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Renata Soto on MNPS K-4 School at Casa Azafrán Community Center

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Thursday night Renata Soto, Executive Director of Conexión Américas didn’t just tweet on Twitter. She sang: “Approved!!!! Thank you MetroSchools Board!"

Casa Azafrán Community Center was approved as the site for a new MNPS K-4 school—the third, following Bordeaux and Ross elementary schools, but, as School Board Director Jessie Register told Joey Garrison of The Tennessean, it will be first in significant ways.

Register said the school opening to serve South Nashville children is “a model for developing very high-quality four-year-old programs for English learners.”

I asked Soto, a visionary whose dreams take flight, her thoughts on last week’s decision. The Scene’s 2013 Nashvillian of the Year excitedly explained:

“It is an incredible opportunity for a private/public partnership to not only help the system expand the number of slots of quality early childhood education opportunities, but also to allow us to bring a wealth of resources for those families whose kids are coming here. In our car line everyday will be 60-80 families who can benefit year round from our combined resources under one roof. A parent drops off a child. Mom or Dad can now stay for ESL class. We provide a medical home for well checkups, flu shots, mental health counseling and more. “

Crediting its reach through multiple programs, Conexión Américas has always been a model of the power of partnerships. Soto says: "We have a chance to be innovative—to track data related to issues of school readiness in a classroom on our site VS another Pre-K classroom of Metro Public Schools which doesn’t have all these resources."

I asked if the doors would open in August and Soto said:

“We are working hard to make that happen. The Board approved so now we are negotiating the lease. They (MNPS) will be our tenant. We are working on the programmatic piece. Recruiting teachers and administration, the student application process…the details are still being worked out.”

For the latest developments follow the story on Twitter and Facebook.

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