When Maplewood High School was labeled a "focus" school two years ago, it had one of the largest achievement gaps in the state. But that's slowly changing.
The district raised Maplewood's achievement status from "target" to "satisfactory" last month, and the school now may wind up becoming a model for what's going right with Metro Nashville Public Schools.
Maplewood hosts three academies for students interested in careers in energy, business or sports medicine thanks to partnerships with Nashville Electric, St. Thomas Hospital and Fifth Third Bank.
They are programs Executive Principal Dr. Ronald Woodard partially credits with turning the tide at the school.
"What's neat is that the kids are excited about pursuing those types of careers and going to college to pursue that," Woodard said. "Now we see the ambition. There's a hunger. That's the difference."
As proof, graduation has jumped 6 percent and scholarships are up from $91,000 to $2.2 million over the past two years.
Another big change is the morale.
"It was fights every day in the hallway," said senior Austin Owen, who participates in the business academy. "There were disruptions in the class every day, and it's not tolerated. You don't see it anymore."
Owen plans to use his experience in the student-run coffee shop to launch a career in business.
"I learn to work in the real world, and it gives me everything, good work experience, in case I do work somewhere else and learn to interact with people," he said.
"It's not the Maplewood of old. We drive ambition we drive dreams, passion," Woodard said.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Maplewood demonstrates turnaround in achievement, moraleMore>>