President Barack Obama visits McGavock High School, praises school, students, teachers, district

McGavock Student Body President Ronald Elliot meets President of the United States Barack Obama Greeted by a crowd of hundreds of students, teachers, district administrators, city officials and more, President Barack Obama praised the hard work of Metro Schools students and teachers while also giving a full endorsement of the work being done here.

The President spent a great deal of time talking about 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.

#POTUSatMcGavock: Relive the President's visit as it unfolded on social media.

As an example this kind of change, the President singled out recent McGavock graduate Sara Santiago and her broadcasting teacher Barclay Randall:

When Sara was in Mr. Randall's class he helped her discover this passion for filmmaking.  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 chance.  He saw things I never saw in myself.  He’s the person who helped me change.”

Read President Obama's full speech.

[youtube=] The President also singled out the district's plan to expand locally-funded prekindergarten to every four-year-old in Nashville who wants it:

And last year I asked Congress, help states make high-quality pre-kindergarten available to every four-year-old in America.  (Applause.)  Now, the good news is 30 states have decided to raise some pre-K funding on their own.  And school districts like this one have plans to open dedicated pre-K centers with space for hundreds of young kids.  And we did get a little help from Congress earlier this month.  But while we got a little help, we need more help.  Because even with the efforts of your superintendent and folks who are working hard in this school district, there are still going to be some kids who could use the help but aren't getting it.

We won't try to duplicate the awesome efforts of local media, who covered the speech very well. Below are links to the Tennessean's exceptional stories: