Academies Spotlight: Maplewood High School – Metro Nashville Public Schools

September 21, 2022 by No Comments


You wouldn’t expect to find a fully functioning auto repair shop, a primary health clinic that serves its community, a full-service cosmetology studio and an energy training lab when walking through the front doors of most neighborhood high schools, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Maplewood High School. 

Maplewood, one of 12 Metro high schools that make up the Academies of Nashville, offers students five interesting and practical Academies pathways – each one designed to help students create their own high school experience. The Academies create unique experiences for all students, through job shadowing, experiential learning opportunities, guest speakers and networking with industry experts.

Just ask James Ruben, a junior in Maplewood’s Academy of Entrepreneurship and Innovation who is translating his love of “tinkering” on cars into a rewarding education and fulfilling career through the Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair pathway.

“It’s helped me because [my teacher] has taught me more than I thought I would ever know,” he said. “If I go to trade school, I know I’ll have more knowledge than everyone else.”

Ruben has plans to specialize in diesel engines after graduation – but while he’s in school, he’s participating in hands-on learning in the Firestone Complete Auto Care Shop. The Auto Care Shop is more than just an interesting classroom full of car parts and tires – it’s a full-service auto maintenance shop where students learn and work five days a week.

For Academy Coach Lanedria Marshall, the hands-on experiences students participate in – whether in the auto shop, the cosmetology studio, or in any other pathway classroom – are what make the Academies so impactful for all students.

“The Academy model lets students experience all of these different things while students are still in school,” she said. “It really brings so many different experiences to life.” 

What started as a personal hobby for Ruben has turned into industry certifications and other learning experiences that go beyond the classroom.

“I look forward to coming back after graduation and talking to other students to show them what they can get out of this program,” he said.

The Academy of Entrepreneurship and Innovation includes two other pathways, alongside the Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair pathway:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Cosmetology

Maplewood is also home to future architects, engineers and electricians, thanks, in part, to the school’s Academy of Health and Electrical Services, which houses the Energy and Power Distribution pathway.

Junior Bernardo Diaz is one of those students enrolled in the Energy and Power Distribution pathway, an experience created by Academy partners Stansell Electric and Nashville Electric Service.

Diaz credits his pathway with not only interesting projects – like building parallel circuits and working in the outdoor Energy and Power Training Lab – but also with enhancing his overall high school experience.

“[The pathway] helped me get more into high school and made me feel more comfortable,” he said. “I am able to stay connected to my other classmates while we work on projects together.”

And, in a school like Maplewood, bustling with nearly 700 students, creating community for students is an important part of the school day. Because pathway students take a lot of the same courses and classes at the same time, they’re able to connect with each other and support each other.

“The smaller learning communities created by the different pathways help students create bonds that …….



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