Nashville named first "Model Community" by Ford Next Generation Learning

Ford Motor Company Fund today announced that Nashville, Tenn. has been named as the nation’s first Ford Next Generation Learning Model Community. Nashville is the first Ford Next Generation Learning Model Community to organize study visits to help teams from around the country transform their high schools and better prepare students for colleges and careers. Over the last three years, more than 1,000 educators and business people from 29 states have visited Metro Nashville Public Schools to tour The Academies of Nashville.

Ford Fund also announced a $25,000 grant to support The Academies of Nashville in development of a series of modules for new teachers, administrators and business partners to explain the Ford Next Generation Learning framework and its relationship to The Academies of Nashville’s strategic plan. This professional development will be created, piloted and refined in support of sustainability of the academies,and will be shared with the national Ford Next Generation Learning network.

“The Academies of Nashville has proven itself time and again as a model of innovation, leadership and competence in fulfilling the promise of Ford Next Generation Learning,” said Cheryl Carrier, executive director, Ford Next Generation Learning. “Nashville’s success in redefining the high school experience has helped dramatically improve educational outcomes such as graduation rates and college participation.”

High school career academies are a proven national model in which students learn in a career-centered or interest-themed environment to make learning more relevant and engaging. Nearly 17,000 students in 12 Nashville-area high schools are learning in these academies.

“The Academies of Nashville program is doing wonderful things for our students and has moved our district forward,” said Dr. Jesse Register, director of schools. “Graduation rates at these schools are up 20 percentage points in the last seven years, attendance is at an all-time high, and our students are getting college and career-ready. The Model Community designation, and the grant that comes with it, are a tremendous honor, and we thank Ford Next Generation Learning. As a Model Community, we hope the lessons we’ve learned can help accelerate high school redesign nationwide.”

Community partners who played a key role in developing, implementing and sustaining the Academies of Nashville are Alignment Nashville, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, PENCIL Foundation and the Nashville mayor’s office.

Ford Next Generation Learning is a comprehensive initiative that supports 20 communities across the country in bringing together educators, employers and community leaders to develop and implement career academies that prepare students for higher education and careers.

Ford Next Generation Learning is one of a number of Nashville-area community programs that is supported by Ford Motor Company Fund. Ford will donate more than $800,000 this year in the Nashville area, adding to the more than $7 million contributed by Ford over the past decade.