Whether it's public, private or charter schools you seek, your children will receive an A+ education in this Middle Tennessee county.
Consistently ranked among the best-performing school districts in Tennessee, Williamson County Schools (WCS) and Franklin Special School District have become pillars of the region’s success, not only helping build and strengthen a highly educated workforce, but attracting relocating businesses and top talent.
Four of the 10 top high schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools in Tennessee — Brentwood, Ravenwood, Franklin and Page — are in Williamson County, and Niche rated Williamson County Schools
one of the top five districts in the state.
“The reputation of Williamson County Schools speaks for itself. We hear from business leaders who are relocating here that their families want to have access to a high-performing public school system,” says Carol Birdsong, communications director for WCS.
“Williamson County Schools has all the elements needed for success. We attract the best and brightest teachers; we have innovative school leaders; we have a caring support staff; we have involved parents; we have a supportive business community; we have elected officials who advocate for public education; and we have students who come to school ready to learn.”
Another reason for the county’s high marks in education is the diversity of learning opportunities available for students.
Embarking On the Right Pathways
Williamson County Schools, for example, offers more than 40 different college, career and technical education (CCTE) programs, including architecture and design, engineering, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, digital arts, health science, pre-law, and TV and film. CCTE courses allow students to explore their individual strengths and learn how they align with local, in-demand careers.
“We start really early at the elementary level asking the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Then at the middle school level, we become more intentional,” says Paula Chilton, CCTE/EIC career coordinator and strategic partnership liaison.
In eighth grade, students take an interest aptitude assessment called YouScience. Students take that data to the Career Quest career fair. At the fair, students from WCS and Franklin Special School District are introduced to businesses that represent those career paths. When they reach high school, students can take classes that align with their career goals.
A Bright Future for Women
WCS hosts a Girls TEC (Girls Tackling Emerging Careers) summer camp, which encourages rising eighth-graders from Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District to explore nontraditional careers for women, such as architecture, information technology and law enforcement.
“The opportunity for females to explore different career paths is somewhat limited,” Chilton says. “We are really working on educating our female students about the career opportunities that are available for them in Williamson County and Middle Tennessee.”
In her role within CCTE, Chilton serves as a liaison between the school district and the Williamson, Inc. economic development organization to help connect students with the local business community. She says the relationship is valuable because it helps build a workforce that is meeting the specific needs of Williamson County business.
Making Smart Choices in Williamson County
In addition to the two school districts, Williamson County is home to a number of high-quality private school and charter school options, including Battle Ground Academy, Brentwood Academy and Renaissance High School, which gives students hands-on training in coding and web design, digital arts, and music and audio production.
Though the school is chartered through Williamson County Schools, its small student population — only 180 students in grades 9-12 — allows students with common interests and abilities to “collaborate on authentic, original real-world products throughout the year and then showcase them for the community,” says Dr. Brian Bass, principal of Renaissance High School. Students choose to come to Renaissance for a variety of reasons, Bass says, but most characterize themselves as creative, out-of-the-box thinkers.
“We want all our students to be college- and career-ready after graduation, with a clear sense of purpose for their lives aligned to their unique talents and interests.”
Dr. Brian Bass | Renaissance High School.
Teachers are trained to implement project-based learning across the curriculum as much as possible to support higher-level thinking and help students see the relevance in what they are learning and connections to other classes and the real world, he says.
“Lots of our students are passionate about music and songwriting, art and animation, video game development and robotics, and feel they thrive spending their day with peers who share similar interests,” Bass says. “We want all our students to be college- and career-ready after graduation, with a clear sense of purpose for their lives aligned to their unique talents and interests.”