Message From A Parent Ambassador

The parent ambassador program encourages schools and academies to partner with parents to communicate the direction, evaluation, and purpose of the Academies of Nashville as well as provide a forum for parents to have a voice in education. Parent Ambassadors will become school advocates to promote community support, increase parent participation, and communicate the message of the Academies of Nashville. Below is the story of Parent Ambassador Tracey Utley from Stratford STEM Magnet High School.

I’ll admit it. We are a family who enjoys a grand adventure. Like when my husband decided he wanted to trek the entire Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail with our four boys. They did it- all 42 miles of it-in sections. And when they hiked the last section, all 10 miles of it-in one day-with the help of a load of Kit Kat bars, well, they all felt a sense of accomplishment. They had faced what could’ve felt like an insurmountable challenge.

Fast forward to this past school year. Our family moved back to our beloved neighborhood, East Nashville, after a 4 year hiatus of living in the Mid-Atlantic. A house that just so happens to sit across the street from Stratford Stem Magnet High School. And it just so happens that our oldest homeschooler wanted a change of the public school variety. We were faced with what could have felt like another insurmountable challenge.

We were thrilled to learn that our neighborhood school, the one we can see from our front door, had the Interdisciplinary Science and Research program in which our burgeoning boy scientist wished to participate. We were overjoyed. And I am not going to lie, part of that excitement was the fact this boy of ours could transport himself to school via his feet. A great school within walking distance? Sounds too good to be true, right?

We have continued to be delighted with the academies, the services provided (Top Floor- an after school tutorial program for anything from art to ACT prep), the caliber of sincere teachers, and don’t even get me started on the principals. They put the “pal” in principal. Mr. Steele and Mr. Davis along with Ms. Wallace exemplify what you wish for in leaders of a school. They expect of excellence with a good healthy dose of kindness and cheer. These principals know the kids by name and not just the ones who frequent their office due to poor conduct. Under the undaunted leadership of Dr. Jennifer Berry, our boy has been given opportunities that I could never have imagined.

Our happy homeschooler transitioned into a delightful public schooler who ran with the cross country team, joined the Student Ambassadors, and added tennis team to his repertoire of experiences at Stratford. We couldn’t be happier with how his first year of high school, his first year of public school is shaping out. Our boy is better for attending Stratford Stem Magnet High School.

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