MNPS Excellence in Early Education Summit

Talking Points, 6.14.18 http://Talking Points/Speech Writing


To:     Dr. Shawn Joseph  

From: Mich Michaud

Re:     MNPS Excellence in Early Education Summit

Date: 16.14.18



Event Details:

  • Arrival Time: 10 a.m.
  • Time of Event: 8:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Speaking time: 10:25a.m.


2025 Rosa L Parks Blvd

Nashville TN 37228

 Free parking is available. Enter through the Ballroom Entrance Doors.  They will try to secure a designated parking space for Dr. Joseph.



Event Contact and/or Event/Interview Host:

Mariechelle Bonifacio

(615) 944-1823



About the Event:

To highlight and share the accomplishments and milestones met during the third year of the Preschool Development Grant – Expansion.  The event also provides an opportunity for early education educators, community partners and business leaders to connect and collaborate.

This is the third Excellence in Early Education Summit hosted by the Pre-K Department. This year the Summit will focus on the high quality Pre-K offered through a collaboration at the County Level (Mayor’s Early Education Working Group), District Level, Principal Level with an emphasis on 3 Key Areas: Environment, Family Engagement, and Classroom and Instruction. This year we have invited a diverse audience, consisting of the State Office of Early Learning, the Mayor’s Office, Business Leaders, private child care providers, MNPS school staff and district leaders, since we are entering the final year of the grant, and want to open discussions on sustainability of the lessons learned, progress and accomplishments made after the grant has ended.


This event is funded through the Preschool Development Grant – Expansion (PDG-E), and is a requirement of our federal PDG-E grant.




Run of Show: Thursday, June 14th

9:00 AM – 9:04 AM Welcome (Phyllis Phillips)

9:04 AM – 9:10 AM Vision of High Quality Pre-K Across Davidson County

(Mayor’s Office)

9:10 AM – 10:25 AM Highlighting the Work

Set the Stage & District Level (Dana Eckman)


Family Engagement

Interactions and Instructions

Next Steps/Close Segment

10:25 AM – 10:30 AM MNPS Director Remarks (Dr. Shawn Joseph)














Talking Points 4-6 minutes:

Acknowledge the Mayor’s Office, Headstart & any members in Public Office (TBD)


Recently I was asked by a reporter about our graduation rates and what Metro Schools is doing to get more kids graduating high school. My answer included two very important words – pre-K.

Here’s what I said, “To accelerate our graduation rate, we are doubling down on a multi-faceted approach that touches students from PreK to grade 12.

Because I believe, like many in this room, we cannot begin to grow graduation numbers without first helping our youngest learners--those students in pre-kindergarten classes.

Yes, it’s a long-term approach to a very real, present day-problem within our high schools. But without expansion of our pre-K program and better access to high-quality pre-K, our students might drop out before they even reach graduation.

That’s why we’ve built a coalition of organizations to address this problem, find a solution and implement long-term sustainable action items.

As we enter the final year of the Preschool Development Grant Expansion - MNPS has joined efforts with the Mayor’s office, HeadStart, the Nashville Public Education Foundation, PENCIL and others in support of raising the quality of Pre-K throughout Davidson County.


I can tell you, I am committed… MNPS is committed to providing our students, our families and our communities with Pre-K programs that prepare students for success in Kindergarten and beyond. And yes, even to graduation. 


With that in mind, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the great work through the PDG-E Grant this past year.


  • Together, we have Reduced chronic absenteeism. Through the grant, a Pre-K Attendance Specialist was hired to work with Pre-K families whose Pre-K student had significant unexcused absences. This year families signed an Attendance Agreement outlining attendance expectations, and teachers were trained to implement strategies to monitor, support and report families showing signs of chronic absenteeism. As a result of these efforts, less than 1 in 4 students is chronically absent… that’s down almost 5%.
  • MNPS Pre-k classrooms are currently using the same curriculum district wide. This past year improvements were made in Pre-K classrooms to provide necessary equipment, furniture, materials and supplies that supported the curriculum, promoted small and large group instruction, various types of play, and was developmentally appropriate for our youngest learners. So now all MNPS Pre-K students are learning the same curriculum, and experiencing the same learning environment across the District.
  • The Family Engagement Coordinator and six Pre-K Family Engagement Specialists (FIS) provided hands-on workshops for families that focused on activities at school that families could then reinforce at home with their child. We had 6,803 families participated in these events.
  • MNPS contracted with Well Child and Conexión Americas to provide comprehensive services in each cluster with tiered support for highest need students and families.  Well Child provided over 2,000 hearing and vision screenings for Pre-K students. Conexion Americas provided the Parents as Partners program (a 6-week program) to 150 families to equip them with skills needed to advocate for their children.
  • The PDG-E Grant allowed MNPS to strengthen the quality of Pre-K classrooms, through district-led professional development for teachers, paraprofessionals , coaches, and administrators to support areas of best practice in curriculum implementation, instructional strategies, family engagement, and use of new classroom materials. Teachers and Paraprofessionals completed at least 24 hours of professional development (PD) over the course of the year (which will increase to 30 hours this school year).
  • ·raprfessionals uld h  experiencing the same learning environment
  • This year MNPS received the Education, Innovation and Research (EIR) mid-phase grant to implement the Teaching Pyramid Model within Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms.  Also, through the grant Second Step curriculum was provided for each elementary school. This supplemental curriculum supports the Teaching Pyramid strategies explicitly teaches problem solving, self-regulation and empathy to students through role-playing.  And finally, all counselors serving Pre-K through 4th grade were trained on Second Step SEL program, which furthers our commitment to support the development of the whole child.


As you can see, MNPS is committed to making Nashville a city where all children have an opportunity to be fulfilled and make a difference and it begins with our youngest learners…  developing a love of learning that students will carry with them throughout their time with Metro schools.  


And this is how we create healthy, strong and productive citizens, now and with each generation to come. And yes, we will increase the number of students graduating from our schools.


Our next step? Sustain the great work started through the PDG-E grant, and continue to raise quality of instruction in Pre-K. I, personally, am up for the challenge, and I believe you are, too!  Thank you.