The Metro Nashville Board of Education voted 7-1 Tuesday to approve the charter application of Boys’ Preparatory, a proposal for which the board had rejected only one month ago.
Authorized after the school’s founders made several application changes, Boys Prep is now set to become Metro’s first exclusive single-gender school when it opens during the 2012-13 school year.
By then, Metro will have 15 operating publicly financed, privately run charter schools, with Boys Prep and three others headed to Southeast Davidson County. Boys Prep will accommodate students seventh through 12th grade.
The lone dissent Tuesday came from board member Anna Shepherd, who doubted whether Boys Prep’s leaders could make the necessary changes in just one month.
“I’m just not convinced that in a month they are really where they need to be,” Shepherd said. “Ultimately, one year in the life of a student is a precious year. I would be hesitant to make a risk.”
But other board members voted in accordance with Metro’s charter review committee, which recommended approval of Boys Prep, a school that had been rejected during previous charter cycles as well.
Alan Coverstone, who helps oversee charters for the district, told board members Boys Prep founders changed its high school graduation standards to adhere to state-mandated credits; strengthened its technology plan; produced sharper research on single-gender learning; developed a stronger disciplinary plan; and are actively seeking bilingual teachers.
Though Boys Prep hasn’t secured a property, the school could locate inside the Boys & Girls Club building on Thompson Lane. Boys Prep is expected to cater to a large English Language Learner population.
The school’s board chair is Daniel Crews, portfolio manager for the Tennessee consolidated retirement system. Martin Kennedy, a Middle Tennessee State University professor, is another founder.
• At Tuesday’s board meeting, Director of Schools Jesse Register announced plans to hold a public meeting in July to further discuss a proposed balanced calendar for a 2012-13 school year that would begin July 25.
The option, one of three choices before the board, would require $20 million in additional spending because it would increase Metro’s number of school days from 176 to 180, among other expenditures.
Register said he plans to bring the calendar proposal before the board in August.
• June Keel, who oversees the district’s Human Resources Department, said more than 230 of the 346 displaced teachers who attended a recent teachers’ job fair have landed positions at other Metro schools.
Because of tapped federal stimulus and jobs money, the district has lost approximately 400 teaching positions, displacing the teachers who once held them. As a result, Metro’s average class size is increasing.
The goal, however, has been to retain the displaced teachers by transferring them to openings elsewhere in the district. Each year, hundreds of Metro teachers retire, quit or are fired for performance reasons.
Keel said Metro currently has 44 teaching positions open at the elementary school level, 41 at the middle school level and 28 at the elementary school level.