The Pearl-Cohn High School cluster would welcome half of the six new magnet schools to be opened next year under an initiative by Director of Schools Jesse Register.
Register updated the Metro school board Tuesday on his administration’s ongoing efforts in applying for a U.S. Department of Education grant to facilitate magnet school expansion. Though he said he couldn’t reveal each of the six schools, the Pearl-Cohn cluster would receive three of them.
“We’re moving full-speed ahead,” Register told the board. “We have a grant-writing team that’s been identified here, and we also have a consultant who is an expert at receiving funds and getting grants.”
Currently, Pearl-Cohn, located in North Nashville, operates as a business magnet school, but Register hopes to turn it into a music-industry magnet.
“This would not be a performing arts magnet,” Register said. “We need to recognize that the music industry is a very big industry in this community. It’s just not performance. There’s a technical industry here, and we need to partner with that industry to really build opportunities for young people.”
Register told The City Paper last month about intentions to open the renovated Wharton Elementary School, which feeds into Pearl-Cohn, as a museum magnet school that would partner with institutions such as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. He said Tuesday he hopes to launch the same program at John Early Middle School, also within the Pearl-Cohn cluster.
Other new magnet school options would likely be STEM-based, an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The intent, he said, is to have an elementary, middle and high school, each of which offers the same STEM education — a continuum model, in other words.
Register said he is having “good conversations” with both Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University about partnering with the STEM magnet schools.
Student enrollment into each of Metro’s 12 existing charter schools is lottery-based. Unlike some of the district’s magnet schools, which place academic requirements on the admissions process, the new magnet schools Register envisions would be solely themed-base and open to anyone.