Schools of Innovation
What is a school of innovation?
Schools with infinite potential ARE looking for people like you
MNPS' Schools of Innovation are elementary, middle and high schools in all areas of the district that are at pivotal moments in their school's history. These schools are home to unique programs and targeted support that make them meaningful places to work and learn. They need educators who are committed to continue the hard work of improvements currently under way.
Warner Elementary School has a compost program implemented with Kroger
Maplewood High School houses a state-of-the-art automotive shop completely run by students
Robert Churchwell Elementary showcases local museum exhibits with the help of their student docents
And these schools aren’t alone. Each School of Innovation has similar rigorous academic programs that inspire students and create a unique school personality. In the next few years MNPS’ Schools of Innovation are implementing some of the most visionary reform strategies in the nation and you can be a part of the turnaround efforts at these schools, either as a family, community partner or school employee. Walk in and take a tour – see all that these schools have to offer.
Shape the Future
Metro Schools is looking for highly effective teachers with a passion for education and a go-getter spirit to help us implement these reform strategies to become the highest performing urban district in the nation. You can help shape the future of these students, these schools and the future of Nashville. Check out the Schools of Innovation - take a tour, volunteer or apply to join a community of educators with a passion for building opportunity for all.
Our Schools of Innovation
To apply, visit www.mnps.org/mnps-careers and search for career opportunities at one of these schools. Metro Nashville’s Schools of Innovation are accepting applications for teachers in all subjects, especially critical shortage areas of bilingual/ESL, mathematics, science, special education, and the arts for the 2019-2020 school year. Applicants are eligible for bonuses.
NEWS FROM THE SCHOOLS OF INNOVATION
PEARL-COHN ENTERTAINMENT MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL
Through hard work and support from 40 Community Achieves partners and 27 Academy partners, Pearl-Cohn has turned a tough corner. The end result was improvement. Pearl-Cohn earned a TVAAS Level 5 in growth and, for a school that has struggled with literacy, was the No. 2 high school showing growth in English III scores. Today, Pearl-Cohn High School has exited the state’s priority-designation list.
The Pearl-Cohn story was much different three years ago. After being identified as a priority-designated school in the fall of 2014, which placed the school at the bottom 5% of schools across the state of Tennessee, administrators knew they would have their work cut out in turning things around.
Like most inner-city high schools, Pearl-Cohn struggled with student absenteeism, high teacher turnover and funding inequities which presented its share of challenges serving a high economically-disadvantaged, racially isolated population of students. In tackling those challenges, the school principal started with a critical look at their leadership, including hers, and began to addresses gaps in systems, structures and processes. A clear profile for teacher quality was developed that targeted purpose-driven, collaborative, learner-oriented educators who were committed to moving the work. And move it, they did.
“I became determined to open our doors with the best teachers I could find in every classroom,” said Dr. Sonia Stewart, Executive Director of Organizational Development for Metro Nashville Public Schools and former principal of Pearl-Cohn. “I learned a clear lesson during the first three weeks on the job: People matter.”
The school implemented strong instructional coaching and instructional design to support teachers. With a focus on literacy and math as the foundations for learning, the school doubled up on those classes to ensure students touched the content every single day. This was particularly beneficial for English classes, in which many high school students were not reading at grade level.
Teachers also expanded instructional support to students outside of the classroom creating Lunch and Learns, in which students and teachers ate together during their lunch hours and combined that time with tutoring. Through business support from a CAT Financial grant, the school was able to establish the FAST Program, or Firebird After-School Support and Tutoring, in which teachers were able to stay after school to help students who need extra support. Many teachers even gave up their planning blocks to work on very specific content with students. Every calculated effort to improve helped move the needle and even led to more engagement with families.
“The issues that confront our students are systemic. Research tells us that only 40 to 50% of a student’s long-term learning outcomes come from their school, the rest is from family and community,” Stewart said. “Until we as a society do something to decrease the weight of the ball and incline of the hill, the best we can hope for is that our educators ‘get stronger’ every year – and that is an unrealistic and complicated strategy. Systemic issues must be addressed for the sake of our kids.”
In just a short time, the school has been recognized nationally for its turnaround efforts. The Institute of Urban Schools named it as a model in urban education. In addition, Pearl-Cohn received a National Award of Excellence from the Coalition of Community Schools and hosted Edutopia as part of the “Schools that Work” series.
Now, when one walks into Pearl-Cohn High School, there is a lively environment that looks just like any other high school. Students congregate in the hallways, laughing with their friends as they transition to their next class. It is a school with a culture of care and sense of belonging for students – many of whom have had their share of academic and societal struggles. It is a vibrant place to learn and grow.
Our Continued Strategy for building strong schools
Our focus is on developing high performing leadership teams that provide sustainable, shared and targeted leadership with a clear instructional core that consistently uses data-based decision making.
We will provide a system of instructional supports including high-quality literacy and math curriculum, effective literacy and math coaching, and ensuring teachers focus on state-aligned literacy and math student work outcomes.
Student and Family Support
Implement a community-school partnership model that aligns community partners to school goals, and maximizes community resources to grow student, family and school success.
We will recruit and retain high quality teachers by prioritizing internal and external hiring strategies that support school-based leaders in using hiring practices that select high quality teaching candidates to fill vacancies. Additionally, Schools of Innovation will help principals monitor efficacy data and implement strategies to increase retention of high-quality teachers.