Academies Spotlight: Cane Ridge High School

Experience MNPS : The Academies of Nashville at Cane Ridge High School
Posted on 10/26/2022
Three Cane Ridge students in school hallway

Katherine Galán dreams of a career in graphic design, and the Academy of Arts & Communication at Cane Ridge High School is helping her get there.

Cane Ridge student in front of school logo

“It has helped me learn how to communicate with people a lot more and how to express myself in every project that I do, and it has also helped me in my future college plans,” Galán says. “Everyone’s helping me reach my career as a graphic designer.”

Cane Ridge is one of the 12 MNPS high schools that offer the Academies of Nashville model, which combines rigor and relevance in exposing students to real-world career opportunities to help prepare them for college and career.

 The high school boasts five academies with nine career pathways that have contributed greatly to student success.

The Academies and Pathways

Freshman Academy

The Freshman Academy, for students who are just getting adjusted to high school and getting prepared for choosing their career academy. Once they choose it, they'll also select a pathway within that academy. The career academies and their pathways are: 

Arts & Communication
  • AV production
  • Visual arts
  • Digital arts and design
Architecture & Construction
  • Residential and commercial construction
  • Architecture and engineering design
  • Therapeutic services
  • Diagnostic services
  • Criminal justice
  • Pre-Law

Creating Learning Experiences for Students

Denise King, a 15-year veteran educator, has served as Cane Ridge’s academy coach for the past four years. She works with all five academies to create learning experiences and exposure for students as they explore careers and prepare for college and/or career after high school.

Three Cane Ridge HS students posing for portrait

King said Cane Ridge is intentional in developing programs that fit students’ needs through the school’s business and community partners as well as colleges and universities.

“So those partners come in and talk to our students, work with our students and help them to be prepared for whatever path these students choose after graduation,” she said.

“Our 10th grade students, for example, attend a field trip that is related to their industry. In the 11th grade, they go on the job shadow. And as seniors, they will do an internship, work-based learning or capstone project where they can do a deeper dive into that career that they are wanting to seek after high school."

Student Confidence, Patience and Resilience

Galán and other Cane Ridge seniors said learning and working in the academies has given them the confidence to try new things and take on interesting challenges.

“One thing my architecture and construction academy has taught me as a student is to always believe in what you do,” said Dalhat Mohammed. 

Cane Ridge construction academy

“And I say this because with all our assignments we do all the buildings, floor plans, there’s never a wrong answer to do, especially in our custom projects. Everything is on your own. You can do it however you want, and nobody is here to tell you, oh, it's ugly or not. And it always just helps me to believe that, even if other people think it's ugly, at least I know to my extent that it's good.”

Broadening Horizons

Galán’s fellow academy classmate, Randan Mounivong, said he chose the arts and communication academy, specifically the AV production pathway, because he wants to broaden his horizons.

“I'm not good with technology or anything, but I wanted to give it a try. Maybe I like it or just maybe to say that I can do something. This academy has also taught me a lot about patience. And my teacher, Mr. Sean Price, is phenomenal, and most of his work is self-paced. Now, obviously if you're not doing the work, that’s different. But if you don't get something, he's willing to take the time until you get it,” Mounivong said.

“And that has helped me a whole lot, like working with new people, particularly when I’m training somebody, I know they have to be patient, and Mr. Price would give me key tips on how to do that and guide people because they learn differently.”

Price said the students he’s worked with in the Academy of Arts & Communication have shown impressive know-how and resilience during difficult times.

“I am particularly proud of our students’ efforts during the pandemic,” he said. “In spite of the instruction limitations provided during COVID, these students did something that no generation has ever been asked to do, and they did it with aplomb, and most importantly, they got through it. These kids are absolutely remarkable.

“In the case of Katherine Galán, for example, she had a better junior year than her sophomore year, and to see what she’s doing this year, it’s extraordinary.”

The success the academies at Cane Ridge have achieved over the years is also due in part to the support of several community partners. One of those collaborations is with Davidson County Juvenile Court, a key partner of the Academy of Law for more than 10 years.

“We look forward to continuing this great partnership, particularly with job shadowing and the experiential learning opportunities, and I know that the students will continue to do great work,” said Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway.

“I absolutely know that if a child is not connected to their school or doesn't feel a part of something in their school that there's a stronger likelihood they will end up on the wrong side of the school and on the wrong side of the law. And so, a motivating factor for us to continue to work with Cane Ridge and the Academy is that it gives the students an absolute fresh experience with education.”

Featured News
Experience MNPS,Academies of Nashville,Career and Technical Education,High Schools