Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
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.
While Dr. Joseph does not officially begin until July 1, we share a deep sense of urgency to get the ball rolling immediately. As a result, we have already set in motion a number of transition efforts that we want to share with you. There will be several announcements over the coming weeks but there are two we wanted to let you know about right away:
- Over the next few weeks, the Board of Education and Dr. Joseph will be finalizing the plan for his first 100 days as Director. Simultaneously, Dr. Joseph will form a transition team comprised of district and school leaders, members of the community, and national educational leaders. This team will be charged with advising Dr. Joseph on critical initial steps. This is also an opportunity for Dr. Joseph to begin thoughtfully studying our district from an objective point of view and developing a detailed understanding of the state of our school system.
- Dr. Joseph wants to hear from you. We are organizing a series of “listen and learn” sessions throughout the city, including one in each of the nine School Board districts. These are designed to hear from all of our stakeholders – educators, families and the community.We want to know what your hopes, dreams, and expectations are as we work together to chart a new course for the district. We will finalize a schedule for these sessions within the next two weeks and hope you will make it a priority to attend.
We will communicate with you often over the next several weeks as we work to seamlessly transition Dr. Joseph into our community and collaboratively move through a phase of studying, reflecting, planning, and doing. Please know that we want this to be a two-way conversation throughout this process. You can share your thoughts or ideas by emailing DirectorofSchools@mnps.org. We are optimistic that by working together, our best days are ahead of us.
Sharon Gentry, Ed.D.
Chair, Metropolitan Board of Education
Shawn Joseph, Ed.D.
Director of Schools
Between budget season, graduation and year-end activities, it’s a fun and busy time in all our schools in Metro. I recently attended the McGavock High School Annual Band Banquet. It was a real pleasure to be there. It brought back many memories of my very active days participating in my high school band program. Congrats and many thanks to the directors, staff and parents for providing this great experience for the kids. See the pictures from the band banquet here.
Congratulations to the Class of 2016 at McGavock High School! Click here for pictures from The Tennessean of graduation held at Municipal Auditorium.
The Tennessee Board of Regents (which as mentioned in a previous newsletter is moving their headquarters into the Bridgestone Park building this summer) has a long-term goal of securing a Donelson campus for Nashville State Community College. As part of that effort, NSCC will begin offering night-time classes at McGavock High School this Fall. See flyer below for details and visit their website here for more information.
I had the honor of attending the 60th Anniversary celebration for McGavock Elementary and read a proclamation to commemorate the event. It was a very well attended celebration with former and current students, teachers, staff and community members. Current Principal Jason Taylor and former Principal Chris Marzak honored McGavock Elementary’s inaugural Principal Donald Harned (pictured below). I was joined by our District 4 School Board Member Anna Shepherd and MNPS Interim Director Chris Henson.
Stanford Elementary Montessori Design Center will be selecting a new Principal soon. The community is encouraged to participate in a community meeting on Monday, June 6th at 6pm. See the letter about this process from Dr. Joseph here.
Pennington Elementary participated in the Nashville Beautiful Art Contest and 4th grader Alania Hearring and 3rd grader Frank James Williamson had their art work displayed on a Metro Public Works collection truck. Recently the truck was brought to the school for students to view.
Another exciting FY1 budget proposal is $8.1 million for much needed renovations to Pennington Elementary. This is in addition to the $4 million funded prior for needed additional classrooms and other upgrades, which includes:
- Addition of eight new classrooms
- Install sprinkler system in existing building, (none presently exist)
- New fire alarm system
- Install walk-in cooler and freezer
- Abate asbestos containing materials where encountered
- Storm water drainage
- New drive lane to facilitate pick-up and drop-off of students removing any stacking from the public streets
- Expand Library to current standards
- Correct main Entry to be handicap accessible
- Additive alternate to install canopy at Main Entry
- Create two spaces to support current Exceptional ED program
- Associated HVAC, electrical and lighting upgrades to these changes
- Replacement of existing windows with new energy efficient windows
- Asbestos remediation with the removal of the old windows and transite panels when the new windows are installed
- New Sealant throughout as needed (caulking)
- Replacement of existing HVAC systems with new energy efficient HVAC system
- Limited concrete block and brick repair associated with this construction
- Replacement of existing plumbing fixtures with new low water use fixtures
- Replacement of outdated electrical system
- Additional fire alarm and sprinkler upgrades
- IT network upgrade
- New furniture throughout
- Dining room enhancements
- Expanded Administration
- New ceilings in selected locations
- New finishes including replacement of all floor tiles including Asbestos tile and mastic throughout
- New doors and hardware where needed
The proposed $8.1 million includes the following additional renovations:
Finally, I also had the opportunity to be at the 8th Grade Promotion at Two Rivers Middle Prep. It was a job well done by all students, teachers, staff and parents!