Academies of Nashville Blog

The Academies enable students to learn through the lens of a career or academic theme in a personalized learning community. Through their academy, students are exposed to a multitude of career and college opportunities, industry skills, and potential employers by way of classroom speakers, site visits, job shadowing and internships.

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  • President Barack Obama visits the Academies of Nashville at McGavock High School
  • Students demonstrate the relevance of general education subjects through real-world application.
Internships

Internships

Internships allow student to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world.
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Job Shadowing

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing connects students with the real working world and gives them an insider's view of a profession and the everyday duties and responsibilities.
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Externships

Externships

Externships give teachers an opportunity to have a real world professional experience at a host organization to develop a project-based curriculum.
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Partnerships

Partnerships

Business and community partners are essential factors in preparing students for life after high school and are integral to the educational experiences students receive.
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Championing 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.

Hispanic Heritage Month- Drawing Inspiration from Aspiring Engineers

By Rashed Fakhruddin, Engineering Supervisor, Nashville Electric Service

Through the Academies of Nashville, Metro Nashville Public Schools, in collaboration with the business community, works diligently to prepare students to graduate ready for post-secondary education and successful careers.

As an Academy business partner, Nashville Electric Service (NES) plays an important role in providing students with experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and job shadowing which assist future graduates with developing the necessary employability skills to be successful in their future careers.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I would like to highlight two students from John Overton High School who interned with NES’ Design Engineering department through Conexión Américas ‘Escalera: Taking Steps to Success’ program, which works with young adults who will be first generation college students in their families.

Juan Martinez and Eric Jaramillo made an impression on the employees of NES during their 40-hour internship last July. They exhibited great work ethics by interning with NES for half the day and then going straight to their construction jobs immediately following.

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These bright students got an overview of NES’ substation controls and communication designs. They learned about system protection and distribution planning. They visited both the test and system control departments and observed the very impressive SCADA operations center.

They were also active participants in our project meetings, including a conference call with a manufacturer that NES was working through several issues with. On the call, engineers with the manufacturer were speaking in English to us and in Spanish among themselves. Juan and Eric stepped in and translated the conversations to help clear up the previous miscommunication. Our interns became heroes overnight. This highlights the importance of speaking a second language, which is an asset of many students attending MNPS. Over 30 percent speak a second language at home and more than 100 languages are spoken by students from over 75 different countries.

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Although born in the U.S., Juan and Eric are of Mexican heritage, as is NES board member, Irma Paz-Bernstein. Upon completion of their internship, Irma invited them both to her business, Las Paletas, for a visit. The next day, Irma emailed me the following message:

 

Dear Rashed, 

I was happy to meet with Eric & Juan. The idea of inspiring young people always moves me. The interesting thing that happens is that something magical flips things around and I am the one that walks away different.

Listening to their hopes, their stories, their situations and how ready they are to be lifted, to fly, just made my heart grow. I thank you for the opportunity to be inspired and moved.

Peace, always,

Irma

 

As much as we try to inspire these young adults, many times we are the ones who are changed in the process.

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Tennessee Credit Union Welcomes Students to Main Branch

TTCU was excited to host 42 sophomores from Antioch High School Sept. 29. The students are from TTCU’s Academy of Business and Finance and all are in the Accounting pathway.

The students visited our Main Nashville Branch to learn about careers in Banking and Finance. We are proud to be able to help guide the students in their future careers by discussing the job responsibilities of various positions in the credit union and financial services industry, such as tellers, member service representatives, branch managers, fraud prevention specialists, IT professionals, marketing managers, and internal audit & accounting leaders.

Saint Thomas Health Scholars Program Puts Students on Career Path to Healthcare

Originally posted to Saint Thomas Health Beat

It was a night to shine. It was a night to celebrate. One hundred students from nine high schools with health & science academies in Metro Nashville were selected to the Saint Thomas Health Scholars Program. The program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, provides mentoring and hands-on experience in the healthcare field in hopes of paving a career path for these seniors once they graduate from high school. The program also prepares them to take the certification exam at the end of the school year to become a medical assistant. All this at no charge to the students and their families.

Saint Thomas Health, a part of Ascension, partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools for this inaugural program. A special event was held at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville to commission the students into the program.

That Somebody Way You

The Relentless Entertainment Group and Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School sent a very special welcome to Dr. Shawn Joseph on his “First Official Day” at work. The 2016 President of Relentless Entertainment Group, senior, Bre’Monte Carpenter was inspired to write this song in honor Dr. Joseph’s first official day.  A multi-talented Relentless vocal artist, senior, Shondia Pride provided the stirring vocal performance.

Check out the newest release from Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Our New MNPS Director of Schools, Dr. Joseph, That Somebody Was You!

 

Audio Production Students compete in Skills USA

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What Is Skills USA?

Skills USA is a convention for students to compete against each other by showcasing their professional and career abilities.
-Willow

What It Was Like To Compete

We were given a lot of freedom to create during competition. With only a simple prompt to follow, they would let us go out and record anywhere we wanted in the city. It was a lot of fun bouncing ideas off each other and having so much creative freedom.
-Jackson

Chattanooga Was Awesome

Chattanooga is such a beautiful city, its tasteful, timeless atmosphere made me feel right at home there. The relaxed, laid back scenery of the area was so calming it almost felt like a vacation!
-Willow

Getting to hang out with all the other students competing was also a ton of fun.
​-Jackson


What We Took Away From The Experience

I learned how enjoyable and satisfying it is to work on a professional level project and also the focus and work ethic it takes to pull one off.
Jackson

Learning not to have many expectations for any task before it is given was an important tool I picked up during competition. It prepared me for my career world while also simply giving me a good fundamental rule to live by.
-Willow


The Medals

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Greetings from the New Academies of Nashville Director

030As I start this new chapter in my career, I can’t help but to look back with thankfulness and look forward with hope and excitement. My professional career started more than 25 years ago as a teacher at Glencliff High School. It was there that I fell in love with teaching and helping shape the lives of young people. Within the first couple of years of teaching, we piloted some curriculum being offered by Ford Motor Company. Little did I know that exploration would be the catalyst for the journey that I have been blessed to travel for the past quarter of a century.

It was in those classrooms that we worked with teams of students to solve real business problems and allow those students to get dressed in their best to deliver their solutions to the executives of companies. It was in those classrooms that we learned to bring business partners into the classrooms to make learning authentic and to spark the curiosity of students that had once sat quietly in neat rows of desks. It was there that the Academies of Nashville dream began.

Spring forward twenty-five years and the dream of all students learning in this manner is at hand in MNPS high schools. In 2006, we were able to get a Small Learning Communities grant that would allow us to put the structure into place to build what we know as The Academies of Nashville. This work could not have happened without the dedication, vision and hard work of two great leaders that I have been blessed to learn from: Starr Herrman and Chaney Mosley. Each was able to bring the work that was needed at the time to the Academies of Nashville and each of their personalities and commitment will be forever etched on the organization.

As I look forward, I do so with hope and excitement that we can continue to nurture the process that has brought us to this place. As we approach our tenth year for the Academies of Nashville, I am honored to take on the role of director and want to build on the success that has brought over 2500 educators from around the country to study our work. My goal is to help support our stakeholders to move this work forward into the next quarter of a century. In the beginning, we wanted to improve the high school graduation rate—we moved that percentage from a dismal 58.2% in 2006 to a current rate of 81.6%. As we look to the future, I want to help many of our first-time college seekers believe that they can succeed at both college and career. I want to continue to give them the tools that are required not only to go to college, but to complete college and move into a career where they can begin to change the culture of poverty.

I continue to believe the tools for student success are bundled in the Academies of Nashville and my goal is to continue to learn from and nurture the 350 business partners that are committed to our work. Further, I hope to mentor and help develop the Academy Coaches as they are the “boots on the ground” at each of the academy schools that keep the spirit of the academies thriving. Indeed, it is with great hope and excitement that I believe the best days for the Academies of Nashville are yet to come.

Team Sparta Bots advances to FIRST Robotics Championship

Originally posted to MNPS Children First

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Congratulations to Sparta Bots, the robotics team at Stratford’s Academy of Science and Engineering, for coming out on top at the Smoky Mountain Regionals!

Stratford was part of the alliance team that included Rohawktics from Knoxville and Roboteers from Tremont, Illinois. They outperformed nearly fifty teams from Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee.

IMG_0309“Our team was supported by so many at the event and our students rose to the challenge and specialized in a great defender robot,” said Academy Principal Dr. Jennifer Berry, in an email to Children First. “A special and huge thank you to Ms. Hansen for guiding the team to victory and Ms. Bartley for assisting. A big shout out to David Peters and Universal Robotics for mentoring our team! It was truly a great moment to witness for our students and our school!”

Stratford has participated in the Smoky Mountain Regionals since 2013. Learn more about the robotics competition here.

Sparta Bots will now compete in the FIRST Championship competition set for later this month in St. Louis, Missouri. You can follow the results by watching live or visiting this page.

 

The Story of a Student Athlete- Hillsboro High’s Darius Ferguson

By Rashed Fakhruddin

Darius Ferguson picStudent athlete Darius Ferguson has a game plan both on and off the basketball court. The Hillsboro High School varsity basketball player averages 11 points and six assists per game and helped lead his team to the state tournament two years in a row, but his priorities remain focused on academics and potential career opportunities.

 

A year ago, I was sitting next to Darius’ parents during one of his games at regionals. They mentioned he was interested in engineering and I offered the opportunity for him to shadow me on the job at Nashville Electric Service (NES).

 

During fall break, Darius took me up on the offer and spent the day at NES learning different engineering applications, asking questions and talking about career development. During our lunch break, the roles reversed and Darius taught me a few things on the basketball court over a couple of games at the nearby YMCA.

 

Earlier this month, I turned on the television to see Hillsboro playing Mt. Juliet. Darius had a monster fourth quarter advancing the team to state. The very next day, I received an email from Darius asking about the possibility of an NES internship this summer. I was so impressed! This senior just had one of the biggest games of his life and he still has his future in mind.

 

Darius Ferguson basketball picWe recently had a long phone conversation that was the highlight of my week. It topped my winning three-point buzzer beater for NES against the Nashville Fire Department in the Metro Parks Basketball League. It even meant more than a personal spotlight in Nashville Scene’s annual People’s issue.

 

It epitomizes the dream we have as business partners with Metro Nashville Public Schools to see our students motivated, challenged and prepared for college and careers.

Hospitality and Business Experiential Learning at McGavock High School

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Hospitality & Tourism students visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel every year. Here are some students during a job shadow. They shadow employees of the hotel gaining experience and insight to the world of hospitality. They learn about all aspects of the hotel such as the front desk and human resources, which are pictured.

 

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Banking and Finance students benefit from having the U.S. Community Credit Union as a business partner. Pictured are banking and finance students discussing marketing tactics with the head of marketing for the USCCU, J.R. Jerningan. McGavock has a fully functioning branch of the USCCU inside the school where students work gaining banking experience while other students have to ability to open accounts and learn about financial responsibility.

 

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Entrepreneurship students benefit from having Deloitte as a business partner. Betsy Oleska, the Senior Engagement Manager at Deloitte is a member of the advisory board for the Academy of Hospitality and Finance. She helped to facilitate the job shadow for the students. They learned about consulting and auditing while there.

 

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The culinary students help to prepare meals while at The Gaylord Opryland Hotel. They gain valuable experience in a real life culinary atmosphere. The students also create menus to serve to the staff at McGavock High School in their Bistro. Once a week, the teachers can go to the Bistro and enjoy a pre-fixed menu prepared and served by the students.

Personality comes with many names at McGavock HS CMT Academy of Digital Design and Technology

We’re the kids from McGavock’s Audio/Visual Production pathway. At least that’s what we think it’s called… It’s either that, or Broadcasting. We’re not sure… “Broadcasting” makes you think of old guys in suits reporting the Evening News, and we’re not really that.  And “A/V Production” makes you think about nerdy kids with pocket protectors. And we’re not really that either. Well, some of us are. Anyway, what we do know is that we learn how to make Television. How to write, produce, light, edit, and share video projects. Things like music videos, commercials, news programs, documentaries, web features, and short films. Some of the major projects we do every year are the DDC Awards Show, the Film Festival, and the Senior Showcase. We think our pathway is the best one in Nashville. And we’ve won awards that back up this claim. Now if we only knew what to call ourselves….

 

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Pearl-Cohn named to Grammy Foundation Signature Schools List

Screen-Shot-2016-03-17-at-8.55.33-AMThe Grammy Foundation announced 13 U.S. schools have been selected as Grammy Signature Schools for 2016 and have been awarded cash grants totaling $61,000. This program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that make an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year. Each of the 13 Grammy Signature Schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant to benefit its music program.

Included this year is Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, which is awarded the Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award and will receive $5,500.

“We created the Grammy Foundation’s Grammy Signature Schools initiative to highlight the excellent work being done through music programs at public high schools across the country, and since 1999, we have provided more than $1.3 million to close to 300 schools,” said Neil Portnow, President/ CEO of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. “We are proud to offer these financial resources to augment what are often limited budgets, so that teachers may continue to provide the enriching and lasting benefits of a musical education to their students.”

For more information about the Foundation, visit www.grammyfoundation.org.

Signarama Visits Digital Arts and Design Classes at McGavock

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Mr. Hinchman’s Digital Arts and Design II students at McGavock High School had the pleasure of hearing Greta Miller, of Signarama, speak about the graphic design industry in October. Ms. Miller, the production manager of the company, passed along valuable firsthand information to the students about the field and what it takes to become not only a graphic designer, but a highly-successful graphic designer. She also talked about the different software she uses on a daily basis, which is the same software the students use, and the importance of building relationships with customers.

McGavock students “rock” at Rocketown

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A group of students from McGavock’s audio production class had the opportunity to visit the full studio at Rocketown on a scheduled experiential learning day. With the prior help of teacher, Mr. Oquendo, the students were able to run a full session from beginning to end with little instruction.

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They used production software, Logic Pro X, which they have been trained to use during class-time. All students involved helped write a script for a commercial that Rocketown will use in the future and on their website. Each student took a turn running Logic and being in the sound booth. Back at the full studio in McGavock, the students will finish their project by writing a jingle and editing what they produced.

Overton Student’s Work 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!