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Public Education

Metro schools boast five Presidential Scholar Candidates

As if graduating from high school wasn't enough of an honor, some Metro students could be on their way to graduating as Presidential Scholars!

Five high school seniors in our district have been chosen by the U.S. Department of Education as Presidential Scholar Candidates, meaning they will go through a rigorous national application process. They are among 3,000 candidates in the nation, a number that will shrink to 560 semifinalists and ultimately to 141 Presidential Scholars.

Our candidates are:

  • Claire B. from Hume-Fogg
  • Aditya G. from Hume-Fogg
  • Noel W. from Hume-Fogg
  • Melissa G. from MLK
  • Jenny Z. from MLK

They were chosen for outstanding academic achievement, particularly for scoring highly on the ACT or SAT.

Another National Award for Rose Park Middle Magnet

Silver Award is given to urban schools with high achievement

Make some room on the trophy shelf because Rose Park Middle Magnet School has received another major award.

The Silver Award from the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) is given to schools that meet a number of performance criteria, including high achievement, high attendance rates and low suspension rates, among many others. Rose Park is one of just 16 schools nationwide that made the cut, and one of only eight to receive the Silver Award.

“After receiving National Blue Ribbon status and a SCORE Prize, the secret about Rose Park is out,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “It’s a terrific school, and the faculty and students have earned every distinction they’ve received. We’re proud to have such strong schools serving our neighborhood families.”

“The finalists have attained a level of achievement more typically seen in schools that serve very affluent communities,” said Joseph F. Johnson, Jr., executive director of the NCUST. “They prove that our nation’s urban schools can be wonderful centers of learning that change children’s lives. As a nation, we should be seeking out opportunities to applaud and support these schools while we provide systematic, substantive assistance to other schools seeking to attain similar results.”

Officials from NCUST visited Rose Park earlier this year to see in person the great story behind the school’s data. The winning schools demonstrated the greatest evidence of rigorous content, engaging instruction and positive relationships with students and families.

Three of the eight Silver Award schools will be chosen for the Gold Award – one each for elementary, middle and high – at the NCUST Symposium in May. Each Silver Award school receives a check for $2,500. Gold Award schools receive an additional $2,500.

“This is extremely gratifying,” said Rose Park principal Robert Blankenship. “Our students and faculty work so hard to achieve at these levels. To have that recognized on the national stage means a great deal.”

Metro Schools will Serve as Hubs for Needed Community Services

Community Achieves program starting in 17 schools across Nashville

It is not a new idea, but it is experiencing a national resurgence: bring families and communities into schools and students will succeed.

Metro Nashville Public Schools is proud to announce Community Achieves, a program that will draw families into greater engagement with their schools by turning 17 schools into hubs for needed services and programs in their communities. They will offer a range of helpful services for families built around four areas of need:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Social Services
  • Family Engagement
  • College & Career Readiness

These could take the form of after school programs, health clinics, sports, adult education, job counseling, community events and more. Each school will assess its needs and work with partners to offer programs to meet them.

“Nashville is rich with resources and has a strong tradition of community pride,” said Gini Pupo-Walker, director of Parent and Community Partnerships. “We are poised to come together around Community Achieves and rethink the way we engage with the schools in our neighborhoods.”

The benefits of high performing Community Schools are many:

  • Higher student achievement
  • Reduced mobility
  • Family stability
  • Increased teacher satisfaction
  • Stronger relationships
  • Better communication
  • Community pride
  • More positive school environment

“When you help families, you help students,” said Tony Majors, executive officer for Support Services. “Through Community Achieves we can keep families involved to increase achievement and decrease the chances of them leaving school. When families are engaged, everyone benefits.”

Before coming to work as leaders in the Student Services department, Majors and Pupo-Walker led the Community Schools initiative at Glencliff High School. They turned the school into a source of pride for its students, parents and neighbors by offering needed services. They were honored with the Community Schools National Award for Excellence in 2011 for their efforts. Through Community Achieves they are taking that work to scale, serving thousands more families in Nashville.

Antioch High School hosted this announcement with Dr. Jesse Register and Martin Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools in Washington, D.C. Antioch is one of 17 schools included in Community Achieves program. At Antioch, families already benefit from a robust health clinic and other services. The other 16 schools are:

  • Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School
  • Brick Church Middle School
  • Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elem.
  • Chadwell Elementary
  • Cole Elementary
  • DuPont Hadley Middle
  • Glencliff High School
  • Gra-Mar Middle School
  • John Early Museum Magnet Middle
  • I.T. Creswell Middle
  • Maplewood High School
  • Margaret Allen Middle School
  • McKissack Middle School
  • Napier Enhanced Option Elem.
  • Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet
  • Wright Middle School

The work of Community Achieves would not be possible without help from key community partners like Alignment Nashville, United Way, the PENCIL Foundation, YMCA, the Martha O’Bryan Center, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Public Health Department, Conexión Américas, and the Nashville Career Advancement Center. Many more will come on board as the program progresses.