Nashville's Apollo Middle School, which is 41% Hispanic, is piloting a world culture course and a student laptop program, and its principal is making other gains getting notice elsewhere in the district.
The Tennessean reported here on Principal Ron Woodard, in its series of profiles called Nashville's Peacemakers. Here is how Woodard described to the Tennessean the genesis of Apollo's world culture course:
Woodard created a mandatory world cultures course, in which students learn about different religions, customs and ethnic foods. The student body is 41 percent Hispanic, 40 percent African-American and 10 percent white.Other recent innovations at the school include a "Slammin' Summer Reading" program, with teachers volunteering time during the summer (featured in the video above), and the Digital Academy for Success in High School (D.A.S.H.), in which students work on laptops during the school day. D.A.S.H. is featured in this video at Apollo's web site and also this report by NewsChannel 5.
"When I got to this school there was a definite lack of cultural understanding, which led
to problems," said the father of two. "It's so important to develop that understanding in middle school because it's really when you start figuring out your identity."
270 middle school students attend Apollo, according to the Tennessean.