Transforming our Middle Schools
A middle school student is studying slope in her math class and the classroom conversation centers around the relationship between predators and prey, a topic she is reviewing in her science class, to further explain the trends shown on the graph.
Another student - in a visual arts class - is displaying his artwork that also transcends subject areas: a piece of art that illustrates the beauty of the inner parts of a cell.
These examples of cross-subject instruction – and more – are real experiences Metro Nashville Public Schools’ (MNPS) middle school students will have daily throughout the school day.
Middle school is a critical time in a child’s education – a time when students need a high-quality education that sparks their curiosity and challenges their thinking.
Operating under one unifying vision --to be the fastest-improving urban school system in America and to ensure that every student becomes a life-long learner prepared for success in college, career and life -- MNPS is undergoing a transformative, three-year middle school reinvention plan that will transform our middle school curriculum.
This five-pronged approach will provide middle school students with a rigorous and relevant cross-subject STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum that will challenge them to think critically and develop innovative solutions to problems while empowering them to imagine new careers for themselves. Effective with the 2017-2018 school year, MNPS will implement these five elements of the middle school transformation plan:
Over the course of three years, MNPS will shift its teaching and learning by implementing a interdisciplinary STEAM curriculum that includes intensive professional development for staff, extracurricular activities and summer camps for the community, and intentional local and national partnerships that illustrate purposeful career opportunities for all students. MNPS has chosen to partner with Discovery Education for intensive professional development and educational resources, including Discovery’s TechBooks and Streaming Plus Digital Media platform.
STEM CERTIFICATION FOR ALL MIDDLE SCHOOLS
All middle schools will lay the foundation for a STEAM transition by seeking a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) certification.
COMPUTER SCIENCE FOR ALL STUDENTS
The future is now – and all students need access to a computer science curriculum to prepare them for their high school careers. MNPS will deliver engaging professional development for all middle school educators so they can provide meaningful computer science instruction. MNPS is proud to announce that RePublic Charter Schools will provide this curriculum training.
RENEWAL OF ADVANCED ACADEMIC CLASSES
All students need access to advanced academic programming that challenges their thinking – that’s why the district is bringing more advanced academic options into middle school classrooms, starting with Honors English/Language Arts classes this school year.
INCREASED ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM & MORE TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT
Technology plays a critical role in a dynamic learning environment. Beginning this year, MNPS will update the technological infrastructure of middle schools and increase the number of technology devices available to middle school students. Additionally, the district has hired five Learning Technology Specialists to provide greater technology support and professional development to all middle schools.
Transforming the district’s curriculum is no easy task – which is why MNPS is committed to engaging with a variety of local and national partners to design this curriculum offered in the district’s middle schools. There is no better place for this to happen than in Nashville – where technology, arts and science blend together throughout our diverse community and our vibrant economy.
Metro Schools has formed an advisory council with representatives from organizations that represent all major industries in Nashville in addition to national partnerships. This advisory council will collaboratively work with Metro Schools’ leadership to create in-depth learning and hands-on, relevant opportunities for both students and teachers:
- AdvancED Tennessee
- Alignment Nashville
- Black in Tech Nashville
- Bohnd Bracelets
- Center for STEM Education for Girls
- Discovery Education
- Gould Turner
- HCA Healthcare
- Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee
- Metro Arts
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Muslim American Cultural Association
- Nashville Chamber of Commerce
- Nashville Software School
- National Partnerships
- RePublic Schools
- TN STEM Innovation Network
- Vanderbilt University
The future is now – the future is here – and with a real-world driven approach to curriculum, our middle school students will have a foundation that has readied them for high school, college and career.