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  • 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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  • Metro Schools Introduces Middle Preps with Community Tours

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 07, 2014

    Middle school is a pivotal time for students, both developmentally and educationally. Success in middle school lays the foundation for continued learning in high school and beyond. For the 2014-2015 school year, Metro Schools has introduced the "Middle Preps" model, which represents a new approach to teaching middle-school students that better prepares them for college and career.

    The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors are hosting four Middle Prep VIP Tours this 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.   

    Our first tour was last month at Isaac Litton Middle Prep. Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele discussed the district's vision and the middle school alignment, and Isaac Litton Principal Tracy Bruno discussed Isaac Litton's mission of being a first-choice STEM school. Finally, six excited student ambassadors led more than 50 business leaders, elected officials and realtors on an enlightening tour of their school.

    The guests witnessed fifth-graders working on pamphlets to combat childhood obesity; sixth-graders working with engineers to solve a stormwater ...

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    Category: Education
  • NashvilleNext to Examine Economic Development

    by Rita McDonald | Sep 16, 2014
    Middle Tennessee is growing rapidly, and smart, proactive planning is essential to managing that growth. The Nashville Area Chamber is a member of the NashvilleNext steering committee, a group leading a strategic planning process that will guide our city's growth through 2040.

    The NashvilleNext process will continue this month with a community conversation about economic development – how new jobs are created in our region, how we attract businesses to the region, and how quality of life helps Middle Tennessee remain economically competitive. Courtney Ross, the Chamber's chief economic development officer, will be the featured speaker.

    The meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 29, 5 p.m., at the Adventure Science Center. We hope you can be part of this important public discussion.

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    Category: General
  • Sophomore Shares Her Career Fair Experiences

    by Rita McDonald | Sep 11, 2014
    A Nashville 10th-grader told the Metro School Board Tuesday night that a visit to last year’s “My Future, My Way” Career Exploration Fair was her first step in discovering the range of careers open to young people who want to work in the entertainment industry.

    Jennifer Gomez is a student at the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communications at McGavock High School who hopes to study design and find work after high school which allows her to apply her creative skills. “The Exploration Fair was my first chance to really talk to people about doing design work in the real world,” Gomez told board members. “I learned a lot.” Her essay about her experiences at last year’s Career Exploration Fair won an award from Shoney’s and the Nashville Area Chamber.

    Gomez was joined by Shoney’s CEO David Davoudpour, whose company will be this year’s presenting sponsor for the event. “I’m happy to continue our participation for the fourth consecutive year,” said Davoudpour. “This event exposes high school freshmen to real career paths available in Middle Tennessee and motivates them to see the possibilities about their future goals, both in school and beyond. This also helps them to set their ...
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    Category: Education