Two-year community and technical colleges in Tennessee are getting ready for the nearly 18,000 high-school seniors expected to take advantage of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program. Schools are implementing initiatives and programs to ensure students graduate, and four-year universities are seeking ways to ease transfers for students interested in completing a bachelor's degree.
Tennessee's Metro Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt University recently collaborated to enroll fifth- and sixth-grade students in a reading academy for learners who are advanced. The program, offered on Saturdays, is intended to help encourage students to read and allow them to think critically about texts. In one exercise, students were asked to read a Ray Bradbury story, "There Will Come Soft Rains," before creating and editing one-minute videos retelling the story about what follows the disappearance of humanity.
A partnership between the school district and public library system in Nashville, Tenn., called Limitless Libraries, has led to the overhaul of a middle-school library that replaces desktop computers with laptops and iPads; places book shelving on wheels to allow collections to change with student needs and interests; and offers a snacking area for students. The overhaul is part of an ongoing, multimillion-dollar effort to maintain relevancy and connect resources of both systems throughout the city.
Metro Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee has renamed its middle schools -- now referring to them as "Middle Preps of Nashville" -- as part of an effort to retain students in the district. The district's high schools already were re-branded as academies several years ago, focused on college and career readiness. Officials say the "prep" terminology will help the district compete with charter and private schools.
A high-school English teacher in Tennessee challenged his students to go without technology for one week to encourage them to consider whether technology enhances or detracts from their life. While not all students accepted Stephen Womack's voluntary challenge, those who did said they found time to play board games with their families, read books, sleep and participate in other activities.