Our School

High School Students

Our Story

The origins of MNPS Virtual School began with creating a "Virtual Learning Program" for Nashville students. During the founding year (2010-2011), fourteen full-time students were identified and enrolled. Then, in July of 2011, Tennessee's General Assembly passed The Virtual Public Schools Act. This Act was crucial to the establishment of MNPS Virtual School as it allowed the creation, operation, and accreditation of a public online school for the first time in the state of Tennessee.

Recognized as the first public virtual school in Tennessee, MNPS Virtual School launched in August of 2011. MNPS Virtual School also established administrative offices and a student center in the historic Cohn School located in Nashville's Sylvan Park neighborhood. This offers an innovative school space for our teachers, staff, students, and parents within the classic brick and mortar building. During the Fall of 2011, approximately two hundred full and part-time students enrolled, with this number quickly growing. In April of 2012, Dr. James Vince Witty was named the first v-Executive Principal of MNPS Virtual School. The following Summer, a district-wide "Summer Success Program" was launched for students desiring to earn additional credits over the Summer. As of 2019, students participating in the "Summer Success Program" have earned nearly 1,000 credits.

In MNPS Virtual School's second school year (2012-2013), students, parents, and staff received local, state, national, and international attention for numerous accomplishments attributed to the school's continuous improvement model. MNPS Virtual School realized the highest average percentage point gain in all End-of-Course (EOC) subjects in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) system (with an average net gain of 23.18 percentage points across all subjects). Additionally, MNPS Virtual School achieved the district's highest percentage point growth gain in Algebra I and Biology. At the end of the school year, MNPS Virtual School earned the designation as an "achieving" school, making it one of the highest achieving schools within MNPS. In 2013, MNPS Virtual School opened the Thomas W. Hatfield Student Success Center, named after a distinguished MNPS employee-leader and former Cohn High School alumnus. Today, the Student Success Center is open daily for studying, tutoring, enrichment, coaching labs, social events, and numerous other learning community uses. MNPS Virtual School also launched an ACT tutoring program which contributed to our school's top ACT rankings at the district and state levels.

During the 2013-2014 school year, MNPS Virtual School continued to grow and flourish towards making progress in student achievement. MNPS Virtual School's English I students were the highest achieving in the district for that course, and several other courses received honorable mentions for distinctions in achievement. Due to the rigor and success of MNPS Virtual School's academics, the school also attained National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility for our student-athletes - a distinctive achievement for a 100% online school.

During the 2015-2016 school year, MNPS Virtual School hosted the first-ever state-wide conference on virtual learning, with all Tennessee online school/programs participating and sharing best practices. Within this cohort, MNPS Virtual School took a leadership role in re-authorizing The Virtual Public Schools Act, which the Tennessee General Assembly later renewed in the Summer of 2016. MNPS Virtual School additionally earned the prestigious AdvancED accreditation status during that school year. These distinctions, among other honors, led to a significant surge in 2016-2017 part-time enrollment with an all-time high of over one thousand learners.

During the 2016-2017 school year, MNPS Virtual School celebrated its fifth anniversary while developing essential foundations for our future. Staff began building dynamic, engaging, project-based online courses specific to the needs of Nashville students for the first time in our history. In total, MNPS Virtual School built over nine new virtual courses. Our school also launched several new initiatives to support students, such as a self-guided online orientation, adopting a new mission and vision statement better defining our student-centered focus, and creating a partner school advisory council focused on enhancing the part-time students' virtual learning experience. As our school finished its fifth year of operation, MNPS Virtual School maintains a tradition of academic excellence as one of the highest-achieving high schools in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) district. It retains the distinction as the highest-achieving virtual school in Tennessee.

During the 2018-2019 school year, MNPS Virtual School students made tremendous gains in literacy based on all the previous year's efforts. As a result, the school earned the distinction as a TVAAS level five school in EOC Literacy. This was the highest growth measure MNPS Virtual School experienced in this area.

During the 2019-2020 school year, MNPS Virtual School received a change in leadership. Dr. James V. Witty, founding Principal of the school, received a growth opportunity to serve the MNPS district as an Executive Director of Schools. Dr. Kelby Garner became the Executive Principal of MNPS Virtual School. Dr. Garner began serving MNPS Virtual School as a School Counselor in 2014 and has shown dedicated leadership to stakeholders. During this time, MNPS Virtual School adopted a new mission and vision statement and a strategic plan framed after the MNPS focused outcomes.

At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, MNPS Virtual School guided the district as the global COVID-19 pandemic emerged. As an online learning leader, MNPS Virtual School hosted several professional development sessions for teachers and administrators to prepare to shift from face-to-face to online learning. MNPS Virtual School also celebrated ten years of online learning success during the Spring 2021 semester. The MNPS Virtual School Class of 2021 was recognized as the tenth-anniversary class with custom medals to commemorate the occasion. The graduating class of 2021 was special due to the anniversary status and because this class contributed to the highest graduation rate in MNPS Virtual School history at 96.4% completion.

During the 2021-2022 school year, MNPS Virtual School experienced an expansion due to the impact of COVID-19. Many families decided to remain virtual once the brick-and-mortar school doors reopened. MNPS Virtual School expanded to serve grades four through twelve. With three hundred full-time and one-thousand part-time students, virtual learning continues to be a learning modality that works best for many families. During this time, MNPS Virtual School launched monthly student clubs based on interest, a formal student government organization, and quarterly virtual awards ceremonies designed to celebrate student achievement. MNPS Virtual School has intentionally shifted towards creating community, building relationships, and fostering a sense of belonging at a distance.

School Hours

8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cluster Map

Use our online zone map to learn more about our cluster.

School Board Member 

Erin O'Hara Block