Academy PENCIL Partners

MNPS Academies of Nashville

In the MNPS Academies of Nashville Program, students choose what and how they want to learn .  The 12 zoned high schools offer 40 different Academies altogether. Due to the direct involvement from Academy PENCIL Partnerships within each school, each Academy offers practical, hands-on learning across all curriculum in five industry-related areas:

  • Arts, Media & Communications
  • Business, Marketing & Information Technology
  • Engineering, Manufacturing & Industrial Technology
  • Health & Public Services
  • Hospitality & Tourism

"PENCIL is the cornerstone of the work of the Academies of Nashville—they provide the business and community partnerships that enrich student learning by showing them the relevance of the courses they take in high school; partnerships that engage teachers with business partners to help teachers link their instruction to the world of work and finally, these partnerships provide experiential learning for our students to make the phrase “you have to see it to be it” come alive."

Donna Gilley, Director of the Academies of Nashville


Academy PENCIL Partners

Academy PENCIL Partners work directly with teachers to develop industry-specific lesson plans that correlate with each focused learning pathway - even in core curriculum classes.

Together, they show students how what they are learning in school relates to their future and gives them real-world exposure into what potential careers look like so they can make timely, informed decisions and discover their true passion.

Academy PENCIL Partners also mentor students in each pathway on industry specific certification exams to further prepare them for college and career. Nashville’s Academies are an industry leader due in large part to strong involvement and support from the business community fostered by PENCIL. 

Academy PENCIL Partnerships aim to accomplish the following goals: 

  • Improve graduation rates by making school interesting and engaging to students
  • Build relationships between students and positive adult role models through mentorship and regular class interactions with industry professional
  • Support positive outcomes after high school graduation, including further education and entry into high-wage, high-demand careers

PENCIL Partner activities include:

• Guest Speakers
• Loaned Classroom Instructor
• Career Exploration Fair
• Career Mentors
• Teacher Externships
• Provide Learning Supplies
• Curriculum Development
• Job Shadowing
• Field Trips
• Mock Interviews
• Academy Advisory Board
• Student Internships
•Industry Certification Exam Tutors


PENCIL currently manages the relationships of PENCIL Partners that are engaged with 93 district schools. During the 16-17 school year, PENCIL Partners have invested more than 38,000 volunteer hours and additional resources to MNPS valued at more than $4.1 million.