Virtual School

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!

Many unique characteristics support the Academies of Nashville - Pick the 3 biggest strengths below:

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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!

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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.

MNPS Virtual School Takes Historic Step

Tennessee’s first public virtual school adopts the Academy model

 

MNPS_AN_Virtual SchoolFrom the district that brought you Tennessee’s first public virtual school, Metro Schools is excited and proud to introduce the Virtual Academy of Business and Marketing. With this, MNPS Virtual School becomes the first virtual school in the world to adopt the academy model.

“Virtual School continues its tradition of leading the field of online learning,” said Dr. James Witty, Virtual School principal. “At the click of a button, the new academy will provide students with dynamic and unique course options and career exploration opportunities which are embedded in the academy model. Our school has already experienced a spike in enrollment based upon student interest alone and are excited for the full roll out.”

The Academy will take full advantage of the unique perspective that comes from taking classes online by offering classes in virtual enterprise, web design, interactive multimedia and more. Students will interact in a highly personalized small  learning community with a focus on college and career readiness, raising aspirations and increasing achievement.

Like their counterparts in more traditional high schools, students will have multiple opportunities for job shadowing and internships. Students will also complete a capstone experience and meet industry professionals who can expose them to a multitude of careers, industry skills and potential employers.

“The virtual academy of business and marketing is another example of how Metro Schools is committed to our vision of providing every student with the foundation of knowledge, skills, and character necessary to excel in higher education, work and life,” said Chaney Mosley, director of the Academies of Nashville.

“We are excited to expand the reach of influence of the Academies of Nashville to a student population that has previously not been connected to business partners in high skill, high wage, and high demand career fields in the Nashville area.”

Virtual School leaders are working with the Pencil Foundation to identify local business and community partners.

About MNPS Virtual School

MNPS Virtual School is the first public virtual school in Tennessee. It is a nontraditional school with open enrollment for in-county and out-of-county students. Students can enroll full-time or choose to remain in their own high school while also taking core classes, electives and Advanced Placement courses part-time through MNPS Virtual School. Learners are taught by highly qualified, certified MNPS teacher-scholars. All courses are accredited and approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and State Board of Education. All virtual credits obtained at Virtual School also transfer to ANY MNPS high school for graduation purposes. Courses are free for MNPS students meeting the eligibility requirements.