by Deborah Walden   

This November the National Career Academy Coalition conference comes to Music City, so we are taking you inside the Academies of Nashville through ArtSmart this month. In 2006, Metro Nashville Public Schools began a major move to convert existing high schools into career-focused learning environments. The Academies are based on community partnerships with local businesses, organized through the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and the PENCIL Foundation. These partnerships bring volunteers, funding, equipment, teacher training, internships, job shadowing, and numerous other educational resources to our classrooms that would not have fit within the budgets or standard parameters for our public schools in the past.    

In an era when many communities stereotype the arts as irrelevant and there is a national trend to cut arts funding in schools, the Academies of Nashville provide an example of successful integration of the arts into the contemporary classroom. In fact, one of the five career pathways for the Academies is Arts, Media and Communications, and seven of the participating high schools have arts-related Academies. This month we talked to Jay Steele, Dr. Jesse Register, and Dr. Chaney Mosley about arts integration in the Academies of Nashville. We also set up a unique conversation between a student, Academy coach, teacher, and community partner to discuss the successful CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communications at McGavock High School.

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on Academies news this month, including awards and honors from the conference and guest articles, blogs, videos, and music from students, teachers, and community partners. We would love to know what you think, so please visit our website to comment on articles or ask questions.

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