MNPS, Nashville State collaboration to bring new higher education opportunities to historically underserved students

Pictured (l to r): Adrienne Battle, MNPS director; Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, NSCC president; Brian Mells, White’s Creek principal; and Mike Johnson, PNC regional president. Whites Creek students will have access to early college credits and the chance to earn an associate’s degree while in high school at no cost through a partnership with Nashville State and a grant from the PNC Bank Foundation.

Nashville State Community College has announced it has received a $306,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to establish an Early College Partnership program at Metro Nashville Public Schools’ (MNPS) Whites Creek High School.

The four-year grant will allow Nashville State and MNPS to create a pilot program that will launch this fall, enabling 40 students at Whites Creek High School to obtain college credits toward an associate degree at no cost while fulfilling requirements for a high school diploma. The classes will take place on the high school’s campus. Notably, Whites Creek is one of three MNPS high schools with less than 30% of its students enrolling in college. A key component of PNC’s grant will provide the participating students with financial literacy education tools and resources to help build a strong financial future and support the economic sustainability of the communities where they will one day live and work.

“This collaboration represents an important step toward closing the educational achievement gap in our community,” said Mike Johnson, PNC regional president for Tennessee. “The goal is to create meaningful and sustainable opportunities for students most in need, along with providing a path to greater earning potential and a brighter economic future through higher education.”

The grant is part of PNC’s $1 billion commitment to support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low- and moderate-income communities, announced last year.

“The Early College model is a proven method to help students advance to a four-year degree program or join the workforce early, with strong credentials in hand, so they can start building their careers in the Nashville economy,” said Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools.  “We are extremely grateful to the PNC Foundation and our longtime partners at Nashville State Community College for making new academic and career pathways available to Whites Creek students.”

This will be the second Early College partnership between MNPS and Nashville State. The first is on Nashville State’s White Bridge campus. In early 2020, Nashville State and MNPS launched ‘Better Together,’ a joint venture to help MNPS graduates prepare for, attend, and complete college.

“The opportunity for students to earn college credit while still in high school builds confidence, knowledge and skills,” said Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, president of Nashville State Community College.  “Early College provides a clear pathway to completing college with embedded student supports. The PNC Foundation’s strategic investment removes barriers for students and strengthens Nashville State’s Better Together joint venture with Metro Schools to increase college readiness and completion.”

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