Accommodating diversity, developing educators professionally, involving family and improving ACT scores were some of the recommendations for Metro schools during the release of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce ’s Education Report Card Committee’s annual report Tuesday.
The report analyzed Metro Nashville Public Schools test scores and offered recommendations for the school system. The 24-member committee presented their findings to community leaders and chamber members at the Adventure Science Center.
One of the main points addressed was the school system’s increased diversity — and the challenges that come with it.
“We have parents that come from 94 countries,” MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register said. “We must take advantage of the diversity in our community. I think we are the future of this country if we do it right.”
One of the recommendations from the committee was to “create a professional development curriculum for educators on how to communicate and work with culturally diverse parents and families, and incentivize teachers to take the training.”
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said the school system’s increasing diversity will help the city grow — so long as MNPS works to accommodate diverse families.
“This city has come to recognize that diversity is a great strength,” Dean said. “(Diversity) is an extra challenge for our school system, but it will ultimately be one of our strengths.”
The committee also emphasized improving the school system’s ACT scores. According to committee co-chair Ron Corbin, 72 percent of Nashville’s high school graduates aren’t prepared for college.
Corbin said the goal was to help all of Nashville’s high school seniors receive a composite score of 21 on the ACT — which is the minimum score necessary to qualify for a HOPE scholarship.
The committee recommended that the state make an increased emphasis on ACT performance a factor in determining whether high schools and school systems reach the state’s annual accountability target.
Another recommendation highlighted the need for a more customer-service-oriented atmosphere for front-line staff in schools.
“Some parents feel unwelcome,” committee co-chair Pam Daly said.
According to Daly, the first impression of schools by parents can effect their overall involvement in a child’s education.
“Everyone we interviewed believed parent involvement was essential, but the district continues to lack a clear expectation of how parents can engage and how educators can better support this engagement,” she said.
“We hope … our recommendations for improvement in the area of parental and family involvement will give tangible next steps and ideas for accelerating academic improvement in Metro schools.”