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: Bad economic news?….Another great opportunity for Tennessee!

Every time you turn on the national news, or read a national headline, there is negative news about the economy, specifically the housing market.   Many prospective buyers hear this news loud and clear, and sustain their “wait it out” philosophy.  Why?

Because no one else is talking!   I saw a great facebook post this week of a quote by Anthony J. D’Angelo, “If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have time to do something about it.”

Yes we do!   It is our responsibility as Realtors to communicate the positive to everyone, not just those already searching for a new home, but those that should be.  Let’s start now:

Right now, low interest rates are resulting from a lackluster national economy.  Every day the overall economic news leans toward “bad” is one more day that a home buyer can take advantage of unfathomable interest rates.

From the Wall Street Journal….”Based on incomes, this is as affordable as it gets,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “If you can get a loan, these are pretty good times to buy.”

It truly is a great time to buy.  Not just because of low interest rates, but because of the programs that are available.  In this world, especially in this Congress, loan procedures are always subject to change.  Here is one potential change looming on the horizon that we have the opportunity to do something about:

https://realtorparty.realtoractioncenter.com/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1653

There are areas of the country that are suffering in this economy.  But others are striving, and those areas are attracting jobs and economic activity much like a magnet.  We are blessed that  Tennessee is one of these areas!

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/06/13/tennessee-no-6-for-2010-economic-growth.html

The Clarksville/Ft.Campbell area is a magnet all by itself, bringing industry that is thinking outside the box in attracting workers.  Check out a unique approach from Hemlock Semiconductor:

Click here to learn more about Hemlock’s opportunities:  http://www.clarksvillenow.com/pages/10125186.php?

And less than 50 miles away, Nashville just keeps on retaining and creating job opportunities, as reported in the Nashville Business Journal:

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/06/14/employment-outlook-in-nashville-among.html

And there is even more encouragement for young adults to begin their careers in Nashville, creating many potential “first-time buyers.” 

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/06/20/nashville-a-top-city-for-young-adults.html

Education in Middle Tennessee is also in the national spotlight!  Four Middle Tennessee High Schools are ranked among the top 500 in the nation.  Below are the Tennessee schools on the list and their nationwide ranking:

          Hume-Fogg Academic High School of Nashville, #33

          Brentwood High School, #100

          Ravenwood High School of Frranklin, #284

          Page High School of Franklin, #494

The above facts are just a few examples of evidence that “Tennessee is happening”   and attracting more attention and activity, just like that magnet!   When you plan an evening on the town, you more than likely select a place that you have heard great things about, right?   Businesses and relocating families are the same way.

Tennesseans, let’s join forces and get the word out on the economy in our great state!

When you are searching for a new home, you will hopefully consider one home builder that has been providing the area’s best new home values for over 25 years:

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/feature/ResBuilders-061711-1.html

We at Ole South appreciate everyone’s support and continue to be optimistic about life in the Great State of Tennessee.  We invite everyone to visit our model homes and neighborhoods, as well as our website, www.OleSouth.com, to discover why thousands of homeowners are proud to say:

     

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: 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!

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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.