Training on Track, Communication Lacks, Nashville Schools Told

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, December 15, 2011

A national panel of education experts is lauding Metro school leaders for creating a cooperative culture, effectively training principals and using data to make decisions.

But it had criticisms, too, some of the strongest revolving around coherence and communication. Surveys over two years showed Metro is lacking in the central office, with fewer than half the respondents agreeing that “the channels of communication are open in MNPS.”

“In the beginning there was communication issues,” said McGavock High School Principal Robin Wall. “We had changes in leadership, roles and principals with everyone trying to figure out how things work and what the expectations are.”

For any district of Metro’s size — with 78,000 students and 5,000 employees in more than 120 schools — getting top-to-bottom processes, goals and expectations across to employees is a challenge.

The 54-page findings were released Tuesday in a second annual report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. The institute, which specializes in helping urban districts, launched into a $140,000 consulting contract with Metro Schools in 2009 that has since been extended. The contract includes forming teams to address the district’s biggest needs — such as educating immigrant children and reorganizing the central office — overseeing their work and then assessing how the plan is working.

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