MNPS Remote Teaching Superstars

With Teams chats, Schoology discussions, Flipgrid videos, and a lot of creativity and heart, Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers found new ways to reach and teach their students over the last two months of the school year.

新皇冠体育盘口Just like the traditional classroom, the new remote learning space has its share of stars: teachers who quickly adopted and adapted to technological tools and brought their own innovations and inspiration to the task. 

Here are 10 MNPS educators who were nominated by peers and parents to be recognized for the work they’ve done since social distancing forced them to teach from their homes.

Brandi Nunnery, LITERACY COACH, Crieve Hall Elementary School

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When Nunnery was thinking about how to keep her own daughter, a sixth-grader at Oliver Middle School, busy during spring break after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, she started a Writer’s Workshop program for her daughter, two of her friends, and some friends’ children. With 100 spaces available on an online platform, she opened the program up to Crieve Hall students, and it filled up on the first day. 

新皇冠体育盘口 The circle of writers has grown across the state and even the country as Nunnery and her students have studied and written fairy tales and learned about journalism by creating “KNN,” the Kids News Network. 

“While the majority of our writers are from Crieve Hall, we also have students from Oliver, Meigs, and Una,” Nunnery said, thanking seven fellow teachers and educators for their help with the workshop. “Our program has gone beyond MNPS with participants from Wilson, Williamson, Sumner, and Knox counties as well as from St. Edward’s Catholic School and Lipscomb Academy – we even have one sixth-grader all the way from Spokane, Washington! The diversity among our writers weaves a beautiful tapestry of experiences and backgrounds that is evident when they share their writing and provide feedback to each other.”

Taimeka BerryEnglish I teacher, Hillsboro High School

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Berry quickly embraced and committed to remote learning, said Matt King, literacy teacher development specialist at . She co-teaches virtually with her Exceptional Education counterpart and brings a sign language interpreter into virtual class meetings to meet the needs of hearing-impaired students. 

新皇冠体育盘口“Because my families and students had already been used to connecting with me through Remind.com, I used that as a way to send information on services to which Hillsboro High School’s wonderful team of counselors and social workers could connect them,” Berry said. “Then I assured them that learning would and should continue. I contacted my co-teacher, sign language interpreter, EL support, and deaf/hearing-impaired teacher to garner their support, ensuring that all of my students who needed services were able to receive them.”

新皇冠体育盘口Berry said students in her virtual classroom “were happy to challenge each other with questions and challenge each other to rethink responses, applying the knowledge that they’d acquired earlier in the year.” She gives credit to them and her co-teachers for “proving that building relationships with stakeholders is key to our overall success as classroom teachers.”

Steffani Davis, physical education teacher, Shwab Elementary School

Just three years into her teaching career, Davis started planning and teaching virtual lessons as soon as the quarantine began in mid-March. She talked to other PE teachers in the district, learned about best practices in other countries from the ConnectedPE website, and found activities on Facebook and YouTube and from other teachers. 

新皇冠体育盘口With the students engaged and enjoying themselves, Davis figured she had a good routine down and that schools would reopen in April. When that didn’t happen, she knew what was at stake for the kids: “OH NO, FIELD DAY!” 

But she found a solution. She turned to FlipGrid so students and staff members could record videos of themselves doing physical activities both indoors and out. 

新皇冠体育盘口 “This hidden gem saved Field Day and has engaged the students in a new way of learning,” Davis said. “Using technology to make videos, FlipGrids, and hosting virtual PE classes was not taught in my college courses. There was a lot of trial and error. It help me stay connected with students but also brought a little fun into their lives during this challenging time. Also, I had my Shwab family helping me every step of the way.” 

Damon Ray, English teacher and debate coach, Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School

新皇冠体育盘口Ray has used multiple online teaching platforms not only to engage his students in novels such as “Invisible Man” but also to “sharpen his own professional toolkit,” said Farrar Looney, literacy teacher development specialist at . 

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新皇冠体育盘口“The number of students participating shows the type of classroom learning community established by Mr. Ray,” Looney said.

Ray said students need the benefit of some empathy from others these days, and he does his best to let that be his “guiding light.” 

“So, I give my students some grace, some understanding, and some room for growth. I try to extend that to my work and my pedagogy, too. I’ve tried to learn everything I can about screen-casting and educational software over the past few months. It’s been humbling to put myself back into the student’s perspective and remember that learning comes from experience, and not every experience is a success. I’ve live-annotated and Zoomed and Microsoft Teamed and embedded questions in videos and fallen back in love with Schoology – a real whirlwind.”

Amanda Dardya GEAR UP specialist

Dardy went out of her way to help some Antioch Middle School students feel included after their classes started using Schoology a few weeks ago. She made “social distancing home visits” for seventh- and eighth-graders “who had not engaged in any Schoology interactions with teachers or GEAR UP,” said John-Paul Gray, coordinator of the district’s , which is funded by a federal grant that aims to increase enrollment and success in postsecondary education. 

新皇冠体育盘口 “Amanda provided them with some small treats and the instructions on how to log in and interact through Schoology,” Gray said. “This is going way above and beyond what was asked of her, and she is always going above and beyond the call of duty.”

Dani Hall, 6th Grade English Language Arts teacher, Donelson Middle School

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新皇冠体育盘口Hall, who started a virtual classroom within days of schools closing in March and trained colleagues to do the same, said she worked to “establish an easily accessible and inclusive space” for her students. She used video chats, discussion boards and group texts as the go-to tools she needed to maintain consistency student connection and involvement. 

新皇冠体育盘口“These tools allowed me to provide students with relevant learning material and engaging discussion topics that helped motivate and empower their continued learning,” Hall said.

Maurika Price, Exceptional Education Teacher, Isaac Litton Middle School

Price held daily “office hours” with small groups of students so they could tackle questions and tasks together. 

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“My approach to remote learning has been to provide support for students academically and emotionally by holding daily virtual small group sessions to work through class assignments, just as I would if we were still in the physical school building,” she said.

“My goal has been to provide as much routine in this abnormal situation by providing students with consistency, because there is ‘much more to schools than buildings.’ ”


Joshua WilburnEnglish teacher, Nashville Big Picture High School and MNPS Virtual School

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Vickie Wilcox, literacy teacher development specialist at Big Picturesaid Wilburn has taken a lead role in training other teachers to use online tools for teaching. He also created a video for students that included pictures of the school’s teachers to show what they were doing while sheltering in place at home. 

新皇冠体育盘口“The three things I make my focus when it comes to remote learning are feedback, communication, and engagement,” Wilburn said. “It is important to meet each student where they are and make them grow.”

Chandler Rhodessecond-grade teacher, Eakin Elementary School

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新皇冠体育盘口With the help of an online meeting platform, Rhodes has been able to make connections with her classroom that would otherwise not be able to happen, such as her mom joining from Georgia and reading to her class. Rhodes looks forward to video conferencing three times a week with her students. Her recently learned how to classify animals together, then dispersed to do just that in their backyards. 

Rhodes also designed a professional development for elementary school teachers on how to incorporate Discovery Education into their digital learning. She was  last week as its “Hero of the Match.”

“Chandler Rhodes has been an absolute rock star from Day 1,” said Jennifer Berry, director of STEAM and science for MNPS. 

Nate Miley, principal, Crieve Hall Elementary School

新皇冠体育盘口Stephanie Carty, mother of a 4th grader, said Miley has gone the extra mile by holding a Facebook Live event with students every day during the quarantine – while keeping up with his own four young children. Miley said he was “missing the kids as much as they were missing us at school.” 

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新皇冠体育盘口“I designed a battle of the books bracket and met with students via Facebook Live every Monday-Friday morning to provide structure/routine for our students, as well as an opportunity for us all to connect,” he said. “We started after spring break and ended this past Monday.  

“During our time together, we battled out until our favorite book, Dragons Love Tacos, was crowned the champion. We also did virtual field trips around my home; learned new games; called students live on the air to interview them about the quarantine; played Pictionary, boys versus girls; and got a glimpse into the home life of Dr. Miley as my little ones constantly walked into the camera feed. Facebook gave us the opportunity to interact in real time with one another. It was so fun to be with the students and their families each day!”

Thank you, #TeamMNPS 

MNPS thanks these 10 educators and many, many more who have adjusted, innovated and, most importantly, continued to teach新皇冠体育盘口 since the world was turned upside-down. The students need you. Their parents certainly need you! 

新皇冠体育盘口Teachers, you make our city a better place, and you make the world a little saner and safer these days. Thank you. 

Virtual Summer Experience

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新皇冠体育盘口Metro Nashville Public School educators will teach more than 1,300 sessions of virtual summer lessons beginning June 1. The free classes are for students of all ages and for adults, too!

The lessons will be taught in Schoology and Flipgrid, which will offer a great opportunity for students to further familiarize themselves with online learning tools — all while having fun and exploring topics they love.

Visit the Virtual Summer Experience 新皇冠体育盘口page for more information.