2023 Commendations

New Skills Ready Nashville

The New Skills Ready Network is a cross-sector partnership including MNPS, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville State Community College (NSCC), TCAT-Nashville, Middle Tennessee State University, Office of the Mayor of Nashville and Davidson County, Scarlett Family Foundation, Tennessee College Access and Success Network, Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and multiple community-based organizations. Through a $7 million investment from JPMorgan Chase, the Network is focused on supporting the transition of underrepresented MNPS students into postsecondary education to enter high-wage, high-demand career pathways.

In 2021, the Network piloted the addition of College and Career Readiness (CCR) coaches at four MNPS high schools to manage the college and career preparation activities within their school. Those CCR coaches help identify and coordinate current supports and work collaboratively to ensure all students have high-quality college and career advising to successfully transition into postsecondary opportunities. Over the past few years, grant partners have gained a better understanding of the needs and challenges within schools. Innovations that have resulted from these learnings include providing CCR coaches with programmatic budgets, adding capacity at schools with larger student enrollment, and adding a director of postsecondary partnerships at the MNPS Support Hub to strategically support the efforts of all CCR coaches. The Network also provides students with connections to postsecondary through investments in dual enrollment and postsecondary persistence at both NSCC and TCAT-Nashville.

Stratford STEM Magnet & John Overton High Schools

John Overton High School created a school-level CCR team consisting of school staff (graduation coach and transition coach), internal grant-funded advising positions (2 CCR coaches and a GEAR UP specialist), and community-based organizations (Oasis College Connection mentor and Conexión College Access coordinator). That team convenes and communicates regularly, providing updates regarding their assigned students. In addition, they collaborate to support broader presentations and workshops that support students in their postsecondary pursuits. 

Stratford STEM Magnet High School has a dedicated space, the College Room, that hosts K-12 postsecondary advising supports. The College Room, decorated with graduation banners, pennants, and postsecondary acceptance letters, is home to the school’s GEAR UP specialist, as well as Martha O’Bryan Center’s college and career coordinator and additional Top Floor staff (Top Floor is Martha O’Bryan Center’s Academic Student Union hosted at Stratford). While both individuals have assigned students that they serve alongside school counselors, the College Room also serves as a drop-in center where they are able to support students with any of their postsecondary advising needs.

GEAR UP Senior Milestone Tracker

This school year, GEAR UP Nashville launched its Senior Milestone Tracker. The intent of the tool is to track a senior student’s postsecondary efforts, in as close to real time as possible, and reflect that back to the necessary and relevant advising stakeholders. The tool combines information from several different sources, many of which are listed below:

Students are encouraged to update actions taken through a Microsoft form. Students are encouraged to complete this form, by scanning a QR code that takes you directly to the Form, at the end of each advising session. Here they are able to capture information about whether a student has completed college applications, job applications, military enlistment, and scholarship applications.

Contains information regarding whether a student submitted a TN Promise Application and the institution where they intend to use the scholarship.

Contains information around whether a student has submitted/or completed their FAFSA Form. Completions indicate that a student has fully filled out the application, including the needed financial documents, whereas submissions solely indicate that someone has submitted an application but may or may not be missing needed information.

Designed by , a longtime partner and grant evaluator for GEAR UP Nashville, this PowerBI Tool organizes the information as both class data and individual student profiles so that students are able to identify their interest, the support they have received, and what those students needs are. Prior to the existence of this tool, schools collected this information in the form of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, with varied limitations around access for outside advising stakeholders.

Adoption & Expansion of Nashville Flex

The Nashville Flex Scholarship provides wrap-around services that remove financial barriers and provide academic, social and emotional support to Nashville State students residing in Davidson County as they persist and graduate from college. Flex students are assigned a dedicated success advisor whom they meet with at least twice monthly to help navigate higher education and keep them on track. To assist with non-tuition related expenses of going to college, students are provided: a loaner laptop, a stipend to assist with textbooks, and $150 per month in gift cards to help with expenses like gas or groceries.  

The scholarship has seen great success since its implementation in 2018. 92% of Flex students persisted from the fall of 2022 to the spring of 2023, compared to 51% nationally for part-time students. 81% of Flex students returned to campus from the fall of 2022 to the fall of 2023, compared to 55% nationally for part-time students. The Nashville Flex pilot was funded by the Kresge Foundation in January 2022 and supported over 60 students. Their funding of this opportunity was slated to end in December 2023, but recently elected Mayor Freddie O’Connell agreed to include Flex students in the city’s investment in Nashville GRAD.

MNPS by the Numbers

Every year, the Education Report includes an overview of MNPS' performance based on academic and non-academic metrics.