I had a nice chat with Chris Weber, the Director of Student Assignment Services for Metro Nashville Public Schools. Chris has been with the district for a long time so he was able to provide some interesting insights into the past, present, and future of different initiatives. He was also very forthcoming and it is apparent that he truly wants to help families navigate this sometimes confusing process.

I think you will enjoy listening if you are a parent navigating the school choice application process or if you are a community member who just wants to know more about how it all works.

Here are some of the topics we explore in the episode:

  • The historical context of magnet schools
  • The past, present, and future goals the district has for magnet schools
  • The updated admission requirements for academic magnets
  • Transportation options for students not attending their zoned schools
  • Why all parents should visit their zoned schools before making assumptions
  • Zoned option schools and schools with geographic priority zones, such as Glendale Spanish Immersion and Lockeland Design Center
  • Changes in the works for next year, such as the creation of new federally funded magnet schools and the revamped application process for transferring juniors and seniors

Still have questions about the process? Chris graciously offered to follow up with anyone who needs help/clarification. Leave a comment or send me an email and I will pass it on to him!

In this episode you will hear parts of my conversation with Vesia Wilson-Hawkins, a local education blogger who used to work for Metro Nashville Public Schools. Vesia’s blog is titled Volume and Light and her tagline is, “speaking out for better Nashville Schools”. It is obvious that Vesia cares deeply about supporting families navigating the education system and that she believes that all kids should be entitled to attend a great school.
While she and I may disagree on certain things, I feel like Vesia have a lot in common and we had a very interesting and thought provoking conversation. School choice has been a huge topic of debate in Nashville and across the country during the past several years. I am typically of the belief that we should put our money and resources towards improving our existing public schools, and Vesia is clearly supportive of families having increased access to schools of their choice. The reason I wanted to interview Vesia is because one day I was reading her blog, and she wrote something that stopped me in my tracks. She said, “ Our children deserve better than what we’ve given them. They deserve adults who fight poverty, underperforming schools, racism, and classism. Not adults who fight each other.” And with those words, I couldn’t agree more.

“Our children deserve better than what we’ve given them. They deserve adults who fight poverty, underperforming schools, racism, and classism. Not adults who fight each other.” -Vesia Wilson-Hawkins

In the first segment, you will hear Vesia and I discuss school choice, school segregation, and why white parents should stop speaking for parents of color. Disclaimer: You will hear me cheering and agreeing that white parents should stop talking about those parents. I have been guilty of that many times and worse, I have stood by and listened as other people spoke out of turn.

To finish up, Vesia wanted to say a few words about Project LIT and the work that Jarred Amato is doing. If you didn’t listen to our last episode series, I encourage you to go back and listen to Jarred Amato tell his story. I hope you enjoy hearing about Vesia’s personal connection to Project LIT.

Thank you for listening! I am still learning, and I would love any feedback about what is and isn’t working. I am busy lining up new guests for the new year. Please reach out and let me know if you have  any suggestions for potential guests. I look forward to listening and learning with you in 2018!