In fall 2007, Metro Nashville Public Schools began the restructuring its comprehensive high schools into smaller, more personalized learning environments. This district-wide high school redesign initiative was based on the small learning communities (SLC) model. SLCs include Freshman Academies, which allow for a smoother transition into high school, and Academies with a career or thematic focus. Academies prepare high school students for both college and career through a rigorous curriculum that incorporates the “real-world” relevance of a particular industry or themed interest.
The Chamber and the PENCIL Foundation have created five Partnership Councils that correspond to six broad industry areas: Arts, Media & Communications; Business, Marketing & Information Technology; Engineering, Manufacturing & Industrial Technology; Health & Public Services; and Hospitality & Tourism.
Chamber members can support high school academies by serving on an industry partnership council, speaking to a classroom of students belonging to an academy or hosting an academy teacher in order to help educators incorporate industry examples into their classrooms. In addition, each fall the Chamber partners with MNPS to organize an annual Career Exploration Fair to give high school freshmen the opportunity to meet adult volunteers working in specific industries and discuss the skills they will need to become successful in those professions.