The Summer of 2013 – The End

I admit it.  I have neglected my blog, but it has not been intentional.  Like they say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  They also say, “all good things come to an end.”  (Do you ever wonder who “they” were?  “They” sure have said a lot of things over the years!)

Now, let me tell you how we ended the Summer of 2013.

Shortly after The Rogers Group took our Academy of Architecture and Construction Board to tour their Louisville operations, the 2013-14 school year started.  I had the pleasure of hosting the freshmen class of the Cane Ridge High School’s Academy of Architecture & Construction on a tour of one of our new home construction sites.

Image

I cannot say enough good things about the new direction of the Academies of Nashville in all of our local High Schools.  There are many great things happening throughout the system and I encourage everyone to get out there and take a look for yourself.  You, too will be impressed, and probably want to get involved!  After all, it is our city.

Image

No summer can end without a little whitewater rafting!  You owe it to yourself to sneak away for a few days and visit the Nantahala River, and the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Image

The area is pristine, with so much to do!  This was my second time to visit and really enjoyed relaxing in our humble mountain abode.

Image

I won’t bore you with the balance of our activities that ended the summer and will just say they were fun.  On the last weekend of summer, Nashville hosted the First Annual Stand-Up Paddle-boarding Championship Event.

Image

We were there on The Princess, headquarters for PaddleUpTn.com to cheer on Cindy Sorcer, Neil Newton, and Julie Ann Vanderpool.

Image

One of the neat things about having our boat on the river at Rock Harbor Marina is seeing the many boats that transient our area.  Is was simply amazing to see the motoryacht Elegante docked at Rock Harbor for a few weeks.

Image

This yacht is incredible. Check out the you-tube video on this 1964 classic!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgADJzvaFEM

Well, that’s about it for the Summer of 2013.  Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Nashville New Homes: Re-define the school year. Your voice could count!

Let’s face it.  Decisions that affect everyone are made by a chosen few.   Yes, the few that choose to vote.

Look at the August 4th election numbers for Davidson County.   Only 10.7 % of our population voted.  Worse than that, less than 20 % of registered voters took the time to vote that day.

Another vote will take place with the Board of Metro Nashville Public Schools at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, August 23rd.  Up for board vote is the school year calendar.

I have mixed emotions over the school-schedule opportunities facing Metro Nashville Public Schools.  With no kids in school now, we really don’t have a dog in this fight, but I know whatever is decided will cause an uproar to many.  Now is the chance to get involved.

The choice is between the “Traditional Calendar” and a new revised “Balanced Calendar.”  Here are definitions, from the Metro Nashville Public School website:

http://www.mnps.org/Page82079.aspx

When I attended Metro Schools, school was out for the summer on or before Memorial Day weekend and we returned to school after Labor Day weekend.  It was easy to plan family vacations.  It was easy to secure summer employment, especially for seasonal businesses.  On occasion, the scheduled last day of school would change, depending on whether or not we under/over used the amount of planned snow days.  Global warming wasn’t even a subject back then, but those classrooms sure were hot without air-conditioning!

I can see many advantages to both calendars.  Three months away from a school environment can erase progress made in the prior school year.  But on the flip, three months of summertime employment might help feed a family that might otherwise be hungry.  A tough decision.  And one that everyone CAN be involved in.

A recent phone survey was conducted among those persons involved or affected and the results were released today:

http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/wsmv/MNPSsurvey.pdf

Proponents of the new “balanced calendar” project an increase in operating schools from the now 173 days to 180 of $20 million annually.   That is a lot of money.  But on the other hand, we have to try something to increase the performance and quality of our public schools. 

What can you do?  Let your school board members know your preference.  Here are the current board members who will be deciding this issue:

http://www.mnps.org/Page57227.aspx

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Public Education: My third grade teacher could fix it.

I just finished reading an article in today’s Tennessean where Metro Nashville Public Schools will be making special efforts to turn around 10 of the worst-performing schools in the system, as measured by “No Child Left Behind”  (NCLB) standards.

With these schools identified, it is great to see immediate action taking place to lift these schools up to acceptable performance levels and school leaders need to be commended for their prompt actions.  Here is the article:

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110802/NEWS04/308020017/Nashville-schools-turnaround-plan-set?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

Of the ten schools identified, one is elementary, seven are middle and two are high schools.  The NCLB act calls for the state to take over underperforming schools, but state leaders are encouraged by the new plans and do not plan a take-over anytime soon.

These schools will now belong to an “innovation cluster” where teachers and school officials will work closely with a consulting group developing and implementing plans to turn these schools around.  The article failed to mention any specifics, so we will have to have some faith and a watchful eye.  Like Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify!”

The consulting firm, Tribal Group, (a British firm) will receive $6 million dollars over the next five years for their guidance.  WOW…that is $1.2 million each year, or $23k each week!  (I wonder how many consultants will be assigned to this project… and if they might need another member on the team!  :0)  I’m in!

I attended Metro Public Schools for all of my school years.  My mother taught in the system for 35+ years.  It does not take a consultant to identify the three main problems our schools face:

1)  Lack of discipline – teachers are powerless to enforce proper conduct and learning habits.  When I was in third grade, my teacher, Corinne Judd, had a big paddle and could swing it well.  Anytime anyone did not have their homework, they got the paddle…at least three whacks!  No parents complained, and a whole lot of homework got done, at least in Mrs. Judd’s class!

2)  Lack of Accountability – Again back to my third grade, we were told on day one of the school year that we would know the multiplication table up to 12×12 from memory before the school year ended or we would fail.  We would also be proficient in cursive writing, or we would fail.  Every parent wanted Mrs. Judd to be their child’s teacher.  And guess what…rather than being the “unwanted other 3rd Grade teacher,” the other teachers picked up their “game” also.

During the summer break, my mother used to spend a huge amount of time preparing for the coming school year.  She had my dad making or repairing furniture for her classroom, and spent many days looking for materials to turn into projects for upcoming students.  I would always tell her….”Mom, you get paid the same whether you do this stuff or not…why?”   She would simply answer…”I get paid to give my students the best education possible and that is what I’m doing.”  By the way, she and Mrs. Judd were good friends, which made 3rd grade a bitch for me!  :0)

3)  Parental Involvement –  Most parents still do support our teachers, but it seems everything has changed to support those parents that do not, which is unfortunate.  “Make my child do right and I’ll back you up” has evolved to “touch my child and I will sue you!”   And in today’s PC world, “say something that makes my child uncomfortable and I’ll sue you” is something I can imagine as well.  Perhaps a constitutional amendment giving teachers the right to teach would work?

Many compare Metro Public Schools to the systems of surrounding counties.  Metro spends more money per student than any of them and Nashville, being the growing city that it is, faces many challenges.  The international population of the city is growing, requiring more bi-lingual teachers.  New schools are needed in many areas and those needs are being addressed.

All of us have an opportunity to become involved for the betterment of our schools.  We need to take those opportunities and encourage others also, while Nashville is still at a peak for sustaining growth and quality of life. 

A dear friend and educator once told me, “the apple rots from the core.”

For those that do not live in Davidson County, this is your problem too.  If we cannot all work together in improving public education in Nashville, watch closely and see the quality of life erode in all adjoining counties, even the more-affluent ones.   

Last I checked, there were no commercial airline flights into Williamson County International Airport…come to think of it, Williamson County doesn’t even have an airport.  :0)

For now, I am going to hope someone like Mrs. Judd will be in the new consultant group!  The past may be a great place to start in “innovating” the future.

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Just when is Spring Break anyway?

Although it was light years ago, I still remember when the school year school started after Labor Day, and ended before Memorial Day.  It seemed like all of the area school systems had the same calendar too.  If we had snow days to make up, we would either add an extra hour to the day…or go to school during one of those teacher “in-service” training days.  Sure seemed a lot simpler back then.

I can also remember when Spring Break actually happened in the Spring.  Now, many systems are calling it “Winter Break.”   Which is it?  Well, it depends on what school system you are in… and possibly where you may travel.

At the bottom of the page are the various Spring Break schedules for the school systems of Middle Tennessee:  (Believed accurate but not guaranteed – confirm with school system if important)

RIGHT NOW, it is “Spring Break” for home buyers, especially those buying their first home!  I won’t dwell on it, but home-affordability is at a peak RIGHT NOW.   Inflation aside, the costs of purchasing a home with a FHA loan will rise on April 18th for everyone that does not have an active purchase contract in process.  Buy a new home NOW and you will get more house NOW for the same monthly payment you will have by waiting…. and that is IF interest rates and prices do not rise, which we all know they one day will.  And so will your rent.

First-time homebuyers can purchase a home with ZERO cash-out-of pocket using THDA’s “Great Start” program through Ole South Financial (898-7152).  Veterans may also purchase with ZERO DOWN using  a VA Loan.   Consult Ole South Financial, or your favorite lending professional for more information.

Even better, certain members of our armed forces are still eligible for Home Buyer Tax Credits if they purchase by April 30th, 2011 and close before June 30, 2011.  That is terrific news, especially for those returning to Ft. Campbell from recent tours of duty.  (Click below for more details.)  Remember, we have new homes in Clarksville too!   

http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/service_mem.php

Now that you know “Spring Break” is NOW for home buyers, here is when it occurs in our area schools:  (check school system for most current information regarding snow day make-up calendar)

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools     March 11 – 18          www.mnps.org

Rutherford County Schools                            March 21 – 25         www.rcs.k12.tn.us 

Murfreesboro City Schools                             March 21 – 25          www.cityschools.net

Sumner County Schools                                   March 11 – 18           www.sumnerschools.org

Williamson County Schools                            March 21 – 25           www.wcs.edu

Franklin Special School District                    March 21 – 25           www.fssd.org   (balanced schedule is 3/14 – 25)

Wilson County Schools                                     March 14 – 25            www.wcsschools.com

Lebanon Special School District                   March 14 – 25            www.lssd.org

Maury County Schools                                      March 21 – April 1   www.mauryk12.org

When your kids learn of “Spring Break” in Maury County, they will want to move there.  Why not visit the new homes we have there in Cobblestone and Meadowbrook?  Learn more at www.olesouth.com!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Welcome Fat Tuesday!

What does Fat Tuesday, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, and Ford Motor Company have in common?  The answer:  GREAT NEWS!

Nashville has been named a “Ford Next Generation Learning Hub.”  There are only seven recipients of this designation in the entire country.  Metropolitan Nashville was chosen and recognized for its progress in the transformation of area High Schools with the Academies of Nashville initiatives.  Read more of this great news here:

http://www.mnps.org/AssetFactory.aspx?did=58837

You can feel the commitment that Metropolitan Nashville is making to education just by visiting the new facilities that it continues to build.  If you haven’t seen the new Cane Ridge High School, you should drop by for a visit.  Until then, check out this video!

Last Friday, I was honored to speak to the Construction Career Academy students of Cane Ridge High School.  We had a great time that day preparing for upcoming  job-shadowing session they will participate in with local business professionals.  Earlier this year, Ole South hosted a “construction-site visit” with many of these students at our Villas at Rivendell Woods.

 

Fat Tuesday also means Spring is just around the corner!  Green grass growing, trees budding, flowers blooming, and birds singing are just a few of the sights and sounds that Spring will bring.   There is no better place to experience Spring than from your very own private verandah at The Villas at Rivendell Woods, located in the rolling hills of Cane Ridge in southeastern Davidson County.   Call 615.731.1968 for information.

There are two new exciting new floorplans featuring these private balconies, accessed only from the Owner’s Suites.  Experience the sizzle of Bourbon Street, or the flair of Key West…. right here in Nashville!  (And we also have this newest town home design under construction in Murfreesboro, at The Villas of Evergreen, phone 615.849.9410.)

At either of these great locations, leave the yardwork behind!   Then you’ll have even more free time to enjoy Fat Tuesday next year! 

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Go and tell.

Yesterday’s blog topic was about students from Cane Ridge High School’s Construction Career Academy visiting the new home construction site of Rivendell Woods of Cane Ridge.   Yesterday, the students got to see first-hand examples of the trades they have been studying.   ( Photos are posted on yesterday’s blog thing.   Home Center Network will be airing excerpts on Comcast Channel 49 at 9:00 am and 9:00 pm daily.)

Ole South has had involvement with Cane Ridge since its opening and have watched the Career Academy concept evolve into a successful program format.  And it is getting better each and every day.  With guidance from educators such as Harold Cunningham and Lance Lott, even better things are on the horizon for Cane Ridge.

Which leads me to another subject … involvement in our local schools.  There are many wonderful things happening in schools all across Middle Tennessee.   We need to constantly find out what these things are and spread the good news to all that will listen!   There may be one disfunctional student that carries a knife to school, but there are thousands more carrying books, notebooks, and pencils. 

Everyone can help in some way, even if it is just talking positive.  Our quality of life is directly impacted by the quality of our schools, so we each really do have skin in the game!  The better our local schools perform, the better our local economy performs. 

Parents want to raise their families where there is a great quality of life.  Employers want to locate their businesses where they can attract great employees.  The benefits of quality education go on and on and can never be underestimated.   

 About the quality of education in Metropoltan Nashville,  did you know that US News & World Reports publishes a list of the “Best 100 High Schools in America?”   Guess what?  There are only TWO Tennessee High Schools on this list.  BOTH of them are Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools!   Tell people about that!

 http://education.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/sections/education/high-schools/index.html

 There are great things going on with education in Nashville.  Let’s all get more involved whenever we can and see if we can add even more area schools to that list next year.

Then watch the value of your new Ole South home in Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro and Spring Hill climb even more.

Have a great day!

 

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Nashville New Homes: A Great Day to …

… LEARN! 

Those that read this blog thing probably thought I was going to say it was a great day to buy a new home in Nashville!   It was that also.  It will be all weekend, too!

But more importantly, have you seen Nashville’s new Cane Ridge High School?  If you haven’t please drop in for a visit and ask to look around.  The school, now in its third operational year, will have its first graduating class this school year.   Congratulations to the CRHS Class of 2011! 

 The structure of the school’s curriculum is focused on Career Academies, with many classes offering future college credits!  Students attending this school have access to all of the tools needed to further the career of their choosing.

Ole South was fortunate to have students from Cane Ridge High School’s Construction Career Academy visit  the new Villas at Rivendell Woods today.   These students, under the direction of Harold Cunningham, are taking indepth looks at various construction trades, to include Carpentry, Electrical Wiring, and HVAC.  On their visit to Rivendell Woods, they were able to see examples of each in the “rough-in” stage.  They even brought members of their yearbook staff to document the visit!  Bob Cummings from Nashville’s Home Center Network (www.homecenternetwork.com) was also on hand.  Here is the broadcast from Comcast Channel 49, shown daily at 9 am and pm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hglo8UqlUso&feature=player_embedded

Our Senior Project Manager (yes, he is the oldest one we have) Joe Diaferia was on-hand to take the students through our step-by-step construction methods.   Joe  is an excellent Project Manager, and he certainly would make a great teacher too!   I’m glad I was there, because I learned some new things today also.

Let’s take a look at the group and what they saw.  I won’t go into details about the many new construction features we are now offering because that is “top-secret” information.  To learn more, you’ll have to pay us a visit!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was our pleasure to host these students.  It was an even greater pleasure to see the genuine interest they had in learning.  Not only did they want to learn how to build a home, but they also wanted to know how to buy one!  We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the students of Cane Ridge High School and look forward to seeing that new school evolve into one of the finest examples in the state!

Now that you know even more great things about the Greater Nashville area, why not visit our new home neighborhoods in Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, and Spring Hill this weekend.  We’ve got Otis Spunkmeyer cookies in the oven just for you!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.