MNPS Invests in Improved Student Outcomes Amidst Declining Budgets
Despite cuts, district adds four social emotional learning specialists, six Community Achieves specialists, and supports to address chronic absenteeism at 20 elementary schools..
“Over the past two years, we have laid a strong foundation, gaining traction in areas of need. Our focus on literacy, STEAM, professional development, Pre-K, and restructuring to support quadrant model have paid off in improved student outcomes. We’ve also made strides in our efforts to collaborate. Our work with partner groups, such as Alignment Nashville, Nashville Public Education Foundation, SEIU and MNEA have increased community and employee voice in decision-making.”
The Board of Education met today for a final hearing before presenting the budget to Metro Council. The focus was on continued investment in student achievement – making the most of all dollars, despite a $17 million budget cut.
The budget hearing today focused on funding for positions needed to press forward to meet student achievement goals identified in the MNPS Strategic Plan:
- Four social emotional learning specialists. These specialists will provide ongoing professional development and training in the areas of SEL, trauma and adverse childhood experiences to meet the diverse needs of our students. This training opens the path for academic achievement by supporting the whole student.
- Six Community Achieves specialists. These community engagement specialists coordinate programs, services and events that improve outcomes and opportunities for our students and families. Working in partnership with community agencies and parents, these specialists help both groups to better navigate the school district.
- Twenty elementary schools address chronic absenteeism. The District seeks to break the cycle of chronic absenteeism and truancy for our elementary-age students. As part of the Community Achieves program and funded through Title 1, the 20 schools will each receive a site manager to provide case management services and connect families with resources to overcome educational and personal barriers.
“Over the past two years, we have laid a strong foundation, gaining traction in areas of need,” said Dr. Joseph. “Our focus on literacy, STEAM, professional development, Pre-K, and restructuring to support quadrant model have paid off in improved student outcomes.”
“We’ve also made strides in our efforts to collaborate,” continued Joseph. “Our work with partner groups, such as Alignment Nashville, Nashville Public Education Foundation, SEIU and MNEA have increased community and employee voice in decision-making.”
Metro Nashville government allocated MNPS $5 million in new funding, leaving several unfunded mandatory expenses such as insurance premiums and teacher pension funds.
In a budget hearing last week, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph and the board addressed areas of cost-savings, including: eliminating 30 central office positions, pausing funds to students taking advanced academics exams for college credit industry certifications (need-based waivers will exist) and repurposing 85.5 reading recovery positions (based on data-driven outcomes).
During the 2018 planning process, MNPS and the board have facilitated unprecedented input into the final proposal, holding eight budget meetings with more than 120 speakers, as well as conversations with principals and listening sessions with staff and students to elicit their perspectives.
A revised budget document can be found at MNPS.org/Budgets.
The budget and finance committee met at 3:00 p.m. today. Board members will work to finalize the budget in advance of the director’s presentation of the budget to Metro Council on May 23.