The new director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, Shawn Joseph, faces many challenges as he takes office July 1, including developing and retaining strong school leaders, improving student outcomes, turning around failing schools and closing achievement gaps for vulnerable populations. Researchers at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development have considerable expertise on these subjects and are available for comment.
BUILDING STRONG SCHOOL LEADERSHIP
Evaluations and incentives
Matthew Springer can discuss the effectiveness of retention bonuses in Tennessee’s low-performing schools, and the effective use of teacher evaluation data.
Ellen Goldring designed and implemented a principal leadership academy in Metro Schools. She can speak on the importance of training, nurturing and retaining quality teachers and principals. Video
Joseph Murphy, is a past school administrator and author of Leading School Improvement: A Framework for Action.
TURNING AROUND LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS
Achievement School District
Gary Henry has studied Tennessee’s Achievement School District and iZone schools. He can discuss what tactics are working in school turnaround in Tennessee and across the nation.
Marisa Cannata can discuss scaling up low-performing schools through effective administrative leadership, quality teachers and a supportive professional community. She is the director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools.
Claire Smrekar is an expert on school choice, including charters, vouchers and magnet schools. She was an expert witness two recent high-profile desegregation cases.
BOOSTING STUDENT OUTCOMES
Xiu Cravens created and implemented the highly successful Teacher Peer Excellence Group model in six Tennessee counties. TPEGs improve teacher and student outcomes by employing teacher observation, feedback and collaboration.
Curriculum and testing
Barbara Stengel can comment on the aftermath of Common Core and TNReady. She heads up a team-teaching program implemented at Bailey Middle School, iis director of secondary education at Peabody and leads the Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools program.
Angela Boatman is an education policy expert who can discuss how MNPS can best prepare students for college. She also can comment on Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Hope and remedial education. Video
Teaching with technology
Rogers Hall is an expert on math- and technology-based learning environments. He can discuss spatial learning and the relationships between personal mobility and learning.
iPads and autism
Ann Kaiser conducts research on how children with autism can use iPads to facilitate speech and learning.
FOSTERING SAFE SCHOOLS
Maury Nation has helped Metro implement tangible solutions for curbing bullying and creating positive learning environments.
Bruce Compas works with area families and can discuss the legacy depressed parents pass on to their children. The interventions he is implementing have shown to break the depression cycle in families. Video
Andrew Finch was honored by the White House for his work with recovery high schools. He co-founded the Association of Recovery Schools and helped carry out the first and only accreditation program for such schools.
MEETING THE NEEDS OF VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
ELL achievement gap
Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez is a bilingual professor of teaching and learning who can address the achievement gap for young ELL students.
Teacher training for ESL
Robert Jiménez assists MNPS teachers in earning their English as a Second Language endorsement.
Deborah Rowe has expertise in how young ELL students draw on their first language when learning to write and speak English, and how they interact with teachers in an English-dominant environment.
Reading interventions for Down syndrome
Christopher Lemons has been recognized by the White House for his research on reading interventions for children with Down syndrome and autism.
Joseph Lambert works with students with learning differences combined with severe behavior challenges. He can discuss how Peabody is training a new generation of teachers to meet these students’ needs. Video
Joseph Wehby studies aggressive behavior in students with intellectual disabilities and interventions to facilitate learning and socializing.
BUILDING A FOUNDATION THROUGH EARLY EDUCATION
Dale Farran and Mark Lipsey’s pre-K research helped inform lawmakers who crafted the Tennessee Pre-Kindergarten Quality Act. They also advise MNPS on best practices for its pre-K program.
Learning through Play
David Dickinson can discuss an intervention he created to help preschool teachers teach vocabulary through teacher-supported play.
Toddlers and screen time
Georgene Troseth studies the impact of videos, television, tablets and smart phones on preschoolers’ earliest learning experiences.