New Achievement School District Schools Announced

By Bill Dries

The Achievement School District will expand in its third school year to five Memphis schools, all of them to be run for the district by charter school companies.

Leaders of the state-run district for the bottom 5 percent of the state’s public schools in terms of student achievement announced Thursday, Dec. 12, that:

Aspire Public Schools will move into Coleman Elementary School in Raleigh.

• Promise Academy will be at Spring Hill Elementary School, also in Raleigh.

Freedom Prep Academy, which has a separate charter school already in southwest Memphis, will run Westwood Elementary School.

Green Dot Public Schools go to Fairley High School.

Frayser Community Schools, the charter school group founded by former Westside Middle School principal Bobby White, will be at Frayser High School.

The transitions at Coleman, Frayser and Fairley will be in all grades at those schools next year.

The Spring Hill and Westwood transitions will be over several schools year, with the Promise and Freedom Prep starting with pre-kindergarten through first grade in the 2014-2015 school years.

The inclusion of Frayser High and Fairley High marks the district’s first venture into high schools.

The Frayser area has been a priority for the Achievement School District since its start in the 2012-2013 school year, when three of the first six schools in the district were in Frayser – specifically in the feeder pattern for Frayser High School.

Corning Achievement Elementary, Frayser Achievement Elementary and Westside Achievement Middle Schools are operated by the district itself.

For the current school year, the ASD added two more Frayser elementary schools in the feeder pattern, Georgian Hills and Whitney. They too are run directly by the district.

Achievement School District superintendent Chris Barbic also announced Pathways in Education will open an alternative school next month in the Northgate shopping center in Frayser for over-age students in grades 7-12.

Once the students are at the grade level that matches their age, they and their parents will have the option of staying at the school or transferring to another school.

This school year, a separate ninth-grade academy opened at Westside Middle School as a reaction to parents of students at the middle school who were uneasy about the transition to Frayser High School.

Parents and teachers at the five schools picked for the ASD will start getting information this week about the transition, and community meetings with the charter school companies will be held next week.

Current teachers, administrators and employees at each of the schools will have to reapply for their jobs.

Barbic said the transition to the next school year should be different in that regard because the ASD schools will be competing not only with charter schools and Shelby County Schools for teachers, but also with the six new suburban school systems that plan to open in August.