13:05 PM

Metro Schools Unveils School Improvement Plan

District to Focus on Four Key Strategies to Support Priority-Designated Schools

Nashville, Tennessee – (September 24, 2018) – Metro Nashville Public Schools announced today its plan to expand supports for 21 MNPS schools named to the Tennessee Department of Education’s 2018 priority schools list.

The district laid out a four-prong strategy which includes refining supports to school leaders, strengthening instructional coaching, developing student and family supports through a community school partnership model and growing teacher talent.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, to see an increase of schools on the priority list. As a severely under-resourced school district, our challenges are complex and deeply rooted,” said Dr. Shawn Joseph, MNPS Director of Schools. “But, in the same sense, we have seen positive results from our methods to turn around low-performing schools, and with targeted resources and professional development in support of schools, they improve at faster rates.”

The district’s strategy was successful in moving four of the previous nine schools off the state’s 2015 list. MNPS schools that exited priority-designation were Inglewood Elementary School, Napier Elementary School, Pearl-Cohn High School and Whitsitt Elementary School. Of the five remaining schools, two schools – Robert Churchwell Elementary and Buena Vista Elementary – saw growth that moved them off the state priority list but not off the federal-designated Comprehensive Support and Improvement list. The three middle schools remaining on the list faced significant challenges around staffing.

“The increase in priority schools indicates the need for us, as a district, to place more differentiated resources into our neediest schools; it further speaks to us as a collective community to better provide community-based supports to schools to ensure we can accelerate them,” Joseph said. “The question we must ask ourselves is how do we make all of our schools a priority so that they are all successful.”

As part of the improvement strategy, the district will be working with schools to increase community partner support. A total of 11 new Communities in Schools partnerships were launched this year, as well as continual operation of 19 Community Achieves schools led by the district.

“In addition to putting a robust instructional framework into place as well as coaching and building capacity of teachers and leaders, it was clear that strong community partnerships were significant in helping transform the schools that successfully exited the priority list,” said Dr. Lisa Coons, executive director, Schools of Innovation. “We have seen how these steps increase student growth and understand what is required to implement them effectively, therefore, we are optimistic that with these additional resources, these schools will get better faster.”

Priority schools are identified at least every three years, and they are the schools most in need of support and improvement. With priority status, these schools are now eligible for additional funding and will be supported in developing a plan to improve.

For more on the district’s priority schools’ improvement plan, visit www.mnps.org/innovationschools.


Metro Nashville Public Schools is one of the nation’s top 50 largest school districts, preparing 88,000 students for higher education, work and life. With the goal of being the first choice for Nashville families, Metro Schools is committed to #ExceedingGreatExpectations with the mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day. The district is earning a national reputation for urban school reform, social and emotional learning and rising academic achievement. The governing body for Metro Schools is the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, a nine-member elected body. For more information, visit MNPS.org, or follow us on Twitter @MetroSchools or Facebook /MetroSchools.