Kevin Huffman, Tennessee commissioner of education, weighs in on the news saying, “We are excited to have a Tennessee district among the finalists for the Race to the Top-District grant. Metro Nashville is a strong contender to win this national award, and we wish them luck in the last stages of the competition.”
This just in! Metro Schools is one of 61 finalists in the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top District Competition. With $400 million in potential funding, this is a BIG deal! Grant recipients are expected to be announced by the end of 2012. Check out the USDE news release:
Technology is in our homes, at the grocery stores, doctor’s offices, athletic events, and - most importantly - waiting for our children in college and their future careers. For that reason, it's crucial that educational institutions teach students in a way that is relevant and trains them to use the tools that are ever-present in our daily lives.
When the National Alliance for Black School Educators (NABSE) and Promethean, a global education company, offered to donate more than $150,000 worth of classroom technology and professional development services our employees were ecstatic, and rightfully so. Those tools and that training will help our teachers work with students and begin to close the digital divide that exists between families with technology in their homes and those without.
At Napier Enhanced Option Elementary on Wednesday, the two organizations announced the donation that will help the 15 schools receiving technology and support. Schools will receive touch-screen interactive whiteboards, hand held student response devices, and educational software. Teachers will be trained on how to best use these new tools to increase student engagement and better lead interactive lessons.
Efforts to close the achievement gap at four Metro schools will soon get a financial boost from the Tennessee Department of Education. Amqui, Carter-Lawrence Magnet and Ruby Major elementary schools, as well as Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School will receive anywhere from $100,000 - $300,000 to support efforts to improve student learning across the board.
Music education is getting a big bookst at Lakeview & Oliver thanks to an influx of cash from the Nashville Singers.
These schools have been awarded the Music Makes a Difference Education Grant. It will fund a new chorus program at Oliver and help fund music classes at Lakeview.
From Oliver's Choral Music Teacher Franklin Willis:
The Oliver Middle School community advocates in the importance of music education in students' lives. Receiving this award not only serves as monetary gain to fund the new chorus program, but motivation to meet the challenge of engaging students in finding their own voice through music. It is truly an honor to be a recipient of the Nashville Singer's Music Makes a Difference Grant. I look forward to future collaborations with the Nashville Singers and the Oliver Middle School Chorus.
Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Office of Innovation has been named one of four organizations nationwide to receive a Performance Management, Replication and Closure (PMRC) Grant from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). The estimated value of the grant is more than $100,000, primarily in in-kind services.
“Being selected as one of just four cities nationwide shows the level of care and commitment surrounding school choices that is happening in Nashville,” said Alan Coverstone, executive director of the Office of Innovation. “We have proven, and continue to prove, our ability to offer traditional public schools, charter schools, and innovative schools. The key is to maintain oversight of all schools to ensure they are delivering what they’ve promised families.”
The grant will enable Metro Schools to increase the number of high performing schools, further develop tools that will assist the district in authorizing and renewing charter applicants, and expand educational opportunities for all students.
Metro Schools’ commitment to quality authorizing of charter schools and dedication to high performing schools increased its attractiveness to NACSA, ranking Nashville as one of the very best authorizers in the country. Two other organizations have been selected to receive the grant, with a fourth to be announced:
· Metro Nashville Public Schools,
· Ball State University, and
· Atlanta Public Schools.
Each grant recipient exhibits strong policies and procedures and large portfolios of high quality charter schools. All organizations have a complete collection of outstanding tools for making sure that only charter schools that will improve outcomes for students are authorized. Metro Schools, and the other organizations, will serve as working demonstrations of the very best of authorizing practices nationwide and will illustrate what NACSA has learned because of its commitment to quality.
Through the PMRC grant, Metro Schools will benefit from the expertise of Public Impact, a leader in the study of school turnaround, and Matthew Shaw, a nationally recognized expert in charter school financials. In partnership with Public Impact and Shaw, Metro Schools will develop clear academic, organizational and financial targets that charter schools must meet to renew the charter. Additionally, Metro Schools will receive training to establish internal review teams that will perform assessments in future years. The initial training for the internal review teams will take place March 28 as a webinar, with a full-day training following on April 26. The academic indicators and trained internal review teams will ensure that Metro Schools’ investments in charters results in greater educational opportunities for all students.
The district will enhance replication - replicating an existing charter school - and closure procedures to ensure both are in line with the NACSA Principles and Standards, which are considered the gold standard throughout the country. The grant has already begun to set Metro Schools apart as a national leader in charter school authorization.
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) is the trusted resource and innovative leader working with public officials and education leaders to increase the number of high-quality charter schools in cities and states across the nation. NACSA provides training, consulting, and policy guidance to authorizers and education leaders interested in increasing the number of high-quality schools and improving student outcomes.
Madison Middle School Media Center was awarded a $5,000 Back to School grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Robin Coutras, the Media Specialist, plans to use the money to create a virtual book club by purchasing e-Readers and e-Books. The rest of the money will be used for iPad2s loaded with educational apps to support learning in the classrooms.
LP Pencil Box and some Metro teachers are benefiting from the talents and generosity of a local artist. Franklin watercolorist Gail McDaniel presented nearly 6,500 in grants to more than a dozen teachers from Davidson and Williamson counties, as well as to the LP Pencil Box, which provides free educational supplies to area schools and teachers. More than 1,400 was given to teachers in Nashville and will be used to buy art supplies for students at Nashville School of Arts, East Literature Magnet, and Sylvan Park Paideia. Another 2,400 was given to LP Pencil Box. The money is raised through the "Students and Friends of Gail McDaniel" program, which has hosted an arts fundraiser for eleven years running. A big thank you is due to Gail McDaniel and all of the donors that have made this possible! Gail McDaniel (center) surrounded by the recipients of her award grants.