The Academies of Nashville are Metro Schools’ innovative approach to redesigning its 12 zoned high schools, impacting 15,000 students with the goal of preparing every graduate for college and an eventual career. Since their implementation in 2008, the Academies of Nashville have aligned local and state initiatives to provide a relevant context for learning and prepare every student for higher education and entry into the workforce.
The success of the academy model is strongly dependent on support from the entire community, especially local businesses. As a result, six Partnership Councils, with participation from more than 100 area companies, help guide the work of the academies and ensure they are maintaining a concentration on college and career readiness. The Academies of Nashville Partnership Councils are staffed and run by the Chamber as part of our overall public education initiatives.
Over the past two weeks, all six Partnership Councils convened for their final meetings of the 2011-2012 school year. Conversation at these meetings focused primarily on the topics of academy accreditation, student job shadowing and business engagement.
The National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) confers national certification upon “model academies” after a rigorous external review process. Several academies will try for NCAC certification within the next school year. One of the accreditation requirements is a method for helping students create and update personal portfolios. At the meetings, academy students demonstrated the portfolios they have developed and invited Partnership Council members to provide feedback.
Within the academy structure, it is so important for our students to see the practical application of the things they learn in school. Job shadowing is one of the best ways we can create this relevance. This benefits students by giving them hands-on experience and exposure to real workplace environments. The job-shadowing initiative is another example of the value of strong business support. Our Partnership Council members host Metro students for job shadowing and report back on successes and suggestions for improvement.
Each summer, the six councils also send recommendations to Metro Schools' leadership retreat. They provide information about the progress of business engagement and recommend any changes that need to happen to facilitate greater impact.
For photos from all six Partnership Council meetings, please click here.
For more information about the Academies of Nashville, please visit www.myacademyblog.com. Chelsea Parker, small learning communities program manager with MNPS, speaks as Lucia Folk with CMT looks on at the Arts, Media & Communications Partnership Council meeting.