Learning from others' mistakes may help Metro Nashville Public Schools make opening smoother for the district's newest charter school — New Vision Academy.
A month after the Metro Nashville Board of Education initially shot down the new charter school's approval, the board Tuesday unanimously voted for a revamped proposal, paving the way for the school to open in the fall of 2010 — becoming Nashville’s sixth charter school.
New Vision will be located at Draughons Junior College in the Antioch area.
The charter school’s approval comes after MNPS this fall welcomed two new charter schools, including Nashville Global Academy, which on its first day of class discovered a shortage of bus drivers, forcing the district to place it on probation.
“We have a much better idea of what the process of starting a school looks like when it comes to a charter school,” said Alan Coverstone, the district’s director of charter and private schools. “That should help us be more effective for help.”
When Nashville Global Academy officially opened, Coverstone had only held his post for a few weeks. Though MNPS officials drew up the position in part to prepare for a new state law that allows more charter schools, Coverstone said he plans to help manage the transition of getting the new school off the ground.
“The process of negotiating the charter is going to be much more specific in terms of relationships and expectations on both sides — district and charter,” he said of New Vision. “The goal is to find mutually beneficial relationships.
“The approval specifies quick action on their part to finalize their facility plans, transportation plan and their application,” he added. “They’re well on their way on all of those things.”
New Vision Academy is an offshoot of New Vision Inc., a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2001 that, according to its Web site, was launched to “reduce the number of children entering state custody in Tennessee.”
Led by educator Tim Malone, the charter school’s second attempt at receiving district approval benefited from recruiting the Rev. Samella W. Junior Spence, former principal at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School, to become start-up principal at New Vision. Previously, Smith served on New Vision’s board.
“When they plugged her in and she committed to the start-up phase and being on the ground, that was hard to argue,” Coverstone said. “Her experience is pretty commendable. For her to dedicate herself to the academic achievement of kids was a big plus.”