Archives for December 2011

Essays by Academy freshmen impress CEO Champions

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce hosted the quarterly meeting of the CEO Champions on December 7. At the meeting, three freshmen were recognized for the outstanding essays they wrote about their experiences at the Career Exploration Fair held in October. Sponsored by Shoney’s Restaurants, the three grand prize winners of this year’s essay contest were Magdalene Kennedy (Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School), Oskar Groitzsch (Stratford High School), and Angel Puryear (McGavock High School). We are so very proud of these students and their magnificent essays!

Marc Hill’s blog over at the Nashville Chamber Web site has an excellent summary and wonderful photos of the event.

What are the graduation requirements for the Academies of Nashville?

The graduation requirements for the Academies of Nashville align with the Tennessee Diploma Project, a statewide initiative to improve education throughout Tennessee (overview of the initiative). A new component of the state of Tennessee’s graduation standards requires all students to complete three credits in a focused area of study. Students in the Academies of Nashville fulfill this requirement by choosing a pathway—a series of three related courses focused on a career theme. This focus helps students gain valuable skills and knowledge that will help them pursue their academic and professional goals after high school.

What is a Pathway?

A pathway is a series of three related courses. Students in the Academies of Nashville choose a pathway that allows them to focus on a theme that interests them such as science and engineering, health sciences, finance, or music and entertainment.

Do all students have to choose an academy?

Yes. All zoned high schools in Nashville use the Academies of Nashville model and all students must be in an academy to attend one of these schools.

Does my student have to choose a pathway?

Yes. The pathway allows students to meet the graduation requirement of three elective courses in a related theme.

Metro Nashville Public Schools Graduation Requirements


MATH: 4 Credits, Including Algebra I, II, Geometry, and a fourth higher level math course

SCIENCE: 3 Credits, Including Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and a third lab course

ENGLISH: 4 Credits





FINE ARTS: 1 Credit

ELECTIVE FOCUS: 3 Credits in a focused area

CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE: Service-Learning, Research, or Internship (for example)

The Tennessee Diploma Project and the Academies of Nashville

The Tennessee Diploma Project is part of the national American Diploma Project, an initiative that aims to prepare all students for success in college and careers after high school.  The state of Tennessee’s goal is to raise standards and curricula by improving the quality of education students receive at all grade levels. Business roundtables gave the Tennessee Department of Education input regarding the needs of commerce and industry and employers’ expectations of graduates. Their feedback points to the importance of rigorous academic training and 21st-century skills in preparing students for college and careers.

Primary 21st-century skills needed for success

  • Solid math and science skills, especially mastery of basic math
  • Application of critical thinking and teamwo8rk to solve complex problems
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong work ethic and professionalism

Preparing students for college and careers in the Academies of Nashville

The curriculum and structure of the Academies of Nashville have been designed to provide students with rigorous academic training in the context of project-based learning and real-world experience. The goals of the Academies of Nashville build on the basic objectives of the Tennessee Diploma Project.

Prepare students to be workplace and/or college ready

  • All students will take college preparatory courses.
  • Academies foster the 21st-century skills necessary for success in college and careers through real-world, application-based learning.

Foster understanding of math and science and their relationship to technology (STEM)

  • Interdisciplinary teaching within academies shows connections between academic courses and solving real-world problems.
  • All academies emphasize math, science, English, and social studies and their use in various career fields.

Work cooperatively in groups

  • Interdisciplinary projects in the classroom promote collaborative work habits that are essential for success in college and careers.
  • Academy Partners reinforce the importance of 21st-century skills through coordinated learning experiences outside of the classroom.

Demonstrate responsibilities in personal lives and in service to the community

  • All students complete a Capstone project that consists of either original research, service-learning, or internships as the culmination of their high-school career.
  • 21st-century skills reinforce personal accountability by showing students the value of education to achieving their long-term goals.

Students jumping into television broadcasting at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

In this entry of the Academies of Nashville Blog, Student Ambassador Gerald H. from Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School talks about the dynamic opportunities made possible by the Academy of Entertainment Communication. Pearl-Cohn is the first entertainment magnet high school in the United States. Through partnerships with local television stations and the tremendous generosity of the Golf Channel, students at Pearl-Cohn are producing high-quality programming across a variety of media platforms. This is a great example of how business engagement is helping to strengthen Metro Nashville Public Schools and provide outstanding learning opportunities for our students.

What makes the Academy of Entertainment Communication unique?

My academy at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School is unique because of the hands-on experiences and the relationships built with our mentors, business partners, and teachers. The Academy of Entertainment Communication Television Broadcasting pathway allows for everyone—from sophomores to seniors—to be able to jump in and experience the real-life world of media. Writing and producing commercials, broadcasting news stories, writing, directing, producing, and play-by-play announcing are just a few examples of activities in which we participate.

What are some of the academy’s accomplishments in improving educational opportunities for students?

We received a three-million-dollar set and equipment donation from The Golf Channel. Also, we have been recruited by several organizations and businesses to record programs that have allowed our television station to gain exposure to venues such as BB Kings Restaurant & Blues Club.  I have also been honored to invite and host several news industry leaders to come and tour our school and talk to the students about the broadcast industry. John Dwyer of News 2 WKRN, Amy Watson of News Channel 5, and Deanna Lambert of Channel 4 WSMV. These visits and interviews allowed me to gain insight of how the news industry works. With our partnerships and sponsors, we have been afforded opportunities to experience and develop a business mindset. Learning and producing with them has allowed our academy, my academy, to flourish.