A reflection by Robert Robinson, Associate Director:

Last week, Metro Nashville Public Schools staff and community and business partners gathered together to develop a plan to take the Academies of Nashville to the next level and create a vision that aligns with the new MNPS strategic plan.

As someone who never participated in the retreat before, I was impressed to see the magnitude of the thought leaders around the room. The MNPS partners and staff were able to have open, honest, and sometimes difficult conversations about the necessary steps to ensure continued success of the Academies, as well as the specific steps needed to take the AON to the next level.

The retreat participants consisted of a cross section of MNPS staff: Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, Chief of Schools Sito Narcisse, Academies of Nashville staff and coaches, the newly appointed Community Superintendents, and high school principals. Also present were community partners instrumental in aligning resources and recruiting business partners, such as Alignment Nashville, PENCIL, Nashville Chamber, NES and St. Thomas.  Each of these stakeholders plays an active role in ensuring students have both the industry experience and exposure, as well as the real world educations that are a part of the Academies Model that prepares high school students for college and careers. Each group showcased a unique vested interest in ensuring that MNPS students graduate college and career ready, and their voices were invaluable to the conversations being had.

After this retreat, I believe the futures of the Academies of Nashville are in great hands. It is clear that the district and its leadership are committed to exceptional public education through intentional and strategic decision making and community engagement. I left assured, knowing that there is amazing thought leadership within MNPS, as well as from their community business partners, who are passionate, invested, and have an unwavering commitment to ensuring the model continues to thrive, giving all children access to a great education.