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VOL. 128 | NO. 177 | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Achievement School District and Innovation Zone Choose Third-Year Schools

By Bill Dries

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Leaders of the state-run Achievement School District and the countywide school system’s Innovation Zone schools have picked 13 schools for the 2014-2015 school year – the third school year of operation for each.

Both of the districts that involve giving the low performing schools greater autonomy will also venture, in that school year to come, into high schools for the first time.

Teachers, administrators and parents at the schools were told Tuesday, Sept. 10, of the lists.

The list from the Achievement School District includes nine Memphis schools but only eight will become part of the district in its third school year of operation.

The schools are Coleman, Denver, Springhill and Westwood Elementary Schools; South Side and Wooddale Middle Schools and Carver, Fairley and Frayser High Schools.

The schools will be matched later with charter school operators and ASD leaders indicated Tuesday only two of the high schools will be selected and it is probably a choice between Carver and Fairley depending on what they hear from parents and community leaders at each high school.

Frayser High Schools entry into the district has been expected because of the Achievement School District’s work in its first school year with elementary and middle schools that feed students into Frayser High.

The list from the Innovation Zone Schools is five schools.

The schools are Vance and Grandview Heights Middle Schools and Melrose, Hamilton and Trezevant High Schools.

Vance Middle School is the only one of the five not involved in a feeder system of schools the Innovation Zone is already working in.

Leaders of the two sets of schools worked together on their school selection to follow school feeder patterns each have pursued in certain parts of the city.

Each effort is aimed at several dozen schools in Memphis that are in the bottom five percent of schools in the state in terms of student achievement.

Both started their work in Memphis schools in the 2012-2013 school year.

The Innovation Zone schools have more autonomy, longer school days and more intensive intervention than conventional public schools in Shelby County. But they are considered part of the countywide school system.

The Achievement School District is a separate school district whose superintendent is appointed by the Tennessee Governor.

The schools that made the list were picked based on those lagging the most in math and English language arts achievement scores, similar indications in Tennessee Value Added Assessment System scores and areas of the city with the highest density of “priority” or failing schools.

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