Reflecting on our year’s work

By Ellie Baez on May 22, 2017

This school year has flown by! While we have featured our work on this blog and on social media throughout the year, putting together a quick summary seemed like a good way to reflect and celebrate the successes all at once. A big thank you to all of the partners and individuals who make this work possible. Together we will continue to work towards the day when all Nashville children, regardless of zip code, have access to high-quality public schools.

Here are some of this school year’s biggest highlights.

 

How have we empowered parents this school year?

Supported the growth of Nashville Rise
Throughout this year, Project Renaissance’s parent coalition- Nashville Rise- continued to inform, empower and engage parents across the city. Parents participated in various trainings and direct actions like telling their personal stories at school board meetings.

 

How have we ensured that more students have effective teachers?

Supported the creation and growth of teacher pipelines
Project Renaissance is dedicated to creating and growing teacher preparation programs that recruit, train and retain effective and diverse teachers. Our five year goal is to support the training and retention of more than 1,300 new high-quality teachers to serve in Nashville’s public schools. This year, we provided financial support to the following teacher preparation programs: the Nashville Teacher Residency, Relay, and Teach for America.

Supported innovative instruction
Project Renaissance partnered with Mastery Design Collaborative, a California-based education design firm, to work with three local schools – Intrepid College Prep, New Vision Charter School, and STRIVE Collegiate Academy – to design personalized learning prototypes to test in their schools. The three-month long Prototype Program introduced schools to Mastery Design Collaborative’s framework and helped them design personalized learning prototypes to test out in their schools.

 

How have we supported and advocated for more great schools in Nashville?

Promoted the practices of high-performing public schools
During the 2016-2017 school year, Project Renaissance held four Discover Great Schools tours, featuring a total of eight Nashville schools. Tour participants represented various organizations, churches and communities. As we walked through the schools, we learned about their successes and challenges. Feedback from the tour showed that participants were excited to share with other Nashville schools what they had learned on the tours.

Invested in strong school leadership
This year we continued to increase our focus on developing strong and effective school leaders, as research shows that great school leadership is the second most important factor in improving student achievement (behind teachers). Strong school leadership doesn’t just affect student learning. Great leaders are also instrumental in retaining high-quality teachers in high-needs schools.

We awarded six scholarships to Nashville school leaders to attend the National Principal Academy Fellowship (NPAF) at the Relay Graduate School of Education (Relay) in 2017.

Created new avenues for school collaboration
We partnered with District2District to create a Community of Practice among the Chief Academic Officers of Nashville’s public charter schools to learn from each other, jointly tackle common instructional challenges, and deepen personal understand of the standards and assessments.

Once a quarter, representatives from schools across the city gathered together to participate in sessions focused on specific content areas. The Community of Practice sessions were designed to encourage conversation, collaboration and problem-solving in the education community.

Elevated voices in education and spread best educational practices
In partnership with two other Tennessee nonprofits, we helped start an education blog, EduTalk in Tennessee, to share the experiences, skills and knowledge of teachers, school leaders, students and parents from across Tennessee. To date we have had more than 1,300 visitors to the blog.