In June 2021, we premiered our documentary By Design: The Shaping of Nashville's Public Schools to educate community members and policymakers and to support collective conversations on ways to ensure all students thrive in school. Nonprofits, educators, corporations, faith groups, local news media, higher education institutions, and individuals have used the film as a resource.

Since then, there have been approximately 50 public and private screenings of the film convening over 1,500 attendees. The film has been viewed on YouTube over 4,000 times.

Check out the film and accompanying resources for facilitating discussions and taking action below.

How Nashville Created and Sustains Inequities in our Schools

Our new policy brief further unpacks how city structures and systems prevent low-income students and students of color from thriving. The brief outlines specific policies and decisions in our city's history - such as housing and zoning decisions - that have established, exacerbated, and continue to perpetuate inequities for students and families in ways that impact their access to and opportunities for success in our public schools.


The Limitations of Desegregation in Nashville's Public Schools

Our new, condensed version of the full documentary focuses specifically on the failings of desegregation-era policies in Nashville. This resource offers a 22-minute option for screenings where a shorter or more specific showing is desired.


Watch Guide: The Limitations of Desegregation in Nashville's Public Schools

Our new Watch Guide accompanies the 22-minute condensed documentary by Design: The Limitations of Desegregation in Nashville's Public Schools. This resource facilitates solutions-driven conversations about the film and our collective role in designing a future that ensures all students thrive.



Please see below for currently scheduled public screenings of By Design: The Shaping of Nashville Public Schools. Seating is limited, so make sure to RSVP if you would like to attend.

Make sure to check back here for information as additional screenings are scheduled.

Thursday, March 3, 2022 | 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. | Johnson Center theater, Belmont University | Hosted by Belmont University Department of Social Work, Q&A to follow film | RSVP not required

Saturday, March 26, 2022 | 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. | Southeast Branch, Nashville Public Library | 5260 Hickory Hollow Parkway #201, Antioch, TN 37013 | Hosted by MNPS Parent Advisory Council (PAC), discussion to follow film | RSVP

Saturday, April 23, 2022 | 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. | East Branch, Nashville Public Library | 206 Gallatin Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206 | Hosted by MNPS Parent Advisory Council (PAC), discussion to follow film | RSVP

By Design: The Shaping of Nashville's Public Schools is a documentary produced by the Nashville Public Education Foundation examining historical moments of public schooling in Nashville dating back to the 1800s. The film is intended to educate city leaders and the community about how public policy and community priorities have formed the basis for the city’s current education system, and to generate awareness and advocacy to stimulate policy solutions for a better public school system where all students thrive.

By Design: The Shaping of Nashville's Public Schools has been produced by NPEF in collaboration with education experts, leading historians, community and state leaders, and students from defining moments in Nashville’s public-school history. Among those featured in the film are:

Dr. Linda Wynn, Assistant Director for State Programs, Tennessee Historical Commission
Dr. Ansley Erickson, Historian and Author of Making the Unequal Metropolis
David Ewing, Historian
Governor Phil Bredesen, former Nashville mayor and Tennesseee governor
Judge Richard Dinkins, Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge
and five of the original 16 Black students who desegregated  Nashville schools in 1957



Ready to take action? By Design: The Shaping of Nashville's Public Schools explores key moments in our city's history that led to the school system we know today. The film intends to educate the community in order to jumpstart important solutions-driven conversations on how we can collectively work together to create a just, equitable system where all students thrive in school. Download our Action Guide to help you get started.
We hope you will join us in the important next steps to help raise awareness of our city’s rich history of public schooling and how we can use our collective knowledge to take action as a community. We invite you to host a viewing and discussion of the film with your friends, family, coworkers, and others in your community. Use the links below to access the film on Youtube and to download our Watch Guide to help jumpstart your post-viewing conversation.
Please let us know what you thought of the film by filling out the brief survey below. 
Make sure to stay connected with us and follow NPEF on social media for up-to-date information on how you can get involved with By Design: The Shaping of Nashville's Public Schools.