Record Number Of Nashville Families Trying To Get Into Schools They’re Not Zoned For
Metro Nashville Public Schools rebranded many of its high school reforms in recent years under the "Academies" program. The "Middle Prep" project is a similar effort to help describe some reforms already in place and others that are completely new. Credit: MNPS via Instagram

Record Number Of Nashville Families Trying To Get Into Schools They’re Not Zoned For

Metro Nashville Public Schools rebranded many of its high school reforms in recent years under the "Academies" program. The "Middle Prep" project is a similar effort to help describe some reforms already in place and others that are completely new. Credit: MNPS via Instagram
Metro Schools has pushed choice in recent years as a way to attract middle class families that might otherwise consider private schools or moving to a surrounding county. Credit: MNPS via Instagram

Decision day comes Friday for 13,300 students in Nashville. That’s how many have applied to attend a school other than the one that’s closer to home – a record figure, by far.

The number is slightly padded from previous years because all eighth graders now have to choose which high school they’ll attend. But still, applications have been growing for the last few years as the district promotes choice and as more and more charter schools open in the city.

Mother Missy Ward-Lambert got her daughter into Hull Jackson Montessori this year and hopes her son will start there in the fall, if only to keep from having kids in two separate schools.  

“I suspect that we have a pretty good chance that he’ll get in,” she says. “If he doesn’t, we’re going to have some hard decisions to make because. I can’t…I don’t want to do this amount of driving for another year.”

Half of the district’s schools have open seats that are part of the choice process. However, in most cases, making a choice means the family has to provide transportation.

District officials are promoting the high rate of applications as a sign of engagement.

“These numbers tell us families are exploring their options and making informed choices about where their children attend school,” superintendent Jesse Register said in a statement.

[box]Total application volume by year, with the average student applying to three schools:

  • 2012: 14,813
  • 2013: 15,752
  • 2014: 16,339
  • 2015: 46,380

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Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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