Six Metro schools identified for potential state ASD intervention

Monday, August 13, 2012 at 7:24pm

Six low-performing Metro schools are eligible for inclusion in the state-led Achievement School District, and an additional 13 Davidson County public schools have some of the largest achievement gaps in the state.

Tennessee Department of Education Officials on Monday released names of the state’s so-called “priority schools” and “focus schools” under Tennessee’s new education accountability system, which has replaced federal No Child Left Behind standards. The new labels follow the recent release of TCAP and end-of-year test results.

Those deemed “priority” are the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools across the state, making them eligible for state intervention from the Achievement School District. The ASD, as its known, has contracted a handful of charter organizations to eventually take the reins at some of these schools.

Eighty-three schools statewide fall under the “priority” category, 6 of which are in Nashville. Previously, Metro had nine schools that qualified for the ASD.

Metro’s six ASD-eligible, “priority schools” are: Bailey Middle; Brick Church Middle; Buena Vista Elementary Enhanced Option; Gra-Mar Middle; Napier Elementary Enhanced Option; and Smithson-Craighead Middle schools.

The ASD has already tapped Nashville-based LEAD Public Schools, a charter organization, to oversee Brick Church Middle. LEAD is remaking the school as Brick Church College Prep, and opened its doors to the school’s 5th-graders for the recently started school year. LEAD’s presence will grow at Brick Church one additional grade at a time.

The ASD also authorized LEAD and California-based Rocketship Education and KIPP Academy Nashville, two other charters, to eventually move into other ASD-eligible schools in Nashville. It is still unclear which schools they might target, though the new state “priority” list likely provides some hints.

The inclusion of Smithson-Craighead Middle, the lone ASD-eligible charter school in Nashville, could raise speculation on its future in Nashville, and whether its charter might be revoked.

“We don’t believe that charter schools that are in the bottom 5 percent should remain open,” said Alan Coverstone, executive director of Metro schools’ Office of Innovation.

Coverstone stopped short, however, of saying his office would be recommending the termination of Smithson-Craighead’s charter, pointing out time considerations presented by the recent start of school. “We’ve got to figure out the timing of this and what the options are,” he said.

In a separate list, state education officials Monday released the names of “focus schools,” defined as the 10 percent of schools across Tennessee with the largest achievement gaps.

The state’s accountability system measures achievement gaps of racial and ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. The state has identified 167 “focus schools,” 13 that are in Nashville.

The 13 Nashville “focus schools” are: Amqui Elementary; Carter Lawrence Elementary; Dan Mills Elementary; Dodson Elementary; Eakin Elementary; Goodlettsville Elementary; John Early Paideia Middle Magnet; J.T. Moore Middle; KIPP Academy Nashville; Maplewood High; Pearl-Cohn High; Ruby Major Elementary; and West End Middle schools.

KIPP Academy is the only Nashville charter school identified in the “focus” category.

“Schools on the ‘focus’ list are not necessarily there because of low achievement,” state education officials stressed in a news release. “In fact, many showed excellent growth last year.

“Rather, the ‘focus’ designation provides districts the opportunity to look closely at particular subgroups of students who may be underperforming and to provide specific support and intervention.”

6 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 8/14/12 at 7:39

The truth be known, there are probably another six or seven that should be on the list. They just hate to see the school numbers equate exactly to how many students are on the free lunch and free breakfast program.

These kids are too busy learning the ways of the street to give a darn whether the earth is round or flat.

By: Specter47 on 8/14/12 at 10:45

The decline of Metro Schools continues under Jesse Register's watch. When will Board members begin demanding his resignation? He needs to go and take his posse with him. Instead, they keep jacking him up and exclaiming how wonderful he is. I say, "So long, Jesse."

By: willtw on 8/14/12 at 11:19

Having been raised under the old Davidson County/Nashville system, I am truly amazed at the regression back into the dark ages though we keep throwing thousands of dollars at EDUCATION in Nashville! Recently, with a granddaughter preparing for kindergarten, (Shane Elem) and after attending the orientation of parents and teachers, we determined it to not be in the best interests of our child to be subjected to THAT! Thus, another student to private school! The numbers and schools included in this article is likely very low....the realities of education in Nashville seems to indicate the need for a voucher system allowing students to attend where they desire....From this vantage point, Nashville/Metro schools seem to not be a good choice if one had same and those affording a move leave Davidson for the outlying is a shame!

By: Jughead on 8/14/12 at 1:22

You know the politician's and teacher's union's solution: SPEND MORE ON SCHOOLS.

The ultimate wasteful black hole, public education.

By: jj117 on 8/14/12 at 2:29

MNPS will continue to be a district of misleading data because it has administrators who would rather submit fraudulent grades and cheat on the TCAP. If you believe that schools are truly improving under the current administration, you are mistaken. When teachers and administrators voice concerns about programs that are not working, cheating on the state assessment, or report illegal grade changing, they are dismissed from the school district with bogus unsatisfactory evaulations and labeled "disgruntle employees". This district will only improve when the leadership does.

If you can recall, the state of TN mislead the U.S. Department of Education about how well TN students were progressing, only to get spanked when their deception was uncovered. Do you really believe MNPS is not doing the same thing?
Especially with all of the Race to the Top money they have received, they must show progress or else. They are going the show the public what they want, and not what is actual. If you know anything about research, then you are aware that numbers can easily be manipulated.

A major part of learning is being put on the backburner because teachers and adminstrators are afraid to say that a child is in need of discipline, rigorous instruction, and active parental participation in order to be successful in school. Oops! Did I say that? Yes, and I stand behing every word, and it is so politically incorrect. (lol)

The district needs leaders who are fair, strict, and treat all employees the way they would want to be treated. In other words, no "buddy syatem" system. A true educational leader is who has every stakeholder's best interest at heart. Listening to teachers, parents, students, the community, and administrators is a great starting point. Each of us is accountable for student learning, but do not tell the public because most people believe it is just the teachers!

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 1:08

This all feels like a full court press from Wendy Tucker and Karl Dean to demonize their own Public School System, gut public education with charter grants, and leave the rest of the children behind to fend for themselves. This has become class warfare at the expense of a greater good: Better public schools for all children.