The strength of our team and our solution resides in our diversity, and we invest a significant amount of time and resources cultivating an exceptionally diverse team and network of partners, in support of promoting children’s wellbeing.
Our team consists of a balance of teachers, learning coaches, student life coaches, leadership coaches, a full time nurse, and numerous organizational partners, 20 total.
Beginning our 5th year of operations, we have a demonstrated financial record of self sufficiency on public dollars (state and local).
We use additional grants to increase the scale and impact of our work with students and families, in our region, and beyond.
We have also partnered with an education residency program that focuses on recruiting students of color into serving and teaching our youth. This has allowed our team to increase the depth of our talent pipeline in a way that empowers entrepreneurship, student leadership, and active lifestyle habits.
Our diversity is reflected through our people, our programs, and our partners.
Our people (The Support Team).
Unity through Community.
Our support team reflects the population of students and families that we serve, of which 45 percent are African American, 30 percent are Hispanic, 20 percent are Arabic (multi-ethnic descent), 2 percent are European, 2 percent are multi-ethnic, and 1 percent are Asian. About 20 percent of our students are English Language Learners and 12 percent are students with disabilities.
For the second year in a row, we are recognized as the only public charter school in metropolitan Nashville, as measured by Metro Nashville Public Schools, to meet or surpass all major- and sub- categories for diversity, for all teaching staff, all operational staff, and for all students including English Language Learners (ELLs) and Students with Disabilities (Individuals with Disabilities Act). This includes indicators for race/ethnicity, income, language, and disability.
Our programs (The Levers for Changemaking)
We have long standing partnerships with over 20 organizations focused on the following areas of children’s wellbeing:
- Social Media & Leadership Voice
Positive Social Media Messaging & Monthly Active Lifestyle Themes
We use the web to integrate and celebrate positive social media messages, revolving around active lifestyle habits. See, http://www.kafitness.org/weekly_updates.
Our team facilitates peer groups among students and families in which physical activity goals are celebrated and posted on social media, on a weekly basis.
This positive social media messaging helps reinforce momentum towards active lifestyle habits, across our community.
Our team uses and promotes monthly family activity calendars as ongoing opportunities for students and families to share together in active lifestyle habits.
Each month, our community focuses on a different lifestyle theme, ranging from physical activity to healthy food recipes and nutrition. See, http://eepurl.com/b_Y87r.
Last academic year, over 100 of our students and 30 of our families participated in positive social media peer groups, integrating the Fitbit platform. Monthly meetings and celebrations focused on the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle reinforced the creation of stronger community groups.
Semi-annual Social Media Leadership Summits
Beginning this year, we will support positive social media messaging with semi-annual summits in which our students share their passion, lifestyle, and voice through the creation of social media profile pages.
These pages will share best examples of student life, leadership, and learning experiences.
Profile pages will be shared broadly across our community with our partners, students, and families.
Celebration themes focus on learning style, leadership voice, and leadership actions. The purpose of sharing the social media profiles is to demonstrate how all members of our community have the capacity to lead and inspire others.
These profiles are cultivated and developed in classroom settings, presented in small peer groups, leading to shared Summit-based question and answer forums, held in front of engaged families, businesses, and community partners.
Student Voice & Leadership Council
Beginning this year, we are convening a Student Voice & Leadership Council who will be trained in habits of changemaking and empowered to lead new ideas, projects, and connections within our community, that form stronger student to family to community connections.
This Council is provided the forum to meet with our leadership team every month, and also submit formal student voice proposals throughout the academic year. As proposals are refined and improved they are green-lighted for implementation across our community with the support of other student leaders, mentors, and teachers . Successful projects have the capacity to impact the daily lives of over 700 students and families, just within our local campus.
See, https://goo.gl/forms/Z0M1FHydJpshqEmD3, for an example Student Voice proposal format. All proposals must amplify positive social media messaging and active healthy lifestyle themes.
Our partners (The Networks for Changemaking)
- Partnerships that reinforce healthy lifestyle habits.
Fresh Food & Produce Partnerships
Our team is collaborating with the Belmont University School of Business, Enactus Belmont Student group, and Nashville State University to make sustainable fresh food partnerships in which families receive and learn how to cook fresh food grown by a local non profit Cul2vate Nashville. See https://www.cul2vate.org/.
This includes three (3) workshops per semester for families, led by cooks from some of Nashville’s leading restaurants and eateries.
Families learn how to prepare fresh dishes with fresh produce, and receive a fresh food box every two weeks delivered to our school for pick up.
Semi-annual Health and Wellness Fairs
Our team hosts semi-annual health and wellness fairs (winter & spring) which also include health screenings.
Participating partners include.
- Total Health, Meharry Medical College (Health Screenings)
- Well Child (Hearing & Vision Screenings)
- Revolution Foods (Healthy Food Options)
- Nashville Predators Fitness Challenge
- New Vision, Inc. (Social Services, Social-emotional Peer Groups)
- Nashville Adult Literacy Council (English Language Learning & Citizenship Classes)
- Nashville Public LIbrary (Mobile Library)
- Specialized peer groups anchored in social emotional learning.
Every week we host social emotional learning peer groups for students, in partnership with New Vision, Inc.
Students are identified for participation in the group based on the level of social emotional learning referrals which occur throughout the school day.
Participants work through a series of small group workshops, which can include home visits, based on mutual agreement with each participating student and family.
Quarterly reviews are held to determine if positive progress is being made, using metrics such as reductions in school day referrals, which show positive metrics.
- Demonstrating how entrepreneurship can be used to foster healthy lifestyle habits that have the power to also lead others.
Our team reaches out to surrounding universities and start-up accelerators that are interested in creating products that impact the active and healthy lifestyles of students and families.
We provide the opportunity for individuals and start-up organizations, that are aligned with our mission, to gain feedback from our students on the appeal and/or relevance of their newly proposed product.
This reinforces, with our students, that their voice and their ideas matter in the real economy and marketplace.
To date, we have partnered with several individuals and organizations, including Fathom PBC, a youth entrepreneurship organization testing concepts of crowdsourcing grassroot ideas within a change agent marketplace.
Our team and our students are working with Fathom to refine and improve their product Beta, and ideas tailored for the growing Nashville economy and beyond.
This refinement includes interviews with students, reflecting on the proposed Beta, and reflective writing on how the Beta might be improved, as the targeted audience.
Here is a link to an executive summary proposal from Fathom, https://app.box.com/s/1slut7r9ygqwboclan5bdxj2icf4m6ax.
Our students are being provided the opportunity to review, provide feedback, and shape the proposal. This process further develops their authentic leadership voice and belief in the impact of their words and actions in promoting change.
- Providing teams of teachers with ongoing training on how they can integrate support for children’s wellbeing into daily classroom instruction.
Our team spends time over the summer engaged in professional development that emphasizes the significance of developing social emotional skills, awareness of diversity, and habits in students, including daily classroom supports that can leverage the different learning styles of students towards the development of their authentic leadership and learning voice.
We are scheduling bi-monthly diversity awareness training for our team, delivered in partnership with an experienced diversity consultant.