Talking Points, 6.21.18

To:     Dr. Shawn Joseph

From: Mich Michaud

Re:     MyCity Academy

Date:  6.21.18



Event Details:

  • Arrival Time: 9 a.m.
  • Time of Event: 9:10 a.m.
  • Speaking time: 9:30 a.m.  (speak approximately 15 minutes then Q & A)


  • Overton H.S.
  • 4820 Franklin Rd. 37220


Event Contact and/or Event/Interview Host:

  • Mayor’s Office

Vanessa Lazon, director of Mayor’s Office of New Americans

Bill Fields, director of PW’s Transportation Licensing and Official MC


Run of Show:

  • 9:00am MCA Participants Arrive and Check-In


  • 9:10am Welcome and Overview of the Day   Vanessa Lazón, Director of the Mayor’s Office of New Americans   Billy Fields, Director of PW’s Transportation Licensing and Official MC 
  • 9:15am Overton High School Welcome    Dr. Jill Pittman, Principal at Overton High School—15 minutes  Overview of role as Principal and highlights of John Overton HS   Diversity within the school  Special initiatives within the school for EL students and families   Q & A  
  • 9:30am  Dr. Shawn Joseph, Superintendent Metro Nashville Public Schools—30 minutes   General introduction to the role and duties of Superintendent  Overview of Metro Schools and strategic framework   Discuss upcoming and recent changes within Metro Schools  Describe what the group can do to help you achieve your goals for EL students in MNPS  Q & A  
  • 10:05am  Anna Shepherd, Chair, Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education—35 minutes  Role of the School Board  Helpful information on how New American parents can be involved  Q & A


10:40am Break


10:50am Metro Charter Schools & Nashville Newcomer Academy—55 minutes    Dr. Kristin McGraner, Executive Director at STEM Prep Academy   An overview of Steam Prep and the charter schools available in Nashville  How charter schools fit into the larger public school system  How to apply for charter schools  What the Newcomer Academy does   Q & A


11:50am Lunch–35 minutes



See next page for talking points.

Talking Points [15 minutes]

  • Recognize/Thank: Dr. Jill Pittman, principal Overton H.S.

General Introduction/role of Superintendent 

  • Good morning, everyone. It is great to see so many MyCity Academy participants here today. Welcome to Metro Schools!
  • I want to thank you for taking time out of your personal schedules to talk with us about how we can work together to make sure all children in Metro Schools get the best education possible—especially English Learners. As we frequently say at MNPS, we are focused on exceeding great expectations!
  • As director of schools, it is an honor to help chart and lead the direction of 139 schools, 86 thousand students and more than 10 thousand certificated and support staff.
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is the 41st largest school district in the country, the second largest employer in Nashville and among the largest employers in Tennessee.
  •  Our students represent more than 120 different countries and speak nearly as many different languages.
  • Neighborhood schools, enhanced option, design center professional development and magnet schools help meet our students’ diverse learning needs.
  • In addition to K-12 education, MNPS offers numerous prekindergarten classes, as well as specialty high schools designed to help students complete the required credits for a high school diploma. Gifted and talented students participate in the ENCORE program which provides additional enrichment. MNPS community high schools have implemented career and theme-based academies to provide rigorous and specialized learning opportunities for students – Ameerah Palacios will tell you more about that later.


Overview of Metro Schools and our Strategic Framework

  • Two years ago, my team and I wrote a strategic framework for our school district – a detailed and intentional roadmap, if you will, for the important work we do educating students.
  • Our strategic framework has four areas of focus - Our Students, Our People, Our Organization and Our Community - which includes you, the MyCity Academy participants.
  • It was important for us to have a section of our strategic plan dedicated to our families and community members.
  • Research shows when the community is engaged in its children’s education, academic performance and social behavior improve. 
  • It is our responsibility as a school district to open the door for our community to work with us and our students on education.
  • At MNPS, we do this through a several programs, one of which I would like to highlight called Community Achieves.  Working with community partners, Community Achieves in the schools offers programs focused on four key areas: College and Career Readiness, Family Engagement, Health and Wellness, and Social Services. Currently MNPS has 18 full-service community schools. 






Upcoming and Recent Changes within Metro Schools


As we anticipate and prepare for the 2018-19 School year, there are many important changes on the horizon. For example:

  • We have funding in our budget for 6 more community achieves coordinators – which means we will be looking for even more community partners to assist those schools.
  • The new school year will see STEAM curriculum added to five more elementary schools. Science, technology, engineering, art and math will enrich these schools—each with a different emphasis.  For example, Whitsitt Elementary will focus on entrepreneurship.
  • Because being able to read is a basic civil right, we will implement a comprehensive literacy program across all schools and all tiers. We won’t be doing this alone, our community partners like PENCIL, the Nashville Public Education Foundation, the Nashville Library and the Mayor’s office will assist and support us in these important efforts.
  • And finally, as we strive to do what is best for our children, we have implemented an important change at the high school level that will positively affect our students –it’s called Early College program. Students can get a jump start on college by attending both high school and Tennessee State Community College at the same time – for free.  They’ll graduate with a high school diploma and possibly an associate’s degree, all at no cost to families.


In closing, I’ve been asked to share ways you can help Metro Schools achieve its goals for English Learner students

At MNPS, English Learners receive the same great standard of education as students who speak English as their first language. We go to great lengths to help English Learners (EL) integrate into their new homes, Metro Nashville Public Schools and the greater Nashville community.

However, a large part of what drives classroom success for our young learners happens at home. Family engagement is critical to success of our EL community, and we are proud to offer a number of programs that cater to the needs of our EL students and their families. Our community partners play big part in the success of these programs.

Some of those programs are:

Our remote English  as a Second Language Classes are the perfect option for parents who cannot commit to spending hours in a classroom each week. We give ELs the tools to learn and practice English on their own time, focusing on the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. It’s the perfect program for parents who need a flexible, dynamic plan for learning English.

LEAF stands for Linking, Empowering and Advancing Families. During LEAF Community Nights, parents can participate in basic and intermediate level English classes, while their children attend classes of their own, according to grade level, taught by our accredited teachers.

The American legal system can be daunting, complicated and stressful. If ELs are having legal trouble, we want to help relieve some of this burden by offering  legal counsel with experienced attorneys for all non-criminal issues. Through MNPS, this legal counsel is 100 percent free!

Our English Learners Office provides a notary service for all EL Families, free of charge. These services are available only for school-related purposes.

Our parent ambassador program partners EL parents who are new to Nashville with other parents who have experience with MNPS and who speak the same language. Parent Ambassadors will act as guides, advocates and friends to the families they are partnered with as they go through the process of integration.

MNPS offers monthly training courses for refugee families covering a variety of topics relevant to their children’s schooling. Translators ensure that all the information presented is understood, and attendees do not leave with any unanswered questions.

Lastly, our English Learners Office offers translation and interpretation services in 21 different languages through our network of Parent Outreach Translators and Translation Specialists.  Translation services can be requested for parent-teacher conferences, special meetings and more.

In closing, I appreciate your interest as MyCity Academy participants and as community leaders in Metro Schools. I believe what we’re doing in the classroom won’t just impact our schools – but it will impact the entire Nashville community.

Our students will graduate Metro Nashville Public Schools and head on to whatever is next for them – be it college or a career – with a great understanding of how they can impact their cities and how their unique skillset can be applied across many industries.

We’re not only improving on student access, outcomes and achievement – we are showing our students how to make a better contribution to the city of Nashville. Thank you!