It’s finally here…


What’s finally here? The Academies of Nashville Parent Ambassador Program!

Last night, parents from throughout the Academies of Nashville came together for the first ever Parent Ambassador Orientation where they learned more about the academies, ambassador responsibilities, and how to advocate for their schools. In a study conducted by Enterprise City Schools, more than 85% of the general public believes that support from parents is the most important way to improve the schools.

The parent ambassador program encourages schools and academies to partner with parents to communication 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. Stay tuned to this blog to view their inaugural postings and introductions in the coming weeks.

Thanks to all of our 2013-2014 Parent Ambassadors!

Antioch High School

  • Tara Williams
  • Tina Walker

Cane Ridge High School

  • Linda Dean

Glencliff High School

  • Andrea Sanchez

Hillsboro High School

  • Sherry Koty

Hillwood High School

  • Sandy Murabito

Hunters Lane High School

  • Sherry Donaghey

Maplewood High School

  • Gloria Whitley

McGavock High School

  • Bernette Shaw-Wakeman

Overton High School

  • Kimberly Jackson
  • Kim Jones
  • Karen Hensley

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

  • Kia Williams

Stratford STEM Magnet High School

  • Tracy Utley

Whites Creek High School

  • Angela Blakely

To get involved in the Academies or Nashville or find out more information about the Parent Ambassador Program, please contact your school’s Academy Coach.

Presidential Visit to the Academies of Nashville

dsc_5673What a week it has been in Nashville and Metro Nashville Public Schools?!

On Thursday, Jan. 31, President Barack Obama visited McGavock High School and praised the Academies of Nashville, students, teachers, business partners, and parents. In fact, the President spent a large portion of this speech discussing the Academies of Nashville, saying:

“It’s working. Over the past nine years, the graduation rate here has gone up 22 percent- 22 percent. Last year, attendance across the district, which includes 12 academy high schools, was higher than ever. Thousands of students are getting a head start on their future years before many of their peers do. And it’s great for businesses because they’re developing a pool of workers who already have the skills that they’re looking for.

Now, every community is different, with different needs, different approaches. But if Nashville can bring schools and teachers and businesses and parents together for the sake of our kids, then other places can. That’s why my administration is already running a competition to redesign high schools through employer partnerships that combine a quality education with real-world skills and hands-on learning.

I want to encourage more high schools to do what you are doing.”

However, the highlight of the event was when the President shared the story of a recent McGavock High School and Academy graduate Sara Santiago and broadcasting teacher Barclay Randall:

“When Sara was in Mr. Randall’s class, he helped her discover this passion for film making.  And pretty soon, Sara’s grades started to improve. She won the school’s “Best Editing” award. Then she got an internship with Country Music Television- one of your business partners. And then she was accepted to the prestigious Savanna College of Art and Design. And she gives credit to Mr. Randall for this. She says, ‘Mr. Randall gave me a second change. He saw things I never saw in myself. He’s the person who helped me change’.”


Read the full transcript of President Obama’s speech here.

Academies of Nashville Winter Leadership Retreat


Educators and business partners are working together at the annual Academies of Nashville Winter leadership retreat.

Educators and business partners are working together at the annual Academies of Nashville Winter leadership retreat.

It’s that time of year again. Students are preparing for final exams, teachers are working to record grades, and everyone is eagerly awaiting Winter break. While many schools throughout country are buried in number two pencils and bubble sheets, educators in Metro Nashville Public Schools are using this time to discuss how to make their schools better for the Spring semester.

CMT presenting to educators about effective business engagement at the Winter Leadership Retreat.

CMT presenting to educators about effective business engagement at the Winter Leadership Retreat.

Principals, assistant principals, academy coaches, and business partners for each school within the Academies of Nashville have come together for the annual Winter leadership retreat today at the Martin Professional Development Center thanks, in part, to a generous donation from the Ford Motor Company Fund and Alignment Nashville. The focus of this year’s Winter Leadership retreat is for educators to :

Teams from each school are working to deconstruct the different standards of practice to better prepare their individual academies for the accreditation process through the National Career Academy Coalition. Through this process, every school is uncovering what is unique about the Academies of Nashville including experiential learning, teacher teaming, business engagement, and much more!

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2013 My Future. My Way. Career Exploration Fair

When it comes to experiential learning, the Freshman Class of 2013-2014 took part in a day they will never forget!

On October 30, nearly 6,000 students from 20 different MNPS High Schools packed into the Music City Center for the 4th Annual Career Exploration Fair. More than 130 businesses from throughout Middle Tennessee spent the day answering students questions about their careers, educational requirements, work styles, and technical skills needed to work in a specific industry. Students will take this information back to the classroom to make plans for their future education and career paths, as well as their Academy selection for their sophomore through senior year.

What might this look like you ask? Well, a picture is worth 1,000 words! Check out the fantastic photos below from the event. Thank you to all of the business partners and volunteers that made this event possible and a special thanks to Shoney’s for sponsoring the My Future. My Way. Career Exploration Fair again this year.

Every industry competes to be the "Best in Show." Congratulations to the Health and Public Services Partnership Council for being this year's winner!

Every industry competes to be the “Best in Show.” Congratulations to the Health and Public Services Partnership Council for being this year’s winner!


Students interview professionals to learn more about a specific career or industry.

Many businesses allow students to experience the job by providing real world scenarios such as a live television interview while at the Career Exploration Fair.

Many businesses allow students to experience the job by providing real world scenarios such as a live television interview while at the Career Exploration Fair.

A bird's eye view of the Music City Center shows the vast number of careers and interactive exhibits available for students at the Career Exploration Fair.

A bird’s eye view of the Music City Center shows the vast number of careers and interactive exhibits available for students at the Career Exploration Fair.

For more photos of the event, check out photos from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Academies of Nashville see success and growth at NCAC Conference

Metro high schools really wowed the crowds and impressed educators from across America at the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) national conference on Nov. 7 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Metro Schools held court in 24 sessions, with students, teachers, counselors, assistant principals, principals, central office staff and community partners at PENCIL and the Chamber of Commerce all taking part.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele and four McGavock High School Ambassadors were the conference’s keynote speakers.

Then came the honors…

McGavock High School was one of two national high schools featured as a model school with special break out sessions and a virtua tour, and four academies were awarded model status: The Academy of Aviation and Transportation and the Academy of Health Science and Law from McGavock, the Academy of Architecture and Construction from Cane Ridge and the Academy of Engineering from Overton. Principls were each given a $500 check and a banner to hang in their schools.

Academy business partner Deloitte won the Exemplar National Business Partner Award – the second year in a row for a Nashville business.

Then, in a surprise announcement, Dr. Steele also won the Sisyphus Award for perseverance in the support of academies.

From NCAC:

“We felt Jay deserved this award because of the leadership he exhibited in both Jacksonville and especially in Nashville to create a national career academy model for a city to emulate. This model highlights the critical role of collaborative work among a school district, the Chamber and business community, the college community and the Mayor’s Office to forge a relationship with career academies as the foundation towards high school graduation, academic attainment, economic and workforce development. It took a vision, hard work and persistence for this model to develop and be sustainable. The fact that people are coming from all over to learn how to do it, speaks volumes.

The Sisyphus Award is given every few years by the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) to professionals who have contributed on behalf of career academies, often in challenging or difficult circumstances. Generally, we have given this award to people in the national arena who have spearheaded the career academy movement. One award winner authored a major national assessment of career academies after a ten-year study; another has been seen as a national leader and the prime author of the National Standards of Practice.”

What a great conference for our schools! Thank you to all the students who took part and shared their incredible Academy stories with the rest of the country.

Leadership + Advocacy + Service = MNPS Ambassadors

More than 160 ambassador attended the two day training at Tennessee State University

Ambassador Training 2013 is in the books – a surreal statement that has yet to really sink in with us here at the Academies of Nashville. It seems like only yesterday when we began making plans for what this year’s training would look like, and all of a sudden, it is complete!

Students learned a variety of leadership skills that will be extremely valuable during their year of service.

More than 160 high school juniors and seniors from throughout Metro Nashville Public High Schools came together last week for two jam packed days of leadership training at Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Sciences. Students learned skills ranging from elevator speeches to improving school climate. We owe a special thanks to Tennessee State University, Deloitte, and the Federal Reserve for sponsoring this year’s training.

We are still blown away by the talents and passion these ambassadors have for their schools. It’s rather amazing in our book that these students are able to attend high school full time, be involved in extra curricular activities, work or intern during the week, and still find time to advocate for the great things going on in their schools.

That’s pretty impressive if you ask us.

Training involved everything from speech writing, thank you note writing, leadership theory, and much more.

Now, it is time to focus on the next goal – middle school ambassador training. In just three weeks, nearly 200 middle school 7th and 8th grade students will come together to begin training for the brand new ambassador program in the Middle Preps of Nashville.

We are looking forward to working with this group as they develop as a team, establish their goals, exceed expectations, and have a whole lot of fun while doing it. This group sure has an exciting task ahead of them and it will be action packed!

Ambassadors took time to focus on their school climate and propose ways to improve the learning environment in their classrooms.

Bill Clinton, Eva Longoria, and Chaney Mosley walk into a coffee shop…..

Lucia Folk, Chaney Mosley, and Connie Williams attended the Clinton Global Initiative this week in Chicago, Ill.

Lucia Folk, Chaney Mosley, and Connie Williams attended the Clinton Global Initiative this week in Chicago, Ill.

When working to find solutions to promote economic recovery, whom would you invite to the table? Maybe a former President of the United States?  Or CEO of some of America’s most successful Fortune 500 companies? Perhaps even a philanthropic celebrity? And of course, stakeholders in the Academies of Nashville.


Academies of Nashville Director, Chaney Mosley, PENCIL Foundation Executive Director, Connie Williams, and CMT Senior Director of Public Affairs, Lucia Folk, were invited to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative this week in Chicago, Ill. The Clinton Global Initiative is an annual meeting that brings together leaders from the business, foundation, NGO, and government sectors to develop solutions to increase employment, access to education and skills development, strengthen energy security, and promote an environment for business growth and innovation.


“Coming together with professionals from around the country with a common goal of creating opportunities for disconnected youth to be successful in college and careers has been empowering. The structure of the Clinton Global Initiative provided a platform to have focused conversations and share strategies that are benefiting the most vulnerable groups of young people,” said Mosley. “From sharing our practices in the Academies of Nashville, our work was affirmed as an effective strategy; however, we know that there is more work to be done and we cannot slow down. From participating in the CGI, I am more aware now than ever before of the intensity with which we must focus on creating pipelines for our students to successfully transition from middle school to high school and from there to college and careers.”


100MEDIA$IMAG1410The United States places 31st in overall education performance among OECD nations, but ranks first when it comes to excluding schools with highly impoverished student populations. Strengthening local support systems and using community partnerships to increase innovation in low-incoming communities has been proven to foster academic success and improve student performance.


“We had a chance to talk with and hear ideas from people across the country who are working creatively and effectively with children and youth,” said Williams. “There were wonderful ideas that we can build on here in Nashville and I know we will. It was inspiring to see how well our academy and business engagement model measures up to initiatives in other cities. We have so much to be proud of here in Nashville!”


The Academies of Nashville presentation was one of the only groups at the Clinton Global Initiative representing a public school district, the business community, and a non-profit organization who work collaboratively.


“I was honored to have the opportunity to present about the Academies of Nashville at CGI America,” said Folk. “It was a wonderful platform to showcase the incredible partnership between the business community and MNPS and how that is positively impacting students.”


Diplomas, Tassels, and Next Steps

4 years

48 months

208 weeks

1,460 days

While high school may seem to last forever, time certainly has flown for the Class of 2013. This month, thousands of high school students throughout the district will complete their high school journey and receive their diploma as they walk across stage.


Whether the next step is college, the workforce, or a military career, one thing is for certain. The education the Class of 2013 has received through the Academies of Nashville has helped to prepare them for whatever the future may bring.


Congratulations Seniors! We can’t wait to see the positive impact you will have on Nashville!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Students from throughout Nashville spent the past few weeks tirelessly preparing and creating videos, recruiting community voters, and shining their shoes to walk the red carpet for the 2nd Annual Academy Video Awards, sponsored by MTSU.

2013-04-55D Academies of Nashville Video Awards

Academies of Nashville Director, Chaney Mosley, and MTSU’s Billy Pittard present the Best in Show check for $1,000, to the Academy of Health Science and Law at McGavock. Left to right are Mosley; Elise Taylor; Barclay Randall; Robert Bagwell; DeLaney Williams; and Pittard.

The awards show was held April 22 as a part of the Nashville Film Festival and more than 250 students, teachers, administrators, and community members attended to support the students in their hard work and efforts during the district-wide competition.


This is the second year MTSU has agreed to be the title sponsor of the show. MTSU students produced the awards show using the university’s state-of-the-art mobile production truck and allowed more than a dozen MNPS students the opportunity to shadow the 40-person crew during the event.

2013-04-55D Academies of Nashville Video Awards

Co-producer Kelsey Lebechuck, shown in the back row, and Director Colby Graham, shown in the foreground, were two of 40 undergraduates in MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication who worked on the Academies of Nashville Video Awards Show.


Congratulations to all of our student winners! Watch these student produced videos here and learn why MNPS students believe the Academies of Nashville are a great place to learn.

Nashville Tour de’CTE Wraps Up

As another Career and Technical Education month comes to an end, it is amazing to look back on all of the phenomenal work going on in our district. After bombarding, surprising, and downright startling Career and Technical Education teachers across Nashville this month, we can say the Tour de’CTE was a success. Thanks to all of the schools for hosting us. Thanks to the business partners who donated goodies for the Teacher Appreciation Gift Bags. And finally, thank you to the more than 125 CTE teachers in Nashville we were able to visit this month. The work you do to help students achieve their greatest potential is changing the lives of these students and their families and the Nashville community. To see some of the teachers who impact thousands of students across Nashville, be sure to check out the photo slideshow below.

While we are sad to see Career and Technical Education month come to a close, there is one thought that brings us comfort. Only 11 more months till CTE Month 2014!

MNPS celebrates Career and Technical Education Month

It’s February 1st and that can mean only one thing. It’s time to kick off Career and Technical Education month! Thousands of school districts across the country recognize February as Career and Technical Education month, and here at MNPS we are celebrating in a big way.

Tune in this month to read blog posts from our CTE students as well as CTE facts and stats through Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to stay connected and be a part of our Tour de’CTE. Chaney Mosley, director of CTE, as well as Donna Gilley and Gaye Martin, CTE coordinators, will be traveling to every CTE program in MNPS to show their appreciation to our teachers and everything they do! Be sure to let us know if you have a great CTE story and you may even see it published on this blog.

Think CTE doesn’t effect your or your student? Think again. Check out the infographic below for information on career and technical education in Nashville and how it impacts every single one of our lives.


CTE Inforgraphic 2

A Cause for Celebration- 200 Business Partnerships and Growing!

A new era of community involvement has begun in Metro Nashville Public Schools. More than 200 business and community partnerships exist in the Academies of Nashville- including 80 brand new partnerships!

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, MNPS Chief Academy Office Jay Steel. Mayor Karl Dean, and PENCIL Executive Director Connie Williams will recognize the incredible growth in school partnerships and celebrate this milestone. HealthSpring will be honored as the 200th Academy Partner for their partnership with Cane Ridge High School’s Academy of Health Management. HealthSpring, a CIGNA company, is one of the country’s leading health plans focused on delivering care to the senior population, predominately through Medicare Advantage and other Medicare and Medicaid products. Along with its companies Bravo Health and Leon Medical centers Health Plans, HealthSpring serves more than one million customers in locations across the country.

Academy partnerships connect core curriculum in the schools with real world career experiences that prepare students for success in a 21st Century global environment. Likewise, Academy partnerships provide students with authentic career exposure and teachers with the industry knowledge that best prepares their students for college and career choices.

Academy Benefits:

  • Authentic educational experiences
  • Mentoring and training from an established business
  • Exposure to products, programs, and practices within the business
  • Teachers working with professionals from the industry to develop interdisciplinary and content relevant instruction opportunities
  • Touring and shadowing experiences
  • Externships, internships and job placement opportunities

Partner Benefits:

  • Promotion within the school and community
  • Access to and training of the future workforce
  • Partnership with an academy that integrates business and technology practices
  • Advisory council participation


Highly skilled and well educated people provide any organization with a strategic, competitive advantage. However, investing in training cannot wait until employees join a company. It begin in our schools with a strong academic foundation reinforced with real-world business experiences. With more then 200 business and community partnerships, our students have unlimited opportunities available to them and our community has the ability to make a difference in everyone’s future.

College Ready: Academically and Financially!

On behalf of all high schools involved, we want to thank everyone from the Hermitage and Nashville Deloitte offices who volunteered at the High School FAFSA Drives this month.  Thanks to you and all of the FAFSA volunteers from Deloitte, they have reached two MNPS-FAFSA milestones  on January 17, 2013.


Milestone #1—100 plus families in one night – On Thursday night January 17, Deloitte provided assistance to 106 families at Antioch .  This is the result of their hard work and a three year partnership with Antioch High School. The work with Antioch has included over 100 volunteers assisting with Job Shadow Days, the Be the First Campaign, the JA Company Program, along with many other efforts.  Special thanks to Debbie Banks, Chris Ownby and Mike Woods for leading the first two years of this partnership and Betsy Oleksa , James Lane, Melissa Clemons and Mike Woods for their leadership in year three.


Milestone #2—Over 500 families impacted – On January 17, 2013 Deloitte provided assistance to the 500th FAFSA family!  They ended the night with a three year total of 585 families served from their FAFSA Drives at McGavock High School, Antioch High School and Overton High School.   This clearly puts them in a great position to reach the 600th family milestone at the Overton drive on January 24. .


These  numbers are incredible, but it is really about the individual families they  have helped.  Over the past three years, they have helped individual students on their pathway to college and made a meaningful and long-term impact on these students and their families. Thank you Deloitte for all you do!


Paging the future Dr. Makiyah

Job shadowing give students the opportunity to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world. Makiyah M., a student from Hunters Lane High School’s Academy of Health and Human Service,  participated in a a field trip to St. Thomas Hospital. In this post, Makiyah writes about her experience.


My experience going to St. Thomas was absolutely great. I got to experience a variety of things that go on in the medical field. During the day I tried many different hands-on activities and I got to meet new people who were interested in some of the same things that I am. Going to St. Thomas gave me a taste of what it would be like working in a hospital. The speakers were also great. They were very animated and engaging.

During the day there were many activities that I could try. It was very interesting to me because I could try out some of the technology. I had a chance to work with a robotic surgery machine. The robot was one of my favorites because it made me feel like I was a real surgeon. Not only did I work with the machine, but I also learned about its history.

I really liked the ice-breakers that they had planned for us. We were able to meet new people and also play a couple games with them. I liked that some of the people I met had different career choices than me. I got to learn about a few different careers in the medical field that I never even heard of before. I really liked being social with the other students because they had a lot of interesting things about themselves.

Spending the day at St. Thomas made me think about what it would be like if I were to work there one day. I had the opportunity to see doctors and nurses doing what they do every day. They made me feel very welcome. I felt like I was a part of their team. They were also very nice with assisting us to the conference room we were in.

Another one of my favorite parts was the speakers. They were very intriguing. Nancy Davis was very interesting. She was full of energy and her speech was great. I would have never thought of some of the things she faces on a daily basis. She was very animated and funny. The other speakers were also great. They were very educational and taught me a lot of new things.

Over all I had an awesome time. I got to go meet people who had some of the same interests as me. The speakers were great too. I got to learn a lot of new things. I also got to do hands-on activities. I really liked visiting St. Thomas. I hope I get another opportunity like this because it was very interesting.

My Future My Way Career Exploration Fair

Thousands of Nashville Freshmen students filled the halls of the Nashville Convention Center on Oct. 24 for the 4th annual My Future My Way Career Exploration Fair. Freshmen high school students from 18 high schools across Nashville attended the career exploration fair to learn about the various careers from the Academies of Nashville business partners. Throughout the day, there was a myriad of activities for students to participate in– from interviewing through mock, virtual job interviews to simulating blood drawing on manikins to seeing the inside of a stretch limo.

Whiles each students’ experience was unique check out some of the numbers from the event:

18 participating schools

5,358 students in attendance

114 participating businesses

224 careers showcased

36,750 square feet packed with students and exhibitors

1 amazing sponsor


A huge thank you is also due to Shoney’s for being this year’s naming sponsor of the event as well as the Nashville Chamber of Commerce for helping make everything come together. Finally, a round of applause is due to the 5 partnership councils for the extraordinary participation by our business partners. Events and opportunities like the Career Exploration Fair would  not be possible without the support of the community!