Celebrating John Early Middle

John Early Museum Magnet Middle School: Hands-on Learning at School and in the City  
Posted on 03/10/2022
two students playing instruments in music class

North Nashville's John Early Museum Magnet Middle School aims to be “the best middle school in MNPS because our students, families and community deserve it.”  

John Early practices Every Student Known by creating “relationship maps” of the students so that staff know each student’s academic and social-emotional strengths and growth areas. These relationships are built through daily community gatherings led by the teachers in every class.  John Early Principal speaking to student

Students enjoy being at John Early because learning is brought to life and made more meaningful. They engage in object-based, inquiry-based and project-based learning as they work as museum curators, designers and docents in their in-house museum. Students can truly take ownership of the museum while working directly with more than 8,000 artifacts. The students employ museum strategies and skills, including artifact analysis, exhibit design, interpretation and storytelling. Each quarter, the school hosts an exhibit night to showcase students' museum-quality, curriculum-based projects.  

Instruction often includes expeditions to area museums, where students experience even more hands-on learning and engage in discussion with museum professionals. Geometry lessons take on new meaning when the instruction takes place inside the Parthenon, with students observing the use of optical illusion and perfect proportion.  students in art class

Language arts students learn how to conduct research and write biographical sketches as they analyze the photographs of the lunch counter sit-ins from the Nashville Banner Collection housed in the Civil Rights Room at Nashville Public Library. Meanwhile, cultural diversity and traditions serve as the subjects of social studies classes as students interpret artwork in the cultural art exhibits at the Frist Art Museum.  

John Early students also enjoy multiple hours of extended learning programming each week, including remediation, enrichment, mentor opportunities with local businesses and colleges, and internships. The school has more than 80 community partners supporting the hard work of students, families and staff.   

The school also practices the Paideia philosophy of education, which is focused on critical thinking, collaborative dialogue and open-ended questioning. It offers a Gifted and Talented Education program for students needing additional academic and enrichment resources to succeed.  

John Early is a wonderful school that curates the rich history of North Nashville through its accredited museum to prepare students for future inquiry-based instruction. 

Dr. Jeremy Riggs, John Early's executive principal, believes strongly in doing what is best for students and creating a loving community.

"We must build on the cultural capital the students are bringing to the building and offer them multiple opportunities to be successful,” Riggs says.


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