Test Results Show Turnaround Goal For Tennessee’s Lowest-Performing Schools Wasn’t Totally Crazy

    Aspire is a charter school in Memphis that is part of the Achievement School District. The ASD has 23 schools for the 2014-15 school year. Five are directly run by the district. The rest are run by charter organizations. Brick Church College Prep is the only ASD school in Nashville. The rest are in Memphis. Credit: TN Photo Services
Aspire is a charter school in Memphis that is part of the Achievement School District. The ASD has 23 schools for the 2014-15 school year. Five are directly run by the district. The rest are run by charter organizations. Brick Church College Prep is the only ASD school in Nashville. The rest are in Memphis. Credit: TN Photo Services

Standardized test results for each Tennessee district are being released Wednesday, and education officials are trying to highlight the good and explain the bad. Some of the most closely watched schools in the state are part of the Achievement School District.

The ASD experienced gains in math and science and reversed a drop in reading scores.

The special statewide district is taking over the lowest-performing schools in the state with a goal of moving them into the top 25 percent in just five years. Now in year three, superintendent Chris Barbic says he’s encouraged.

“You know, when we first talked about this, this was a goal that folks thought was completely crazy. And I think we’re learning is that not only is it not crazy, but we’ve got three of our first six schools that are on track to do it.”

One of those three schools on the right trajectory is Brick Church Pike College Prep in Nashville, which is slowly being converted into a charter school run by LEAD Academy. Barbic says if Brick Church matches this year’s student growth in math and reading, it would leap into the top quartile a year early.

Still, several Memphis schools would need to grow by 15 percent annually to make the five-year goal. If they don’t, Barbic says he expects to be fired.

“There’ll be reckoning,” Barbic tells reporters on a conference call.”You’ll be talking to another person on the end of this phone if that doesn’t happen in year five.”

 

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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