Featured Academies: Pearl-Cohn High School

Excellence lives at Pearl-Cohn High School, as seen in the stellar talent in its athletic program, its extracurricular activities, and its academics.

You too can see this excellence through the lens of Pearl-Cohn’s Academies program.

Pearl-Cohn, one of 12 zoned MNPS high schools that the Nashville Academies proudly offer, offers students opportunities beyond the classroom. Students can join the Academy of Entertainment Industry, where they can choose to focus on audio production or audiovisual production, or the Academy of Health Science and Personal Care, where they can focus on therapeutic services or cosmetology.

Gym trainer Brittany Edmondson has worked hard with each path to foster relationships with community partners to improve, renew and grow the gym program at Pearl-Cohn to give students more opportunities to learn and explore possible careers. From the Warner Music Group to Paul Mitchell, the Nashville School (a cosmetology school) to the HCA, each path at Pearl-Cohn has many active partners who are invested in the future of every Firebird student.

“When you have a group of people, even a group of people who don’t even know our students, showing up for them, you start to see those students showing up for themselves,” Edmondson said.

Known as the school of the entertainment magnet, Pearl-Cohn is also becoming recognized for its impressive and thriving path into the health sciences. With Meharry Medical School in its backyard and strong and expanding partnerships with organizations like Vanderbilt, HCA, Tennessee State University and Nashville State, it’s no wonder it’s become the most popular path at Pearl-Cohn. student working with fictional patient in health class

Academy of Health Sciences and Personal Care

Edmondson and Dr. Miriam Harrington, principal of Pearl-Cohn, joined the school in 2018. They brought with them a mission to create the Academy of Health Sciences and Personal Care.

Today, the secondary school and its partners associated with the Academy are building the school’s own health science laboratory with the aim of deepening the students’ experience by developing practical skills and positioning them to imagine themselves as health professionals.

Joya Lewis, a senior at Pearl-Cohn, knew that she always wanted to be a nurse—a labor and delivery nurse, to be specific. Her ultimate goal is to be a nurse.

Lewis is into the health sciences path and participates in the MNPS Work-Based Learning program at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital at the heart clinic. Lewis is earning credit hours, participating in hands-on learning with responsibilities that include taking vital signs, monitoring blood pressure, and doing EKGs—all while earning a paycheck.

Lewis is one of many Pearl-Cohn students who excel in this path. She has loved her experience so far.

“I think Pearl-Cohn is a really great school,” she says. “Just try hard. The opportunities are here and they are giving you the resources and everything you need to go where you want to go.”

Last year, Vanderbilt University Medical Center also became more involved with the Academy of Health Science, engaging with students before and after graduation. Vanderbilt recruits Pearl-Cohn students shortly after graduation to participate in its Work-Integrated Physician Assistant Program. This program provides a unique opportunity for students to pursue a healthcare career that is in high demand and provides the opportunity to work as a medical assistant at Vanderbilt.

Also within this academy is the path of cosmetology, which is taught in the framework of entrepreneurship. Students are learning to take ownership of their own talents and work on creating their own business models in the personal care industry. Upon completion, students will earn their OSHA 10 and Cosmetology license. Pearl-Cohn also pays for them to become certified in braiding, which previously required each student to pay the fee.

Last year, students on this path welcomed a professional who worked on the TV series “The Walking Dead” and helped them learn new skills involving prosthetics. These students also have the opportunity to work with some of the talent that comes to Pearl-Cohn through the Academy of Entertainment Industry.

Academy of the Entertainment Industry

Academy of Entertainment Industry students are at the forefront of the music industry in Music City. Relentless Entertainment Group is Pearl-Cohn’s student-run music label – and the first of its kind. It has partnered with Warner Music Nashville for several years and adds even more credibility to an already solid program. student singing into a microphone at the recording studio

Israel Perez is a junior at Pearl-Cohn and is using his experience inside and outside the classroom to build his personal brand. He hopes to continue learning as much as possible through the Academy and the partnerships it fosters.

Perez and other students learn everything about music production – from artist representation to brand management and working on the mixing board. Students in this pathway have the opportunity to experience all aspects of the industry, allowing them to find their niche. Perez found her in production and social media.

Perez’s favorite memory is his first time in the school studio: “I remember my first day walking into the studio when I was a sophomore and seeing this big studio with lots of buttons; I got a little nerdy.

Perez moved to Nashville in 2020 from Los Angeles. The goal was to play football originally. But he was raised around music, and naturally, he excelled at Pearl-Cohn on this show. Perez has two uncles in the music industry – one is a Los Angeles artist and the other can play just about any instrument put in front of him.

Edmondson said one of the opportunities she is most excited about is developing the academy’s relationship with Belmont University. She is working with the university, known for its music business program, to create a certification for its students. These students will take a course at Belmont, earning credentials while being exposed to partnerships and opportunities within the university. If students choose a different school or route, they will have credentials they can take with them to the next stage of their careers.

Finding paths to success

No matter which academy or path a Pearl-Cohn student chooses, rest assured they will leave with the knowledge, foundation, and ability to excel upon graduation. This is due in part to the alumni, partners, employees and community.

Edmondson values ​​his relationship with each of his students. She works to help them find their individual path to success, whatever that may be.

Pearl-Cohn and its academies have many strong attributes. Lewis will mention the resources, Perez the opportunities and Edmondson the strong culture and pride. The common theme they all mention is the feeling of family at Pearl-Cohn.

The Academies and Paths of Pearl-Cohn

Academy of the Entertainment Industry
  • audio production
  • Audiovisual production
Academy of Health Sciences and Personal Care
  • cosmetology
  • Therapeutic Services

All ninth graders start at Freshman Academy. At the Freshman Seminar, students will plan for life after high school and learn about the careers offered at Pearl-Cohn.

student working on hair styling on a test mannequin head

Featured Academies: Pearl-Cohn High School

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