For now, the talk at McGavock High School is all about changes, and at the moment, it’s mostly just talk.
However, any decisions made for that school could set a precedent for reforms at other district comprehensive high schools as well.
Mayor Karl Dean has repeatedly stated his belief that the “era” of large, comprehensive high schools is coming to a close. During his State of Metro address, Dean highlighted reforms made to John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx. That school used to be a 6,000-student comprehensive high school, but has since been divided into six different schools with separate principals and staffs of teachers.
“This new structure has given the students more individual attention, and attendance and test scores have gone up,” Dean said during the speech.
In interviews with The City Paper, Dean has said he’d like to see changes at comprehensive high schools happen sooner rather than later.
Separate schools existing under the same roof can realize academic benefits, while sharing traditions, sports and extra-curricular efficiencies, he said.
Breaking up large schools within existing facilities can also fit in with establishment of programs associated with the Alternative High School Initiative, according to Dean. Nashville is on track to see the opening of as many as two new alternative school programs this school year, and possibly a third in 2010.
Plans are in place for some of these programs to be established within existing district facilities, operating as “schools within schools.”