An Elementary Exploration

On February 19, PENCIL was joined by almost 40 community members from more than 15 different Nashville organizations for the Discover MNPS Tour at Whitsitt Elementary School. It was the first-ever Discover MNPS Tour that provided the community with an inside-look at a Metro Nashville Elementary School.

To kick off the event, guests received a warm-welcome from Mr. Justin Uppinghouse, Whitsitt’s Principal, and Mr. Chris Echegaray, the Community Achieves Site Manager at Whitsitt. Principal Uppinghouse and Mr. Echegaray explained curriculum STEAM integration, transition from a priority school and community involvement in the school.

Following the welcome, guests were divided into two groups and led on tours by Whitsitt’s fourth grade student ambassadors. Guests saw the whole-school magnet programs with science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM)-related teachings in action. The ambassadors provided an exclusive look at the unique learning styles in the Kindergarten classrooms, as well as in Physical Education and Music class.

In addition to seeing how Whitsitt incorporated STEAM and environmental engineering into the classroom, guests also engaged with a panel of active PENCIL Partners, including:

  • Jacki Artis – Creative Artists Agency
  • Chris Hulsey – The Wilson Group Real Estate Services
  • Ally Miller – Turnip Green Creative Reuse
  • Drew Warth – Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

The panelist shared insight into their specific experiences and involvement as reading mentors, teachers for a day, after-school program facilitators, etc. To end the event, Principal Uppinghouse and Mr. Echegaray provided a wholistic view of what partnerships mean to the school and how it has contributed to Whitsitt’s transition out of a priority school.

PENCIL was thrilled with the turnout and success of Discover MNPS at Whitsitt Elementary School. Before the end of the 2018 – 2019 school year, PENCIL will host one more Discover MNPS event at Croft Middle School. The event will take place on March 19, 2019. For more information, click here!