Community partnerships lead to increased student achievement


The national conversation about high school education continues to show how the Academies of Nashville are improving opportunities for students in Nashville. In a recent story in U.S. New and World Report, Kelsey Sheehy writes about the importance of public-private relationships in helping students find opportunities in the classroom and after they graduate. Efforts across the country are focusing on decreasing dropout rates. In her article, Sheehy quotes Tony Miller, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education: "The dropout issue costs our country about a trillion dollars. It's the equivalent of a permanent recession." Increasing student achievement and completion of high school is imperative for the success of our communities. Community partnerships that align public education with the civic activism of private business and community organizations allows everyone to work together to improve students' opportunities. The Academies of Nashville program creates community partnerships between schools and businesses to give students access to real-world learning in context. Providing career exploration and community engagement shows the link between finishing high school and fulfilling personal and professional goals. The structure of the Academies of Nashville has drawn praise for the dynamic community partnerships that are flourishing in our schools.

Tennessee has seen wonderful gains in the statewide graduation rate over the past few years, as noted in a civic report titled Building a Grad Nation by the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Logically, Nashville's schools have enjoyed a decrease in the dropout rate. Since 2007, the dropout rate in Nashville schools has dropped from 7 percent to 2 percent, an achievement that has been linked to the successes of the Academies of Nashville and their community partnerships.

The Academies of Nashville are poised to continue leading the way in the national conversation on education reform.