Stratford High School

Internships Solidify Future Career Plans

This summer I had an amazing opportunity to intern at Wright industries as an Applications Engineer, mostly doing work in CAD. Designing and building things is something I have always been interested in. When I started 9th grade at Stratford STEM Magnet High School, I saw that there was an engineering pathway, and since engineering is all about designing and building things I decided that I should take that pathway. At the end if my 11th grade year I got an opportunity to apply for an internship at Wright Industries. I have been considering getting a degree in mechanical engineering so the internship was the perfect opportunity for me to experience what it would be like working as an engineer, and find out if engineering is something I want to do as a career.

The first day was mostly spent doing all of the necessary paperwork and things that had to be done before we could start work, but as soon as we got to the office toward the end of the day we got our first project. We started off with something simple so we could learn how to use Solid Works. At school we have been using Autodesk Inventor, which I think is easier to learn how to do 3D modeling with, but Solid Works is a more technical program and just a little more advanced than Autodesk Inventor. Autodesk assumes more than Solid Works does, which makes it a little easier to use but Solid Works can be more accurate. Our first project was making an independent testing station for LED screens. Most of the parts we needed were already made, so we just had to put them all together.

Internship summary1


The next project we worked was a packaging line. On this project we had to create more of the parts ourselves and get the files for some of the machines from the companies that make them using the Internet. We were still getting used to using Solid Works at this point, and with this project I really got the hang of using mates, which is how different parts are held together, and found that I like using Solid Works much more than Autodesk. After several revisions we got a model done.

Internship summary2

The biggest project I have worked on this summer was for a company that was making pharmaceuticals. It took several weeks and there were several different iterations that were made. At first the line had one side, but to make it easier to service I had to add a second side to the line. This required stretching the whole enclosure.

Internship summary3

One of the things I had to do on this project was make something to spread the lyospheres on the tray before it is put into the freezer. It took a few designs, but I ended up adding a wedge to the gripper on the robot.

Internship summary4

After all of this work the customer decided they wanted to make the line smaller to help cut down on cost. We decided to completely change the enclosure from a rectangle to a polygon type shape. It took a few days to do but turned out really well.

Internship summary5

During my internship I didn’t only work in Solid Works, I also got a chance to help with the paperwork of engineering. I used Microsoft Word to edit proposals that were being sent off to companies. I used Microsoft Excel to work on spreadsheets showing part numbers, where they came from, and their cost. I also learned about a program I didn’t know existed called Visio. Visio is a Microsoft program used for making flowcharts.

This internship has been a great experience for me this summer. I have learned how to do some things in Microsoft Office programs I didn’t know about before, and I have learned how to use Solid Works. From what I have seen Solid Works is more promently used profesionaly than Autodesk.  The internship has helped me decied that engineering is definitely a career that I want to pursue.

Stratford Teachers Tour Old Hickory Lock and Dam

Strong relationships with local academy partners is the key to building effective business engagement in our high schools. The Academies of Nashville provide students with meaningful, hands-on learning in context through unique partnerships with local businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The Teacher Team Externship Program gives teachers an opportunity to have a real-world professional experience at a host organization to develop a project-based curriculum that gives students industry exposure and applied learning. Teachers from Stratford STEM Magnet High School’s Freshman Academy had the opportunity to have an externship with their business partner, the Army Corps of Engineers. 

The Freshman Academy met at the Resource Manager’s office at Old Hickory Lock and Dam where we were introduced to the Commander and Deputy, and we were provided with an overview of all the components involving the Corps of Engineers and our waterways.   “Securing the Nation’s Future Through Water” began our adventure at the Dam. We also viewed demonstrations regarding the importance of protecting the landscape along the rivers’ edges as well as protecting endangered species such as bats. In addition to providing an energy source to numerous areas within our state and outside of our state, the water system has been improved to include water storage areas through new dams.

Our group was provided a behind the scenes tour inside the dam, the control room, and the lock. The amazing aspect of this location is that all of the equipment is original equipment dating back to the 1960’s. After our tour and PowerPoint presentations, our group proceeded to Drakes Creek off of Saundersville Road in Hendersonville where we measured various points of erosion in the creek to determine problem areas preserving the natural habit of the areas. Our education with The Corp of Engineers left us with the knowledge that there are numerous opportunities within the Corp for our students at Stratford after graduation including several paid training jobs that do not require a college degree.

Stratford STEM Magnet High School teachers tour the Old Hickory Lake Lock and Dam.

Stratford STEM Magnet High School teachers tour the Old Hickory Lake Lock and Dam.

The inner workings of the Lock and Dam work well to prepare teachers for students interested in engineering, science, and research.

The inner workings of the Lock and Dam work well to prepare teachers for students interested in engineering, science, and research.

How is PBL used in the real world?

Stratford STEM Magnet High School teachers from the Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies met with myEmma, one of the academy business partners. myEmma is an international email and marketing campaign services company with Nashville serving as its originating corporate headquarters location. The teacher externship included five academy teachers and literacy coach.

The team met with the company’s top management to learn about their business, its personnel, its products, technology, culture, and hiring needs. But how all of their collective educational degrees and experiences work together to create a brand that a consumer will feel confident in, is what makes myEmma such a great place to work and business to be associated with. It also creates a need for diverse personnel.

As teachers we are tasked with project based learning experiences, to incorporate 21st century skills and needs that employers emphasize to succeed, no matter what degree you may hold. Our conversations involved a lot questioning, listening, critical thinking, and analyzing to find a way to create a PBL that English, math, science, economics, and programming can work together with a shared learning experience. We found at myEmma they follow patterns of a development process that programming students may use in their future workplace.

As a result of the team’s experience that focuses on safety and community, we have challenged our students to define and develop an app for social change. The project incorporates aspects of communication, presentation, technical writing, programming, statistics, GIS mapping, and economic impact. The students will be able to pitch an app that could affect social change in their community concerning crime and other safety issues.


From Teachers to Neuroscientists

A team comprised of an Interdisciplinary Science and Research (ISR) Pathway, Biology, Spanish, and English teacher from Stratford’s Academy of Science and Engineering spent a day investigating neuroscience with scientists from Vanderbilt’s Center for Science Outreach (VCSO). During the morning sessions, team members studied the effect concussions have on the brain. Team members conducted a test for the presence of a protein released when the brain suffers a concussion and graphed data gathered. In the afternoon session, VCSO scientists led team members through an introduction to diagnosing brain injuries as well as a discussion of the brain and drug addiction. Team members diagnosed brains—really molded ice sculptures—and contemplated the problems of drug addiction in our society.

Team members met the following day to develop a PBL for ninth grade Interdisciplinary Science Research (ISR) students. Motivated by the discussion of drug addiction the previous day, the team decided to ask ISR students the driving question, “How do drugs impact your body, your family, your community, and your world?” After researching the effect of medication on the brain and disorders of the brain, students will collaborate to create concise, videotaped public service announcements which will be played in the school lobby. Not only will the students who participate in the PBL learn about the connection between addiction, chemicals, and brain function, but they will have the opportunity to share their understandings with peers in other pathways and academies.

Students Help Students Register to Vote

Community partners come in all shapes and sizes. The League of Women Voters works to encourage women and young people to vote for matters pertaining to their community. Dev B., a student at Stratford STEM Magnet High School in the Academy of Science and Engineering, recently produced a video for the League of Women Voters to encourages high school students to register to vote. Dev writes about the experience below. 


I produced the video “Careless” for the League of Women Voters. The campaign’s goal was to encourage responsible high school juniors and seniors to register to vote.

The challenge for me was to create a video on a topic which I really didn’t know much about. If I’m not even a junior, then how could I possibly come up with a way to encourage juniors and seniors. Despite the fact, I decided to take on the challenge and began the production of the video.

Not only was the concept challenging, but the shooting of the video was as well. The snow days pushed me far behind, and I was not able to find a sufficient amount of actors for the video. The script lacked revision, and there were only two weeks remaining to complete the video challenge.  I gathered two people at the beginning of the video shoot the number morphed into five. Fifty percent of the footage for the video were shot. And, everything seemed alright. But, the next day the continuity of the video was in danger. The hall in which we started shooting, had a problem with the lighting, one of the actors had to reshoot their lines, because the camera stopped rolling earlier. It was a downfall.

Later on, I had to reshoot all of the lines for one of the actors in a different location. We reshot more and more lines. We took care of the lighting by pumping up the exposure, and reassigned fewer lines to even out the script.

On the last day of the shoot, I shot the last line of the video and officially packed up the shoot. Then, came hours of editing, processing, aligning, and more of the video clips. Background music was tailored and images for the banners were created.

Finally, the project shined when I shared the first link to my friend who also acted in the video. Nothing seemed more glorious when I read, “this video is amazing!”

From this challenge, I learned the importance of staying punctual. I believe if I have taken some more time on organizing than rushing, this video wouldn’t have been much of a struggle.

Few weeks later, I began receiving emails from the coordinator of the project. On almost every email, she complimented the video and appreciated our team. Eventually, the head of the organization sent me an email consisting of a letter, which said that my video would be distributed to all Metro high schools. Happiest day ever!


My Regional STEM Expo Experience

Students from across Middle Tennessee had the opportunity to compete in the Middle Tennessee Regional STEM Expo this week.  Austin S., a student at Stratford STEM Magnet High School in the Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies, writes about his experience at the expo. 


This was the first expo I ever entered, and the Middle Tennessee Regional STEM Expo was phenomenal! I had a great time presenting our Stratford Maze App to the judges and to the students present at the event. It was great telling what software and programming language we used. It was an honor to be at the Regional Expo, and we worked our hardest to get here. The competition at Stratford gave me a chance to present our work, and we placed 2nd. It was a great experience to attend and it was a fun experience.

Our Stratford Maze App not only received a gold medal, but we won the MNPS Award of Excellence! Project based learning really allows us to choose our learning and develop a project that means something to us. Collaboration is the key to our success as we all worked together to develop the best product!

Speaking to the Freshmen at Stratford High School during March

Rashed Fakhruddin

March 31, 2015

 Fakhruddin Presentation

Earlier during the month of March, I had the pleasure of speaking to Ms. Wanda Moore’s Freshmen seminar classes at Stratford STEM Magnet High School. My engineering colleague, Mostafa Shamsuddin- an alumnus of Stratford, and I divided up the classes over the 2 day period. We spoke about MNPS’s professionalism rubric, and how it ties into workplace evaluation.

Coming from industry and consulting with our HR vice president at NES, this rubric is a powerful tool in making people more employable. Industry is looking for people with these human social skillsets. The relevancy of the professional skillset that MNPS is trying to instill in students (e.g., communications, quality & commitment, interpersonal effectiveness [including teamwork], etc.) is critical to creating a large pool of highly qualified candidates in Nashville for years to come.

The interesting part of this rubric is that it can be applied by the Freshmen in their daily lives, as students trying to balance their education and extracurricular activities, and life in general. For example, a student who is trying to balance his or her A day and B day homework assignments, followed by sports after school, and in many cases, extra chores and responsibilities at home such as babysitting, are in fact having to multitask, plan and organize their schedules just as we have to do at work. On any given day, we have to manage 5 to 6 projects, take on additional assignments at work, while at the same time respond to emergencies. So my message to the students is to factor in to one’s schedule to ‘expect the unexpected’, and ‘not have one’s schedule control them, but to take control of one’s own schedule by being organized and planning accordingly.’ This type of planning means hitting the books during the weekends, and perhaps on Friday nights.

After having spoken to 12 other high schools this year, this presentation had a special component. I added a slide dedicated to a Hillsboro student-athlete LT, who had just tragically lost his life due to an enlarged heart condition while playing basketball. This slide fell under my ‘teamwork’ module, which ties into interpersonal skills. Surprisingly, about 10 different students knew LT. It dawned on me how connected these students are. Also, under interpersonal skills, I mentioned the example of a basketball legend, Stratford alumnus, Donte Jones, as he now runs the NYBA league, a phenomenal gentleman. As usual, speaking to the Freshmen inspires me to continue being involved with the our kids studying in our school system, who are the future leaders of our city.

Students Experience National Safety and Security Technologies

Stratford STEM Magnet High School held its first NSST (National Safety and Security Technologies) Day March 19, 2015. This event was designed to inform students about their future options and recruit students to the Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies pathways: criminal justice and computer programming. Students had the opportunity to explore career options based on their pathways and observe the real world integration of technology with security.

NSST Day 2NSST Day 4

The Army Corps of Engineers Nashville Division brought their ECVV, which responded to 9-11 in New York City, as well as a crew member. Students learned first hand about the technology on the vehicle and the personal experiences from the 9-11 disaster.

NSST Day 3

The Tennessee Department of Corrections showed real-time monitoring of violent offenders as they moved through Davidson County.

NSST Day 1

More than 300 students were able to interact and learn more about their fields. Presenters included: Army Corps of Engineers- ECVV, Nashville State Community College- Visual Communications Program, Nashville State Community College- Music Technology, Nashville State Community College- Police Science, US Army, Tennessee Department of Corrections, MNPD- East Precinct, US Army Recruiter, Criminal Justice Center, US Navy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, NSG, Enterprise Program, Nashville Technology Council, and the Mall at Green Hills.

Students Job Shadow at Firefly Logic

Job shadowing gives students the opportunity to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world.  Students from Stratford STEM Magnet High School in the Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies   participated in a job shadow at Firefly Logic.  In this post, they write about their experience.


Firefly Logic is a technology development company creating software, mobile apps, web development, and marketing opportunities for clients. Students from Stratford STEM Magnet High School engaged with the company CEO, a programming developer, and web developer, to understand their creative process by listening to the customer needs and vision. Students learned about the iterative process of software development life cycle, their development methods, tracking project progress, testing, and delivery to the client.


Firefly 1

Firefly 2

Firefly 3

Firefly 4

Freshman Students Experience College Life

FATripOn Tuesday, March 17, 150 students from the Freshman Academy at Stratford STEM Magnet High School went on one of their annual college visits.

The class was divided into three groups, each going to different colleges. Students were able to witness college life at Middle Tennessee State University, Volunteer State Community College and Nashville State Community College. In addition to witnessing college life, the students toured the campuses and learned about the different degree programs and pathways to universities each college offers.

“Allowing our students to be exposed to the college experience is very valuable, especially in ninth grade,” said Jeff Davis, Assistant Principal from the Freshman Academy. “For most of them, this is their first college visit.”

In addition to the tours, students had lunch on campus as well. Some of them had boxed lunches provided by the colleges while others ate in the college cafeteria.

Stratford High School partnered with GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness for Undergraduate Programs) for funding on these college visits. GEAR UP is a seven-year discretionary grant program, which aims to increase the number of low-income, first generation students enrolling and succeeding in college.

Accolades and Awards for Stratford


Stratford STEM Magnet High School has had a successful year with their Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies and the Mock Trial Team.

Blake Simmons – Best Defense Attorney – Blake was recognized as the best Defense Attorney out of 22 different schools!!! Blake has “lawyer written all over him” and is a force to be reckoned with!!!!

Antoinette Lavender received the Most Valuable Player for Stratford’s team. This accomplishment was excellent as it was the result of excellent team spirit!!! Antoinette received a gavel for her recognition.

All other team members worked equally as hard and were excellent! It took a lot of dedication, commitment, studying, remembering facts, and soul searching for our students.  Each member held his/her own. Comparing them to other teams. SHS only had 6 participants.  This means they had to learn so many different roles. They were all so prepared!

Special thanks to Ms. DeMica Robinson for encouraging the students and for allowing them exposure to this event. Also, she was a wonderful support system. We appreciate you picking up students, taking them to different places, getting appropriate clothing, etc. Thanks for working even during the snow days.

Additionally, special thanks goes to mentor and Attorney-Mrs. Courtney Teasley.  Not only did she practice with students at Stratford, she opened her law office and allowed students to practice there. She donated over 100 manpower hours just to ensure the success of the Mock Trial Team.

Beating Cabin Fever on a Snow Day



What happens when you are on your seventh snow day in a row?? You call up your teachers, Ms. Hansen and Ms. Wendling, and ask them to quiz you on Math and Science questions of course! During last Tuesday’s snow day, students, Maxie Ball, Jack Utley, and Ambrose Vargason (left to right) battled the ice and frigid temperatures to spend 2 and a half hours preparing for the upcoming Science Knowledge Bowl tournament. Their mothers prepared Rice Krispies and popcorn for the event. The boys, and teachers, thoroughly enjoyed the snacks and friendly competition.

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.”

Bridges to Belmont: 12 students receive full-ride scholarships

Twelve students from Stratford STEM Magnet High School received full ride scholarships to Belmont University. Watch and hear their reactions to this incredible news in the video below.