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PENCIL Partners get involved in schools

We are one of the nation's largest networks of businesses, universities, faith-based organizations and volunteers engaged in public schools.  With more than 800 PENCIL Partnerships directly impacting Nashville students and teachers everyday, we believe that community involvement is key to students' academic success.




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Feb 24, 2017
Big Success for A Little Night of Music

A Little Night of Music, PENCIL's signature fundraising event, is a collaboration with Creative Artists Agency that has built a bridge between the music industry and public education in Nashville to raise funds for the programming that supports Metro Nashville Public Schools students.

This year's event was a huge success as guests joined Holly Williams and Montgomery Gentry on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry for an incredibly unique and intimate concert. Guests sipped signature Nashville-inspired cocktails, sampled an array of southern delicacies, enjoyed fun with friends at the photo booth, and picked up great gear and adventures in the silent auction. Relive the night's memories with this slideshow

To see more photos from the event, check out these links: 

Patron Party Photos

A Little Night of Music Photos

Photo-booth Photos


Feb 24, 2017
How you can help improve Metro schools' reading level - Angie Adams for The Tennessean

Metro’s new director of schools, Shawn Joseph, has made it clear that raising childhood literacy rates will be front and center in his administration.

Mayor Megan Barry has been in lockstep with Joseph on the issue, and PENCIL was honored when chosen to be a part of the literacy collaborative that the mayor created last December to address the problem.

The literacy collaborative is a mix of city leaders and other nonprofits, like the Nashville Public Library and the Nashville Public Education Foundation, tasked with creating a birth-to-third-grade literacy initiative.

It has been well-documented that children who aren’t reading at grade-level by the third grade are four times more likely not to graduate high school, and 13 times more likely if they live in poverty.

While creating and implementing effective policy is crucial in tackling the problem, it takes time. Many children need help now, and it’s up to us as a community to lift a hand today.

At PENCIL, we work with struggling readers every day through our Reading Partners program, a volunteer-driven program that places more than 800 PENCIL partners in schools throughout our city.

The people participating in PENCIL’S Reading Partners program have made the choice to be personally involved in Nashville’s push to raise our childhood literacy rates. These community volunteers sit down one-on-one with struggling readers in MNPS Reading Clinics for just 30 minutes a week for at least eight weeks – though most continue working with children far beyond this time period.

Primary students, up to third grade, who participate in a minimum of 30 lessons in MNPS Reading Clinics average a gain of two or more text levels. Students reading text with more complex concepts, content and vocabulary average a gain of two or more text levels in 36 lessons.

Watching a child unlock their world through literacy is a truly powerful thing. I can speak to this from my own time as a reading partner. To be a part of the transformation of a struggling reader into a proficient one is life-changing and something everyone should experience.

We are doubling down on our efforts in 2017. We recently hired two coordinators whose sole focus is to enhance the program and recruit and train the best volunteers possible for two schools chosen by Metro, Churchwell and Buena Vista Elementary schools, that are especially in need.

More than half of MNPS students are below their grade level in reading comprehension. If you want to be hands-on in the fight to raise childhood literacy rates, there is no better way than becoming one of our reading partners today.

While there is much work to be done to continue to make Nashville the greatest public school system in the country, with your help, there is no reason to think we can’t be just that.

Angie Adams is the president and CEO of PENCIL.

Article Available on The Tennessean

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About us

PENCIL is the premier organization linking community resources to Metro Nashville Public Schools. Thanks to dedicated PENCIL Partners, STUDENTS are in state-of-the-art laboratories, working alongside teachers and industry professionals. TEACHERS are designing lesson plans that cross the traditional boundaries of education - like linking data points in algebra with students' Agricultural Science classes. Dedicated VOLUNTEERS are regularly donating one lunch hour a week to helping a child improve his or her reading comprehension. BUSINESSES are creating an engaged and excited pipeline of students interested in their industry through internships and job shadowing.


PENCIL is a registered  501(c)(3)

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