New Collaboration with Vanderbilt University at John Early Middle School

New Lab School is Coming to John Early Middle
Posted on 04/24/2024
John Early Student

John Early student

Metro Nashville Public Schools is thrilled to announce plans to establish a lab school at John Early Museum Magnet Middle School, a pioneering educational initiative created in collaboration with Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of education and human development, recently ranked as the 5th best education school in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

"The establishment of a lab school at John Early Museum Magnet marks a significant step forward in our commitment to providing high-quality, research-driven education to our students," said Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools. "This collaboration with Vanderbilt Peabody College will not only transform the educational landscape at John Early but also set a new standard for public school collaboration with higher education."

Located in North Nashville, the lab school at John Early will aim to harness the academic and research excellence of Vanderbilt to enhance the educational experiences of John Early’s middle school students. MNPS selected John Early due to its positive academic trajectory and the unique high school pathways available to its students. This collaboration will build on John Early’s gains in growth and achievement and will focus on rigorous academics and STEAM programming, preparing students for success in high-performing high schools and beyond, with implementation and training to occur in phases over the upcoming three school years.

Program Highlights

  • Direct Academic Pathways: Students at John Early will have direct pathways to Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School and Pearl-Cohn High School, including specialized academies like the Academy of Health Science and Personal Care.
  • Enhanced Learning Opportunities: The collaboration includes high-dosage, intensive tutoring in math, professional development for teachers, and unique learning experiences on Vanderbilt's campus.
  • Community and Career Focus: The program also hopes to offer community courses and career pathways, exploring opportunities for community members to access further education and career advancement.
  • Curriculum Innovation: Vanderbilt will collaborate with MNPS to design and implement enhanced academic and instructional supports for all students and opportunities for learning acceleration, ensuring John Early students are well-prepared for their academic futures.

“Vanderbilt has long been committed to leveraging our expertise to benefit our community, and this deepening of our relationship with MNPS is an outstanding opportunity to do just that,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “As an institution that believes deeply in the power of education to transform lives and unlock potential, we are excited about the insights and impact this partnership will make possible for the practitioners at John Early, for our faculty at Peabody, and especially, for the students and families touched by the lab school’s work.”

"The lab school at John Early will put transformative discoveries about education into practice. Whether we are connecting with our community a few miles down the road or thousands of miles across the globe, we always welcome the opportunity to engage with teachers and students to advance educational attainment. In the years ahead, we look forward to celebrating the impact of the lab school with our MNPS colleagues and the students and families at John Early,” said Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt Peabody College.

About the Collaboration

The lab school at John Early will continue to operate as an MNPS school, with its staff remaining MNPS employees. Vanderbilt’s role will complement existing structures, focusing on enhancing educational quality and student support without altering the fundamental governance of the school.

This innovative lab school model is designed to be a leading example of how public education and higher education can work together to produce outstanding educational outcomes.

A History of Recent Collaboration

In 2021, Peabody College and MNPS established the Nashville Partnership for Educational Equity Research (Nashville PEER), a research-practice partnership focused on advancing the district's core commitment to identify and eliminate educational inequities. Additionally, through the Collaborative for STEM Education and Outreach (CSEO), Vanderbilt supports several educational programs and initiatives to strengthen STEM education in K-12 schools by bringing together university scientists, K-12 educators and students, and the broader community.

For example, the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV) offers qualified MNPS high school students a four-year, interdisciplinary, research-centered learning experience on Vanderbilt’s campus, where they engage with internationally recognized faculty who are leading the way in diverse fields of scientific study. Similarly, Day of Discovery offers MNPS middle school students immersive experiences in research-based STEM curriculum at educational sites across Nashville. In prior years, Vanderbilt also offered leadership development support through the Principals Leadership Academy of Nashville (PLAN).

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