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#MNPSVoices: Franklin J. Willis – Music Teacher, Andrew Jackson Elementary School

#MNPSVoices: Franklin J. Willis – Music Teacher, Andrew Jackson Elementary School

It all started with “Amazing Grace,” a traditional gospel song that Franklin J. Willis sung during an audition at the Nashville School of the Arts. His rendition not only landed him a spot at the performing arts school, but also led to a lifelong career in music education.

After graduating from NSA in 2003, the Nashville native headed west to attend the University of Memphis. From there, he began his teaching career at Vollentine Elementary School organizing the school’s first choir which attracted over 60 students. After two years, he decided to make his way back to middle Tennessee, where he has spent the last eight years working in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

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First MNPS Bonus Tracks Music Industry Program Wraps Up a Successful Year

First MNPS Bonus Tracks Music Industry Program Wraps Up a Successful Year

This year, a select group of Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School students received a real-world look into the music industry business as a part of the inaugural Bonus Tracks Program with Capitol CMG. Nashville is only the second city to be invited to implement this unique program. The class recruited 20 dedicated 10th through 12th graders, teacher Dr. MarQo Patton, and music executive EJ Gaines, who serves as co-executive director and Motown Gospel/Vice President of Marketing with Capitol CMG.

“As we prepared to expand the Bonus Tracks program from Los Angeles to Nashville, I had a profound sense that we were embarking on something that would be impactful for the students and for the music community,” Gaines said. “But I had no idea how personally impacted I would be.”

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MNPS Director of Schools Fondly Remembers Her High School Graduation; Celebrates 2019 Graduates

MNPS Director of Schools Fondly Remembers Her High School Graduation; Celebrates 2019 Graduates

The year was 1998.

It was a time in history where big events were happening all around the world.

For example, the nation witnessed one of its largest industrial mergers in history when Mercedes-Benz bought Chrysler for $40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler;

It was a year when New York Yankees’ David Wells pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins;

Just 21 years ago marked the series finale of Seinfeld, considered one of the most influential sitcoms of all-time;

And, of course, 1998 was the year that Metro Nashville Public Schools’ director, Dr. Adrienne Battle, graduated from John Overton High School.

As the first woman to ever serve as director of schools, Battle also holds the distinction of being the first director to be a homegrown product of the school district.

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Overton grads awarded more than $9.8 million for college

Overton grads awarded more than $9.8 million for college

The graduates of Overton High School’s Class of 2019 have been awarded $9.8 million in grants and scholarships and acceptance to several prestigious colleges and universities. This collective achievement marks a record for the school.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our graduates and the postsecondary plans they have for continued success,” said Dr. Jill Pittman, principal of Overton. “The spirit and excellence of Overton will be well represented all over the country. We wish all of our students the absolute best as they prepare for the next phase in their lives.”

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#MNPSVoices: Kamala Raghunathan, IT Developer and Program Analyst

#MNPSVoices: Kamala Raghunathan, IT Developer and Program Analyst

Kamala Raghunathan is a 32-year veteran with the Metro Nashville Public School’s Information Technology department. She currently serves as an IT developer and program analyst supporting the district’s 167 schools with Infinite Campus.

With such a long tenure of service to the IT department, Raghunathan has seen the digital revolution boom in academic record keeping.

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MNPS Virtual School grad named valedictorian at age 15

MNPS Virtual School grad named valedictorian at age 15

Is it possible to graduate high school in just one year?! It is for Madelyn Grace Boles, who accomplished the feat at MNPS Virtual School this year – and at the age of 15.

Her commitment to academic excellence, hard work and perseverance not only helped her finish high school early, but also landed her the coveted title of class valedictorian.

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Pearl-Cohn students celebrate becoming ‘first’ in their families to graduate high school, attend college

Pearl-Cohn students celebrate becoming ‘first’ in their families to graduate high school, attend college

Students at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School reached a special milestone May 20 when the senior class officially became graduates of the historic school.

Among the hundreds of graduates included two Pearl-Cohn students who not only completed their requirements to earn a diploma as high school graduates but also gained the title of ‘first’ in their families. 

Deondre Woodruff will be the first to ever graduate from high school in his family. And Tayonna Ewin, the first to go to college.

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Why do summer programs matter? The proof is in the data.

Why do summer programs matter? The proof is in the data.

With the school year wrapping up, it is time for Nashville families to make their summer plans and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) wants to help. This year, MNPS is offering more than 60 summer camps and programs that aim to pique your student’s interest, enrich their learning and prepare them for the next school year. Families can go to www.mnps.org/summer-programs to find a camp by selecting your child’s grade.

 

Why do summer programs matter?

It is proven that students who stay engaged during the summer perform better than students who do not when they return to school. On average, students lose approximately one to two months of grade-level reading and math skills during summer vacation. MNPS is staying ahead of learning losses by creating summer environments that promote active student engagement and consistent improvement in academic achievement.

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These students have not only mastered English during their time at MNPS - they're graduating at the top of their class.

These students have not only mastered English during their time at MNPS - they're graduating at the top of their class.

“My parents came to the United States to find a hopeful opportunity. They told me about the societies they grew up in and I always think about how fortunate [I am to live in] the country I live in. Ever since I was in seventh grade, I had an incentive to work hard to fulfill myself. I never thought I would be Salutatorian, because I am [a] first-generation American graduating from high school and going into college.” - Julie Martinez, a Metro Nashville Public Schools salutatorian from Nashville School of the Arts 

This story rings true not just for Julie, but for many of the 14,000 active English learners (EL) in Metro Nashville Public Schools. On average, MNPS welcomes more than 1,000 EL students into our schools and classrooms every year. Our students come to us from more than 130 different countries.  We believe our diversity makes us stronger – it tells a unique story, enriches the conversations in our classrooms and the connections in our schools and neighborhoods.  

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