the hunt (some might say favored) to win the state championship. Athletes to watch:

  • Hillsboro’s Janel Pate is the top sprinter in the state
  • Hume-Fogg’s Ben Brunson is the defending Decathlon champion and the state’s top qualifier

In the A-AA Pentathlon, the top four qualifiers in the state are all MNPS student-athletes:

  • Grenetria Shell, East Nashville (3,294 points);
  • Kayla Guthrie, Whites Creek (2,723 points);
  • Darreon Sawyers, MLK (2,648 points); and
  • Micquana Webster, East Nashville (2,617 points)

And many more…

Track: Middle School City Championship

The North Sports Report spent the evening at Cane Ridge High School for the City Championship Track Meet. The place was packed with fans, and these athletes are truly spectacular. Last week, I compared the middle school track athletes to comic book super heroes. This week – photographic proof. The Flash (or is it East Nashville’s Jashon Watkins?) is a blur as he makes the turn in the 200m.


The Flash

Congratulations to all the student-athletes and coaches!

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Soccer: Middle School City Championship

McMurray and Croft will take to the pitch for the Soccer Middle School City Championship on Friday at Croft. The pool of great Boys Soccer teams in MNPS high school continues to grow deeper, (see the success of Stratford, Glencliff, Antioch, MLK, Overton, Hume-Fogg and others), and the same is true at the Middle School level. Check out this game Friday afternoon. You will be amazed!


Celebrate! with Stratford STEM soccer


Scholarships in the Community

Stratford football and basketball player Chazz Simpson and Pearl-Cohn track athlete George Johnson were awarded a total of $3,000 in scholarships this week from the Madison Kiwanis Club. Chazz will attend Western Kentucky University and George will attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The scholarships are based on academics, character and service to the community. Congratulations!

MNPS: The First Choice for College and Career Ready Graduates

You are invited to the 2015 Social and Emotional Learning Conference

SEL Conference FlyerFor five years now, Alignment Nashville and Metro Schools have brought together hundreds of educators to learn about the latest ideas and strategies for social and emotional learning. This year’s conference promises to be bigger and better than ever.

The 2015 Social and Emotional Learning Conference is June 19 at Cane Ridge High School. It is open to teachers, counselors, school leaders and community members. This year’s theme is Grow, Achieve, Empower Through SEL, referencing the district’s strategic goals for student success, and highlighting the clear link between social emotional learning and academic achievement in students of all ages. 

This year’s keynote speaker is San Francisco State University professor Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D. Dr. Duncan-Andrade has lectured around the world about the elements of effective, SEL-focused teaching in schools serving under-resourced areas and children impacted by trauma.

Attendees will walk away with a breadth of knowledge about how social and emotional health is tied to the health and success of the whole child, as well as clear steps to not only implementing but also modeling SEL core competencies in the classroom, the workplace, and the home.

Register for the 2015 Social and Emotional Learning Conference

Learn more about the Social and Emotional Learning Conference, including frequently asked questions.

Watch Dr. Duncan-Andrade’s inspiring TED talk, “Growing Roses in Concrete.”

The Social Emotional Learning Conference is an annual collaborative event hosted Alignment Nashville’s Behavioral Health Team and Metro Schools and presented to over 700 educators, counselors, and community members in Nashville. The event, currently in its fifth year, brings together mental health and social emotional learning (SEL) experts from around the region and beyond to offer compelling and professionally enriching content on children’s mental health and education, including trauma-informed teaching, mindfulness in the classroom, Restorative Justice, autism, discipline disparity, and much more.

Meet the 2015 inductees into the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Hall of Fame – Honoring the Greats

Awestruck: that’s the best way to describe the North Sports Report as the superstars of the past entered the West Club at LP Field to celebrate five new inductees to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame. This luncheon is like Disneyland for the North Sports Report! “There’s the great…” or “Look, there’s the legendary…”, or “Here comes the incomparable…” each time another hall of famer arrived.

Those in attendance included the incomparable Barbara Frazier (Pearl High, Class of 1981), Larry Schmittou (Cohn High, Class of 1958), and Bob Dudley Smith (West High, Class of 1948); the legendary Coach Charlie Anderson (Cohn High, Class of 1952); Walter Overton (Pearl High, Class of 1970), and Joe Casey (North High, Class of 1946); and the great Joanne Arnold Tribue (Antioch High, Class of 1978), Porter Williams (Pearl High, Class of 1969), and Jinx Cockerham (Hillsboro High, Class of 1966).

MNPS Sports Hall of Fame 2015 Inductees

MNPS Sports Hall of Fame 2015 Inductees

This year’s class adds five extraordinary athletes to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame:

    • Coach Joe Allen led Donelson High and McGavock High to basketball state championships; his teams won more than 500 games; he coached nine All-State players, including NBA champion Charles Davis; and he was named Coach of the Year in 1964, 1972, and 1974. The McGavock High School gym floor is named in his honor.
    • Preston Brown (Maplewood, Class of 1976) is considered by many to be the best running back in Nashville prep football history. When his high school career ended, he held the single season and career rushing records, was named All-State and All-America in football and was named the NIL Athlete of the Year. In track, he led Maplewood to the state championship, winning the 100 yard dash and 220 yard dash and anchoring the state champion 440 yard relay team. He went on to star at Vanderbilt (led the SEC in receiving) and still holds the school record for longest kickoff return. He was drafted by the New England Patriots and played four seasons in the NFL.
    • John Henderson (Pearl-Cohn, Class of 1997) is included in any discussion of the greatest football players in Nashville history. He played defensive tackle and tight end on two state championship teams. A consensus All-America in high school, Henderson was ranked the top player in the state and 7th best player in the country. He played at the University of Tennessee and again was a consensus All-America, played on the National Championship team, and won the Outland Trophy for being the best lineman in college football. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1st round and played 11 seasons in the NFL including two Pro Bowl appearances.
    • Mike Jackson (Stratford, Class of 1973) was All-State, Metro Player of the Year, honorable mention All-America, and MVP of the Tennessee All-Star game during his stellar high school basketball career. At the University of Tennessee, Jackson started and served as captain on one of the most storied basketball teams in SEC history, teaming with Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld on Coach Ray Mears’ “Ernie and Bernie” teams of the 1970’s. His sweet, smooth jump shot and 14.3 per game scoring average convinced the NBA’s Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clipper) to draft him, and he later played professionally in Europe.
    • Frank Pillow, Jr. (Whites Creek, Class of 1983) was a two sport star for the Cobras in the 1980’s, winning the state championship in the long jump and anchoring the mile relay team to a state record time and a team state championship. He was named All-American in the long jump and earned a scholarship to play football at TSU. As a receiver, he led the team in receptions and broke the school record for most receptions and receiving yards in a game with a 12 reception, 242 yard performance during a game his senior year. Pillow was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had 22 receptions for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns his rookie season. His professional football career included playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Detroit Lions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, and the Indianapolis Colts.

The program from the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is a treasure trove of information about some of Nashville’s most influential people and greatest student-athletes. The North Sports Report suggests that a copy be available at every high school library.

MNPS: The First Choice for Great, Legendary and Incomparable Students

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