Nashville Public Education Foundation

Nearly 200 city, state, school district and community leaders came to Belcourt Theatre on June 29 for the premiere viewing of the Nashville Public Education Foundation documentary “By Design: The Shaping of Nashville’s Public Schools.” The film will be shown to the public July 22 at the University School of Nashville.

The Nashville Public Education Foundation will host the first of many public screenings of its new documentary, “By Design: The Shaping of Nashville’s Public Schools,” on July 22 at the University School of Nashville.

The 60-minute film will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. It’s the first time the film will be available to the public after its invitation-only premiere on June 29 at the Belcourt Theatre. For this showing, only 200 seats are available.

Katie Cour, president and CEO of the foundation, said the feedback from the premiere was “awesome.”

“The response has been awesome and feedback validates that there is an enormous amount of energy in our community to act — turning enthusiasm generated by the documentary into advocacy,” she wrote in an email. “Since our premiere of ‘By Design: The Shaping of Nashville’s Public Schools,’ we have received dozens of inquiries from interested people and organizations who want to host private viewing sessions to share our history.”

The movie is in high demand, she said. Not only are people reaching out to hold screenings for their organizations, but some want to show it in group settings.

“Additionally, there has been a strong demand by organizations seeking to host public screenings ... the first of which is USN,” Cour wrote.

“The goal was to have four public showings, but NPEF has secured seven already. And while exact dates and venues are being finalized, NPEF expects the next public screening to take place at the National Museum of African American Music.”

Cour’s assessment of the film isn’t just her own. At the invite-only screening, viewers were asked to leave feedback cards containing either a word or a couple of sentences about how they felt leaving the screening.

“Amazing — Such an engaging treatment of a rich history that has so much resonance for the challenges of today’s schools (and I learned a lot),” one comment card said.

“As an MNPS educator, this film helped to ground me in the history of education in Nashville and inspires a sense of possibility that can only come from knowing where you’ve been,” read another.

“Post event surveys indicate the community is in strong agreement on the need for this film and meaningful conversations,” Cour wrote. “NPEF was extremely encouraged by level of dialogue that the premiere sparked — during panel and after panel. And the buzz created following the event has been motivating.

“NPEF has received some constructive feedback for improvement too … specifically, we’ve received thoughtful feedback on how to address other subjects not addressed in the film like charters and the tension between cities that prioritize growth at the possible expense of youth.”

To attend the USN showing, register for a ticket through the foundation’s website at As of Friday, over a quarter of the tickets had already been sold.

The foundation will release a schedule for future public showings as showtimes are finalized.

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