Celebrating MNPS Virtual School

Virtual School Class of 2021
MNPS Virtual School: As Many Locations as Students, But One Community
Posted on 01/28/2022
MNPS Virtual School graduates

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to adapt to virtual learning, MNPS made that option available to students and families who find it works best for them. Virtual School student

In July of 2011, Tennessee's General Assembly passed the Virtual Public Schools Act, which allowed the creation, operation and accreditation of a public online school for the first time in Tennessee history. MNPS Virtual School launched a month later and was recognized as Tennessee’s first public virtual school. 

MNPS Virtual School is housed in the historic Cohn School building in Nashville's Sylvan Park neighborhood. This offers an innovative school space where teachers, staff, students and parents can interact when they need to be together in person. The school serves 4th through 12th grades, with 300 full-time and 1,000 part-time students.

The school has intentionally shifted towards creating community, building relationships and fostering a sense of belonging at a distance, earning the prestigious AdvancED accreditation status while taking a statewide leadership role in the virtual learning space. These distinctions, among other honors, led to a significant surge in part-time enrollment, with an all-time high of over 1,000 learners. 

Watch videos about the MNPS Virtual School and its students.

Facts about MNPS Virtual School 

  • Launched a district-wide "Summer Success Program" for students desiring to earn additional credits over the summer. Students participating in the program have earned nearly 1,000 credits. 
  • Opened the Thomas W. Hatfield Student Success Center, named after a distinguished MNPS employee-leader and Cohn High School graduate. Today, the Student Success Center is open daily for studying, tutoring, enrichment, coaching labs, social events and numerous other learning community uses. 
  • Attained National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility for our student-athletes - a distinctive achievement for a 100% online school. 
  • MNPS Virtual School received the MNPS 2021 Blitz Award for significant gains in attendance.  
  • The MNPS Virtual School Class of 2021 was recognized as the 10th graduating class with custom medals to commemorate the occasion. The graduating class of 2021 achieved the highest graduation rate in MNPS Virtual School history with a completion rate of more than 96%. Virtual school students and families at fun day

Making sure Every Student is Known is essential to any school environment, but particularly in the online space. Ensuring teachers and students feel appreciated and valued at a distance is vital. This year MNPS Virtual School increased intervention efforts during Personalized Learning Time to create more opportunities for numeracy and literacy focus and enrichment opportunities. 

Due to the Sown to Grow initiative, more students are sharing their reflections this year. The use of Sown to Grow has been a meaningful change for the student population in terms of Social and Emotional Learning support. Students’ needs are met more quickly and with on-demand assistance. Also, the Virtual School has launched monthly student clubs based on interests. A formal student government organization is up and running, and quarterly virtual awards ceremonies celebrate student achievement. 

“Serving as the executive principal of MNPS Virtual School is an incredible honor! I have the best students, a world-class team and families passionate about education,” says Dr. Kelby Garner. “As we enter 11 years of online learning success, one cannot help but feel gratitude and excitement. I am grateful for the families we serve and the top-notch team of educated professionals who work alongside me daily. I am hopeful for what the future holds for MNPS Virtual School.” 

Celebration of Schools

Join us in celebration of Metro Schools, our students, our educators and staff. Each day we're featuring a new school, highlighting programs, sharing histories and celebrating their unique offerings.

Read previous features on the Celebration of Schools page.

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