Pre-Med Chemistry Challenges Students

IMG_6018One of the goals at Ensworth is to create life-long learners through our challenging curriculum. I recently learned more about Dr. Crystal Miller’s Pre-Med Chemistry class. This upper-level elective emphasizes the study of chemistry as it relates to current medical treatment and technology. The class focuses on the study of drug design for conditions like AIDS/HIV and cancer while doing laboratory research involving stem cells.

To wrap up the Cancer unit, Dr. Skip Burris and Dee Anna Smith from the Sarah Cannon Research Institute gave a lecture on personalized medicine. They shared real-life stories of patients treated here in Nashville and how a significant number of Stage 1 trials (First Patient trials) run with patients locally have led to treatment for many more patients.  Burris also emphasized Ensworth’s core skills, citing the importance of collaboration in a real world setting, and how research teams need scientists from many fields of study to make a project succeed.




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The Heart of the Matter

7th Grade_Heart DissectionsThe seventh grade students in Ms. Little’s science class were given an insider view into what really makes up the human heart.
Dr. Evelio Rodriguez, a cardiothoracic surgeon at St. Thomas hospital and the father of Ensworth students, Lucas (2018) and Dante’ (2020), generously brought 15 pig hearts to give students a hands-on experience in the science labs. Students had the opportunity see firsthand demonstrations of dissection techniques and apply them to the circulatory system in a real way.
“The students LOVED the activity because it was a hands-on experience. On one of the post-lab sheets, a student put it best by saying, ‘I liked that we had studied the heart and then were able to see the real thing, it was really cool.'” – Michelle Little, Middle School Science Teacher
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Week in Pictures

What is everyone up to this weekend? It should be a beautiful weekend and perfect weather for all those outdoor prom pictures this Saturday night. Senior parents, make sure you stick around for the dessert reception, 8 p.m. in the theater lobby, after the senior presentation.

Today, 345 high school students and faculty were sent out to 34 Nashville locations for Service Learning Day.  What better way to kick-off the weekend than with pictures of these students and faculty serving their community!

Working with Nashville Food Project to make supplies for teaching healthy living

Working with Nashville Food Project to make supplies for teaching healthy living

Building and painting gardens for Harpeth Valley Elementary

Building and painting gardens for Harpeth Valley Elementary

Teaching with Brightstone at the Williamson County Library

Teaching with BrightStone at the Williamson County Library

Teaching students at Granbery Elementary

Teaching students at Granbery Elementary

Cleaning with the Harpeth River Watershed Association

Cleaning with the Harpeth River Watershed Association

Working hard at Owl Hill Nature Sanctuary

Working hard at Owl Hill Nature Sanctuary


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Ensworth Coffee Talk (Greg Chambers)

Ensworth GrindToday, we sat down to chat with Ensworth Tennis Director Greg Chambers. Although many competitive sports are divided by gender, tennis is one of the few sports where boys and girls get to practice and compete together. We thought what better time to hear about the Tennis program at Ensworth than when our boys and girls’ teams are undefeated!


Greg ChambersYou are a relatively new face to our campus as is the Tennis Program, how did you make the Ensworth connection?

Multiple factors played a part in my Ensworth connection. My tennis relationships through many years, coaching my daughter’s basketball teams in Futures Leagues, and sharing a couple years of athletic success at Lipscomb University with Coach Bowers are all parts of connecting to Ensworth. David Braemer, Ricky Bowers, and numerous incredible families have given me the fortunate opportunity to be in my unique position as Ensworth. My wife Amanda and I are also grateful as the Ensworth family has embraced my daughter Anna (currently in 6th grade) as well.

boys tennisIt’s pretty impressive to see that both our boys and girls tennis teams are undefeated right now! I know you are all working very hard.  What does a typical day look like for you?

The tennis teams are doing extremely well but undefeated can change any day. The boys are 5-0, while the girls are 7-0 as of today. The weather has made it difficult to practice as much as we need on the courts, but gym times, attending a Vanderbilt tennis match, and watching an ESPN 30 for 30 about Jimmy Connors are ways the groups have shared some practice time together. Tennis is an individual sport, but we are doing everything we can to combine the strengths of team sports and individual sports so that being on the Ensworth Tennis Team is a positive experience. 

Typical days depend on the season. Currently, I arrive at the HS campus after driving my daughter to school. I check the weather, return emails and phone calls and review the plan of the week. Coach Matt Decker is my assistant and one of Nashville’s best teaching instructors. I can’t say enough great things about Matt. He and I spend time together each morning teaching Ladies, discussing school team line-ups, reviewing short term and long term goals, reviewing tennis videos, researching other school and club tennis programs, and supervising our courts when outside tennis groups are renting them.  Practice days typically end around 5 p.m., but match days end around 8 p.m. for us.

girls tennisI know Tennis is one of the sports that we consider co-ed where the girls and boys practice together. What would you say is the biggest benefit to co-education in sports?

Our teams spend many practices and matches together. I honestly don’t think too much about co-ed as that is how I was schooled and that is how real life is experienced. The biggest benefit to co-educational tennis is purely opinion, but I like the mutual respect and admiration that the players gain for one another as they have common experiences and emotions as they compete. They learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you could be a fly on the wall in any Ensworth classroom which one would it be?

Great question – I’m relatively new so I ask questions and observe the faculty whenever possible.The faculty is so supportive and helpful. I have to narrow it down to five periods in one day. I’d go to Jim Miller for English, Joe Brady for Math, Sean Smith for Music, Jeff Scott for Science, and close with Kerry Baucherio for Spanish  and get kicked out for bad singing. I’d have a great talk with Dean Perkinson for my reason for being dismissed from Spanish 🙂


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By the Numbers (Book-Em)

BOOk em 1Every year our fifth grade students hold a book drive with Book’ Em, an organization  helping economically disadvantaged children, from birth through high school, discover the joy and value of reading through book ownership and enthusiastic volunteers.

This year our fifth graders really hit it out of the park with 3,775 books (grand total)! Here are some of the final numbers:

  • 3,265 books for Book’em
  • 160 books for reading buddies at Tom Joy Elementary School
  • 350 used books to be sold to McKays, with proceeds to be used to purchase life jackets for Brandon Spring Group Camp at Land Between the Lakes

Thank you to all the students, families and faculty  that donated a book and inspired a love of reading and literacy for the whole Nashville community.



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April Round-Up

IMG_3499If you are new to Ensworth you are about to find out that April and May are some of the busiest and best months at the school. There is always the excitement of welcoming new families and the anticipation of the start of summer break. Also, a lot of people closing chapters at Ensworth with Story and Song, High School Prom and Graduation.  Before we jump right into May, let’s see what April has in store for us. Mark your calendar for some of these exciting highlights!

Music Concert Grades P1-2

Wednesday, April 1, Frist Hall, 6:30 p.m.

High School Instrumental Concert

Thursday, April 2, High School Theater, 7 p.m.

Patchwork Assembly with Brian Floca

Tuesday, April 7, Frist Hall, 8:20 a.m.

Eighth Grade Science Trip to Six Flags

Wednesday, April 8

Music Concert Grades 3-4

Thursday, April 9, Frist Hall, 6:30 p.m.

High School Prom

Saturday, April 11, 6 p.m.

Biography Fair Grade 4

Wednesday, April 15, Frist Hall, 9 a.m.

An Evening with Rosemary Wells (conversation about early literacy for parents and educators)

Wednesday, April 15, Frist Hall, 6:30 p.m.

April Break no classes

Friday, April 17

Welcome Dinner for New Parents P1-12

Tuesday, April 21, High School Campus, 6 p.m.

Grade 5 Variety Show

Friday, April 25, Frist Hall, 9:05 a.m.

Dance Concert

April 25 & 26, High School Theater, 7 p.m.

Grandparents Luncheon

Tuesday, April 28, Theater Lobby, 11:30 a.m.

High School Spring Play

Friday, April 30, High School Theater, 7 p.m.







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The ‘E’ Factor (Service Learning)

tom Joy 2What is everyone up to this weekend? Looks like lots of lacrosse and baseball games going on to kick-off some spring sports. Also, there is a wonderful exhibit today by Platetone Printshop at the high school theater art gallery from 4-6 p.m. Stop by for some beautiful and affordable prints to decorate your walls.

Well, to continue our blog series The ‘E’ Factor, today we are focusing on the service learning program at Ensworth, specifically the fifth grade relationship with Tom Joy Head Start.

Service Learning is a core component of the Ensworth program and is incorporated into the curriculum at every grade level, encouraging students to become lifelong contributors to their community.

Each marking period the fifth graders visit Tom Joy with the primary focus of reading good books. They begin the year by getting to know their Tom Joy buddies and sharing information about each other. Students create a square grid, where they share and draw pictures about their families, pets and homes (Innermost square), their schools and communities (outermost square).

The goal when going to Tom Joy is to get Tom Joy students excited about reading. Every time students visit they share some of their favorite books with their Tom Joy buddies and when possible their buddies read to them.  Between visits the students send pictures and letters to the Tom Joy students to help foster relationships.

“The most important thing we do is give our students the opportunity to develop relationships with their Tom Joy buddies. They learn to support and encourage their buddies, working through difficulties and praising their efforts. Students share their love for books and inspire our Tom Joy buddies to discover the joy of reading, ” said Barb Daugherty, fifth grade teacher.


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Ensworth Coffee Talk

Ensworth GrindWe are back and guess what….. it is officially spring and the weather is finally cooperating!  We hope everyone had a wonderful spring break with plenty of time to relax and be with your family. Typically our new faculty features take place at the beginning of the school year, but today we are excited to introduce our new Director of Annual Fund and Stewardship, Leigh Ivey. Find out why this face  might look very familiar to many of you.

Leigh IveyLeigh, many people in the community know you well being that you are an alum from the Ensworth class of 2001. So the question on everyone’s mind is……were you an orange or a black?

We Iveys are very proud Oranges

What were some of the traditions at Ensworth that really stuck with you long after your days here?

Obviously Orange/Black. The tradition strengthens a student’s sense of belonging to the Ensworth community, but also transcends the generational divide—I’ve met people my parents’ age who can still tell you exactly who in their graduating class belongs to which team (I’m pretty confident I could do the same for mine!). That’s pretty special.

Apparently the dress code (which pre-dates the current school uniforms) also stuck with me, as another Ensworth alumna pointed out when she ran into me years after I graduated. Ensworth made me a big fan of collared shirts with sleeves, tucked into bottoms of one of four solid (and this part is crucial—no patterns were allowed) colors: black, navy, khaki and gray.

I think one of the greatest traditions Ensworth has is the unique relationship between faculty and students. I didn’t realize until later how rare it is to find teachers who are as invested in the growth and success of their students, both in and out of the classroom, as the faculty at Ensworth.

What would you say is your biggest goal as the new Director of Annual Fund and Stewardship?

First and foremost, getting to know all the students, their families, and current faculty and staff. I am so thrilled to be back at Ensworth and can’t wait to be fully immersed in the life of the school. My biggest goal in the role of Director of Annual Fund and Stewardship is to find a way to meaningfully express our appreciation for gifts of all sizes—and to stress the importance of them! Every single contribution to the Annual Fund, be it $5 or $5000, is significant and we are truly thankful for them. I realize now that so much of what I enjoyed in my time as a student at Ensworth would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors.

What is it about Ensworth that sets it apart and makes it such a special place?

We talk a lot about the idea of the “Ensworth Family” and it absolutely exists. This is an incredible community of people—past, present and future—who rally to support and celebrate one another

If you could be a fly on the wall in any classroom which one would it be?

This is so tough! Lately I’ve been missing Ms. Smith’s second grade classroom and not just because I need to work on my cursive, which I do. I would love to go back and learn from her again. The same goes for all my old teachers. I ran into Jim Miller at lunch today and he invited me to sit in on one of his classes—I’m going to take him up on it, too! It will be my first class at the high school!

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The ‘E’ Factor (College Counseling)

IMG_1999Do I want a small liberal arts college or a big university? If I want to study pre-med, where is the best university within a 6-hour drive? Applying for colleges can be very intimidating for both students and parents. Most of us don’t even know where to start the search or how to be a good support for our students without swaying them too much one way or another. In week two of our special series, The ‘E’ Factor, we want to introduce you to a resource that may not be familiar to many at the lower/middle school; the College Counseling Staff.

“I think everyone in our office believes the greatest “tool” available to students is the one-on-one relationship we have with each student in our caseload. This one-on-one relationship allows for very customized guidance in the college counseling process and in advising/curriculum support,” said Laura Stewart Director of College Counseling.

Ensworth’s College Counseling Office helps students in the process of the search for the perfect college starting their sophomore year of high school. Students are paired with a college counselor who guides them through the process for the entirety of high school. The program helps students  narrow their college search, learn about financial aid and even provides tutoring for college essays and help with college applications.

“They go above and beyond to know students on a personal and academic level and then develop a plan that fits their interests, ” Blair Wilson class of 2014, Columbia University student.

Fun Fact: Last year’s seniors were accepted to 121 colleges and universities and matriculated to 50 different schools.

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Parade of Words

vocab parade instaCan you define the word hoodypeak? Try using the word vociferous in a sentence or dressing to represent the word obtuse. Students and faculty alike were given a lesson in vocabulary during the third grade vocabulary parade. The third grade class was assigned a vocabulary word that they had to learn to spell, memorize the definition, and use in a sentence. Students then paraded through Frist Hall dressed as their word and introducing it to the Ensworth faculty and students. To see more pictures visit

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