#MNPSVoices: Tanzye Hill, Community Schools Coordinator
School is a place for learning and academic achievement, but when students have needs outside of academics, that’s where Tanzye Hill steps in.
Hill is the community schools coordinator at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, a role focused solely on removing learning barriers for students. She coordinates school support staff and manages community partnerships to provide services for students ranging from food and clothing assistance to more long-term care like grief counseling.
Hill’s role at Pearl-Cohn is through Community Achieves, a Metro Nashville Public Schools district-led initiative that supports the development of full-service community schools. The community school model is a strategy being implemented in districts across the country. It focuses on partnerships between the school and community to provide needed resources for students.
“During my four years at Pearl-Cohn, I have personally witnessed multiple students build resilience and overcome traumatic events by choosing to accept and connect to help through the Community Achieves model,” Hill said. “Our students learn how to advocate for themselves, their friends and families, and have a greater sense of belonging. This is reflective of the increased engagement we see with programs provided by community partners such as Girls Inc., Oasis Center, Alive Hospice, Family and Children’s Services and many more.”
Not only does Hill’s work provide aid to the students of Pearl-Cohn, it also supports teachers.
“I recognize the weight on teachers to address needs beyond curriculum and instruction on a daily basis,” Hill said. “Teachers often voice how thankful they are to have a system in place that can relieve this burden and allows them to focus on teaching. Those moments remind me how valuable the work that my team does is to the education of our students.”
Metro Schools is among the districts leading the national community schools movement. In June 2017, Community Achieves and Pearl-Cohn both received Community Schools Awards for Excellence from the Coalition for Community Schools. While Metro Schools is making great strides in this area, Hill said collaboration from the entire community is needed to continue this work successfully.
“Serving the whole-child and whole-family places the responsibility of educating our youth on all stakeholders - students, parents, teachers, school - and district-level staff and community members,” she said. “I am a firm believer that ‘it takes a village,’ and the community schools approach to learning is a perfect representation of that proverb.”
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