Dr. Joseph takes his 1st budget proposal to Mayor Barry Monday

Dr. Shawn Joseph (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Schools Director Shawn Joseph will take his first budget proposal to Mayor Megan Barry on Monday.

Dr. Joseph plans to emphasize bringing change to Nashville middle schools and it’s an issue that’s key to fulfilling his promise to make sure Nashville has the fastest improving urban school district in America.

“Those few years in the middle school are a unique time in a child’s growth and development and it is a time we must capitalize on,” he explained.

Dr. Joseph wants $5.9 million in increased funding to focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math in middle schools.

School board member Will Pinkston says the system is losing too many students at the middle school level when parents decide on a private school route.

“Dr. Joseph has correctly flagged one of the major issues in the school system which is the exodus of students between the elementary grades and the middle school level,” Pinkston said.

Keeping those students, of course, starts with the parents who literally have to be courted and convinced a public school is in their child’s best interest.

“Part of that means capturing hearts and minds, convincing and persuading parents that we really are going to have something unique to offer at the middle school level,” Pinkston said.

Some Nashville middle schools, like Rose Park, are already recognized nationally for being among the best in urban districts.

Joseph outlined his first budget last Monday during the State Of Schools address.