Metro Schools has come to a decision on which East Nashville elementary will be handed over to charter operator KIPP Academy. Kirkpatrick will be making a year-by-year conversion starting next fall, according to a press release issued Thursday afternoon.
In recent weeks, school board members have discussed backing out of this partnership with KIPP, but they already authorized the charter to take over a struggling school months ago.
Superintendent Jesse Register narrowed the choice to either Inglewood or Kirkpatrick. Both elementary schools have been on the state’s watch list for multiple years with test scores continuing to slide.
“This is the right school for a KIPP partnership,” Register said in a written statement. “Kirkpatrick is a high-need school with unique challenges. The proven skills and strategies KIPP brings to the table match well with Kirkpatrick’s needs. They can have a greater impact and make more of a difference here than at other high-need schools in the area.”
Fewer than one in five Kirkpatrick students are on grade level in reading, math and science, according to district data. Kirkpatrick parents also didn’t put up as much resistance as Inglewood families, who went so far as to conduct a poll showing how little support there was for charter conversion.
KIPP already runs two middle schools and a high school in Nashville. But it has not yet tried a conversion.
“Even though this model of starting a school is new to us, the fundamentals of what KIPP Nashville brings to the table are a great fit for Kirkpatrick,” KIPP Nashville executive director Randy Dowell said in a statement. “There is fertile ground for big improvements at this school.”
Students are being given the option to stay or to attend other East Nashville schools, with transportation provided by the district.