Metro Schools’ Community Achieves initiative and Pearl-Cohn High School receive national awards

Photo 3 Metro Schools is on the leading edge of a national movement that aligns community resources with school-level supports that remove barriers to learning and helps students thrive in school and in life, according to the Coalition for Community Schools. Metro Schools is receiving two national awards that recognize the district’s work over the past five years.

Metro Schools’ Community Achieves initiative is receiving the Community Schools 2017 Award for Excellence, which goes to initiatives with joint efforts between schools and community stakeholders that have organized multiple community school sites with a strong commitment to scaling up across the community or school systems. The award recognizes the district’s focus on the integration of community resources with academics, the district’s emphasis on data sharing and reporting outcomes, and commitment to equity. The district had nearly 600 community partners in the 2015-2016 school year.

“This award honors all of the principals, site managers, partners and families in MNPS that work together toward positive outcomes for students. It is a testament to what can happen when communities get behind schools,” said Alison McArthur, Community Achieves coordinator.

“Metro Schools has made crucial investments in resources and coordinators for Community Achieves to sustain the important work of supporting all learners in the district,” said Dr. Shawn Joseph, director of schools.

The Community School model helps schools improve, according to Dr. Tony Majors, executive officer of support services. “Schools face the unbelievable challenge of improving the academic performance of their students, regardless of the students personal, socio-economic or environmental circumstances.  The Community School model provides the structure, process and support that schools and students need in order to address many of the non-academic factors that do ultimately impact academic performance and school climate.  These include health, attendance, discipline, culture and others,” Majors said.

“Community schools promote healthy communities by first acknowledging the areas of concern and then by prioritizing the schools’ efforts, followed by engaging the community and community agencies to assist the school in their efforts,” Majors added. “By honestly assessing the need and collaboratively working with stakeholders, the model does promote awareness and prioritization around the development of social and emotionally supportive schools and collaboration to restore communities through shared responsibility.”

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School has been selected for the Individual Community School Award, which recognizes community schools that have operated for at least three years and has demonstrated success.

“We believe that great schools include the balance of both academic press and personalization.  As a community school within the Community Achieves network, we are able to serve whole child and whole family needs,” said Dr. Sonia Stewart, principal of Pearl-Cohn High School. “With a clear focus on the four pillars of our community schools work; college and career readiness, social services, health and wellness and family engagement, we are positioned to align resources with the needs of our school community in order to remove barriers to learning.  As a result of our commitment to the whole child, we have made achievement gains in all subject areas over the past five years, boasted a level five TVAAS composite growth score, have seen significant declines in our student behavior incidents and have more students coming to school every day.”

“Community Achieves and Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School exemplify the Coalition’s vision of schools as hubs of community that unite families, educators and community partners to fulfill the mission of public education,” said Martin Blank, director of the Coalition for Community Schools.

Metro Schools will receive the awards at the June 5 Community Schools Awards Symposium and Ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Community Achieves focuses on four areas of achievement: Health and Wellness; Parent/Family Engagement; College and Career Readiness; and Social Services.

Current list of MNPS Community Schools:

  • Antioch High School
  • Antioch Middle Prep
  • Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elementary
  • Cole Elementary
  • DuPont Hadley Middle Prep
  • Glencliff High School
  • Gra-Mar Middle Prep
  • Hunters Lane High School
  • Inglewood Elementary
  • Creswell Middle School of the Arts
  • Jere Baxter Middle Prep
  • Joelton Middle Prep
  • Madison Middle Prep
  • Maplewood High School
  • Margaret Allen Middle Prep
  • McKissack Middle Prep
  • Napier Elementary
  • Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School
  • Stratford STEM Upper Campus
  • Stratford STEM Lower Campus
  • Tusculum Elementary
  • Two Rivers Middle Prep
  • Whitsitt Elementary
  • Wright Middle Prep