NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mayoral candidate Megan Barry today released the following open letter to the supporters of Bill Freeman regarding community schools:
"On Thursday evening, I spoke with Bill Freeman briefly and thanked him for running an honorable campaign. I enjoyed the time I spent with Bill in the field over the summer. During our many debates and conversations, Bill helped the entire mayoral field re-focus on our city's top priority: Public education.
"I especially appreciated one of Bill's top priorities: Expansion of community schools. As a council member who has spent a lot of time in our public schools over the years, and as someone who briefly taught in the classroom early in my career, I understand the importance of wraparound services such as health care, adult education, and after-school and summer programming that are critical in community schools. With this in mind, I want to assure Bill and his supporters that, as mayor, I will take up the cause of community schools and work toward the collective vision to triple the number of community schools in Nashville. Nashville is nationally recognized as a leader in community schools work, and we now have 20 Community Achieves schools across the city that serve as hubs of resources and partnerships for entire neighborhoods.
"According to the Coalition for Community Schools, students in community schools show improved grades and test scores; develop better work habits, efforts and attitudes toward learning; and become more likely to stay in school and graduate. Moreover, community schools provide a strong return on investment, with studies showing that every one dollar invested in community schools returns more than $10 in social value. In short, the community schools model is academically effective and cost-efficient — and it happens to be the right thing to do.
"Metro Nashville Public Schools has made an investment in community schools through the Community Achieves initiative, and I understand the importance of bringing students, families and neighborhoods together in order to ensure that we create strong conditions for learning for all of our children. This is work that I have supported as a council member, and as mayor, I will work to accelerate this shift for the benefit of all students and families in our city. I look forward to working with all of you — and with our teachers — to make this a reality.
Candidate for Mayor”