Overton High School

What Is Our Story?

From state take-over to national model. 

During the 2006-2007 school year, the Academies of Nashville was only a dream– an ambitious, high school transformation effort that would bring together families, educators, and the community to improve our schools.

Ten years later, that dream has come to fruition. Graduation rates have increased. Student attendance is at an all-time high. Discipline referrals have significantly dropped. Business engagement in the school system has never been stronger and more powerful.

But there is much more to this success than the statistics along. It is the stories that touch our hearts. This past month, the Academies of Nashville were able to celebrate their ten year anniversary at Nissan Stadium with 300 of its closest friends and partners. Partners were also able to sign a recommitment statement with PENCIL to commit to the work ahead in the next ten years. Academies of Nashville graduates Shakarah Nelson, Katherine Hernandez, and Ben Zolkower shared their stories of how their high school education impacted their future.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event, and the past ten years, a success. We specifically want to thank our founding partners Alignment Nashville, Ford NGL, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, PENCIL, and the Ford Hub. We appreciate you.

To see and hear more about the event, check out the coverage by WSMV here.

 

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Academy Coaches from the past ten years pose with a commemorative Hatch Show Print. Academy Coaches act as the business partner liaison for schools in the Academy model.

 

Microsoft displayed some of its newest technology to assist partners in recommitting to the work of the Academies of Nashville.

Microsoft displayed some of its newest technology to assist partners in recommitting to the work of the Academies of Nashville.

 

Every business partner and school employee in attendance received a commemorative Hatch Show Print to recognize the work of the past decade in the Academies of Nashville.

Every business partner and school employee in attendance received a commemorative Hatch Show Print to recognize the work of the past decade in the Academies of Nashville.

 

Academies graduates shared their stories of how the Academies of Nashville impacted their education. Throughout the evening, Jody Lenz recorded their inspiring messages through graphic listening.

Academies of Nashville graduates shared their stories of how the Academies of Nashville impacted their education. Throughout the evening, Jody Lenz recorded their inspiring messages through graphic listening.

Ideas, Plans, and Careers for my Future- Connie Tran, Overton High School

Every student enters the career fair with feelings of savory excitement from the thought that they are beginning to step out and make their mark on the world. Each person realizes that have the chance to be whoever or whatever they dream. The fair offered me that experience, but I felt shaky at first, questions popping into my head, asking myself, am I really ready for this? Am I ready to find out how I will contribute to society? However, in that period of time, I knew didn’t have to decide right there on the spot, so I went exploring to uncover a potential “me” at the fair. However, before I had entered the career fair, I had already a few preferences in mind; I wanted to work in the STEM field, and I had narrowed down my choices to the science field particularly. Knowing what sort of display I had in mind, I approached a booth relating to a medical field first. I interviewed a resident physician , Anna Kate Moen, who worked at Vanderbilt Pediatrics Residents. In my mind, the medical field had always interested me than the any other because not only could you study the world of medicine and humans, but also witness the effect I have always seen medical workers instill; they have the power to help change a life for the better. Moen told me about how her career has changed over the past years, and I found that it required a lot of schooling to achieve where she is now. 4 years of college, 4 of medical, and 3 years training got Moen in her current status. Since she is involved in pediatrics, she does a lot of work for children, and told me that winter was the toughest season of them all. I soaked up the knowledge, and was able to make a connection with my sister who was recently sick. This booth also really caught my attention because it had a hands on activity. Students were shown how to do stiches and able to test their stitch work on an orange. I feel this booth had the most influence on me because it was already in my most interested category and that it drew me closer to the medical field when I was deciding on a future academy. Although, I believed it is important to see what other careers had to offer, so my next stop was Stephanie Weeden Wright who specializes in electrical and computer/engineering. This was another STEM career, but I had not given much thought to the engineering section as much, so I was able to really broaden my horizons. Wright worked with Lipscomb University and was also a professor. She explained to me what some special challenges that people encounter in the job. “As an engineer, you have to work with other people and effectively communicate your ideas to other engineers.” This quote from Wright was able to provide me with a clear image of the effort it must take to get your ideas and opinions across because in the world of engineering, it is like clockwork; you need all the gears to make it spin. However, when I see every booth in the career fair, I wonder if this is their true calling or something they enjoy. I asked Wright that if she had the ability to start all over again, would she have changed anything about it. She once again explained to me that her job is much appreciated, “No, being an engineer is awesome. I’m getting paid to do what I love.” This quote got me really positive about the limitless and possible careers in the world, and I was determined to create an opportunity in order pursue a profession I really admire. So far, I had really been inspired and motivated to acquire a passion, but patience was needed. Before, I went to another booth, I could see Shoney’s was handing out cookies. I wondered what a great sponsor, and I hope wherever I work for will have the something similar where it influences people and society in a constructive way. Of course, I realized I should ponder these things later when I am actually on my way to the working world. However, to be honest, I can see where it influences my future decision-making because if I want to work, I desire for it to be with a cause. Where you work can represent a lot about you more than you thought I realized at that moment because my opinion of Shoney’s had changed. If you like your job, then you must have a reason to why to continue you passions. With that thought in my mind, I searched up an average number of jobs in Tennessee and found an amazing number. There was a range of up to 800 non profit jobs available, for civilians to participate in [2]. Seeing a sponsor up close, and what they do really lets me grow as an individual and tells me that there is way more out there, then just what you would see in an average classroom. My perspectives and views used to be more limited because I was unaware of certain facts and opportunities, but now that I can identify more options, then I can fully control what kind of job I want without having to hope and guess that I chose something in my best interest.
Speaking of best interest, I actually had a look at charts for income rates in Tennessee last taken in 2014. Even as high schooler, I thought it would be important to know what was the average income rates in the state in which I live in. After looking at the chart, I was able to examine what I would most likely be making or above, if I am able to dedicate my time in my career that benefits society. Although, I do realize it is not just about the money. Of course, it is a necessity, but at the career fair when I talked to each person at their booth, I wanted to love my future job as much as they love theirs. This helped me walk on the right path because it straightened by priorities and assisted me to understand that there is more to a job than earning money. So, my goals and decisions were influenced to pick a career that does not just pay well, but secure a job that would benefit me also as a person and individual.

Figure 1: chart of Tennessee income rates up 1994-2014 [1]
Besides subjects in school that interest me, I also look up to my parents. My mother works at the bank, and she deals in the investigation of fake checks. Having this kind of background, I decided to check out the Tennessee Credit Union, whose booth was run by Tracy Dain. Dain displayed different types of forgeries possible, and after watching some of the work and understanding it, I realized that it is an important to have a good background knowledge on whatever career you are pursuing because I was able to understand and interpret well when I could make a connection with prior knowledge or with a concept I learned over time. Another booth I approached was held by the Belmont of College of Pharmacy hosted by Professor Kiningham. Kiningham told me about her education after high school. I asked because I wanted to know where would I be in high school, and she described to me that after high school, she had 2 years of college and 4 years of pharmacy. I really find the medical field interesting, but medicine itself with the capsules and prescriptions, I had not learned much in detail, so I asked Kiningham what kind of skills would be most crucial to her job. She elucidated the importance of being organized, having the integrity and interest of a scientist, and working really hard. I figured the last was a given, but I did find her speech very significant. It brought me a taste of reality once again on how if I truly wanted to achieve my dream job, I would have to work harder than ever to grab hold of opportunities, and not let sit idly by and wait for chances to come knocking into me. Most of all, Kiningham said that this job requires you to “care.” A synonym to care would be passion, so having a passion is one of the most important elements of any career. I contemplated that I had not peaked where I already figured out what really drew me in all the way, but it impacted my perspective that I should search and pursue an occupation that always keeps me interested and alive. One of the last booths I visited was the Dialysis Clinic, Inc. who was arranged by Patricio Avendano, a corporate. Honestly, when I approached the booth, I had no idea what was dialysis. However, Avendano defined that it dealt with substitutes for kidneys in the body when the organ is no longer able to proper functionally. I was very excited to learn something new and captivating, and I questioned why he had chosen this career field, what made him develop an interest. Avendano replied that he once was a technician that had worked with machines and enjoyed fixing things. Then, his machines were able to function as an artificial kidney. I found this rather fascinating because one interest in a certain area, had developed into another. Avendano also explained a few of the important skills to have, which were math and trouble-shooting. I realize that math is a core subject, so you really do have to use it everyday no matter what your job may be and I should take advantage on the learning opportunities I can grab ahold of. Avendano’s lecture allowed me to see that a prior interest could still open doors for another opportunity. I was able to become more open-minded and decide that just because I had one career, did not mean I could not pursue another in a totally different field.

After the end of the day, I felt like I was able to discover something new behind the uncertain gray clouds, a sun peeking through. It is up to me to find that sun and passion, but I registered that as “wake up” sign. School is very crucial in a journey to success because without it, I would not be able to grab hold of as many opportunities. This changed my way of thinking at my education and my surroundings. A successful person realizes that knowledge is power, so that has influenced me to gain as much as I can. Learning more about the different types of careers really made my world seem bigger and I was able to develop a more open-minded attitude. Narrowing down what profession I would pursue is still a mystery at the moment, but I was able to narrow my focus and concentration on my school work, and I was influenced in a positive way where the career I decide to follow is chosen out of passion and not just a job. My long-term and short-term goals have also changed for the better because I can already see myself paving a path down to a bright future.

Sources Cited
[1]Krause, Mike. “Profiles and Trends Section I. State Context of Higher Education.” Profiles and Trends Section I. State Context of Higher Education – TN.Gov. TN.gov, 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
[2] “Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.” Non Profit Jobs, Employment in Tennessee | Indeed.com. Indeed, 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

Cheers, Tears, and Celebrating Ten Years

This year is the Academies of Nashville 10-Year Anniversary!

While we will be celebrating all year long, we hosted a special presentation at the December Administrative and Supervisory Meeting last week. Hear from students from each of the Academies of Nashville schools on how the academies have helped their pursue their college and career goals.

Nnadozie Ibe, Antioch High School, Tennessee Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance

 

Jarad McCray, Cane Ridge High School, Academy of Law

Reanas Saleh, Glencliff High School, Hands On Nashville Academy of Environmental and Urban Planning

Olivia Zavitson, Hillsboro High School, US Community Credit Union Academy of International Business and Communication

Tevion Turner, Hillwood High School, Academy of Health Sciences

Alanna Brown, Hunters Lane High School, Academy of International Baccalaureate

BreeAnna Collins, Maplewood High School, Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness

Victor Ochoa, McGavock High School, Gaylord Entertainment Academy of Hospitality

Khai Hardin, Overton High School, Academy of Information Technology

Jacob Graham, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Academy of Entertainment Communication

Jack Utley, Stratford STEM Magnet High School, Academy of Science and Engineering

Jacob Williams, Whites Creek High School, Academy of Community Health

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.

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.

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!

Congratulations to the 2016 Academy Awards Nominees

2016 NOMINEES

The following categories will be decided through an anonymous online ballot

 

Academy Partnership of the Year, Arts, Media & Communications

  • Frist Center For the Visual Arts and the Academy of Art, Design, & Communication at Hillwood High School
  • Stones River National Battlefield and the CMT Academy of Digital Design & Communication at McGavock High School
  • Warner Music Nashville and the Academy of Entertainment Management at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

 

Academy Partnership of the Year, Business, Marketing & IT

  • Bridgestone Americas, Inc. and the Academy of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Maplewood High School
  • HCA IT&S and the Academy of Information Technology at Overton High School
  • The Tennessee Credit Union and the Tennessee Credit Union Academy of Business & Finance at Antioch High School

 

Academy Partnership of the Year, Engineering, Manufacturing & Industrial Technology

Presented by Nissan North America, Inc.

  • ACE Mentor and the Academy of Architecture & Construction at Cane Ridge High School
  • Cummins, Inc. and the Academy of Aviation and Transportation at McGavock High School
  • LP Corporation and the Academy of Alternative Energy, Sustainability & Logistics at Whites Creek High School

 

Academy Partnership of the Year, Hospitality & Tourism

  • Community Hospitality and the Academy of Business & Hospitality at Hillwood High School
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Antioch and Academy of Hospitality & Marketing at Antioch High School
  • Omni Hotel and the Academy of Hospitality at Hunters Lane High School

 

Academy Partnership of the Year, Health & Public Services

  • American Red Cross and the Academy of Global Health & Science at Hillsboro High School
  • HCA/TriStar Health and the Academy of Health Science at Hillwood High School
  • Meharry Medical College and the Academy of Medical Science & Research at Glencliff High School

 

2016 Externship Project of the Year
Presented by The Memorial Foundation

  • Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Academy of Art, Design, & Communication at Hillwood High School
  • Meharry Medical College and the Academy of Medical Science & Research at Glencliff High School
  • US Community Credit Union and the US Community Credit Union Academy of International Business & Communication at Hillsboro High School

 

Freshman Academy of the Year
Presented by Fifth Third

  • Hillwood Freshman Academy
  • Maplewood Freshman Academy
  • Stratford Freshman Academy

 

2016 Academy of the Year

  • Glencliff High School’s Hands On Nashville Academy of Environmental & Urban Planning
  • Hillwood High School’s Academy of Health Science
  • Maplewood High School’s Academy of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

  

The following categories will be decided by a judging panel of community leaders through blind vote.

 

Academy Teacher of the Year (CTE or Thematic Pathway)
Presented by Deloitte

  • Robert Kriebel with Antioch High School’s Tennessee Credit Union Academy of Business & Finance
  • Jeff Sherry with Hunters Lane High School’s Griffin Academy of Design & Technology
  • Jon Stephens with Stratford STEM Magnet High School’s Academy of National Safety & Security Technologies
  • Denise Wiggington with Overton High School’s Academy of Health Science
  • TJ Williams with Maplewood High School’s Academy of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

 

Academy Teacher of the Year (General Education)

  • Elizabeth Brewer with Glencliff High School’s Academy of Medical Science & Research
  • Sheree Cumberlander with Whites Creek High School’s Freshman Academy
  • Adam Lightman with McGavock High School’s Academy of Aviation & Transportation
  • Chad Prather with Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School’s Academy of Entertainment Management
  • Laticia Skae with Hillsboro High School’s Academy of Global Health & Science

 

Academy Team Leader of the Year

  • Deante Alexander with Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School’s Academy of Entertainment Management
  • Jeremiah Davis with Whites Creek High School’s Academy of Education & Law
  • Angela Lake with Maplewood High School’s Academy of Energy & Power
  • Martha Mitchell with McGavock High School’s CMT Academy of Digital Design & Communication
  • Jason Proffit with Hunters Lane High School’s Academy of Health & Human Science

 

Counselor of the Year

  • Amy LeVally, McGavock High School’s Academy of Aviation & Transportation
  • Stephanie Pate, Overton High School’s Academy of Engineering
  • Ashley Shaver, Hillwood High School’s Academy of Art, Design & Communication

  

Academy Coach of the Year 

  • Sonya Mansfield, Maplewood High School
  • Brad Meyers, Hunters Lane High School
  • Mary York, Overton High School

 

Academy Assistant Principal of the Year
Presented by Altria

  • Dr. Keely Jones-Mason, Maplewood High School’s Academy of Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Laura Lee Morin, McGavock High School’s Gaylord Entertainment Academy of Hospitality & Finance
  • Dr. Meghen Sanders, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School’s Academy of Entertainment Communication
  • Stephen Shaeffer, Overton High School’s Academy of Event Marketing and Musical Performance
  • Russell Young, Hunters Lane High School’s Academy of Health & Human Services

 

Executive Principal of the Year Presented by Altria

  • James Bailey, Whites Creek High School
  • Michael Steele, Stratford STEM Magnet High School
  • Sonia Stewart, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

 

 

Overton paving the way for Biliteracy

In world that’s globally connected at the push of a button, multi-cultural exposure is an invaluable asset to youth.

At Overton High School, students are being rewarded for breaking language barriers.

The Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to students who have mastered two languages.

The program is designed to place value on bilingual students’ skills and culture while encouraging them to seek academic success. It also gives them college and work force appeal.

Samantha Singer, an English teacher at Overton High School, is currently working with the program and hoping to expand to other Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.

“The Seal of Biliteracy program fosters family engagement and community trust, while also assisting language acquisition in English and other academic areas,” says Singer.

More than 175 Overton students have applied for the Seal of Biliteracy award this year alone. This doubles the number of applicants from last year, proving the program’s success.

“With over 56 percent of Overton High School students speaking languages other than English at home, it is crucial that we, as educators and community members, work to reinforce the validity and importance of student’s cultural identity and language,” says Singer.

Singer believes this boosts students’ confidence by focusing on individual students rather than the school as a whole.

This program also builds community-wide awareness of the value bilingual students attain.

This program began in California and has spread across the United States. Overton High School is currently the only Tennessee school taking advantage of this program.

“As we work to build and expand the Seal of Biliteracy program in MNPS, we believe that students, families, school, and community partners will see the importance and benefits of recognizing and honoring Nashville’s linguistic diversity,” says Singer.

College? Career Tech? In Nashville, Teens Do Both

Originally posted to National Public Radio 

Schools don’t like to use the V-word anymore — “vocational,” as in “vocational education.” Administrators say the word is outdated, along with the idea of offering job-training courses only to students who are going straight into the workforce.

Nashville, Tenn., is trying a new approach. The public school system there is encouraging every high school student, regardless of college plans, to take three career-training classes before they graduate.

Kiara Beard, a senior at Overton High School, is taking a pharmacological science course and learning how to interact with patients in a pharmacy.

“I need your name, date of birth,” she says to her fake patient, Justin Kirby, who is in the very real pharmacy program at nearby Lipscomb University.

“My name is John Overton,” Kirby answers. “August 17, 1951.”

“Do you have any allergies?” Beard asks as she fills out a form.

“Yes, the medication that I had an allergic reaction to is Zithromax,” Kirby says.

Kirby may be playing the patient, but he and a handful of other graduate students are leading this job simulation, helping Beard and her high school classmates count fake pills and measure solutions.

At the end of the school year, students in the class will be able to take the national certification exam to become pharmacy technicians — right out of high school. That job pays, on average, more than $14 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Having a certification will make the students instantly marketable, says Ronda Bryant, a pharmacy professor at Lipscomb.

“Even (compared to) someone who has pharmacy experience but may not have a certification, these students at John Overton may be more qualified,” she says.

This kind of qualification is the focus of what’s called “career and technical education” — essentially, vocational training for the modern workforce. More than 90 percent of public high school students across the country have taken at least one class that fits into this category, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

But most students in Nashville now take three career tech courses before graduating. Its high schools offer dozens of options, including computer integrated manufacturing, healthcare administration and web design.

Chaney Mosley oversees the district’s career tech program, and what gets him really excited is the idea that some of these students will finish with a certificate in hand, setting them up for a good job without needing a college degree.

“When the student from our high schools graduates with one of those certifications and chooses not to immediately pursue higher education, that could be a game-changer,” he says.

But he’s quick to point out: Career classes are not just for students going straight into the workforce. Many of the classes also count for college credit, and they still try to create what he calls a “college-going culture.”

“I don’t think it encourages students to not go to college,” Mosley says. “In fact, I would say it does the opposite. It lets students experience success and realize that they have a great potential in a related field.”

And it helps them understand the importance of continuing their education, he believes, wherever that might happen.

Back in Overton High School’s pharmacy class, senior Sadiq Rahmatullah says he is planning to go to college. He might want to be a physician, but now that he’s taking this class, he hopes to work in a pharmacy during college.

“You can earn money so you can pay your school bill,” he says. “I don’t want to depend on my parents, because I need to depend on myself. I can help myself, and I can help my family too.”

The district says ambitions like this are a change from vocational education of the past. Students aren’t separated by who wants to go to college and who wants to get a job. Instead, they’re all preparing for both.

 

2015 Academies of Nashville Award Nominees

We are excited to celebrate the 5th year for the Academies of Nashville Awards! The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce received more than 450 recommendations in 15 different categories. Every school was nominated at least once and eight schools had four or five nominations a piece. In partnership with the event sponsors, Altria, Interior Design Services, Deloitte, and the Memorial Foundation, we are pleased to announce the nominees for the 2015 Academies of Nashville Awards.

 

The following categories will be decided through an anonymous online ballot. 

Academy Partnership of the Year: Arts, Media, and Communications

  • Audio Engineering Society, Academy of Entertainment Communications, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Academy of Arts and Communications, Cane Ridge High School
  • HST Interior Elements, Academy of Art, Design, and Communications, Hillwood High School

Academy Partnership of the Year: Business, Marketing, and IT

  • Fifth Third Bank, Academy of Business and Consumer Services, Maplewood High School
  • Griffin Technology, Griffin Academy of Design and Technology, Hunters Lane High School
  • The Tennessee Credit Union, The Tennessee Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance, Antioch High School

Academy Partnership of the Year: Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Technology

  • Hands On Nashville, Academy of Environmental and Urban Planning, Glencliff High School
  • LP Building Products, Academy of Alternative Energy, Sustainability, and Logistics, Whites Creek High School
  • Rogers Group, Academy of Architecture and Construction, Cane Ridge High School

Academy Partnership of the Year: Hospitality and Tourism

  • Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Gaylord Entertainment Academy of Hospitality, McGavock High School
  • Holiday Inn Opryland Airport, Academy of Hospitality and Marketing, Antioch High School
  • Omni Hotel, Academy of Hospitality, Hunters Lane High School

Academy Partnership of the Year: Health and Public Services

  • Aegis Sciences Corporation, Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Health Science and Law, McGavock High School
  • Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy, Academy of Health Science, Overton High School
  • Juvenile Court of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, Academy of Law, Cane Ridge High School

Externship Project of the Year (Presented by the Memorial Foundation)

  • Flatt Rock Farms, Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Health Science and Law, McGavock High School
  • Meharry Medical College, Academy of Medical Science and Research, Glencliff High School
  • St. Thomas Health Services, Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness, Maplewood High School

Freshman Academy of the Year

  • Glencliff High School Freshman Academy
  • Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School Freshman Academy
  • Whites Creek High School Freshman Academy

Academy of the Year

  • Antioch High School, Academy of Teaching and Service
  • Overton High School, Academy of Health Sciences
  • Stratford STEM Magnet High School, Academy of Science and Engineering

 

 

The following categories will be decided by a judging panel of community leaders through blind vote. 

Academy Teacher of the Year: CTE or Thematic Pathway (Presented by Deloitte)

  • Lauren Beck, Academy of Information Technology, Overton High School
  • Jeremiah Davis, Academy of Education and Law, Whites Creek High School
  • Jon Stephens, Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies, Stratford STEM Magnet High School
  • TJ Williams, Academy of Business and Consumer Services, Maplewood High School
  • Todd Young, Academy of Entertainment Communication, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

Academy Teacher of the Year: General and Global Education

  • Elijah Ammen, Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies, Stratford STEM Magnet High School
  • Paul Beavers, Freshman Academy, Hillsboro High School
  • Serena Moore, Academy of Education and Law, Whites Creek High School
  • Ryan Murphey, Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness, Maplewood High School
  • Brittany Tharrington, Academy of Business and Hospitality, Hillwood High School

Academy Teach Leader of the Year

  • Tobey Green-Mayfield, Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies, Stratford STEM Magnet High School
  • Allyson Kreise, Academy of Entertainment Communication, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School
  • Danette McMillan, Academy of Business and Consumer Services, Maplewood High School
  • Jason Proffitt, Academy of Health and Human Services, Hunters Lane High School
  • Josh Swartz, Academy of Global Health and Science, Hillsboro High School

Counselor of the Year

  • Adrienne McNew, Academy of Business and Marketing, MNPS Virtual School
  • Stephanie Pate, Academy of Engineering, Overton High School
  • Amanda Springer, CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication, McGavock High School

Academy Coach of the Year

  • Jennifer Berry, Stratford STEM Magnet High School
  • Brad Meyers, Hunters Lane High School
  • Mary York, Overton High School

Academy Assistant Principal of the Year (Presented by Altria)

  • Celia Conley, Academy of Teaching and Services, Antioch High School
  • Melissa Harkreader, Academy of Global Health and Science, Hillsboro High School
  • Steve Shaeffer, Academy of Musical Performance, Overton High School
  • Janet Wallace, Academy of Science and Engineering, Stratford STEM Magnet High School
  • Nick Wilson, Ford Academy of Business and Innovation, Glencliff High School

Executive Principal of the Year (Presented by Altria)

  • Susan Kessler, Hunters Lane High School
  • Adrienne Koger, Antioch High School
  • Shuler Pelham, Overton High School

MNPS Named a District of Distinction

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools: The Academies of Nashville- Urban High School Transformation

Originally posted at District Administration by Ariana Rawls Fine

In 2006, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) received a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement the Smaller Learning Communities model in its comprehensive high schools.

Public schools in Nashville were in near-crisis mode. MNPS failed to make adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. As a result, in 2009, the district was placed under the direction of the state of Tennessee.

The Academies of Nashville is MNPS’ primary initiative to prepare more than 17,000 high school students for college, career and life. Each of the 12 comprehensive high schools house academies where students take general education classes, electives and specialized courses. Each academy has its own principal, counselor, coach, interdisciplinary team of teachers, and a network of business partners to help students.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit PENCIL Foundation and Alignment Nashville link community resources to the academies. More than 310 businesses provide opportunities for experiential learning, host teacher teams for training, and help develop curriculum.

The National Career Academy Coalition has accredited 20 of MNPS’ academies with 18 having received the “Model” distinction. In addition to increases in the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in the end-of-course exams, MNPS graduation rates have increased from 58 percent in 2005 to 79 percent in 2014.

In recognition of the innovation and success of this initiative, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration. Metropolitan Nashville was among 62 districts that were honored in the March 2015 round of Districts of Distinction, the magazine’s national recognition program for K12 school districts.

“We are pleased to honor Metropolitan Nashville as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”

The United Project: A Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action

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The Academies of Nashville, in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the PENCIL Foundation, is announcing plans for a new initiative focused on creating pathways to success for youth in foster care called the United Project. This program is a Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America annual meeting, which these organizations attended this summer.

 

The United Project will expand education, training and employment pathways for Davidson County foster youth. MNPS, DCS, and PENCIL will work collaboratively to identify, recruit, and serve foster youth in order to develop meaningful relationships between these students and local business. Business partners will have the opportunity to:

  • provide students with work-based and service-learning opportunities,
  • model and coach youth on appropriate work-place behaviors, and
  • offer mentorship experiences that support student’s personal and professional growth.

 

“The Nashville community has consistently demonstrated its willingness to make a difference in the lives of our students,” says Dr. Chaney Mosley, the Academies of Nashville and Career and Technical Education Director for MNPS. “This initiative will be the first of its kind in Davidson County that specifically targets youth in foster care. For these students, successfully transitioning to adulthood is challenging without the support network of family. We recognized the potential for combating this through a partnership with DCS.”

 

“We are thrilled that our youth are going to get these opportunities,” says Michael Leach, director of Independent Living at DCS. “As our young people prepare to leave foster care, they need to make connections with adults that will help them succeed in the working world.”

 

While the Tennessee Department of Children Services will work to identify and recruit students into the program, the PENCIL Foundation will act as a liaison between Nashville businesses and organizations that wish to participate in the program.

 

“The United Project is an innovative and forward thinking program that allows PENCIL, MNPS, and the Department of Children’s Services to help students succeed academically and prepare for life,” says Matt Seaton, Vice President of Partnerships and Programs for the PENCIL Foundation. “For nearly five years, the PENCIL Foundation’s College and Career Mentors program has helped hundreds of students reach their college aspirations and begin planning for a productive career. The United Project will allow us to expand that reach and serve a population of students in need of additional support.”

 

There are currently more than 8,000 youth across the state of Tennessee that are served by DCS. Those youth who are also students of Metro Nashville Public Schools will have the unique opportunity to develop life and social skills as well as become college and career ready.

 

CGI commitments are new, specific, and measureable plans to address a significant challenge- in the case of CGI America, economic recovery and growth in the United States. Commitments range broadly in scale, value, approach, and in the types of partnerships they employ. The CGI commitment signaled the intent of the United Project to mobilize with its partners a multi-year change effort, providing a way to leverage the enormous scale and reach of the Nashville community to help solve social problems.

 

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)- an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation- convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prizes laureates, and hundreds of learning CEOs, heads of foundations and NGSs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community of around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

 

About CGI America

Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative American (CGI America)- an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation- addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since the first meeting in 2011, CGI America participants have made more than 300 commitments valued at more than $15.3 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.

 

 

Ford Hub awards $37,000 in grants

Every year, the Academies of Nashville has visitors from all across the country who are interested in learning about the career academy model. These visitors come from all over the country and spend three days learning about all aspects of our schools. Over the years, these visits have generated thousands of dollar for our schools. One way this money is distributed is through the Starr Awards. This week, 22 programs were awarded more than $37,000 in grants to implement projects this year, attend experiential learning opportunities, and a number of other initiatives. Congratulations to all of our Academies and Teachers who received a Starr Award this year!

Antioch High School  "Big Blue Goes Green"Antioch High School
All Academies”Big Blue Goes Green”
Cane Ridge High School Academy of Health Management "Ridge Run 5K/1 Mile Fun Run"Cane Ridge High School
Academy of Health Management
“Ridge Run 5K/1 Mile Fun Run”
 Glen cliff High School Academy of Medical Science and Research "Be In the Zone. Turn Off Your Phone"Glencliff High School
Academy of Medical Science and Research
“Be In the Zone. Turn Off Your Phone”
 Glencliff High School Academy of Medical Science and Research "Restrictive Diets- Who Needs Them? Not Me!"Glencliff High School
Academy of Medical Science and Research
“Restrictive Diets- Who Needs Them? Not Me!”
 Glencliff High School  Freshman Academy "Honey of Education"Glencliff High School
Freshman Academy
“Honey of Education”
 Hillsboro High School Academy of Global Health and Science "Saving Our Lives"Hillsboro High School
Academy of Global Health and Science
“Saving Our Lives”
 Maplewood High School Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness "Professional Certifications"Maplewood High School
Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness
“Professional Certifications”
 McGavock High School Academy of Aviation and Transportation "College Visits"McGavock High School
Academy of Aviation and Transportation
“College Visits”
McGavock High School CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communications "21st Century DDC Graduates"McGavock High School
CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communications
“21st Century DDC Graduates”
McGavock High School Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Health Science and Law "Read Three to a White Coat"McGavock High School
Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Health
Science and Law
“Read Three to a White Coat”
 Overton High School Academy of Health Sciences "First Aid and CPR Certifications"Overton High School
Academy of Health Sciences
“First Aid and CPR Certifications”
 Overton High School Academy of Engineering "Chicks in the City"Overton High School
Academy of Engineering
“Chicks in the City”
 Overton High School Academy of Health Sciences "First Aid Certification"Overton High School
Academy of Health Sciences
“First Aid Certification”
 Overton High School Academy of Health Sciences "R UR Teeth Rotten"Overton High School
Academy of Health Sciences
“R UR Teeth Rotten”
 Overton High School Academy of Engineering "Urban Agriculture Pathway PBL Trip"Overton High School
Academy of Engineering
“Urban Agriculture Pathway PBL Trip”
 Overton High School Academy of Engineering "Understanding LP Corp. Products and Processing"Overton High School
Academy of Engineering
“Understanding LP Corp. Products and Processing”
Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School Academy of Entertainment Communication "Spread the Word to End the Word"Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School
Academy of Entertainment Communication
“Spread the Word to End the Word”
 Whites Creek High School Academy of Alternative Energy, Sustainability, and Logistics "Sustainable for Life"Whites Creek High School
Academy of Alternative Energy, Sustainability, and Logistics
“Sustainable for Life”
 Whites Creek High School Academy of Community Health "Tag You're Sick"Whites Creek High School
Academy of Community Health
“Tag You’re Sick”
 Whites Creek High School Academy of Education and Law "Murder She Wrote. An Evening Murder Mystery"Whites Creek High School
Academy of Education and Law
“Murder She Wrote. An Evening Murder Mystery”
 Whites Creek High School Academy of Education and Law "When Will I Use This? To Catch the Bad Guys!"Whites Creek High School
Academy of Education and Law
“When Will I Use This? To Catch the Bad Guys!”
 Whites Creek High School Freshman Academy "How Does HIV Affect Me and My Community?"Whites Creek High School
Freshman Academy
“How Does HIV Affect Me and My Community?”

Nashville 9th Graders Chart Path to College and Careers

6th Annual My Future. My Way. Career Exploration Fair Helps High School Freshmen Learn Firsthand from Future Employers

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The exhibit floor of the Music City Center buzzed with excitement and nervous energy last week as more than 7,000 Davidson County 9th graders jammed the convention hall to ask questions of business and technology companies, public utilities, police and fire agencies, and dozens of potential employers about the skills necessary to make it to college or a good career. The 6th annual My Future. My Way. Career Exploration Fair was hosted by Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and was sponsored for the 4th consecutive year by Shoney’s and included participation by Shoney’s Chairman and CEO David Davoudpour.

“Shoney’s has made giving back to the community a hallmark of our company’s culture,” said Mr. Davoudpour. “We truly believe investing our time and energy in these young people will help them see a path forward in their education and allow them to make the connection between achieving in school and success in the work.”

Nearly one hundred Middle Tennessee employers participated in the Career Exploration Fair. Mr. Davoudpour was joined by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register in awarding the Best in Show award to those companies making up the Business, Marketing, and Information Technology sector of the exhibit hall displays.

“It takes lots of planning and coordination to make the Career Exploration Fair a true learning experience for these students,” said Mayor Dean. “We’re grateful for the commitment being made by Shoney’s, Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and dozens of companies exhibiting at the fair.”

“Throughout the day, all across the exhibit hall, we see thousands of conversations between professionals and young students which may spark an interest or cause a young person to see themselves in a new career role,” said Dr. Register. “Our hope is that these interactions will help the students understand that achieving in the classroom pays off in the long run.”

“Our research shows that Middle Tennessee could be seeing shortages of works in some business sectors as early as 2016,” said Ralph Schulz, president and CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “If our region is to continue along its path of strong growth, we need to reach out to young people and let them know that viable college and career paths are waiting for them.”

“Preparing Students for College, Career, and Life”

By Susan Cowley
University of Tennessee- Knoxville

 

Metro Nashville Public Schools prepares students for “college, career, and life.” It’s a part of the vision statement for Nashville’s school district, but how exactly does this happen? One method involves students receiving industry related professional certifications before high school graduation.

Students in the Academies of Nashville are meeting industry standards to receive professional certifications before walking across stage in their caps and gowns. In fact, during the 2013-2014 pilot year, more than 180 students received certifications in more than a dozen areas.

After completing a yearlong preparatory course, students have the opportunity to take the certification test. If a student passes the exam and meets other certification specific criteria, he or she will walk out of high school with a competitive edge in the workforce. The certifications range across multiple fields from healthcare to broadcasting.

Teachers in the school system have been instrumental to the success of this program. Criminal Justice instructor Jeremiah Davis has seen more students to receive certification than any other teacher in the district.

“Obtaining a certification helps demonstrate maturity at a young age and determination to accomplish goals” says Davis, from Whites Creek High School. It is evident he feels that these certifications leave longstanding positive effects as he states, “When I see my former students and even students from other schools I offered the certifications to, they let me know they are working because of their certification.” Davis knows that it is well worth the effort to see students reap the benefits of industry certification. “My students know that the way to get ahead in life is to stand out in a positive way. Certifications allow a student to graduate with a great distinction and work as they are in college or start their career immediately.”

Stratford STEM Magnet High School graduate, Reggie Mayes sees the benefits of industry certifications in his own life. Mayes says his certification aided him in becoming a more mature individual. He is now working as an unarmed security guard at a local grocery store.

Mayes believes that his certification has “helped me get my life on track to start a good life after school.” He also considers the certification process to have fostered strong, positive relationships between him and his teachers.

Not only does the industry certification program profit the students, it strengthens the teachers as well. “I’ve seen significant improvements to my own work as a result of the training and certification” says Becky Banazsak-Pendergrass, Broadcasting/Media Production Teacher and CTE Cluster Lead Teacher at Hillsboro High School. Banazsak-Pendergrass recently became certified to host a testing cite at Hillsboro; bringing the school the distinction of being one of the only testing facilities for Final Cut Pro in the state of Tennessee. She feels this has given her greater insight into the process as a whole. She strongly supports student certification, and says, “not only does it hold students to a much higher standard, but it also gives them a real-world benefit…obtaining a professional certification that is recognized by their industry of study is a very practical step they can take towards a successful career.” Banazsak-Pendergrass believes the greatest benefit that students receive is an overall boost in motivation; she sums up her experience with certifications by stating, “Students who in the past may have done just barely enough work to pass the course are now taking ownership of their learning experience, actively taking notes and asking questions throughout instructional time, and seeking out additional opportunities for learning and practice.”

This opportunity would not be possible without the support of the Nashville Career Advancement Center, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as federal CTE grants. Through the generous donations of these organizations, students were able to earn certifications worth hundreds of dollars for an individual fee of $10.

Industry certifications are an exciting new benefit for graduates of all MNPS high school programs. “Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools will provide every student with the foundation of knowledge, skills and character necessary to excel in higher education, work and life.” Certifications play a key role in instilling confidence, motivation, and success in each individual student. It is evident that the opportunities allowed to students through professional certifications strengthen the goals and values of the MNPS school system.Pe