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President Barack Obama Visits McGavock High School, praises school, students, teachers, district

Greeted by a crowd of hundreds of students, teachers, district administrators, city officials and more, President Barack Obama praised the hard work of Metro Schools students and teachers while also giving a full endorsement of the work being done here.

The President spent a great deal of time talking about the Academies of Nashville, saying, “Over the past nine years, the graduation rate here has gone up 22 percent — 22 percent. Last year, attendance across the district, which includes 12 academy high schools, was higher than ever. Thousands of students are getting a head start on their future years before many of their peers do. And it’s great for businesses because they’re developing a pool of workers who already have the skills that they’re looking for.”

Metro Schools Earns Good Grades, is in the Top 27% of Districts Statewide

Metro Nashville Public Schools is celebrating our students’ progress, as reflected in the State Report Card, which assigns letter grades. The district earned three B's and an A in Value Added, which is cause for celebration because they represent the most important attribute: growth.

These scores placed Metro Schools in “Intermediate” status with the state and rank the district among the top 27% statewide.

“Our reforms are working and our teaching force is strong. The A and B’s we earned in value added are the result of that powerful combination,” said Dr. Jesse B. Register, director of schools. “The 6,000 educators in Metro Schools are due all the credit for this. This report card is reflective of their dedication to students. 

“We will keep pushing with the successful programs that have brought us this far and will not be satisfied until all students are achieving at high levels. With trend lines still heading up and our strategic plan Education 2018: Excellence for Every Student in place to become to highest performing urban district in the country, we will get there.”

Meigs Middle Magnet is a National Blue Ribbon School

For the third time in five years, Metro Nashville Public Schools has a National Blue Ribbon School added to its roster.

Meigs Middle Magnet School is one of just four schools in Tennessee, and 286 nationwide, to achieve this great honor from the U.S. Department of Education in 2013. It comes because of the heights Meigs’ students have reached in academic achievement:

  • 92.3% Proficient or Advanced in Math
  • 95.4% Proficient or Advanced in Reading / Language Arts
  • 94.8% Proficient or Advanced in Science
  • 99.7% Proficient or Advanced in Social Studies

“We are honored to be a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School,” said Meigs principal Dr. Scott Underwood. “This award validates the hard work of our teachers and students, as well as the ongoing support of our parents and Meigs community. Congratulations to all!” Meigs is an academic magnet school serving students in grades 5-8.

16 National Merit Finalists and 5 National Achievement Scholarship Winners in Metro Schools

Competing against 1.5 million students in the country, 16 Metro students are finalists for one of the most prestigious academic awards in the country, the National Merit Scholarship. They have scored among the highest in the state on the PreSAT. Nationwide, less than one percent of high school seniors become National Merit Finalists. Scholarship winners will be announced in May.

Five more Metro students have won the National Achievement Scholarship, given to African American students across the country based on P-SAT and SAT scores, high academic performance, an essay and a recommendation.

Adding Classrooms and Subtracting Portables at Metro Schools

There are currently two dozen renovation, expansion or new school projects happening all over the city thanks to capital improvement dollars from Nashville taxpayers. These projects update schools for modern needs, improve building conditions and add capacity so they can serve more students.

One such project completed this year was at A.Z. Kelley Elementary School in South Nashville, where students are enjoying 12 new classrooms: two first grade classrooms, two art rooms, four Special Education classrooms, one pre-K classroom and three second grade classrooms. When the new classrooms opened, students said “goodbye” to five portables on campus.

Adding classroom space like this is a wonderful thing for students in crowded schools with lots of portables. It’s possible thanks to hard work of the Board of Education, Metro Council and Mayor’s Office, not to mention the planning and construction crews who actually build it.

Transportation Department Sees Major Improvements in Service

Since restructuring last fall that led to changes in staff, systems and procedures, the Metro Schools Transportation Department has seen measurable improvements. Improved hiring, training and retention practices mean the district moved from 90 open routes in September 2013 to just six at year end. As a result, “route-sharing,” where drivers make more stops than scheduled on their regular routes to cover to absent drivers, has decreased 37% since Oct. 1, 2013.

Parents and students are already feeling the benefits:

  • The number of late morning buses has decreased 69% since Oct. 1, 2013.
  • The number of afternoon late buses has decreased 28% since Oct. 1, 2013.
  • Calls to Customer Service about transportation have fallen 36% when compared to the fall semester of 2012.
  • Late bus and other calls of concern to the Transportation Department have fallen 46% when compared to the same period in 2012.

Thanks to changes in the service area, turnaround time on most bus repairs has decreased from three weeks to just two days. As improvements continue, that data should stay on its upward trend. With a fleet of 653 buses transporting 45,000 students twice each day, the Transportation team will keep looking for more efficiencies and ways to improve services.