Selected readings on US charter schools
Five out of eight applications for new charter schools in Nashville earned a recommendation for approval by Metro Nashville Public Schools — including a proposal from the nation’s largest charter network to take over a struggling elementary school.
KIPP Nashville, the local affiliate of the national KIPP Public Schools, would convert a still-to-be-determined low-performing district elementary school into a charter by the fall of 2015, under a plan Metro Director of Schools Jesse Register’s administration has advised for Metro school board approval in a report released Wednesday.
Meanwhile, MNPS has recommended denial of STRIVE Collegiate Academy, a much-debated proposal for a middle school that would open in the Donelson-Hermitage area near McGavock High School.
The school board is set to consider this year’s round of charter applications on Tuesday. Other proposals recommended for approval by Metro’s Office of Innovation are:
• A K-4 school in the Glencliff cluster by Rocketship, a California-based operator that will open a school on Dickerson Pike this fall.
• A K-8 school in the Glencliff cluster by Valor Collegiate Academy, which is opening a new middle school on Nolensville Pike this fall.
• Knowledge Academies, an existing Nashville charter that would add a high school.
• STEM Prep Academy, an existing South Nashville school that would also add a high school.
The district recommended denial of International Academy of Excellence and Tracey Darnell Agricultural Science & Technology.
Charters would open in 2015-16, adding to the 20 set to operate this fall.
In November, the school board set parameters for charter proposals this year: either new elementary schools to ease overcrowding in South Nashville or charter conversions of low-performing district schools. KIPP has responded to the latter request.
STRIVE, backed by the Tennessee Charter School Center, has turned into a test case for that plan because it fails to meet geographic considerations. STRIVE’s supporters, though, have argued the area needs an additional option because three of four of the middle schools in the area are under “review” or “target.”
Metro’s charter review committee, instead, pointed to objections with STRIVE’s educational, operational and business plans. The committee said the school’s leader would be “spread too thin” and unable to perform duties; its curriculum “lacks sufficient detail”; and recruiting and marketing plans are generic and would be unable to meet first-year enrollment goals.
The district has also recommended International Academy of Excellence and Tracey Darnell Agricultural Science & Technology Academy be rejected next week.
Source: The Tennessean – by Reach Joey Garrison