Celebrating Tom Joy Elementary

Tom Joy Elementary: New Magnet Program Focuses on Digital Literacy and Leadership
Posted on 04/19/2022
students in STEM class

Tom Joy Elementary School has served its East Nashville neighborhood for 85 years. The small school that opened in 1937 on land once owned by Tom Joy Sr. and named for his son, Thomas H. Joy, is now a magnet program offering students focused instruction for digital literacy and leadership. Tom Joy student holding flowers in class

The school has built, and works to maintain, strong partnerships with students, families, and the community. Tom Joy believes this creates a positive school culture and helps the faculty and staff respond to students’ physical, emotional and social needs.  

“Education is a partnership that includes parents, students and our staff. We know that learning together and from each other is one of the most powerful ways to learn and build a better place for our students,” says Sandra Moorman, Tom Joy’s principal.  

Tom Joy’s staff ensures Every Student is Known by implementing two components of a high-performing school – data meetings and weekly grade-level planning meetings.  

Using an in-house developed data tracker, the Tom Joy staff monitors attendance, behavior and student performance on assessments and screeners. General education, Exceptional Education and English Learner teachers, interventionists, and Gifted and Talented teachers review progress and adjust each student’s intervention plan with the input of the school’s psychologist. During this collaboration time, staff members discuss students’ strengths and areas for growth to determine if the correct steps are being taken on behalf of each student.  

Students in STEM class

Teachers collaborate on weekly plans that consider their students’ specific and varied needs. While all students work on rigorous and interesting tasks, they do so with the help of supports planned by their teachers for each child.

Giving students what they need to complete tasks not only helps build confidence, but it also moves them from dependent to independent learners.  The school’s motto, “Where Learning is a Joy,” is reflected in the joy students show when they have mastered a skill and the pride their teachers feel in seeing students grow and achieve.  

But academic work is not all that Tom Joy offers. Students have many opportunities to develop leadership skills and to participate in extracurricular activities.

Reward days allow students to use points earned for special treats and events. Competitions like the Science Olympiad; National Scripps Spelling Bee; Think, Create and Invent; Super Bowl Lexia Challenge, and the March Madness in Reading all combine education and fun, and students also enjoy participating in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) expeditions, 4-H and other clubs, and STEM activities. Tom Joy also has a chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society.  

In 2021, Tom Joy was chosen for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant. This grant will provide $14.6 million over five years to implement its digital literacy and leadership theme to provide additional opportunities to current students and attract new students.  

Facts about Tom Joy

  • Its mascot is the Tiger
  • School colors are blue and gold
  • The current building opened in 1989, with an addition in 2003.

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