Celebrating the Academy at Old Cockrill

Student holding a donut
Academy at Old Cockrill: Meeting Students Where They Are
Posted on 11/19/2021
Teacher and student at Old Cockrill

The Academy at Old Cockrill was founded in 2009 to be a non-traditional high school as part of the National Dropout Prevention Project under the direction of Bill Warren.   teacher and student in classroom

This school not only meets the Tennessee and MNPS graduation standards but also strives to assist students in all facets of their lives. Whether they are struggling with housing or food security, need general life advice, are looking for a job, plan to attend community college, or are looking for college scholarships, the Academy tries to assist them or find assistance for all of these and more. 

The school is part of the Simon Youth Foundation, which partners with school districts to help curb the dropout rate. SYF awards scholarships each year to high school students in every community that is home to a Simon mall, such as Nashville’s Opry Mills. 

The school’s mission is “to produce a safe environment in which students are inspired to achieve success through an individualized plan that leads to graduation. Our goal is to develop productive citizens and celebrate their success.” 

The Academy at Old Cockrill practices Every Student Known on a regular basis. They are a small school with a small student-to-teacher ratio and a social-emotional learning focus. Each student is given an interview before they choose to enroll where they meet at least one member of the school.

Once enrolled, students only have two classes per day with no more than a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio on average. Classes are 2.5 hours long, so the teachers become well acquainted with their students academically, socially, and emotionally. 

“We say to our students and staff every day, ‘We are a family, and remember, we love you, and there is nothing you can do about it!’ We want all students to feel accepted, be recognized, and have a sense of belonging,” Principal Debbie Booker said.


Fun Facts about the Academy at Old Cockrill

  • 1,475 students have graduated since 2009.  
  • The school’s building also houses the MNPS Hearing and Audiology departments. 
  • They celebrate students with a pizza party for doing well in class and gift cards for attendance.

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