Community Discovers MNPS at Maplewood High School

The best way to get to know a neighborhood school – and see the good work happening in classrooms – is to take a tour and see first-hand the rigorous academic and hands-on experiences students have access to every day.

On Nov. 2, PENCIL, one of Metro Nashville Public School’s committed community partners, provided that opportunity to community leaders across the greater Nashville area. More than 20 community partners were invited to Discover MNPS at Maplewood High School, which offers a career and college ready learning environment to students. Discover MNPS is a unique event designed to introduce community members to the impactful work taking place in public education by hosting tours, meet-and-greets with teachers and staff, and seeing the learning process in action by visiting classrooms.

Maplewood Principal Dr. Keely Jones-Mason and Academy Coach Brent Dean kicked-off the event welcoming guests and sharing the importance of how community partnerships positively impact the school’s career academies. Through community investment in the classroom, Maplewood can provide hands-on career learning experiences and opportunities to test into Early Post-Secondary Opportunities (EPSOs.)

“Students come to us in so many ways and we need to support them,” Dean said, “The partnership piece is crucial.”

Guests were guided on the tour by Maplewood students, who led participants through its three academies where students learned in a state-of-the-art entrepreneurship center, a complete automotive care center in partnership with Firestone and receive experience in cosmetology through a fully functional salon. The school also houses an energy lab in conjunction with NES and Stansell Electric as well as the St. Thomas Health Clinic, which has helped countless students become CPR and EKG certified.

The visit concluded with one of Maplewood’s community partners and a student sharing how the hands-on educational experiences and certification training helps students. Through the Academy of Energy and Power, students learn about the duties of professional electric linemen or journeyman electricians. In addition to earning college credit, many of them also earn their OSHA 120 certification as a part of the program.

“Students receive real-world experience installing, maintaining and repairing transmission and distribution lines and systems as well as hooking up panels, transformers, plugs and light switches,” said Dana Morrow, a Stansell representative and mentor to students at Maplewood. “Getting that experience early on is really beneficial to students.”

Maplewood student Matthias Che immediately saw the benefits of his real-world experiences from the partnership as well. He recalled his first on-site job visit which helped him understand how much work and experiential knowledge goes into working with each electrical pole.

“Something sparked in me,” Che said, a senior. “I realized I had an interest in project management.”

 “It brings me joy to work with these kids and provide experiential learning experiences,” Dean said, “It takes a village. Not just principals and teachers, but partners too.”

Learn more about PENCIL partnerships and about Maplewood High School here.