Metro Schools To Become Centerpiece of Communities
by Aundra Cline-Thomas
Tenn. - Seventeen Metro schools are pledging to go beyond the classroom to help
students become successful. A new program called Community Achieves will help
students and families address issues that become barriers to their education.
In a high poverty school
district, educators know that you can't just teach a child, without addressing
the obstacles they face at home.
"I'm not a gang banger but
I was affiliated," said former Glencliff High student Itzel Gonzalez, now
a freshman at Nashville State University.
Last year Gonzalez helped write
a grant to build an outdoor classroom.
"I was very lost. I didn't
know what I was doing or what I wanted from school," she said.
Gonzalez, a student leader
during her senior year, told a crowd of educators at Antioch High School
Thursday, her time at Glencliff got off to a rough start.
"I just had to go (to
school) so I wouldn't stay in court," she said.
At the same time, Glencliff was
starting a new program that invited outside agencies into the school to help
students address a variety of external factors that ultimately affect their
"The first thing we did
was look at teen pregnancy," said Tony Majors, who was the principal at
More than one dozen principals have
signed on since, pledging to help address the unique needs of their students
and families through a new program called Community Achieves.
"They are empowering us to
help our children be successful so they can go on and do things that we haven't
done and become the people that we have yet to arrive to," said parent
Community Achieves will provide
everything from after school programs to GED classes for parents.
"In order for a kid not to
drop out of high school they have to be good mentally," said Gonzales.
"And you do that (with) caring adults and programs that really want the
best for the students."
Gonzales said for her, these
programs made all the difference.
"Right now I attend
Nashville State. I study criminal justice," she said. "I actually
want to be a homicide detective for the FBI. Isn't that ironic?"
The idea would make the schools
the centerpiece of the community. A major part of the initiative would be aimed
at getting parents more involved.
YMCA, Martha O'Brian Center and the Metro Health Department were just some of
the agencies that will provide programs.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 2:24 PM EDT2013-06-19 18:24:42 GMT
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