With Improvement In Memphis, More Nashville Schools Become State’s Lowest-Performing
Teachers are saying in a new study from Vanderbilt that they are less receptive to Common Core standards in their classrooms. Credit: alamosbasement via Flickr

With Improvement In Memphis, More Nashville Schools Become State’s Lowest-Performing

Credit: alamosbasement via Flickr
In 2012, Nashville had six schools in “priority” status, but since then one of them has closed. Credit: alamosbasement via Flickr


Update 6:00 am with statement from MNPS

Another 10 schools in Nashville have been deemed eligible for state takeover because of their slow rate of improvement. Tennessee education officials released their list of “priority” schools Tuesday, and the number in Nashville went up, while the figures in Memphis went down.

(The Tennessee Department of Education also released school-by-school results for every school in the state.)

This list represents the bottom five percent of schools in Tennessee, and the last time it was released, Memphis had nearly all of them.

“When the list came out two years ago, and folks saw 69 schools in Memphis, I think it automatically created a sense of urgency that didn’t exist,” Achievement School District superintendent Chris Barbic told reporters on a conference call.

Barbic is charged with turning around the state’s lowest performing schools with a goal of getting them from the bottom five percent to the top quartile.

Most of Barbic’s work over the last two years has been focused in the state’s largest school district, and now 10 of those schools have worked their way off the priority list. That’s created space for other schools to drop into the bottom five percent, even if their test scores didn’t necessarily slip by that much.

Nashville now has a total of 15 schools considered takeover targets by Barbic’s Achievement School District. The ASD has given initial approval to three different charter operators – LEAD, KIPP and Rocketship – to turnaround the Nashville schools.

“Now that we’ve got the list, we need to circle back with those guys and see what their plans are,” Barbic said. “So we’ll take the next several months to have those conversations.”

It’s possible that none of the schools will be taken over. In 2012, Nashville had five priority schools and only one was converted into a charter.

Metro Schools director Jesse Register said in a statement the district has its own turnaround plans.

“We are going to take decisive action to address these schools’ needs. We intend to move quickly, to identify areas where progress is not being made fast enough, and to make whatever changes are necessary to help students excel.”

  • Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School
  • Brick Church Middle School
  • Buena Vista Elementary Enhanced Option School
  • Inglewood Elementary School
  • Jere Baxter Middle School
  • Joelton Middle School
  • John B Whitsitt Elementary School
  • Kirkpatrick Elementary Enhanced Option School
  • Napier Elementary Enhanced Option School
  • Neely’s Bend Middle School
  • Pearl-Cohn Magnet High School
  • Ross Elementary School
  • Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School
  • Madison Middle School
  • The Cohn School

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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