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One Step Ahead helps Metro students stay in school and reach for college

by | Dec. 19, 2012, 4:24 PM

For high-achieving students from low-income families, barriers—both financial and motivational—can stand in the way of a college education.

That’s why Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, in partnership with the Nashville Public Education Foundation, established One Step Ahead, a scholarship fund designed to help students in Metro Nashville Public Schools cover the cost of taking college courses while still in high school through a program called dual enrollment.

Gifts can be made to the Nashville Public Education Foundation and other federations through Dec. 31, 2012.

Students enrolled in Metro high schools may be “dual enrolled” at an institution of higher learning, such as Nashville State Community College. These students may take classes at either institution for credit toward their high school diplomas as well as for college credit. Dual enrollment in both high school and college is advantageous to students because it allows them to get a head start on their college careers.

“Not only does dual enrollment help to increase high school graduation rates, it also helps students capture a vision for themselves of going to college,” said Katie Welsh of the Nashville Public Education Foundation. “Once they’ve been exposed to the college experience and earned some college credits, it’s natural for them to think, ‘I can do this,’ or ‘This is something I want to do.’”

MNPS students also can take higher-level classes, such as in math or science, at Nashville State that may not be available at their respective high schools. Nearly 80 Nashville students are currently participating in dual enrollment and being served by One Step Ahead funding.

This effort not only is giving them access to a brighter future, but also strengthening the Nashville community as a whole.

“Whether you have children in public schools or not, what happens to the 79,000 students in the Metro Nashville Public School system affects all of us,” Welsh said. Motivated, well-educated students today mean a stronger local work force tomorrow.

How You Can Help

The Nashville Public Education Foundation supports programs that build broader and deeper community engagement in public education. Formerly known as the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, it was established in 2003 by the late Nelson Andrews to secure private philanthropy to support larger, strategic initiatives in public education and prepare every student across the district for college and careers. Consider making a gift to One Step Ahead and the Nashville Public Education Foundation today.

Community giving is tax-deductible and continues through Dec. 31. Payroll deduction makes it easy to spread a gift out over 12 months, and deductions begin in January 2013. Visit the Vanderbilt Gives: Building a Community With Hope website for more information about giving options and to make your gift today.

Media Inquiries:
Kara Furlong, (615) 322-NEWS