May 25, 2018 – Metro Nashville Public Schools and its partners, Communities in Schools of Tennessee and Alignment Nashville announced today that together they represent one of 10 communities that will receive approximately $150,000 to support the activities and goals set forth to support the needs of local students.

The Together for Students initiative, created by three national, education-focused nonprofit organizations — the Coalition for Community Schools, Communities In Schools, and StriveTogether — has recognized Nashville for plans bringing key community members together.

Nashville was chosen because of its demonstrated success and deep commitment to ensuring students and families have the support and resources they need to succeed, as well as its willingness to work together to achieve common goals.

“We are grateful for the support from the Coalition for Community Schools, Communities In Schools, and StriveTogether,” said MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, “This grant will allow us to reach and serve many additional students and families through Community Achieves.”

Community Achieves, the district’s nationally recognized community school initiative, currently serves 18 schools.

“This opportunity will allow us to double the number of MNPS schools using the community school strategy to eliminate barriers for students,” said Alison McArthur, Coordinator for Community Achieves.

By bringing local supports together under one roof, Community Achieves focuses on college and career readiness, parent/family engagement, health and wellness, and social services. The success of Community Achieves hinges on community partners.

“Communities In Schools of Tennessee is proud to support the national award-winning work of Community Achieves,” said Hank Clay, CEO of Communities In Schools of Tennessee. “Under MNPS’s leadership, Nashville has already demonstrated its commitment to bringing organizations together to serve students. This grant will accelerate the work already underway to address chronic absenteeism.”

“Alignment Nashville is thrilled to be part of this important work,” said Melissa Jaggers, President and CEO of Alignment Nashville. “Students and families benefit when organizations can set individual agendas aside and work together. Nashville has a strong history of coming together to support our young people, and this grant will make it possible for us to reach even more.”

Selected from a pool of 86 applicants, these communities display strong school district and cross-sector partnerships, the ability to scale their plans, empowerment of family and student voice and a clear plan for identifying the best supports for students. The 10 award communities include:

  • Birmingham, AL (United Way of Central Alabama)
  • Chicago, IL (Thrive Chicago)
  • Dayton, OH (Learn to Earn Dayton)
  • Fresno, CA (Central Valley Community Foundation-Fresno)
  • Lehigh Valley, PA (United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley)
  • Memphis, TN (Communities In Schools of Memphis)
  • Milwaukee, WI (United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County)
  • Nashville, TN (Metro Nashville Public Schools)
  • Vancouver, WA (Vancouver Public Schools)
  • Washington, D.C. (DC Public Education Fund)

Each of the lead applicants listed will work with a variety of local partners.

“It’s extremely exciting to be working with and learning from communities that are committed to using what they have to create the conditions, climate, and culture necessary for learners to achieve their dreams.,” said José Muñoz, director of the Coalition for Community Schools. “Our schools succeed when communities come together to address the underlying issues facing our learners and their families.”

“These communities are uniquely positioned to grow their programs that are already closing achievement gaps, while engaging with broad groups of community organizations and outlining solid goals,” said Dale Erquiaga, Communities In Schools president and CEO. “With these awards, they will be able to build out their efforts to reach even more students on their paths to careers.”

“This initiative highlights what can be accomplished when collaboration brings the right partners together to focus on the needs and interests of every child in a community,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “These communities have begun to create a more equitable education system for children to succeed despite challenges. We look forward to seeing how they extend their reach for the optimal student-centered learning environment.”