Academies Spotlight: Hunters Lane High School

Experience MNPS Through the Academies of Nashville at Hunters Lane High School
Posted on 10/05/2022
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Student with pink hair working at Mac computer in design class

Ethan Hansen wears many hats at Hunters Lane High School; you’d be hard-pressed to find something he isn’t involved with. He has been with MNPS for 10 years and is a Hunters Lane academy coach, as well as the athletic director and coach for tennis, golf and bowling – a sport for each season. 

When you ask him what makes Hunters Lane so great, Hansen will briefly mention the most famous alums, such as Waffle House hero James Shaw or Brandon Curry, 2019 Mr. Olympia. Then he will smile and take his time to brag about the many students he's seen come through Hunters Lane’s Academy programs who are now attending great law schools, helping save lives at Ascension Saint Thomas and bettering their communities.

Hunters Lane, one of the 12 MNPS high schools that offer the Academies of Nashville, boasts four Academies for students to choose from. They offer 10 pathways of focus, allowing the school's almost 1,600 students to develop new skills, find their strengths and create their own learning experiences. This empowers them to make informed decisions on their professional future after graduation.

"It gives me so many opportunities,” senior Ailene Garcia said.

Four Academy Programs

  • Freshman Academy (required for every freshman)
  • Academy of International Baccalaureate, Health and Human Services
  • Academy of Design & Technology
  • Academy of Hospitality, Marketing and Business

Now 15 years old, the Academies of Nashville is recognized as one of the nation's best college and career prep programs and is a model for educators across the country and around the world. Each Academy functions as a school within a school, with its own specialized teachers, assistant principal and counselor. They give students the control to build their own path to the future they seek, whether they want to pursue a career in digital arts, law, public safety, marketing or another field. student in health sciences class holding up a pickle the class dissected.

Critical to the success of the Hunters Lane Academies are the 45 community partners, ranging from the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America to Nossi College of Art and Nashville State Community College. Students have the opportunity to earn college credit through 19 dual credit courses and 10 specific industry certifications.

Hansen and the rest of the staff at Hunters Lane want to ensure all students take advantage of the opportunities offered in their programs and graduate career-ready with some college credit and/or certification.

Ailene Garcia is doing just that. The senior is also enrolled at Nashville State Community College, where she is taking advantage of the dual enrollment opportunity that is part of the Health and Human Services Academy.

“If you're in Health and Human Services Academy, you take Medical Assisting and Medical Terminology,” Garcia said. “These courses teach you everything you need to become a medical assistant. You can get your actual medical assistant’s license and go to work for clinics or doctors' offices."

Medical Assisting is Garcia's favorite class because of the interesting material and the hands-on learning.

Students who elect to take psychology at Hunters Lane also earn credit through dual enrollment at Nashville State Community College and ride the bus on Wednesdays to the college’s Madison Campus for class.

The Academies transforms the typical high school experience through structure and shared interests of students, teachers and business partners. Students collaborate and build meaningful relationships while learning and developing a skill set that is applicable to their chosen pathway and everyday life. student holding video camera

Yary Amaya is a senior at Hunters Lane and in her second year in the Academy of International Baccalaureate, Health and Human Services. She wants to go to Belmont University and study biochemistry.

"I feel like I've learned a lot through the Academy, not just academically, but things that can also be applied in all aspects of my life," Amaya said.

She appreciates the patience and effort her Academy teachers can give each student - providing a much more individualized education despite her school’s size.

"The teachers get to really know you and connect with you on another level that you wouldn't typically get,” Amaya said. “They know your schedule and the way you learn, so they alter the way they teach to the way you can better learn."

New to Hunters Lane this year is the Criminal Justice pathway, taught by Norkeisha Moore, a former dispatcher from the Metro Nashville Police Department. The school is also adding a Fine Arts pathway to the Academy of Design & Technology, which will incorporate visual arts, choir, band and theater into the Academy curriculum.

This year the school also has a lofty goal of getting all students CPR-certified – a skill Hansen believes everyone should possess. These certifications are free for students and provide an excellent knowledge base for them to build on and improve their skill set and marketability after graduation.

With all these options to meet their unique interests, students are excelling at Hunters Lane. Last year, seniors at the school received more than $8 million in scholarships. These students work diligently and succeed in their education while simultaneously discovering their capabilities and passions, thanks to the programs and partners established by the Academies of Nashville.

ROTC student saluting teacher

When you ask Hunters Lane students what makes their school unique, they'll tell you it's the patient and energetic teachers and staff, like Dr. Richard Roberts or Ms. Janna Tolle. When you ask the teachers, you’ll hear something different.

They'll say it's the students, like Ailene Garcia and Yary Amaya.

Academies of Nashville at Hunters Lane High School

Freshman Academy

All 9th-grade students begin in Freshman Academy. In Freshman Seminar, students plan for life after high school and learn about the career pathways offered at Hunters Lane.

The other three Academies offer a total of 10 pathways.

Academy of Design & Technology

  • Digital Arts and Design
  • Academy of Hospitality, Marketing and Business
  • Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing Management

Academy of International Baccalaureate, Health and Human Services

  • Criminal Justice & Correction Services
  • Sports and Human Performance
  • IB Diploma Programme
  • Leadership in Government (JROTC)
  • Early Childhood Education Careers (Pre-K-4)
  • Therapeutic Services
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