2015-16 Optional Schools Application period is now open
New application includes more opportunities for eighth and ninth grade students
Today Metro Schools re-launched one of its most powerful tools for school choice with a new twist for high school families. The Optional Schools Application is now available, allowing thousands of families to choose their schools for the 2015-16 school year. The application is online now, and paper copies will go home with every student in the district this week.
For the first time ever, the Optional Schools Application will allow rising ninth and tenth graders (current eighth and ninth graders) to not only choose their school, but to choose their area of study, too. The application will include more than 75 different academic pathways from the Academies of Nashville. Students can find one to match their areas of interest and choose to study that all the way through high school, even if that pathway is not offered at their zoned school. The StrIDe program from MTA allows high school students to use their student ID card to ride an MTA bus free of charge, making school choice more accessible for some families. All zoned high schools are open for application, except Antioch, Cane Ridge and Overton, which are full and unable to accept students not in their zones.
“Students need to be empowered in their learning, and that’s exactly what this does,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “High school students have been taking ownership of their learning in the Academies of Nashville for nearly a decade. The choice they make is a powerful one. It ties nearly all of their learning to something they are interested and invested in. That makes learning more relevant and gets students more engaged.”
Teachers and school counselors are working with eighth and ninth graders this week to select their preferred academic pathway. Once students have filled out an application and had it signed by their parents, counselors will help them make their choices at school on November 5, known as “Choice Day.” However, all families have until the application deadline in early December to complete the form, if more time is needed.
In addition to the zoned high schools, there are 76 more traditional, magnet, charter and specialty schools open for application at all grade levels. Families can select up to seven schools on the application, looking at factors like academic programming, location, scheduling, instructional style and more.
“There is a school for every family in our district,” said Dr. Register. “No matter what your child wants to learn – or how, where and when – there is at least one choice for you. We have many schools with advanced academic opportunities, schools focusing on math and science or liberal arts, schools for students who want to graduate more quickly or get real world work experience, schools for the arts and a lot more. Everything is at their fingertips with this one application.”
Families should explore all the options available to them before applying. School information is available online, but in-person visits are strongly encouraged. All schools are open for tours Tuesdays during the application period: Nov. 11, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2. Information about the Academies of Nashville and available pathways can be found on MyAcademyBlog.com and in these 12 virtual tours on the MNPS YouTube Channel. The Metro Schools Customer Service Center is also available to answer any questions and provide additional information at (615) 259-INFO (4636) or by emailing CustomerService@mnps.org.
The application deadline is Friday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. There is no advantage to turning in an application early as it is not a first come, first served system. Eighth and ninth grade families who do not make selections by the November 5 “Choice Day” will not be penalized. All applications will be randomly selected on Selection Days, Jan. 9 and Jan. 11.
2015-16 Optional Schools Application Process