Selected readings on US charter schools
Ten charter school hopefuls have indicated plans to apply for approval with Metro Nashville Public Schools, including former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton’s charter organization and another school featured prominently in the film, “Waiting for Superman.”
In addition, existing Nashville charter organizations, KIPP Nashville and Nashville Prep – both routinely cited by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean for student achievement – met last week’s deadline to submit letters indicating intentions to apply for charter authorization this spring.
“The idea is to create a K-12, college prep pathway over in East Nashville,” said KIPP Nashville founder Randy Dowell of his latest proposal. He’s planning a new elementary school to complement one existing and two additional schools set to come online over the next two years.
The deadline to apply for authorization during the upcoming cycle is April 1, but charter operators were required to reveal their plans with the district last week. The Metro school board will consider charter applicants this summer.
This year’s group is just one fewer than the 11 that applied last year – a Nashville record – reinforcing the ongoing boom of publicly funded, privately operated charters in Nashville. It marks the first set of proposals the board will consider following its repeated rejection last year of Great Hearts Academies, which it denied amid diversity concerns despite a state order to approve.
Herenton, mayor of Memphis from 1991 to 2009, is president and CEO of W.E.B. DuBois Consortium of Charter Schools, which is already approved to open there. He’s organized under the identical name to apply to open a new Nashville high school called the Thurgood Marshall School of Career Development.
Also among the group of likely applicants is Valor Collegiate Academy led by Todd Dickson, a charter school founder who Dean recruited to Nashville from California last year. A fellow at the Tennessee Charter School Incubator, Dickson is eying a college prep middle and high school.
Dickson, whose Summit Prep in California made an appearance in the 2010 documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” has told the Tennessean he hopes to open a school in the Crieve Hall area with a “mixed-income” student focus.
The California-based charter network Rocketship Education, already authorized to launch a presence in Nashville presence via the state’s Achievement School District, has signaled interest to apply for a K-5 charter school through Metro.
Nashville Prep, a school also assisted by the state’s charter incubator, is planning to apply for a middle school called Nashville Prep II.
Meanwhile, the East Nashville non-profit Martha O’Bryan Center, which currently operates East End Prep, has proposed a new elementary and middle school dubbed One Nashville Preparatory Academy.
Other proposals described in letters of intent submitted to the district are:
· International Academy of Excellence, a K-4 school, proposed by the group Beyond the Border;
· Nolensville Academy for Math and Science, a 5th-10th grade school with the same name;
· Kemet Academy, a pre-K-8th grade school proposed by The Teach One Foundation of Tennessee; and
· Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Nashville, a middle school
Source: The Tennessean – by Joey Garrison