Researching Nashville Public Schools
Nashville is known for many things, but quality of public education isn’t really one of them. However, I believe that it’s time for the stereotype to change. Metro has an unbelievable amount of choice when it comes to schools. From Montessori to Paideia, Spanish immersion to Charter, there are many, many options.
When researching Davidson County schools, I encourage you to go to the PTO websites or Facebook pages for each potential school and to reach out to actual parents. Many of the school ratings sites you see online base judgment on test scores only which (in my opinion) is NOT an accurate way to judge a school. This is especially the case with some of the more urban schools or schools that still utilize bussing where you may have many students who speak English as a second language.
When TCAP scores are used to judge academic success, it can be extremely misleading — when you consider that a child who doesn’t speak English well is tested along side children who are academically gifted. It’s important to note that more than 100 languages are spoken in Metro schools at any given time…it’s quite diverse. Diversity can offer challenges, but it also vastly enriches a student’s world view.
Look at the top ranking elementary school in the “Nashville” area. It’s a Williamson County school per the k12 site.
Kenrose Elementary – Students score 87% proficient in Math and Reading. They have only 2.6% of their enrollment on free/reduced lunch and the population enrollment is 76% white, 17% Asian, 3% black.
Compare to a high performing but suburban Metro school – Harpeth Valley Elementary in Bellevue; 79% proficiency, with 18.3% on free/reduced lunch. The population there is 80% white, 10% African American, 7% Asian.
Lastly, Eakin Elementary which is an excellent school in Hillsboro Village near Vandy – but with only 62% proficiency. 38.6% of the kids there are on free/reduced lunch – 46% white, 31% African American, 14% Asian, 6% Hispanic.
There are other schools in Metro with numbers as high as 80% free/reduced lunch. My point being: poverty (and language barriers) effect performance on testing…so, I certainly would encourage clients who are looking for walkability or urban livability in Nashville to look beyond the web for answers. The truth is – you can have a really great school with really wonderful teachers that simply doesn’t look as good on paper.
Take your time researching. Call the schools and ask for a tour. This isn’t something any Realtor, no matter how dedicated, can do for you. Not only that, our Code of Ethics prevents us from speaking opinions which might be considered discriminatory.
Keeping those factors in mind, here are a few websites where you can use in your research.
– http://zonefinder.mnps.org/zonefinder/getzonedschools.aspx (Metro Zone Finder)
If you are researching Nashville schools, you should consider attending the metro First Choice Festival which generally happens in early September of each year.
Great Schools Web App
Greater Nashville Public School Links
American School Directory
Metro Nashville – Davidson County
Rutherford County Schools
Sumner County Schools
Williamson County Schools
Wilson County Schools
Franklin Special School District
National Public School Locator Search
Tennessee School Directory
Tennessee Board of Education
Higher Education Options
Middle Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University
Nashville Technical College
Watkins School of Art and Design
Nashville School of Law