Archives for April 2012

Dual credit and dual enrollment opportunities in health science

By participating in the dual credit and dual enrollment program, students in the Academies of Nashville can take college-level courses and earn credits while still in high school. Through strategic partnerships, the Academies of Nashville offer a wide range of opportunities to earn credit for courses in health science at Nashville State Community College (NSCC) and Volunteer State Community College (VSCC).

 

High School Course College Course Where Offered
Medical Terminology Medical Terminology (NSCC) CR, G, HL, HS, HW, M, MG, O, WC
Medical Terminology Medical Terminology (VSCC) HL, MG, WC
Anatomy & Physiology Anatomy & Physiology NSCC) CR, G, HL, HS, HW, M, MG, O, WC
Anatomy & Physiology Anatomy & Physiology (VSCC) HL, MG, WC


*A=Antioch, CR=Cane Ridge, GL=Glencliff, HL=Hunters Lane, HS=Hillsboro, HW=Hillwood, M=Maplewood, MG=McGavock, O=Overton, PC=Pearl-Cohn, S=Stratford, WC=Whites Creek

Academy students win mid-south student television awards

Students in the Academies of Nashville earned high honors at the 10th Annual Mid-south Regional Student Television Awards for Excellence competition. Students from Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School won in the Sports category for their coverage of Pearl-Cohn football and basketball. McGavock High School won awards in the Long Form–Non-fiction and Writing categories. Another MNPS high school, the Nashville School of the Arts, also brought home a prize in the Long Form–Fiction category. The Student Television Awards are awarded alongside the Mid-south Regional Emmy® Awards each year. This year, the event was held March 17, 2012 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.10th mid-south student television awards for excellence 2012

Members of the Television Broadcasting pathway at Pearl-Cohn won in the Sports category for their Pearl-Cohn football pre-game show and coverage of basketball games. Gerald Harris, Jay Smith, Jeremy Ward, Lamonteze Pannell, LaQuntay Reid, and Deonte J. all worked on the winning clip. Their teacher and advisor is Todd Young. Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School was nominated in four categories in the competition:  Newscast, News Story–Serious News, Arts and Entertainment, and Sports (Broadcasting). This was the first year that Pearl-Cohn students have competed in the Mid-south Regional Student Television Awards for Excellence.

Jack Gregory, Brittany Piercey, and Ryan Alexander were the McGavock High School students honored in the Writing category. Their submission was titled “Pauletta Hard Tack.” Gara Gaines, Heather Satterfield, Barrett Depies, Courtney Dwyer, and Kathy Taylor were the students who won in the category of Long Form–Non-fiction. Barclay Randall is the teacher and advisor to all of these students. Videos by students from McGavock also were nominated in News Story–Serious News, Long Form–Fiction, Public Service Announcement, and Audio/Sound.

 

Antioch student artist displays painting at Frist Center

Each year since 2004, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts has hosted The Mayor’s Art Show. The event is an opportunity to recognize and showcase the outstanding work and achievements of student artists in Nashville’s public high schools. Jasmine M. is a student artist in Antioch High School‘s Academy of Technology and Communication. One of her paintings was selected to be displayed at the Frist as part of the show this year. In this post, she writes about the experience and the hard work that went into creating her artwork.

Antioch High Jasmine Mayor Art Show Karl Dean Frist Center

Jasmine M. and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean at The Mayor's Art Show

Being what someone calls an artist is a high title to live up to. I feel that to be an “artist,” I have to contribute something new to the art society. When I first started my senior year, I was ready to throw myself in to Antioch High School’s new AP Art class. What I didn’t know was how challenging and time-consuming this would really be. My two spoons in a cup piece was accepted into the Frist for the Mayor’s Art Show. This piece was one of the most challenging ones I ever attempted.

Art can be seen in many ways, being simple, full of technique, symbolic, etc. In my two spoons and a cup piece, my focus was not on the spoons or the cup but the beauty of the light causing a unique, colorful array of reflections. Who would have known that, if I set a clear glass cup with two silver spoons and a black plain background, I would have a cup with vibrant pinks, blues, and browns? There is always inner beauty in the simplest of objects that life offers us. Of course, Mrs. Lancaster, Mrs. Smith, and Mr. Waiwaiole were a huge key to my success in this piece and all my other pieces. Mrs. Lancaster, my main art teacher, pushes me to strive further in all my pieces. She will not accept anything but my very best and more. I appreciate all the skill-building tools she provides for me to learn and understand more about art and how to always improve. Mrs. Smith has always stood by my side! She does not only teach me but provides so much support to keep me motivated. Mr. Waiwaiole is the art teacher that will question the simplest artwork to get your brain juices flowing! These amazing teachers always give 110% for any student who has a goal and are the reason why our art classes can be so motivational for students. They don’t tell you how to draw but give you the tools for you to draw on your own.

Seeing an “A” on a report is not half as exciting as seeing your own artwork in a museum! When I first heard of this amazing opportunity I was so thrilled! I thought back to the day when I very first saw artwork from my school that was displayed in the Frist and thought to myself, “How can I one day get my work here?” I had a sense of accomplishment when I heard the good news. Now, to add to that accomplishment, I also gained pride once I met the mayor who personally complimented my artwork. I felt like I truly got the recognition for all the hard work I put into my art. It was a great feeling to know that I am not the only one interested in art but the mayor understands how important this is to people like me. I appreciate it so much that he took time out of his day to have an event such as this. By the end of the night, once most people had left, I decided to head back to the hall with all of the creative works of art. Through the whole event I was filled with a rush, but at the end of the day I just stood there and enjoyed my piece hanging on the wall where so many other artists had the opportunity to display their art. It was a simple piece, a cup and two spoons. It was a cup, two spoons, the reflection, color, and light. It was my time, work, opinion, view, and creation, and that night it was shared for others to view and enjoy it with their time, opinion, and view.

 

Academies of Nashville structure supports college preparation

Chelsea Parker is the Smaller Learning Communities Program Manager at Metro Nashville Public Schools. Her work focuses on building community partnerships for the Academies of Nashville. She also supports professional development for teachers and leads marketing and communications for Academies of Nashville programs and events. Before joining MNPS, Parker was the Director of Business Engagement in Education at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, where she designed high-profile events such as the MNPS Career Exploration Fair and collaborated in the development of longterm strategies for sustainable high school reform in Nashville. Beginning last week and continuing through the end of April, she shares thoughts on how the Academies of Nashville provide career-based college preparation. Today’s post focuses on how the structure of the Academies of Nashville supports college preparation.

By structuring the high school curriculum around project-based learning and hands-on application, the Academies of Nashville prepare students for success in college and careers by providing knowledge, skills, and work habits that are crucial for success in the classroom and working world. Career-themed instruction improves students’ ability to understand the relevance of their education and encourages them to plan early for the post-secondary opportunities they will need to fulfill their professional and personal goals. In Nashville, we prepare students for college by providing career exploration earlier, restructuring high schools to bring academic studies to bear on real-world problems, and fostering community engagement.

Academies of Nashville Tennessee My Future My Way

School structure supports career-based college preparation

Career-based college preparation relies on a structure that focuses on career themes. Scheduling, teaming teachers, and the physical layout of a school impact the students’ experiences. In Nashville, first-year students enter a Freshman Academy that helps them transition into high school. This strategy seeks to help the students who are most vulnerable to dropping out of school.

For the final three years, every student joins a career-theme academy. In the Academies, they take college prep classes structured around an industry theme and complete three career-themed courses to achieve deeper understanding of their field of interest. This format aligns with the Tennessee Diploma Project, which requires three credits in a focused area as well as courses needed to attend four-year colleges. By aligning our graduation requirements with post-secondary institutions of higher learning, we are preparing our students to pursue some form of higher degree after they graduate from high school.

Interdisciplinary instruction fosters college preparation

School structure must foster an interdisciplinary environment that brings the intellectual tools of academic training to real-world problem-solving. In The Academies of Nashville, teams of teachers from different disciplines have collaborative planning time to develop interdisciplinary, project-based activities and student interventions. This arrangement produces more integrated coursework, provides support systems, and customizes professional development. As a result, we have seen lower discipline rates and increased student engagement.

Transitioning to block scheduling as a district is also increasing opportunities for learning experiences outside of the classroom. Longer class periods and increasing to 8 credits per semester permit increased field trips, job shadowing, and in-depth project work that reinforce the theme of each academy and facilitate greater learning in context. This scheduling change allows students to complete career exploration and pathway courses, have more time for advanced coursework, and earn college credit through dual credit/dual enrollment programs.

Prepare early: Freshman Academies

The Freshman Academy creates a close-knit community of students and teachers to help students transition to high school and explore how schoolwork provides the foundation to pursue their interests in college and career. All students take a Freshman Seminar course that offers broad career exploration and assists them in choosing one of the district’s forty-three career-themed academies. Freshmen also attend a district-wide Career Exploration Fair, where hundreds of local businesses and organizations host interactive displays to educate students about professional skills, careers options, and the post-secondary education required for different career paths. Students learn to interact in a professional setting and gain perspective about how their education is linked to future opportunities.

The Academies of Nashville link pathways of high-school courses to the post-secondary programs that lead to the students’ desired careers. The curriculum is aligned with college preparation and industry standards to ensure that students apply their studies to solve real-world problems using up-to-date technology. This helps students think about their future, see the reason for their education, and relate their academic knowledge to real-world situations for deeper learning.


Dual credit and dual enrollment opportunities in criminal justice

By participating in the dual credit and dual enrollment program, students in the Academies of Nashville can take college-level courses and earn credits while still in high school. Through strategic partnerships, the Academies of Nashville offer a wide range of opportunities to earn credit for courses in criminal justice at Nashville State Community College (NSCC) and Volunteer State Community College (VSCC).

 

High School Course College Course Where Offered
Criminal Justice I Introduction to Criminal Justice (NSCC) CR
Criminal Justice II, III Criminal Evidence (NSCC) CR
Criminal Justice I Intro to Criminal Justice (VSCC) MG, WC

 

*A=Antioch, CR=Cane Ridge, GL=Glencliff, HL=Hunters Lane, HS=Hillsboro, HW=Hillwood, M=Maplewood, MG=McGavock, O=Overton, PC=Pearl-Cohn, S=Stratford, WC=Whites Creek

Country Music Television and McGavock High School announce partnership

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, school board representative Anna Shepherd, and Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register announced a new partnership between Country Music Television and McGavock High School this morning. CMT has agreed to sponsor the newly-named CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communications. Over the past few years, CMT has invested significant time, talent, and in-kind donations in the academy, and the new name honor CMT’s commitment to McGavock High School and the Academies of Nashville. The announcement was made alongside McGavock principal Robbin Wall at a ceremony in the school’s broadcast journalism studio.

“It is an honor to share our name with the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communications at McGavock High School,” remarked Brian Philips, president of CMT. “Our parent company, Viacom, has a global commitment to education. Our employed have backed Viacom’s promise by volunteering more than 1700 hours at McGavock since our partnership began in 2010. We are grateful to be a part of the exciting school reform movement in Nashville.”

CMT is the fifth named Academy partner for the Academies of Nashville and the third at McGavock High School. It joins the U.S. Community Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance and the Gaylord Entertainment Academy of Hospitality.

Dual credit and dual enrollment opportunities in marketing and communications

By participating in the dual credit and dual enrollment program, students in the Academies of Nashville can take college-level courses and earn credits while still in high school. Through strategic partnerships, the Academies of Nashville offer a wide range of opportunities to earn credit for courses in marketing and communications at Nashville State Community College (NSCC) and Volunteer State Community College (VSCC).

 

High School Course College Course Where Offered
After Visual and Digital Design Digital Imaging (NSCC) not currently offered
Graphic Communications I, II Graphic Processes (NSCC) A, HL
Marketing I Marketing (NSCC) A, G, HL, MG
Marketing I Principles of Marketing (VSCC) HL, MG
Foundations of Hospitality and Tourism Intro to Hospitality Industry (VSCC) HL, MG
Wholesale Logistics Supply Chain Management (NSCC) HS, PC
Wholesale Logistics Intro to Logistics (VSCC) not currently offered
Advertising and Public Relations Personal Selling (VSCC) HL
Sales Management Personal Selling (VSCC) HL

 

*A=Antioch, CR=Cane Ridge, GL=Glencliff, HL=Hunters Lane, HS=Hillsboro, HW=Hillwood, M=Maplewood, MG=McGavock, O=Overton, PC=Pearl-Cohn, S=Stratford, WC=Whites Creek

Teacher Team Externship Program

The Academies of Nashville are committed to providing students with meaningful, hands-on learning in context. Inquiry-based teaching and project-based learning are key components of the Academies’ goal of teaching students how to think critically and creatively to solve problems in the classroom and the real world. In order to bring these ideas to MNPS classrooms, academy partners all over Nashville have joined forces with the Academies of Nashville to educate teachers about the realities of working life in different careers. The result of this collaboration is the Teacher Team Externship Program. This program supports the collaboration of business professionals and teacher teams.

The Teacher Team Externship is a four-day opportunity for teachers to have a real-world business experience at a host organization to develop a project-based curriculum that gives students industry exposure and applied learning. A teacher team works together to create interdisciplinary projects that reinforce the theme of their academy across subject areas.

A team of 4–5 teachers representing a high school academy spends three days working with the company, learning about the industry, and assisting in the business’s daily work. The final day of the externship focuses on the creation of an interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum that will be implemented in the team’s academy. Business hosts spend time with the teacher team to hear the curriculum presentation and provide feedback. This collaboration between educators and industry professionals creates more realistic and academically rigorous instruction for students in the Academies of Nashville.

By experiencing the workplace environment in their career theme, teachers gain a strong understanding of the industry and are more capable of showing students how academic studies will apply in their professional lives. This four-day experience also allows teachers to cultivate valuable connections with industry professionals. These relationships further enrich the classroom experience for students as authentic industry expertise permeates instruction.

The Academies of Nashville benefit greatly from the willingness of community partners to open their doors and share their knowledge with Nashville’s high school students. The Teacher Team Externship Program is just another way that the Academies of Nashville are changing the way high school education is done in Nashville.

College preparation and career exploration in the Academies of Nashville

Chelsea Parker is the Smaller Learning Communities Program Manager at Metro Nashville Public Schools. Her work focuses on building community partnerships for the Academies of Nashville. She also supports professional development for teachers and leads marketing and communications for Academies of Nashville programs and events. Before joining MNPS, Parker was the Director of Business Engagement in Education at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, where she designed high-profile events such as the MNPS Career Exploration Fair and collaborated in the development of longterm strategies for sustainable high school reform in Nashville. Beginning today and continuing through the end of April, she will share thoughts on how the Academies of Nashville provide career-based college preparation. Today’s post focuses on the importance of early career exploration in high school.

By structuring the high school curriculum around project-based learning and hands-on application, the Academies of Nashville prepare students for success in college and careers by providing knowledge, skills, and work habits that are crucial for success in the classroom and working world. Career-themed instruction improves students’ ability to understand the relevance of their education and encourages them to plan early for the post-secondary opportunities they will need to fulfill their professional and personal goals. In Nashville, we prepare students for college by providing career exploration earlier, restructuring high schools to bring academic studies to bear on real-world problems, and fostering community engagement.

Academies of Nashville Tennessee My Future My Way

Career exploration emphasizes relevance

Starting early with career-based college preparation helps students reap the most benefit from high school and college. In the Harvard Graduate School of Education‘s study Pathways to Prosperity, the researchers state: “If high school career-focused pathways were firmly linked to community college and four-year career majors . . . more students would be likely to stay the course. Indeed . . . this is an exceptionally promising strategy for increasing post-secondary attainment” (pp. 13). When students see a purpose for their studies, they are more likely to value their education, graduate from high school, and go on to pursue post-secondary education. Beginning career exploration as freshmen encourages students to take their learning seriously and enables wise college preparation because students see their classes as steps toward longterm goals.

21st-Century Skills

Some of the most important skills for students to have success in college and careers are “soft” skills that often are absent from high school education. Employers and industry leaders often identify professionalism, teamwork, effective oral communication, critical thinking, and creativity as skills that many new hires lack (Are They Ready to Work?). Nashville is bridging the skills gap between students and the working world by emphasizing 21st-Century Skills. This gap is partially responsible for high dropout rates in college; students lack the focus and work ethic to make the most of their college education. To address dropouts and the skills gap in Nashville, the curriculum teaches industry knowledge in addition to academic subjects to help students understand their future options and what they need to do to prepare for professional opportunities.

Career and college preparation

The Academies of Nashville foster and reinforce the 21st-Century Skills students need through application-based learning and real-world problem solving. Regardless of the academy they choose, students take all the academic courses required to meet college entrance requirements. The difference is that they apply their academics to real-world situations in an area that interests them. Students choose from updated offerings that lead to post-secondary education opportunities and align with careers that are in high demand.

By structuring the high school curriculum around application-based learning in context, the Academies of Nashville prepare students to face the challenges of post-secondary education and the working world beyond. We live in a connected and interdependent world, and the Academies provide students not only with the academic training to understand that world, but also the interpersonal and communicative skills they need to work in the twenty-first century.

 


Dual credit and dual enrollment opportunities in business

By participating in the dual credit and dual enrollment program, students in the Academies of Nashville can take college-level courses and earn credits while still in high school. Through strategic partnerships, the Academies of Nashville offer a wide range of opportunities to earn credit for courses in business-related subjects at Nashville State Community College (NSCC) and Volunteer State Community College (VSCC).

 

High School Course College Course Where Offered
Accounting I Principles of Accounting I (NSCC) A, CR, HS, HW, M, MG, WC
Personal Finance Personal Money Management (NSCC) all schools
Business Management Intro to Business (NSCC) A, CR, G, HS, HW, M, S
Business Management Intro to Business (VSCC) HL, MG, WC
Banking and Finance Principles of Banking (NSCC) A, MG
Computer Applications/ Keyboarding Design Keyboarding with Word (VSCC) HL, MG, WC
eBusiness Communications Business Communication (VSCC) HL

 

*A=Antioch, CR=Cane Ridge, GL=Glencliff, HL=Hunters Lane, HS=Hillsboro, HW=Hillwood, M=Maplewood, MG=McGavock, O=Overton, PC=Pearl-Cohn, S=Stratford, WC=Whites Creek

What is dual enrollment and what are its benefits?

Dual enrollment programs emerge from strategic partnerships between high schools and institutions of higher learning. Dual enrollment allows students to take college-level courses and earn college credits while they are still in high school. This type of collaboration between colleges and high schools enhances the academic rigor of the high school experience by enabling students to explore their personal and professional interests and take their learning to the next level.

In 2008, the Community College Research Center published The Postsecondary Achievement of Participants in Dual Enrollment, a study that investigated the benefits of dual enrollment programs for the students who take advantage of this opportunity. The study found that students who participated in dual enrollment were more likely to earn a high school diploma, persist in college past the first semester, and have higher postsecondary GPAs one year after high school graduation. This study also discovered longterm correlations between dual enrollment and postsecondary achievement: students who participated in dual enrollment had higher postsecondary GPAs and earned more college credits three years after graduating from high school. Students who participate in dual enrollment have a more realistic understanding of what postsecondary education will be like because they have learned the requirements of college-level courses through experience. For even more research on dual enrollment conducted by the Community College Research Center, view the organization’s overview of its research, What We Know About Dual Enrollment.

Across the board, the benefits of dual enrollment are clear. Students who participate in dual enrollment are more likely to graduate high school with a diploma, pursue a postsecondary degree, earn higher grades in college, and receive a postsecondary degree. The Academies of Nashville are proud to offer a range of dual enrollment and dual credit opportunities to enhance our students’ learning. Our mission is to provide every student in Nashville with the best opportunity to succeed, and we believe that dual enrollment should be available to all students to encourage them to graduate high school and pursue postsecondary education.

The Academies of Nashville recognize that the cost of enrolling in college courses is a barrier for many students. For this reason, Mayor Karl Dean joined forces with Alignment Nashville and Nashville State Community College to create the One Step Ahead Fund. This scholarship covers the costs of dual enrollment courses for MNPS students thanks to support from education funding from the Tennessee Lottery and private donations from the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville and the Ingram Charitable Fund.

News Channel 5 showcases Stratford STEM programs

News Channel 5 ran a story about hands-on learning and inquiry-based teaching at Stratford STEM High School this past week. The story showcases how teachers at Stratford are creating project-based learning opportunities that encourage students to apply their classroom learning to real-world situations and professional activities. View News Channel 5’s coverage of  Stratford’s STEM projects.

Stratford STEM High School is a crucial piece of the Middle Tennessee STEM Hub, which is a program that seeks to foster education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Metro Nashville Public Schools is the only district in Tennessee that offers a K–12 STEM continuum in STEM education. This continuum includes programs at Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet Elementary, Bailey STEM Magnet Middle, Isaac Litton Middle, and Stratford STEM Magnet High. These schools in MNPS are working as part of the larger Middle Tennessee STEM hub to create real-world learning opportunities through strategic partnerships with private companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and institutions of higher education.

Architecture and design at Antioch High School

Students in Antioch High School‘s Academy of Technology and Communication are getting hands-on experience with architecture and design. Wael R., Nadar M., Deanna R., and Matthew M. recently completed an engineering student project in which they had to design a house and build a scale model of their structure. Working in a collaborative environment to design these buildings gave these students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of architecture principles and improve their work strategies to do an even better job next time.

This project was a great challenge and provided us with an opportunity to learn about a different facet of engineering. Most people think when building a house it’s all about the carpenters that put the building in place. This activity really taught us about architecture and its role. The attention to detail that was required to put this together into a cohesive whole was much more challenging than we had previously projected.

~Deanna R. and Matthew M.

The house project was the best that we have done this year. We used a lot of ideas and opinions when we chose this house. It gave us an idea of what is required to build a real house or to design a house. If we could do it all over again, we definitely would use the time more wisely to come up with the best ideas of how to make our house look better. We really enjoyed this project.

~Wael R. and Nadar M.

Glencliff students teach financial literacy to their community

Students in Glencliff High School‘s Ford Academy of Business are sharing their knowledge of financial literacy with the community. Charles Pulliam published an article in the Tennessean last week that highlighted the financial lessons learned by a group of Glencliff High students. This type of engagement with the community is one of the fundamental goals of the Academies of Nashville program. Students demonstrate their understanding and mastery of skills by teaching others this vital information about financial literacy. By reaching out into the community, the Academies of Nashville seek to encourage everyone in Nashville to become lifelong learners.

The students who gave presentations have completed the “10 Ways to Achieve Financial Success” curriculum. This curriculum was developed in collaboration with Ford Motor Company, an academy partner at Glencliff High School that supports the Ford Academy of Business. After learning about personal savings, the importance of credit, and how to manage personal finance, Glencliff students presented the basics of financial literacy in an open forum to educate the community. Junior Demario Ivy and senior Jeuil Jones worked together to give a presentation about personal credit. Indra Martinez gave her presentation in Spanish to help educate Spanish-speaking residents of Nashville about the process of buying a home.

Pulliam also shot video of the event, which can be viewed at the Tennessean’s video page.

 

 

 

 

Academy learning: inquiry-based teaching

Jay Steele is the associate superintendent of high schools for Metro Nashville Public Schools. He has played an instrumental role in the district-wide implementation of the Academies of Nashville program. In this post, he shares his insight and knowledge about the pedagogical research that supports inquiry-based learning, which is a cornerstone of the Academies of Nashville.

Should education be focused on how students learn ideas and information, or consist of an inventory of the facts they know?  Should more emphasis be placed on the construction of knowledge through active involvement? In countless American classrooms, traditional instruction is a teacher-focused approach. Teachers give information and students receive it. This style of teaching prepares students for assessments and tests, but it does not adequately prepare students to be life-long learners. Assessments are focused on students knowing the “right” answer. A better approach focuses on students having the tools and mental strategies to discover the answer. Traditional learning encourages learning and recalling facts. Inquiry-based learning, on the other hand, encourages the active construction of knowledge through critical thinking and experimentation.

The academy structure allows teams of teachers to focus on project- and inquiry-based learning. Inquiry-based learning revolves around using and learning content as a means to develop information-processing and problem-solving skills. This approach is more student-centered, placing the teacher in a facilitator role.  Inquiry-based learning involves the students in the construction of knowledge through hands-on practice, real-world experiences, and interactive learning. This teaching philosophy argues that students who are interested and engaged in the learning process will construct in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.  Learning becomes almost effortless when the curriculum captures the imagination of the students and reflects their interests. Inquiry classrooms are open systems where students are encouraged to search and make use of resources beyond the classroom and school. By opening student learning to new opportunities through community partners, all of Nashville becomes an interactive classroom that prepares and equips our students with academic and professional skills for success.

The role of the teacher in an inquiry-based classroom is considerably different from that of a teacher in a traditional classroom. Teachers using this method of instruction transform from givers of knowledge into facilitators of learning. Inquiry-driven teachers help students generate their own questions and lines of investigation in a discovery setting. Students in this environment are equipped with the skills required to develop critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities that prepare them for life-long learning. These skills are transferrable to all aspects of their lives, including college and career.

The academy structure allows for the transforming of teaching and learning to an inquiry-based method of instruction. Embracing this pedagogy is one key to closing the achievement gap. Research has proven that students from all sub-groups can be successful and thrive in this interactive environment. Today’s students must be equipped with critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, effective communication skills, and the ability to work in teams. Inquiry-based teaching provides these critical opportunities for students to develop these skills and thrive in a 21st-century learning environment.

For more on inquiry-based learning, visit Concept to Classroom’s Web-based workshop.