How Metro Schools is Exceeding Great Expectations

IT’S AN EXCITING TIME IN METRO SCHOOLS

Over the past year, we have been implementing changes based on our students’ and employees’ needs, as identified in our Strategic Framework.  We are already seeing results and will use the coming year to accelerate our work. Here are just a few examples from the past year.

OUR STUDENTS

COMMITMENT: INCREASING RIGOR AND ACCESS FOR ALL STUDENTS.

How we’re making that happen:

  • We paid for students to take advanced placement, IB and Cambridge exams – doubling the number of students who take these exams.
  • We’ve expanded our gifted and talented efforts and placed Advanced Academic Resource Teachers in elementary and middle schools, among other efforts, to make sure we’re supporting our advanced learners.
  • We’ve increased our student-based budgeting weights to give additional supports for students living in poverty, English language learners and students with disabilities.

COMMITMENT: TO GIVE OUR STUDENTS THE GREATEST CIVIL RIGHT, THE ABILITY TO READ 

How we’re making that happen:

  • We’ve invested into resources and staff to support teachers and their literacy work, including creating a Literacy Teacher Development Specialist position.
  • We began assessing reading performance of students in grades 2-8 using the MAP-R assessment.
  • We have invested in classroom libraries, redesigned curriculum and worked to create a community-wide plan to address early-childhood literacy in Nashville.

COMMITMENT: TO BECOME THE FASTEST-IMPROVING URBAN DISTRICT IN THE NATION

How we’re making that happen:

  • The winter administration of the MAP assessment shows us that our students are achieving – the academic growth (grades 2-8, from August-February) of our students surpassed the national average for both reading and math.
  • We’ve added additional English Language teachers to support our ELL students.

COMMITMENT: INCREASE THE QUALITY OF PRE-K PROGRAMS

How we’re making that happen:

  • We’ve collaborated with the Mayor’s office, the Nashville Public Education Foundation, PENCIL and the Nashville Public Library to expand access to our Pre-K programs.
  • Our Pre-K classrooms are implementing foundational literacy skills that will prepare children for K-4 literacy goals.

COMMITMENT: REVITALIZE AND TRANSFORM OUR MIDDLE SCHOOLS

How we’re making that happen:

  • We know middle school is a pivotal time in child’s education. Our focus on STEAM inspires and motivates students. This year, teachers completed more than 11,000 hours of professional development and community partners provided meaningful curriculum-career connections for students.
  • We’ve reinstated honors classes in all middle schools, starting with English language arts this year and following with math and science next year.
  • Partners such as the Nashville Zoo and Dell Technologies are helping schools implement STEAM through various opportunities  

COMMITMENT: ENSURING OUR STUDENTS ARE READY FOR WHAT COMES AFTER GRADUATION

How we’re making that happen:

  • We’ve partnered with Nashville State Community College to offer the Early College High School Program (opening in fall 2018). This will give students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree at no cost.
  • Through our renowned Academies of Nashville, students have access to more than 40 industry certifications, internships and other hands-on learning experiences.
  • We will increase counseling supervision and support, as well as add 15 college and career counselors in our high schools who will help students with college or career planning and access.

OUR PEOPLE

COMMITMENT: RECOGNIZE AND SUPPORT OUR TALENTED WORKFORCE

How we’re making that happen:

  • We’ve launched a weekly series, MNPS Voices, which highlights the incredible employees supporting our district.
  • Our employees deserve competitive compensation, so we’ve focused on increasing employee compensation by providing a three percent cost of living increase as well as step increases in the FY18 budget and a proposed a two percent cost of living and step increases for FY19 budget.
  • We increased substitute pay to improve availability for schools.
  • Salaries for our para-professionals, who assist teachers and work with some of our highest needs students, will increase by two pay grades in addition to the proposed cost of living increase in the FY19 budget.
  • Metro Schools is proud to have Dr. Cicely Woodard, Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year, as a teacher at West End Middle School.  In addition, our community partners have funded our Blue Ribbon Teacher program, which will recognize 49 excellent educators in April.  The CMA has also selected 20 music educators as CMA Music Teachers of Excellence.

COMMITMENT: CREATE A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT WHERE PEOPLE FEEL VALUED AND RESPECTED

How we’re making that happen:

  • Dr. Joseph has hosted a series of Educator/Employee Voice Sessions (two series this year, totaling eight sessions) where employee can ask any question and share any grievances.
  • Monthly Out of the Box awards recognize employees who are always looking to meet the needs of others.
  • Employee newsletters and messages provide regular avenues for employees to hear important information and updates.

OUR ORGANIZATION

COMMITMENT: CREATING EXCELLENCE BY DESIGN

How we’re making that happen:

  • We’ve created and rolled out a Strategic Framework, complete with priority area goals, key performance indicators and project plans to support each area.

COMMITMENT: ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

How we’re making that happen:

  • We created an aspiring principal, new principal and assistant principal training cohort.
  • We’ve rolled out Arbinger Institute training to principals and supervisors to develop our leadership capacity.

OUR COMMUNITY

COMMITMENT: FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

How we’re making that happen:

  • We adopted a community quadrant model, which ensures each school will have resources specific to its community.
  • We’ve relaunched the Parent Advisory Council.

COMMITMENT: CREATE STRONG COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

How we’re making that happen

  • We’re leveraging our assets in Nashville to create strategic partnerships that provided a curriculum benefit to students, like our STEAM Advisory Council, which supports our middle school transformations.
  • Thanks to strong partners like the National Public Education Foundation, PENCIL, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, the Nashville Public Library and Metro Transit Authority, as well as hundreds of community, business and professional partners, students have access to more learning opportunities across the district.