Guest post by Rachel Roseberry
“A critical and sometimes overlooked resource is the public library, which is well-positioned to facilitate collaboration, build partnerships, address gaps, and support a lifetime of improved education outcomes.” – Urban Libraries Council, Winter 2015
Former Mayor Karl Dean created the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) in 2009 to increase the high-school graduation rate by leveraging after school programs’ capacity for student engagement, a capacity that has been linked to increased school-day attendance, improved behavior, and grades. NAZA is an expanded learning system whose programs provide free, high-quality after school opportunities for middle school students throughout Metro Nashville Public Schools. Its services are organized by geographic zone, in order to ensure students can safely access afterschool resources within their own communities. With Mayor Dean’s departure due to term limits looming in 2014, NAZA began looking for a permanent home.