The majority of PENCIL’s work focuses on addressing the inequitable access to resources among Nashville schools through a collective impact model – known as PENCIL Partnerships – that harnesses the time, treasure, and talent of our rapidly expanding business community in support of individual schools.

As part of PENCIL’s 2025 strategic targets, we planned to invest in virtual engagement platforms to help reduce geographic and scheduling barriers to our partnership work. PENCIL decided to accelerate our strategic goals to meet the urgent needs of Metro Nashville Public Schools, as they navigate remote learning.

This year, PENCIL staff and partners worked together to establish several virtual engagement opportunities, including:

PENCIL Connect
PENCIL Connect will virtually link classrooms to business partners in real-time, giving them exposure to career exploration and technical mentoring in their future career path. The online engagement platform supports PENCIL’s partnership work within the Academies of Nashville, which includes the recruitment, matching, training, and managing of business and community partners who support as mentors, job site hosts, internship supervisors, and CTE exam tutors.

PENCIL Connect is in the initial phases for Academy Partnership engagement.

PENCIL Library
PENCIL Library is an online content library that houses best practice materials for the following groups: PENCIL Partners (Elementary, Middle, High), PENCIL Governing and Emerging Leaders Board and PENCIL Consulting Communities. Within the platform, individuals can engage with one another, access materials to spark ideas, give instruction, and download pertinent information for board service. 

Currently, PENCIL Library onboarding is focused on Academy Coaches and CTE Instructors at a high school level. PENCIL is working closely with the Academies of Nashville team to bulk up a reservoir of materials that fulfill the growing need for Virtual Job Shadow and Virtual Field Trip opportunities as needed for graduation.

PENCIL Me In, PENCIL’s community investment tracking tool, is being revamped to not only track volunteer time and talent, but also to share school needs and requests, that PENCIL Partners can then fulfill. With this updated platform, we can remotely recruit, engage, and communicate with volunteers – Allowing volunteers to find and adopt projects that schools post, which will support student celebration, family engagement, and teacher appreciation.

PENCIL Me In will be piloted this spring with a goal to have 50 school needs/events posted. More information coming in 2021.

Proudly PENCIL Virtual Learning Series
Proudly PENCIL Virtual Learning Series is an educational video series, created to help bolster Metro Schools online resources for students. Community groups and volunteers create 5-20-minute videos focused on reading, STEAM or career exploration. The videos are then added to our robust YouTube channel and PENCIL Library, and shared as a district-wide learning resource.

PENCIL will continue to expand and strengthen its virtual learning series to best support the needs of Metro students. Our goal for the spring semester is to add 75 virtual field trips and 75 virtual job shadow experiences to our channel, so high schoolers can explore many different career options.

Learn more:

PENCIL Reading Partners
PENCIL Reading Partners has transitioned to tutoring elementary students via Microsoft Teams. Volunteers will be screened, trained and matched with students, and then will work regularly with their student one-to-one on reading and literacy work.

Together with Metro Schools, PENCIL plans to launch all-virtual Reading Partners in January 2021. Learn more:

With community support, PENCIL will further develop these virtual projects to best meet the growing needs within Metro Nashville Public Schools.