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Here’s what Sharon Griffin wants to do in her first month as Tennessee’s new turnaround leader

Highlighting these schools and other ASD schools that are changing the odds for students was exhilarating in and of itself. This is why we exist—to partner in the dramatic improvement of Priority schools that have historically failed to give students a fair shot at succeeding. We lean in with higher expectations, accountability, student-centered decision-making, instruction and support services by educators and community partners who are living out families’ goals for their children – justice for every student in their schools and in their lives.

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Interim Supt. responds to annual accountability determinations

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) today released annual accountability determinations for school districts across Tennessee for the 2016-17 school year.

For the Achievement School District, the final accountability determinations were as follows:

Achievement Status:           In Need of Improvement
Subgroup Status:                In Need of Improvement
Final Determination:           In Need of Improvement

Interim Achievement School District Superintendent, Dr. Kathleen Airhart offered the following statement with reference to the ASD’s status:

By definition, the Achievement School District was formed of schools in desperate need of improvement – schools that held positions in the bottom five percent (5%) of performance across the state.  The fact that our current accountability determinations are rated as “in need of improvement” speaks to the fact that most of the hard and critical work to support students and lift schools is still ahead of us. 

Today’s release from TDOE further underscored Lester Prep Middle School as “Priority Improving” and Georgian Hills Achievement Elementary as “Priority Exiting” with the following definitions for these terms:

Priority Exit: Schools exit Priority status if their one-year success rates exceed the 15th percentile when ranked against all other eligible schools in the same pool.

Priority Improving: Schools are labeled Priority Improving if their one-year success rates exceed the 10th percentile but do not exceed the 15th percentile when ranked against all other eligible schools in the same pool.

Airhart remarked “Lester Prep’s Priority Improving status is in addition to the school distinguishing itself with TVAAS Level 5 growth in all subjects.  The prospect of Georgian Hills Achievement School being on pace to return to its home district is particularly gratifying.”

She continued, “One of my first objectives as Superintendent was to visit Georgian Hills Achievement and Lester Prep.   Having spent time with these two focused school leaders and seen the culture and climate created at these institutions, I gained a better insight into the academic advances they have been able to make and hope they have restored at these schools.”

 “With all of the work we have ahead, it is still appropriate to applaud these schools and their leaders for reminding us all of what can be accomplished. ”

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Four New Schools to Join the ASD in 2016-2017

Today, following an extensive four-month community input process, the Achievement School District (ASD) announced its 2016-17 school matches. The list includes Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary, Hillcrest High, and Kirby and Raleigh-Egypt middle schools.

Charter operators Scholar Academies and Green Dot Public Schools have been matched with the new ASD schools next year. Both operators are currently partnered with existing neighborhood Priority schools (in the bottom 5%) in Memphis.

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A Letter from Malika Anderson, Newly Named ASD Superintendent

Today, Gov. Bill Haslam and state Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen announced Malika Anderson as the new superintendent of the Achievement School District. In a letter to parents, students, teachers, and community members across the state, Anderson writes about her ‘excitement and optimism’ and why she is ready to meet the challenge of her new role.

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Process Continues for 5 Conversion-Eligible Schools

Five conversion-eligible schools are moving forward to the next stage of the Achievement School District conversion process. Conversations with school communities at Sheffield and Caldwell-Guthrie elementary schools, Kirby and Raleigh-Egypt middle schools, and Hillcrest High School will continue through December when individual Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NACs) will make recommendations about partnerships with ASD-authorized public school operators.

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ASD Community Input Update: Stay Involved

Everything you need to know to stay engaged in the community input process.

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ASD Kicks Off New Community Input Process for 6 Memphis Priority Schools Eligible to Join District in 2016

Today the Achievement School District announced a list of six Memphis area Priority Schools eligible to join the ASD next school year. These six school communities will participate in the ASD’s new community input process to determine whether they will join the district in 2016.

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ASD Community Input Update: Early Conversations and What’s Next

Over the past two weeks, I, along with members of the ASD team, had the privilege of talking to communities about the Community Input Process. As guests at meetings held by Stand for Children-Tennessee, Memphis LIFT, and the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), we’ve had the opportunity to talk to students, parents, clergy, and other invested groups about their school choice options.

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Incalculable Costs or Enduring Benefits through Education

Someone once said that education is the difference between a relatively happy, healthy life, and a life of constant struggle. But without effective and meaningful reform, the cost of innovation that never takes place in education is incalculable. In education, that cost is in human lives.

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The ASD: A Catalyst for Dramatic Improvement

Earlier this month the ASD announced its year three results, which showed students in the district outpacing the state in math and science and many schools earning the highest possible growth rating for student achievement (Level 5 TVAAS). Shelby County Schools (SCS) also saw growth in math and science, and cited the ASD as a catalyst for district-wide improvement. “The ASD has created this sense of urgency that may not have been there,” SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said in a recent Chalkbeat article.

But the ASD impact extends beyond Memphis, and it is translating into higher student achievement in Priority schools—those in the bottom 5%—across Tennessee. Before ASD intervention in 2012, the proficiency cut off for Priority schools across the state was 16.7%, meaning fewer than 1 in 6 students attending Priority schools were learning on grade level.

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