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VOL. 42 | NO. 1 | Friday, January 5, 2018

Metro scheduled to launch five elementary magnet schools in 2018

By Linda Bryant

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Metro Nashville Public Schools will have a full plate in 2018, with much of it aimed at continuing to improve student performance and parent satisfaction.

Thanks to a highly competitive $15.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, MNPS will create five more elementary magnet schools (grades K-4) for the 2018-19 school year.

Also on the horizon: AP courses in all middle schools, changing all of them to STEAM-based curriculum. [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics areas of study]

“These magnet programs will support the district’s goal of delivering and providing access to high quality instruction for all students,” says Michelle Michaud, school spokeswoman. “Each school will provide students with exciting, rigorous thematic educational opportunities that allow for hands-on, real-world, research-based learning using STEAM-focused curriculum.”

Each new middle school has a specialty, so parents and students can pick and choose what’s most important to them and attend with a voucher. Students will be able to ride for free on Metro buses to any school in the district.

“We also have a coalition of folks, including Mayor Barry, MNPS and NPEF (Nashville Public Education Foundation), working together to raise literacy rates for children by third grade,” Michaud adds. “This is a first-time ever endeavor and a recognition that it takes a village to accomplish this task.’’

MNPS is hosting its annual School Choice Festival Monday, Jan. 23 from 5-7 p.m. at The Fairgrounds. Representatives of all Metro Schools come together to share the programs and services they offer for students to meet a variety of interests, talents and needs.

The 2018-19 school choice application process begins Jan. 10, and the application deadline will be Feb.2.

This year’s festival takes place after the optional school’s application has been released.

Many families move during winter break, so this change will allow more time for families to prepare for the application process. At the event, families may visit with as many school representatives as they like, meet teachers, learn more about school programs and sign-up for school tours.

“We are trying to attract middle class families to attend public school again because without diversity we cannot have equity,” Michaud says.

Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Shawn Joseph says 2018 will be about deepening the “culture of collaboration” at MNPS.

“We will continue to empower our people through professional growth and shared accountability – all of this to promote active student engagement and consistent improvement in academic achievement so that they will realize our goal of exceeding great expectations,” Joseph says.

Here are MNPS descriptions of the new elementary magnet programs.

Inglewood Elementary School

An Environmental Sciences STEAM Magnet

Inglewood Elementary engages students through critical thinking, collaboration and communication in a warm, demanding environment. Our unique approach to learning ensures every student experiences integrated instruction specializing in the environmental sciences.

Quarterly STEAM challenges provide students with the opportunity to design potential solutions to real world environmental issues through literacy, math, science and social studies.

Solutions are developed utilizing the engineering design process and abundant technology. We partner with scientists from Vanderbilt University, the University of West Virginia, the American Alliance for Innovative Systems and various community experts to provide learning experiences in the classroom, in the STEAM lab, and in the field.

STEAM is further enhanced through enrichment opportunities including a musical band, art studio, onstage performances, STEAM enrichment clubs, creative after-school care, multimedia Maker Space and a hydroponic greenhouse.

Rosebank STEAM Magnet

Integrated Technology and Biological Sciences

Students will engage in hands-on, immersive and experiential learning opportunities that will develop investigation, research and procedural skills. Students will develop STEAM-focused technology and coding skills, achieve mastery of science content, and improve their informational writing skills.

Partnerships with Vanderbilt University’s Center for Science Outreach, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Nashville Zoo will expand students’ knowledge and interest in scientific processes in the biological sciences.

Warner Elementary

An Arts Magnet

The school’s revitalized arts program will add new disciplines and content to the arts curriculum and integrate arts into core subject instruction to help students build skills in critical thinking communication, collaboration, and creativity. Warner will foster strong partnerships within the Music City community to provide unique instructional and enrichment experiences to students in a diversity of arts disciplines not currently offered in other MNPS elementary schools.

Enhancements to the arts program include a dance studio equipped with mirrors, flooring and ballet bars; individualized music instruction (piano, percussion and string instruments), and an art studio equipped with easels, pottery wheel and kiln. In addition, students will have the opportunity to learn about video production by creating their own daily newscasts.

Whitsitt Elementary

An Environmental Engineering STEAM Magnet

The program will provide students with in-depth exposure to environmental engineering through a new thematic curriculum integrated across core content areas. Enhanced related-arts curricula and a new engineering class, enrichment activities, outdoor lessons, field trips and clubs, and partnerships with local organizations with expertise in science and engineering will provide real-world connections for students.

Each grade level will incorporate project-based applications of STEAM concepts and skills using the research-based Engineering is Elementary curriculum as a foundation. The school will work with the Adventure Science Center in the areas of environmental sciences, physics and engineering, and with Vanderbilt University’s Department of Engineering where students will learn to code robots to perform simple functions.

Early College High School program at Middle College High School

Metro Schools introduces a new Early College High School program at Middle College High School for the 2018-19 school year. Admitted students can fast track their college plans or begin building a career by simultaneously earning a high school diploma and college associate’s degree in just four years – and at no cost to families.

The program will offer a rigorous curriculum providing higher education and industry partnership experiences for students. The application process is open to current 8th graders who will enter high school as 9th graders in the 2018-19 school year. A total of 100 seats are open for qualified applicants. Students will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the school.

Glencliff Elementary School

An Entrepreneurship STEAM Magnet

Students will participate in STEAM project-based learning modules in order to instill an entrepreneurial mindset that fosters innovation, risk-taking, and perseverance. The school’s goal is to prepare students for careers that do not yet exist as well as develop 21st century skills – creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

Entrepreneurial design will be integrated through the use of interdisciplinary thematic curriculum building a foundation within the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math. Students will utilize an innovation lab and launch simulation as they work through the design process.

Students will learn from partners, entrepreneurs, innovators and other professionals who share the entrepreneurial mindset within the STEAM industry. Students will have time throughout the program to develop their own ideas, build on skills that are most challenging to them, work with specialists to enrich their learning, and dig deeper into their projects.

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