Metro Nashville Public Schools is hoping for more community involvement as part of the solution to support its lowest-performing schools.
The plan, which was shared at a press conference Monday morning, uses a four-part approach that includes better supporting school leaders, developing student and family support through community partnerships, strengthening instructional coaching, and supporting teachers.
Superintendent Shawn Joseph’s announcement comes after 21 schools in the district were placed on a list of statewide low performers — a jump from three years ago, when 15 schools made the list.
He said seeing the schools on the list is disappointing, but not surprising.
“As a large, under-resourced school district, our challenges in fact are complex," Joseph said. "But at the same we are optimistic because we know what it takes to move schools that have been persistently challenged.”
Joseph said the school district plans to partner more with local nonprofits, although he didn’t give specifics.
Schools designated as "Priority" are eligible to additional support. State officials said there are $10 million available for the state’s failing schools, and there will also be $20 million available through the federal government.
Sharon Gentry is the school board chair and represents eight schools listed as Priority. She says community involvement is key because students are affected by issues outside of school, too.
“We’ve got to be that village," Gentry said. "And that village is more than just the school system, and this is not about passing the buck or shirking responsibility.”
She said the board will also have to consider the possibility of closing the lowest-performing schools.
Elliott Wenzler contributed to this report.