Dr. Joseph delivers State of Schools address
Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph unveiled the district’s new strategic direction, budget priorities and the developing plan for the future of Metro Schools today in his first State of Schools Address. This new chapter to the Metro Schools story focuses on students, employees, the organization and community as the framework for the district’s strategic plan.
“Nashville, this is our moment. We can’t hold back. We need to reach deeply within ourselves for our children. We have a plan. And we have a determined spirit,” Joseph said.
He also drew thunderous applause from the more than 500 attendees for his remarks regarding equity and access to advanced academic programs. “We need to send a message that all students are an asset to our community, regardless of their race, ethnicity, country of origin or who their parents are. Every child … deserves equitable chances to succeed in life.”
Here are some highlights from the address:
- An additional $3.4 million to support literacy. “This is the greatest civil right we can give our children – the ability to read, speak and comprehend,” Joseph said.
- A Literacy Teacher Development Specialist for every school, who will model instruction for teachers in their buildings and spend time in their classes helping them find ways to make their instruction more effective and personalized to meet the needs of our children.
- An additional $5.7 million on services for English Language Learners.
- Hiring more than 30 new English Language Learner teachers to accommodate the growing population of students and equip them with necessary professional development and supports that they need.
- Expanding wrap-around services and family supports for English Language Learner students, including things such as more after-school tutoring, more summer school opportunities, and nearly 20 new translators so that language isn’t a barrier for New American parents to be informed and engaged in their child’s education.
- Transforming middle schools by investing $5.9 million in the first of a three-year implementation plan to make every middle school a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) school, with new instructional practices and curricula – and exciting projects and lessons – that will inspire more of Metro Schools students to greater heights.
- Placing Advanced Academic Resource Teachers in every elementary and middle school to bring greater equity and access to services for accelerated and gifted learners. “... Zip codes shouldn’t limit our students’ access to challenging programs. Potential can live anywhere. Smart kids can live anywhere,” Joseph said.
- $23 million dollars next year to elevate employee pay across the board – with a three percent cost-of-living adjustment and a step increase on all salary schedules.
- Investments in Metro Schools’ principal development pipeline, as well as additional capacity in the Human Resources and Talent Services department to adequately support employee recruitment and retention.
- The Metro Schools strategic framework lays out the vision, mission, values, goals, strategies, and high-level actions that write the next chapter as a school district.
- “Executing on this strategic plan will require excellence and accountability at all levels of our organization. Excellence should describe everything that we do, and we should accept nothing less because our children deserve nothing less,” Joseph said. “As we’ve demonstrated in this first nine months, we won’t be afraid to course correct. Going forward, we have to know where we are – in reference to where we need to be – in order to gauge our progress and know when we need to change course.”
- The next phase of the district’s planning includes defining metrics to measure success, setting targets, developing a reporting timeline, and developing project and action plans.
- The entire Nashville community will be needed to help Metro Schools implement its priorities.
- Collaboration with families, the business community, the public charter schools are areas the district recognizes must be strengthened. “We will put structures where that collaboration can be fostered much stronger than we’ve done before,” Joseph said.
Click here to view photos from the event.
Learn more about the strategic plan here.