Hume Fogg students lend spoken word poetry to pedestrian safety

A group of students at Hume Fogg is fed up with Nashville’s poor track record in pedestrian safety.  A student group, Stop! Take Notice, formed to do something about it after the December 2013 death of their classmate in a crosswalk outside their school.

For a few years now, students have been fiercely advocating for better pedestrian safety around the city, including the passage of the Elena Zamaro Memorial Act which (slightly) stiffened the penalties for seriously injuring or killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  The student group has also installed eye-catching art around downtown to try to raise awareness among drivers about pedestrian safety.

And just a few weeks ago, the student group released an excellent video featuring a spoken word poem by former classmate Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay and videography by recent graduates Arif Bashar, Jonathan Warkenitin, and some of their classmates.  It’s well worth a few minutes of your time:

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MNPS’ transportation woes continue, this time with MTA bus passes

A lot of high schoolers at Metro Nashville Public Schools are having trouble getting their free MTA bus pass this school year, The Tennessean is reporting.  Through the city’s StrIDe program, public high school students in the county can use their school ID badges as bus passes.  But with the switchover to a new student information platform this year, a lot of students are having trouble getting those badges.

On top of those problems, many students (of all ages) in the system aren’t assigned to a regular school bus route yet — because of the adoption problems with the same computer system.

Earlier: Some MNPS students don’t have a bus route, even though the school year has already started

On the plus side, the school system’s spokesman says they’re on track to issue those ID cards a month earlier than last year:

Many students who attend an out-of-zone school, such as magnet school students, depend on MTA buses to get to school on a daily basis.  Joe Bass said that some students are being given temporary MTA passes to tide them over till the problem is resolved.  They expect all students to be issued school IDs by August 26.

Meanwhile, all of the school bus routing issues should have been resolved by August 13, the district reports.

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Some MNPS students don’t have a bus route, even though the school year has already started

The school year has already started, but many students in the city’s schools don’t have a school bus.  Apparently, a large group of students were forgotten about in the mapping of this year’s school bus routes at Metro Schools.  Or, as MNPS puts it,

Metro Schools moved to a new student information system over the summer. The system is called Infinite Campus, and it replaced a massive student data system and the parent portal known as Gradespeed. When Metro Schools switched over to the new system, there was a large group of students who did not have address or household information associated with their accounts.

That causes a problem with the Transportation Department’s bus routing system because it has no address to use in assigning a student a bus stop.

All the student’s addresses (well, some of them) are in this new system, Infinite Campus, but it seems to link up with different software, EDULOG, that plans the routes based on a number of different variables:

The Routing Specialists in the Department of Transportation use the EDULOG software program to determine required bus stops. EDULOG considers bus seating capacity, student data, zoning information, and safety variables during processing to create the safest, most efficient bus routes possible.

Metro Schools says its working hard to add all of the missing student addresses to the system.  After they’re in the system, they’ll be assigned a new route.  Still, some parents are flustered by this apparent lack of preparation:

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Stand for Children gets a whoopin’ from Nashville voters

TC Weber, a local education activist, wrote up a great (opinionated) synopsis of what happened in the latest school board race, and how the no-charters beat the yes-charters:

The results are a clear reaffirmation of the issues public education advocates across the city have been working on for the last several years. What makes things even more special is that this wasn’t a victory by one small group of advocates in one district. No, this was a true grassroots collection of city-wide advocates focusing not just on their district races but on all races. Over the last several months, through social media, these separate individuals from different pockets of the city reached out to each other and banded together across the city for the cause of public education.

Head on over to his blog to read the full piece, which is well worth your time.

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Vote tallies are rolling in, and…

It’s a whooping for charter school advocates vying for spots on Nashville’s school board.

Well, except District 7, where the anti-charter candidate (Will Pinkston) just barely eked out a win with 50.12% of the vote.  That’s compared to his closest challenger and charter school advocate, Jackson Miller, who got 49.14% of votes cast.

In other words, Pinkston beat Miller by just 36 votes.  And that, I tell you, is why your vote matters.

In District 1, Sharon Dixon Gentry won with 55.66% of the vote; District 3’s Jill Speering got 58.14%; District 5’s Christianne Buggs beat her three challengers with 58.25% of votes cast; and Amy Frogge got 63.94% of the vote in District 9.  All of those candidates were against expanding the footprint of charter schools in Davidson County, and each had at least one charter school advocate competing against them.

As of this story, all precincts had reported.  There were more races, of course, including District 1 on the Metro Council.  Nick Leonardo won that race with 57.37% of the vote.  And there were some primaries for state and national offices.  You can find all the results from Nashville on the Metro government’s webpage for election results.

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First Day at MNPS

It’s the first day of the school year at MNPS, as these excited parents are happy to show us:

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Nashville traffic a hot mess, putting people’s tempers to the test

Today Metro Schools started back, clogging up the streets, especially around schools:

And to make matters worse, there was a fatal crash on I-40 this morning. The single-vehicle crash, which gave the driver fatal injuries, reduced the inbound side to a single lane near White Bridge Pike for the morning rush hour.  Traffic is backed up at least 8 miles.

And what backs up cars also backs up the buses.  My own bus got delayed in traffic around an elementary school this morning.  Another bus driver said that many buses are running behind schedule because of the school traffic and I-40 accident.

Drivers are none too happy about the delays:

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MNPS selects new superintendent

The board of Metro Nashville Public Schools has unanimously voted to extend an offer to Shawn Joseph, which he accepted.  Joseph was previously the deputy superintendent at Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland; he’ll officially start on July 1.

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Missing Out on School Lunch? Metro Schools Has Your Back

With school in session only one day this week (what, with MLK Day and all this wintry weather), many children who normally only get two meals a day — breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria — are now getting zero meals a day.  Metro Nashville Public Schools is stepping up to the plate, distributing boxes of food to needy families — along with the help of some community partner organizations and generous community members:

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