Donelson School News - August 2017

A few parents at Pennington Elementary reached out to me about a meeting that was being held at the school to discuss the issues surrounding the construction project.  I didn’t know about the meeting until that day so I wasn’t able to attend.  Our School Board Member, Anna Shepherd, did attend and learned the meeting was informative.  As I understand, the project is slated to be completed by mid-2018.  It’s not ideal and I believe the contractor will find it difficult to be involved with future MNPS projects after this.  I’m sorry to hear about these delays and challenges but it sounds like the staff and administration are doing a good job managing it the best they can and any immediate safety issues have been properly addressed.  Don’t hesitate to contact me with any additional concerns.

Welcome back to all students and best of luck in this new school year!

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Donelson School News - July 2017

Congratulations to McGavock Elementary School’s Lee Farrar, who was named Elementary Librarian of the Year.

Lee Farrar Elementary School Librarian of the Year

It was great to join members of the McGavock Cluster Coalition and Donelson-Hermitage Chamber in congratulating McGavock High School students on their last day.  The First Day and Last Day celebrations are a great way for the community to show their support for our students.

McGavock High School Last Day

If you need to enroll your child in school, you’re still able to do so.  For the first year ever, MNPS is opening two MNPS Enrollment Centers on Saturdays in July from 8am – noon.  You can enroll, withdraw or transfer your child.  English Learner assessments will also be available at both locations.  See details on dates and locations below.  To determine what documents to bring, check out the list here. If you can't make it to one of these two locations on a Saturday visit one of 11 enrollment centers during regular hours (7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., weekdays).

I thoroughly enjoyed a tour and lunch with the staff of Arts Institute of Tennessee – Nashville.  The lunch was made by students who are working to learn how to manage a commercial kitchen and restaurant.  The educational offerings at the school are vast and truly support our hospitality, entertainment and related other industries.  They do an excellent job at job placement as well.  Below is a picture of President Greg Chapman (to my right) and members of his staff.

Arts Institute of Tennessee

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Donelson School News - May 2017

The Centennial Jam Band Camp is a music-intensive week.  A student gets to spend 5 days in a row doing what he/she loves - playing music!  Metro Parks Music Department has been hosting Jam Band Camp for more than ten years.  Many of their alums are now making their marks in the adult music world.  Kids will learn to play popular music (rock, R&B, country, etc.) in a band by ear.  Groove. Stage Cues. Solos. Singing. Harmony. Teamwork. They cover all aspects of live playing, by doing it.  Any child ages 10 to 18 and still in school is wanted, as long as she/he can play an instrument.  Novices to virtuosos are welcome.  Guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and any other instrument players who want to rock, please join Centennial jamBands Summer Intensive Jam Band Camp.  Camps run from June 12-16 and June 26-30.  It costs $150.00 for a whole week.  Scholarships are available.  Contact Metro Parks Music Supervisor Sam Frazee at Samuel.Frazee@nashville.gov or call 615-862-8440 for information about a placement audition.

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Donelson School News - March-April 2017

Mayor Barry has launched a new private-public initiative, Opportunity Now, which seeks to support youth employment.  See flyers below for details and contact information if interested in having your son or daughter be part of this program and learn some strong life skills.

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Donelson School News - February 2017

There are opportunities to make a direct impact on students that attend Metro schools right here in Donelson with specific needs.  There are a number of children in each of our schools that meet the criteria for being homeless and do not have adequate clothing and food needs.  Thanks to Grace Church of the Nazarene and Hip Donelson, you can donate towards helping support these students.  Donate towards the local school food pantries and clothing closets (school standard attire, socks, shoes, and underwear) by sending a tax-deductible donation but clicking here via the Grace Nazarene website or in person at the Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market starting again this May.  To donate items directly, they can be dropped off at Grace Church of the Nazarene at 2620 Pennington Bend Road, Nashville, TN 37214.

Two Rivers Middle School is also looking for reading tutors.  If you have 30-60 minutes to spare once a week to help a child read, then please contact Nicole Vaughn at Two Rivers Middle, 615-885-8931. They currently have 15+ children on a waiting list because they do not have enough tutors. 

To help you, below are Reading Clinic Training dates for this month.  The training is 90 minutes and it is helpful as you get to learn some cool reading games to play with the students.  Part of each reading tutoring session is listening to the child read for 15 minutes.  Next, you play a game with them for 5-7 minutes, then you listen to the child retell what they read (3-5min) and finally, the child writes for 3min.  Each training will be held at Carter Lawrence Elementary (1118 12th Ave South; the office of the Reading Clinics Director is there).  Please email Nicole Valentine at Nicole.Valentine@MNPS.org if you plan to attend a training and she will let the director know to reserve a spot.  The Two Rivers Middle Prep clinic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-3pm according to the 30-minute time slot that works best for you (each tutor is asked to carve out 45 minutes once a week).  The clinic will be open for nine more weeks (minus spring break and state testing week).

  • Friday, February 17th from 9:30am – 11am
  • Wednesday, February 22nd from 9:30am – 11am

Metro Nashville Public Schools is requested input on the next component of their strategic plan.  Last November, MNPS solicited input on their Mission, Vision and Core Values Statements.  Next is the Student & School Characteristics, drafted by Dr. Shawn Joseph, MNPS Director.  Click here to view the Strategic Plan Process and give your input.

In Mayor Karl Dean’s last fiscal budget, he allocated $1 million to put aside towards investment in a campus each for Madison and Donelson of Nashville State Community College.  It has been a big effort by local and state elected officials as well as a number of community leaders.  Thanks also to Mia Keller with CBRE who was selected as the Tennessee Board of Regents broker for finding these campus locations.  I’m very happy to say that effort has been successful and the Tennessee Board of Regents has purchased the former ITT Tech campus on Elm Hill Pike.  The campus is in excellent condition and NSCC will be able to set up and open quickly.  Two stories about this development are here and here

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Donelson School News November 2016

I was honored to be asked by Lipscomb Academy teacher Mark Pugh (also a Donelson neighbor) to speak to the students in the IGNITE program.  On Election Day morning, I presented some history of Metro Government, NashvillleNext and how Donelson plays an important role regionally in the plan for our feature.

lipscomb-academy-with-jeff-syracuse

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Donelson School News October 2016

I had a great morning joining volunteers joining Hands On Nashville in their 25th “Hands On Nashville Day” supporting schools throughout Davidson County.  Pennington Elementary received strong support in a day of doing work inside and outside the school, which is going through construction as part of their needed additions and renovations.

Penning Bend Elementary

Pennington Bend Elementary

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Music Makes Us Advisory Council and I thank Mayor Barry again for the appointment and opportunity to serve.  Check out this great new public service announcement here about Music Makes Us and how the initiative is supporting a wide variety of music education opportunities through all of Metro Nashville’s schools.  There is a great Online Hub listing resources and programs to help teachers enhance teaching and learning opportunities.

McGavock High School received revamped and relocated main signage as well as new directional signage on the Two Rivers Park side of the building to match the work that was done as part of the facelift and landscaping installed earlier this year.  Thanks to Metro Nashville Public Schools for continuing these improvements!

McGavock High School

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Donelson School News - September 2016

I was honored to be part of the ribbon cutting for the new barn at Raider Ranch, a great addition that will expand teaching opportunities in the agriculture department at McGavock High School.  Students, teachers and animals were very happy at the enhanced facilities.

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Donelson School News - August 2016

Dr. Joseph certainly hit the ground running even before he officially took his new role as Director of Schools.  Read about his vision and the “First 100 Days” here.  I had the opportunity to meet with him and other community and elected leaders this summer and I look forward to his leadership making a positive impact in all our schools.  After that meeting, we then had the opportunity to tour McGavock High School and see the great experiences that the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) and the Nashville Scholars summer program offers.  MNPS has also created a new logo and launched a brand new website, which looks great and is easier to navigate.  Check it out at www.mnps.org.

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Donelson School News - June 2016

Congratulations and welcome to Dr. Shawn Joseph, our new Metro Schools Director!  Here is a letter from Dr. Joseph and School Board Chair Sharon Gentry:

We are excited to turn the page to a new chapter for Metro Nashville Public Schools. In hiring Dr. Shawn Joseph as our new Director of Schools last Friday, we committed ourselves to cast the shadow of our burden behind us, and re-commit ourselves to ensuring that every child, in every school, in every classroom is at the center of all of our decision-making.

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Donelson School News - April 2016

McGavock Elementary will celebrate their 60th Anniversary on Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm.  I’m honored to read a proclamation in honor of the event.  All of the community is invited to help them celebrate this milestone birthday.

Vince Gill and Keith Urban’s annual All for the Hall benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Tuesday, April 12th featured McGavock High School students, who wrote with hit songwriters Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr.  They performed their song “Limited Time Offer”.  Read more about it and watch a video of them writing the song in an article here from The Tennessean.

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Donelson School News - February 2016

The beautification and facelift of McGavock High School continues with new lettering on the building.  The original McGavock High School lettering was taken down, sandblasted and repainted white.  It was rehung above the North Entrance to help guide visitors towards that entrance along with new entranceway signage as well.

McGavock High School New Lettering

 

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Donelson School News January 2016

The Metro School Board has restarted the search for a new Director of Schools.  The Nashville Public Education Foundation has put together a survey for residents to provide feedback on the process.  Click here to complete the survey.

In mid-December, EnviroScapes installed the landscaping at McGavock High School and it turned out great.  It will look even better in the Spring when it blooms.  Check out this video below that Channel 5 News did from their helicopter. 

I’m hoping Metro Schools will have the funds in next fiscal year’s budget to continue the work of rehabbing the white horizontal stripes across the school.  The “McGavock High School” lettering was recently taken down to be sandblasted and painted white and will be rehung above the North Entrance with new accent bars and new signage designating the two entrances.  Finally, the concrete work will be redone this year to improve the walkways around the school that are crumbling.

McGavock High School Landscaping

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Donelson School News - November 2015

The 37th Annual Music City Invitational Marching Contest was Saturday, October 24th and hosted by McGavock High School.  I was honored to be asked to present the Mayors Cups awards.  It certainly brought back strong memories of my days marching trumpet and being a drum major.  McGavock did a great job at their exhibition and all the bands gave memorable performances.  Congratulations to all the participants and winners.

MCI 2015 Mayors Cup Awards - Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15

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Donelson School News - October 2015

Hands On Nashville Day 2015 was a success and I enjoyed helping out at Donelson Middle Prep.  We painted, cleaned outdoor benches and trimmed up the trees at the front of the school.

Donelson Middle - Hand On Nashville Day - Cleaning Up Donelson Middle

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Donelson School News - August/September 2015

Stanford Montessori is having their annual Fall Fest on September 19.  They are also seeking vendors.  See the two flyers below and come on out to support them.  You’ll find your new Councilman supporting the festival by being in the dunk tank at some point during the event!

Stanford Montessori Fall Festival in Donelson

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July School News

First day of school is just a few weeks away on Wednesday, August 5.  Head to Back to School Central for great information on the upcoming school year.

Great news for Pennington Elementary!  There are a number of school improvement projects in this new fiscal year’s budget for Metro and Pennington Elementary is to receive $4 million for a much needed expansion.  There is a new website for MNPS called MNPSConstruction.com where you can follow the progress of school construction projects.

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June School News

Everyone knows about the incredible turnaround that has occurred at McGavock High School, yet the outside hasn’t changed much at all since the school opened in 1971.  As I worked to expand the mission of The Donelson Gateway Project to include beautifying figurative “gateways” into the community, we did three school projects at Two Rivers Middle School, Hickman Elementary and McGavock Elementary respectively.  I’ve always wanted to do a large-scale project at McGavock High School, but knew it would take a dedicated planning and funding effort.  Thanks to Gresham, Smith & Partners for creating the architectural rendering and  for putting together the landscape design.  We are well on way to raising the $10,000 needed for the landscape installation and are working with MNPS to address some of the maintenance / enhancement items that were suggested in the GS&P rendering.  This is a milestone project for The Donelson Gateway Project and one that I have spent the past couple of years putting together.  It will be a very special project to begin my first term as your next member of Metro Council for the 15th District.  McGavock High School needs and deserves this investment and I’m very thankful for all of the donors who have supported this project.  Special thanks to the early supporters – CMT, Dale & Associates, Hip Donelson, HJL Management, Metro Nashville Airport Authority and Piedmont Natural Gas.  If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit DGP’s website here.

McGavock High School Entrance

McGavock High School Front Landscape Plan

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May School News

The Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) officially rolled out into all our MNPS Districts with our McGavock cluster included this past year and the initiative celebrated 5-years of service to our middle schools kids.  Big thanks goes to our McGavock Zone Director Marielle Lovecchio who has put a lot of energy and passion into ensuring our kids have great after-school opportunities for continued enrichment.  Here is a collage of kids in action over the past year.

 

Nashville After Zone Alliance - Donelson Schools News

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April School News

Metro Nashville Public Schools was granted a waiver from the Tennessee Department of Education for snow days that we took during the rough snow and ice storms last month.  View this article for details.

You may recall the McGavock High School Baseball concession stand burned down last year in an arson attack and then the clubhouse was ransacked last month.  A strong community came through in helping the baseball boosters replace the concession stand.  They can use our continued support.  If you’d like to help the team and booster club, checks can be made to McGavock Baseball Bullpen and sent to the school at 3150 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37214.  You can also follow the efforts of the booster club via Facebook here.

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