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Overton High School celebrates construction progress

John Overton High School held an event to celebrate progress of the construction additions and renovations currently happening at the school. The library and cafeteria were recently completed, and the rest of the school’s construction will be finished in 2018. The project is estimated to be 267,000 square feet.

Speakers at the event included Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, Metro Nashville Board of Public Education District 3 Board Member Dr. JoAnn Brannon, District 34 Metro  Councilwoman Angie Henderson, District 26 Metro Councilman Jeremy Elrod and Overton High School Principal Dr. Jill Pittman.

Guests enjoyed a musical performance by Overton students, toured the school and were able to see illustrations of the renovation plans.

Check out photos from the event:

Overton High School students experience future careers in ACE Mentor Program


“I want to be an engineer,” said Natjha Johnson, a senior at John Overton High School. “I heard so many good things about this program through my teacher and I wanted to give it a try. Being in this program reassures me that I can do it.”

Johnson is one of a group of students from John Overton High School participating in the ACE Mentor Program, a national program that pairs high school students interested in careers in architecture, construction and engineering with professionals in each field. The program exposes students to all three professions with the goal of helping them determine their future career path.


During their most recent meeting, the students visited Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. (ESa), a Nashville-based architecture firm that has designed numerous buildings in Nashville and across the country  – including the iconic AT&T Building in downtown Nashville.

The students were given a tour of ESa, where they learned about the structure and job responsibilities within the company and experienced the different work spaces in an architecture office.


“I’ve learned that there are different pathways in engineering,” said Johnson about the ACE Mentor Program. “I’ve broadened my horizons too. Going on that tour makes me even consider being an architect. I’ve learned that I have more options.”

Since the beginning of the school year, the students have met with their group of mentors twice a month, learning about each mentor’s profession and and using the knowledge they’ve gained to work on a year-long project.

The group selected resilience as the topic for their project. With the guidance of their mentors, the students are designing an apartment building with features that would help it withstand a natural disaster.

At the end of the year, the students will present their project at a banquet where they will compete against other local ACE Mentor groups for college scholarships.

Results are in – Hunters Lane, MLK, and Overton students rank nationally for Spanish, German, Latin and French


In addition to Overton High School’s Seal of Biliteracy program that rewards students who have mastered two languages, many Metro Schools students compete nationally in language exams to show their proficiency.

This year, lots of students have performed well and their commitment to learning another language and culture has paid off!

The National Spanish Exam is the largest and oldest exam of its kind with thousands of students competing just in Tennessee across six levels of Spanish. Each level consists of three competition categories: classroom experience, outside experience and bilingual.

Students compete for medals (gold, silver and bronze) and honorable mention based on national rankings.

Hunters Lane High School – National Spanish Exam

Gold medal: Sarahi Lara Gomez (Level 4)

Silver medal: Perla Puentes, Heissy Lopez (Level 3)

Honorable Mentions:  Justin Nichols—Level 1 Rosaline Tep, Daniella Menjivar, Julia Alcantar, Yoselin Beltran, Alex Sandoval, Rhaei Brown (Level 3) Dayana Mendez, Jose Ramirez (Level 4).

Overton High School – National Spanish Exam

Gold medal: Noemy Torres (Level 2), Jennifer Calles (Level 2).

Silver medal:  Aris Allison (Level 2), Raquel Dominguez (Level 2), Arlette Macias (Level 2), Carlos Ramos-Rodriguez (Level 1).

Bronze medal: Ashley Kwak, (Level 1), Sean Pak (Level 1), Gina Gad (Level 2), Elizabeth Sims (Level 2).

Honorable Mention: MaryEllen Bates (Level 1), Matthew Beech (Level 1), Brooke Bixler (Level 1), Jessica Cobbinah (Level 1), Muhammad Habibullaev (Level 1), Tara Kemp (Level 1), Julia Le (Level 1), Sarah Osborne (Level 1), Shun Ahmed (Level 2), Aylanna Alvorado (Level 2), Amando Boeing (Level 2), McKayla Clements (Level 2), Jasmine Cobbinah (Level 2), Caroline Conner (Level 2), Matthew Dernberger (Level 2), Megan Dernberger (Level 2), Mahelat Endatrsesaw (Level 2), Afua Mensah (Level 2), Tracy Olsen (Level 2), AnnaMarie Puglise (Level 2), Alexis Sheeler (Level 2), Mariah Washington (Level 2), Barren Yassin (Level 2), Hana Abutaleb (Level 2), Alan Rasheed (Level 2), Miguel Arias (Level 2), Izury Vasquez (Level 2).

Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School – National Latin Exam

More than 154,000 students in the U.S. and 19 foreign countries participated in this year’s exam.

All MLK Latin students took the exam. Their awards this year include two perfect papers at the Latin II level (Maya Johnson and Amir Alam), two book awards for having gold medals for four years (Divya Dayanidhi and John Hartley), and one book award for having five years of gold medals (Dylan Folsom). Dylan is also eligible for the National Latin Exam scholarship.

View the full list of awards here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School – National German Exam

Many German 1 students achieved high marks in the National German Exam, taken by more than 20,000 level I students around the country. Special congratulations go out to Maya Diedrich and Parwan Machingal who both ranked 1st place in Tennessee!

Gold medal: Maya Diedrich (1st), Parwan Machingal (1st), Caleb Barba Villanueva (6th), Joseph Hallum (14th), Allison Knight (24th), and Yousif Habeb (28th)

Silver medal: Alex Hoang, Edith McClure, Chibuzor Okolocha, Raef Lawerence, Joseph Williams, Vivan Huy, and Connor Schultz

Bronze medal: Alexandria Haynes, Camden Morris, Amelia Putnam, Madison Gossard, and Izabella Johnson

Achievement Award: Mohamed Ahmed, Claudia Villeda-Rubio, Hlina Hailu, Sylvie Kendi, Campbell Bledsoe, Elena Bahan, Jonathan Bumgarner, Eduardo Villanueva, Walker Williams, Kamryn Frieson, and Ronan Hall.

Herzlichen Glückwünschen! (Congratulations!)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School – National French Exam

Six MLK students ranked nationally (top 25 percent) in the 81st annual National French Contest, Le Grand Concours, a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). More than 85,000 students in all 50 states competed in the 2016 event, which evaluates students on their written and listening comprehension skills.

Gold medal: Julia An (Level 3A).

Silver medal: Rose Dubois (Level 1A).

Bronze medal: Rachel Chen (Level 1A), Oliver Kacki (Level 3A), Yitu Ikapitte (Level 3C), Vera Aluoch (Level 4A).

In addition to the national winners, 18 MLK students received Honorable Mention certificates for their performance.

“French students who rank nationally in Le Grand Concours demonstrate a superior level of global responsibility, integrative cultural competence, language skills, and commitment to excellence and dedication. They significantly increase their community’s international profile. Their French teachers, whom they honor, work hard to produce responsible world citizens with multilingual capabilities,” said AATF President Catherine Danièlo, in a news release.

This Overton High School student’s work is being featured in two science publications

Overton High School senior Yasmin Alvarado-Rayo yasmin photois being published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine and Young Scientist journal for her work on a modular robotics kit that can be used to support STEM education.

Yasmin, pictured right, is a student in the Overton Academy of Health Sciences.

As part of the team at The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, she will share publication honors for “eSMAC: an Affordable Modular Robotic Kit for Integrated STEM Education.”

The rest of the team members for the publication include include: Vanderbilt postdoctoral student Ekawahyu Susilo, Vanderbilt undergraduate student Jianing Liu, Vanderbilt undergraduate student Ashley Melissa Peck, Hume-Foggg teacher Justin Montenegro, local high school teacher Mark Gonyea,  and Vanderbilt engineering faculty member Dr. Pietro Valdastri.

Yasmin worked in Vanderbilt’s STORM lab with Dr. Pietro Valdastri and her SSMV mentor was Dr. Stephanie Weeden-Wright.

Click here to visit the Young Scientist journal website.

Click here to visit the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine website.

Congrats, Yasmin!

Overton Assistant Principal selected for Governor’s Academy for School Leadership


Pictured: Overton Assistant Principal Beatriz Salgado

Overton High School’s Beatriz Salgado is one of 24 assistant principals in Tennessee selected to participate in the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership.

The Governor’s Academy for School Leadership includes once a month training sessions, a week-long summer institute at Vanderbilt University, an internship, and one-on-one coaching sessions. Upon completion of the fellowship, participants pursue placement as a school principal locally, according to the program’s website.

The one-year fellowship program is part of a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education, Vanderbilt’s Peabody College and local school districts. The partnership aims to build a pipeline of highly-trained school principals for districts and improve school effectiveness and performance.

Read the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership introduction of Salgado on its website:

Beatriz is an assistant principal at Overton High School in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). Prior to becoming an assistant principal, she was a school counselor for MNPS and a classroom teacher in El Paso, TX. Beatriz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, a master’s degree in school counseling from Middle Tennessee State University, and most recently completed the administrative licensure program at Lipscomb University. One of her recent accomplishments is the addition of a new pathway to the Engineering Academy that will be available to students in fall 2017.

In addition, through her leadership, programs such as Pioneros, ESCALERA, and 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee have partnered with Overton and are providing leadership development and academic support for students. Beatriz is actively involved with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition to bring tuition equality to Tennessee. She is also part of the Latino Education Coalition to ensure rigorous and high quality instruction for Latino students in Nashville.

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