New Metro School Aims To Decrease Number of Drop Outs
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- For students, going to a new school always comes with a mixture of nerves and excitement. It was no different for students attending the new Cohn School.
"For many of them their experience is I'm at school. This isn't working for me," teacher Patrick Phoebus explained. "I don't do well. I'm probably not going to pass."
The school serves 8th through 10th graders. Most have been held back multiple times and are over age and have not earned enough credits.
"It's our at risk kids because if we don't get those kids they will become drop outs," Principal Debbie Booker explained. "And we can't allow that."
From 2010 to 2011 Metro Schools almost cut its dropout rate in half from 4.4% to 2.3%. That still amounts to nearly 450 students.
"We've got to turn that around. We've got to say you're not a problem," Phoebes said. "You're here because we want you here. You're here because you were picked to be here because we think you can succeed."
The new Cohn School is funded by money generated from the Davidson County property tax increase. Students from across the district are identified by counselors and have to apply to the program.
Smaller classes, connecting the curriculum to the real world and a family-like atmosphere is how the school hopes to make this experience different for students.
"I know it's an old cliché but every kid can learn given the right environment and this is the right environment," Booker added.
It's a model she's confident can work.
"Because I was an at-risk kid and…everybody has a testimony," she explained. "I just believe in this. I know we can do it because I look at where I am now."
Students will stay at the Cohn School until they have 14 credits. Then they can transfer to one of the Academies at Opry Mills, Old Cockrill or Hickory Hollow to graduate with their high school diploma.