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  • Education Committee Wraps Up the School Year

    by Rita McDonald | May 28, 2015

    The Chamber’s Education Committee recently held their final meeting of the 2014-2015 school year on a positive note.

    Members heard an update from School Board Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry about the search for a new director of schools, who will replace outgoing director Dr. Jesse Register. Gentry shared the timeline for the board's interview process; the board's goal is to appoint the next director by July 23. She also answered committee members' questions about the qualifications for the ideal candidate. Gentry clearly stated that we need a person with great management skills; someone who exemplifies continuity and follow-up and who could execute the MNPS strategic plan.

    Committee members also heard an update from the education subcommittee, a small group that works with school and city officials to monitor the implementation progress of the recommendations from the Chamber’s annual Education Report Card. The subcommittee was happy to share that report card recommendations are being monitored and action items are in place.

    Education Committee members are volunteer leaders in the Chamber’s multi-year strategy to improve K-12 public schools. Special thanks to committee chair Becky Kantz, The Leading Edge, and subcommittee chair Derrick Free, Lipscomb University, for their leadership this year.

    We will ...

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    Category: Education
  • Academies of Nashville Awards Recognize Outstanding Public Education

    by Rita McDonald | May 19, 2015
    Last night, the accomplishments of our outstanding public schools, teachers, administrators and business partnerships took center stage at the fifth annual Academies of Nashville Awards, sponsored by Altria, Interior Design Services, Deloitte, Dollar General and the Memorial Foundation. More than 300 educators and business partners attended the awards show to celebrate the progress and success in Metro's 12 zoned high schools and MNPS Virtual School.

    MNPS launched the Academies of Nashville in 2006; the program has been instrumental in improving attendance and graduation rates. Academies programs have developed partnerships with more than 375 area businesses, and those partners have donated in excess of $9.2 million and more than 100,000 volunteer hours to work with students since 2010.

    A committee composed of school district, Nashville Area Chamber and PENCIL Foundation leadership selected nominees for each of the 15 categories. More than 300 educators and business partners voted for a nominee in each category through an online ballot.

    Congratulations to our 2015 winners!

    Academy Partnership of the Year: Media & Communications Partnership Council – Audio Engineering Society and the Academy of Entertainment Communications, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

    Academy Partnership of the Year: Marketing & IT Partnership Council – Fifth Third Bank ...

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    Category: Education
  • A Day in the Life at DuPont Hadley Middle Prep

    by Rita McDonald | Apr 06, 2015

    Our final Middle Prep VIP tour for the school year at DuPont Hadley Middle on April 1 ended with a bang. More than 50 attendees were welcomed by the school band, entertained by a guitarist, observed project-based learning activity from students and were dazzled with a selection by the chorus as the tour kicked off.

    The DuPont Hadley Middle mission statement is "challenging, developing, encouraging." As the guests toured the building, they saw examples of how each student is challenged, developed and encouraged by viewing "a day in the life" at DuPont Hadley.

    • Fifth grade – VIPs sat in on a meeting of the school's Bridge Club, where students sharpen their math skills by playing the classic card game. This club is supported by volunteers from the Vanderbilt University Bridge Club.
    • Sixth grade – Guests experienced the theme "To Proficiency and Beyond" via a project-based learning experience where students used a green screen to create a broadcast featuring weather forecasts and news stories.
    • Seventh grade – The tour group visited a literacy class where students were posting their work on a blog and receiving instant feedback from their teacher.
    • Eighth grade – Attendees observed an algebra class whose students were ...
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    Category: Education
  • VIPs Get Inside Look At H.G. Hill Middle Prep

    by Rita McDonald | Mar 05, 2015

    Some clichés about middle school students are hard to resist. Middle school kids are, in fact, young people in various stages of puberty. Often the height differential between tallest and shortest seems best measured in feet versus inches. But a single afternoon at H.G. Hill Middle Prep proves other clichés – unexpressive teens with downcast eyes, shuffling between classes just waiting for school to be dismissed – absolutely untrue.

    Earlier this week, more than 50 guests participated in a VIP tour of H.G. Hill, co-sponsored by the Nashville Area Chamber and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. This tour – the third in a series of four designed to highlight the transformational work occurring within MNPS middle schools – focused on project-based learning and extracurricular activities. Guests were greeted in the school’s parking lot by eighth-graders, welcomed at the front doors by fifth-graders, and entertained before the formal program by an all-student rock band. Remarks by Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register and Chief Academic Officer Jay Steele acknowledged that middle school has long received a bad rap and traditionally has been a time of departure of students from MNPS. But that trend is changing with the introduction of a ...

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  • Community Feedback Guides City Planning

    by Rita McDonald | Jan 16, 2015
    As Metro Nashville/Davidson County continues to create new jobs and welcome an influx of new residents, city planners are relying on community feedback to proactively plan our growth over the next 25 years. NashvilleNext is a long-term strategic planning process that aims to lay the groundwork for our city's future so we can maintain our quality of life and economic success.

    As part of the process, NashvilleNext planners held a series of neighborhood meetings to present various aspects of the plan and collect input from residents, eventually amassing more than 15,000 comments and directions. Informed by this citizen response, planners created a "preferred future," which summarizes the first two years of work on NashvilleNext by outlining a possible direction for growth and preservation in Nashville and Davidson County over the next 25 years. This "preferred future" will help align Metro spending, regulations and programming with the community values identified during the public meetings.

    Now, NashvilleNext is asking Nashvillians: "Did we get it right?" Review the video introduction to the "preferred future" below, then take a brief survey by Jan. 23 to indicate how important various aspects of the plan are to you.

    As a member of the NashvilleNext steering committee, ...
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    Category: General
  • J.F. Kennedy Middle Prep Impresses VIP Tour Guests

    by Rita McDonald | Nov 04, 2014
    The Nashville Area Chamber, Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors are hosting four Middle Prep VIP Tours in the 2014-2015 school year to introduce the redesigned Middle Preps to the community, and to share how the schools' vision, mission and values are aligned with the MNPS Strategic Plan. We recently held our second tour at J.F. Kennedy Middle Prep. Principal Sam Braden discussed the focus of the school, which is teaming/music. After the briefing, seven student ambassadors led more than 40 business and community leaders, elected officials and realtors on an informative tour of their school.

    Guests witnessed students engaged in all classes; they were amazed to see sixth-grade math classes adding and subtracting algebraic equations. Our VIP tour participants were further astounded to see students immersed in a simulated "Black Friday Fun Day," where they calculated sales tax and discounts.

    As the group moved on to a physical science class, guests were impressed with the students in their lab coats as they created "elephant toothpaste," an experiment demonstrating a chemical reaction of yeast and hydrogen peroxide. Before exiting J.F. Kennedy, VIPs were wowed by the music department. The fifth- and sixth-grade choir sang an ...
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    Category: Education
  • Freshman Career Exploration Fair Helps Guide Students' Futures

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 30, 2014

    This week, more than 7,000 Metro freshmen converged at the Music City Center for the annual "My Future, My Way" Career Exploration Fair. Presented by Shoney's, the fair is an opportunity for students to connect with business volunteers, participate in hands-on activities, and learn more about various career choices and the educational pathways associated with reaching their career goals. It also helps students begin to think about what career academies they might choose for the remainder of their high school career.

    In preparation for the career fair, students completed career exploration research, guided by their teachers. They also learned about professional dress, behavior and resume writing. Students also participate in a follow-up essay contest to reinforce what they’ve learned and to help them continue to think regularly about their career aspirations.

    The CEO Champions, a group of local business leaders who serve as public supporters of the Academies of Nashville, had a special meeting at the Music City Center on the day of the career fair, followed by a tour of the exhibit hall. Their enthusiasm and positive feedback about the interaction between the students and business partners helped underscore what makes the career fair such a special opportunity for ...

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    Category: Education
  • Previewing Nashville's Future

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 23, 2014
    City planners project that about 185,000 new residents and 326,000 jobs will come to Davidson County by 2040. How do we proactively prepare for that growth and lay the groundwork for a better future? That's the question the NashvilleNext process seeks to answer by collecting input throughout our communities.

    Throughout this past summer, NashvilleNext conducted a series of 25 public discussions where Nashvillians could review three possible "futures" - ways our city and county can grow and thrive over the next two and a half decades. The three futures were assessed for their impact on the most important values Nashvillians identified in the community meetings.

    Planners have used the public input to create a "preferred future" which will be unveiled to the public Thursday, Oct. 30. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. at Rocketown (601 Fourth Ave. S.). Or attend one of these other upcoming meetings for information and to share your input:
    • Monday, Nov. 3 – Whites Creek High School, 6 p.m.
    • Thursday, Nov. 6 – Hillwood High School, 6 p.m.
    • Monday, Nov. 10 – McGavock High School, 6 p.m.
    • Thursday, Nov. 20 – Southeast Library Complex (at the Global Mall), 6 p.m.

    As a member of the ...
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    Category: General
  • Chamber, MNPS Announce Date of 2015 Academies of Nashville Awards

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 14, 2014
    The Nashville Area Chamber and Metro Nashville Public Schools have set Monday, May 18, as the date for the 2015 Academies of Nashville Awards. The fifth annual event will recognize the outstanding teachers, principals, schools and business-school partnerships in Metro high schools that comprise the Academies of Nashville (Antioch, Cane Ridge, Glencliff, Hillsboro, Hillwood, Hunters Lane, Maplewood, McGavock, Overton, Pearl-Cohn, Stratford, Virtual School and Whites Creek).

    Next April, hundreds of educators and business partners will vote for the award winners in 15 categories. All winners will be announced at the invitation-only awards dinner in May. For highlights from the 2014 Academies of Nashville Awards, see the video embedded below.

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    Category: Education
  • Chamber Leader Discusses Economic Development Priorities

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 08, 2014
    Economic development, a top priority of the Nashville Area Chamber, was the topic of the most recent NashvilleNext community conversation. Chamber Chief Economic Development Officer Courtney Ross was the keynote speaker, sharing how the economic development process works in Davidson County. Ross introduced her presentation with a definition from the International Economic Development Council: “Economic development is improving the economic well-being of a community through efforts that entail job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements and quality of life.”

    Growing our economy has emerged as the third-highest community priority during the NashvilleNext process, behind affordable living and transit. Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s success in creating jobs is the result of how the needs of clients – both already doing business here and those new to our area – are met as they look at land and real estate options, transit options, workforce/talent inventory, the quality of K-12 education and quality of place. You can watch a video of the complete community conversation below.

    It is clear that efforts to grow our economy require strong foundations in land use planning and zoning policy and the areas listed above as client needs. The Chamber, working with a variety of local and regional ...
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