Researching Davidson County Schools

Nashville is known for many things, but quality public education isn’t really one of them.  I believe that it’s time for this 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.

Many of the school rating 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 alongside 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 worldview.

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 a popular and quite desirable 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 influence performance on testing. I certainly 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 great school with wonderful teachers that simply doesn’t look as good on paper.

Questions about a school? Call the school and ask the principal or guidance counselor or call 615-259-8400 (Student Assignment Services). Request a tour. Visit the PTO site and parent Facebook groups. This isn’t something any Realtor, no matter how dedicated, can do for you. Not only that, the Realtor Code of Ethics prevents us from speaking opinions which might be considered discriminatory.


Automatic enrollment based on location.
“Optional”- May apply to foster diversity often with lotteries. (notified before the year begins)

Rigorous or enriched curriculum often with a theme.
Some have academic performance requirements.
Typically has a geographic priority zone, followed by lottery.

Publicly financed, privately operated. 23 open to Davidson County students.

Transportation usually not provided when out of zone.
Priority can sometimes be given to siblings or location.
Gifted “Encore” program K-8 for clinically diagnosed gifted or academically talented by score.
“GPA Maintenance” attendance, often required to continue enrollment.
Proof of residency is important. Purchase contracts & HUD 1s work. Utility bills in the correct name (no cell).
You can be on more than one waitlist, but once you declare you roll off other lists.

More websites to 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.

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

Vanderbilt University 
Belmont University 
David Lipscomb 
Fisk University 
Middle Tennessee State University 
Tennessee State University 
Aquinas College
Nashville Technical College
Watkins School of Art and Design
Nashville School of Law

Nashville Private School Links

Overbrook School
St. Bernard Academy 
The Ensworth School 
Harding Academy 
Saint Ann School 
Saint Henry School

David Lipscomb Campus School 
Davidson Academy 
University School 
Battle Ground Academy 
Franklin Road Academy

High School/Middle School:
St. Cecilia Academy 
Father Ryan 
Brentwood Academy 
Harpeth Hall
Montgomery Bell Academy 
The Ensworth School 
Pope John Paul II High School