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VOL. 129 | NO. 202 | Thursday, October 16, 2014

ASD Considers 12 Additional Memphis Schools

By Bill Dries

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The Achievement School District is considering adding up to 12 Memphis schools to the state-run school district that is now in its third school year.

Leaders of the school district released Wednesday, Oct. 15, the list of schools being considered for the 2015-2016 school year. The schools are taken from the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide in terms of student achievement test results.

They are called “priority” schools by the state, and 59 are in Memphis. The Achievement School District system has 23 schools currently – one in Nashville and 22 in Memphis. Five of the Memphis schools are run directly by the Achievement School District. The rest are operated by charters under contract with the Achievement School District.

ASD superintendent Chris Barbic and his staff have already made the decision to include South Side and Wooddale Middle Schools as well as Raleigh Egypt High School in the district.

South Side and Wooddale had been on the list of possible schools to join the ASD in the current school year but were not selected as the district waited a year to see if student achievement would improve.

All of the schools on the list would be run by charter school organizations who would be matched with schools based on meetings and other input from parents, teachers and community members in the coming months.

The final list and the assignment of schools to charter operators will be announced in December.

KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools, which currently operates two ASD schools and five Memphis charters outside the ASD, will operate South Side Middle next year.

Green Dot Public Schools, the charter currently running Fairley High School for the ASD, will take on both Wooddale Middle and Raleigh Egypt High.

The other schools on the list are Florida-Kansas, Denver, Brookmeade, Hawkins Mill, LaRose and A.B. Hill Elementary Schools as well as Airways, American Way and A. Maceo Walker Middle Schools.

The charter school organizations that could be matched with them are Scholar Academies, Freedom Prep, Capstone Education Group, YES Prep and Libertas.

Scholar Academies operates six schools in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Trenton, N.J., and will be matched with either LaRose or Florida-Kansas.

Libertas which was formed by local teachers and teachers at a KIPP charter in Newark, N.J., will be matched with Brookmeade and Hawkins Mill.

Capstone Education Group runs Cornerstone Prep, a two-year veteran of the Achievement School District in what was Lester Elementary School in Binghampton, which was visited this summer by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Capstone will be matched with either Hawkins Mill or Denver.

Freedom Preparatory Academy Charter School was where Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law the bill that lifted the state’s cap on charter schools in 2011. Freedom Prep operates an academy outside the Achievement School District that serves 646 students in southwest Memphis.

YES Prep is the Houston-based charter school group founded by Chris Barbic before he became ASD superintendent. YES Prep operates 13 school in Houston with more than 9,000 students. It is being considered for a match with two of a trio of middle schools – Airways, American Way or A. Maceo Walker.

The first of the community meetings is Oct. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Raleigh Egypt High School and South Side and American Way Middle Schools. The next meeting is Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at Wooddale and A. Maceo Walker Middle Schools and Denver Elementary. The Oct. 30 meetings, also at 5:30 p.m., are at A.B. Hill Elementary and Airways Middle.

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