South Nashville High School Named Dropout Factory

Image Credit: Eric Ventress / CC

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

One high school in South Nashville is coming under scrutiny for being a “dropout factory.”

According to state data, Glencliff High School’s graduation rate has continually dropped over the last few years, and 2022 numbers show them with only 53% of their students graduating in the previous year. 

“I don’t think that’s a fair assessment by saying they’re a dropout factory,” said Director of South Nashville High Schools Carl Carter.

Carter attributes Glencliff’s higher-than-most percentage of dropouts to a number of challenges that he says are different from those faced by students in most of Metro Nashville’s other high schools.

School administrators say that a large number of students make the decision to drop out and go to work full-time instead of staying to finish high school.

“The seven to two schedule just didn’t work with the work schedule that they had created during the pandemic, and so that just really made some of the students not finish,” stated Molly Hegwood, Executive Director of English Learners for MNPS.

According to state data, 79% of the dropouts are English Language Learners and 86% are Hispanic students.

Hegwood noted that Glencliff has more ELL students than any other high school in the district.

“Many of them have challenges in the family dynamic that has brought them here. And there’s this pull for them to support their family, support their family here in Nashville, support their family outside the United States,” Hegwood said.

Hegwood also added that state laws can often make it difficult or disheartening for those students to remain in school.

State law mandates that migrant teens who do not have transcripts start high school as freshmen. This can make it hard for teens who are not able to get credit for previous schooling that they have done.

Undocumented students are also not eligible to receive assistance for college, whether in the form of in-state tuition or public scholarships.

“There’s not anything to really honor a student’s first language and or to honor their academic history. And they don’t get any additional time when it comes to graduation,” Hegwood said.

This is not the first time Metro Nashville high schools have found themselves labeled as dropout factories. Back in 2007, eight MNPS high schools made the list.

The district then started the Academies of Nashville in an attempt to improve the high school experience for students.

Now, each school is set up with career tracks such as business or health science. Students can apply the things they learn to real life, career preparation opportunities while also building better relationships with teachers and classmates on similar tracks. Overall graduation rates have improved in most schools since the implementation of the program.

Administrators also say that plans are in the works to improve their English Learners program to provide additional supports for those students. One component of that plan is the addition of new immigrant youth transition specialists.

“We are definitely moving back in the right direction,” said Jennifer Bell, Director of the Academies of Nashville.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

2 thoughts on “<strong>South Nashville High School Named Dropout Factory</strong>

  • November 15, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    DONT blame our schools blame our sorry government, they flood our country with illegals, who cant even speak ENGLISH. AND who knows if they gave ever been to a school,. 2.3 million so far this year, at what point to we put the blame where it belongs, on or GOVERNMENT for letting them come here.

  • November 15, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    Glenncliff high school, Pearl Chone, Whites Creek, Hunters Lane, and Stratford high schools have always had a reputation of being low preforming schools. I graduated from Hillsboro in 1993, which at that time was a good school. If you look at any Metro country school they are all in the trash. Every year one or more of the schools take home worst school. This is why school choice or alternative is needed, otherwise we to defend public schools, get rid of residential property taxes and have parents pay for their kids education out of their own pocket and not the taxpayers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *