Parents and Community Members: A Few Things You Should Know

By Achievement School District

Frequently Asked Questions: Parents and Community Members

What is the Achievement School District (“ASD”)? The ASD is a statewide school district created to move the bottom 5% of schools to the top 25% in 5 years. This year, there are amazing things happening for students in ASD schools. Here are a few things to know about the ASD:

· The ASD was created as part of Tennessee’s winning “Race to the Top” application. Race to the Top—a major federal education initiative launched by the Obama administration—challenged states to dramatically improve public education in part by turning around their lowest performing schools.

· The ASD draws schools from Tennessee’s “Priority Schools” list—a list of the bottom 5% of schools in Tennessee. The vast majority of these Priority schools—68 out of 82—are located in Memphis.

· The ASD has a mix—or “portfolio”—of public schools. Some are charter schools, and some are schools run directly by the ASD. Every ASD school serves its surrounding attendance zone, just like any traditional neighborhood school. Currently, the ASD has six schools across the state, including five in Memphis—Frayser Achievement Elementary, Westside Achievement Middle, Corning Achievement Elementary, Cornerstone Prep—Lester Campus), and Gordon Science and Arts Academy.

· The ASD believes that ALL children have the potential to succeed in school, college, and careers.

· The ASD believes in giving great educators the time, resources, and freedom they need to ensure every student’s success. The ASD flows its money directly to schools.

What does an ASD education mean for my child? An ASD education means great things for your child! If his/her school joins the ASD, you can expect to see 1) great teaching and more of it, with an extended school day; 2) a college-going culture of high expectations and a “do whatever it takes for students” attitude; and 3) learning without barriers. College visits, athletics, arts and enrichment activities, and technology are all part of an ASD education. Find out more at!

What schools are under consideration? Graves ES, Norris ES, Alcy Ball ES, Corry MS, Cherokee ES, Hanley ES, Shannon ES, Treadwell ES, Caldwell-Guthrie ES, Klondike ES, Cypress MS, Georgian Hills ES, Denver ES, Whitney ES.

Why is my child’s school being considered for the ASD? There are 14 Priority schools being considered by the ASD. 10 will be selected to join the ASD next year. Here are a few important reasons why your child’s school is being considered for the ASD:

· Achievement: The school is a Priority school, consistently ranked in the bottom 5% of schools in the state. We know our students can do better!

· Need/location: The school is in a “feeder pattern”—a group of elementary, middle and high schools feeding into each other—with other priority schools. In this feeder pattern, there is a group of schools performing in the bottom 5%.

· Impact: The school and its feeder pattern serve a high number of students.

· Collaboration: The list of 14 schools was made following discussions with Memphis City Schools and other partners and considered a range of factors, including the potential for other changes (e.g. school closures and the Innovation Zone).

When will next year’s schools be chosen for the ASD and what’s the decision-making process? Schools won’t be announced until December 17. Between now and then, there is a community engagement process. We want to get people’s input before making any decisions, and we’re inviting you—and teachers and community members—into the process. Here are some of the factors that will influence our decision:

The school’s overall achievement and growth

· The track record and history of the school’s leadership

· The school’s enrollment

· Charter operator “fit” with the school and community

Will my child lose his/her seat if the ASD runs the school? No—ASD schools are neighborhood schools, serving the same students and attendance zones—and providing the same transportation—as you see in your child’s school today.

How can I be involved? Contact the Achievement Advisory Council (“AAC”) at The AAC is an independent group of volunteers that will be listening and gathering feedback before bringing a recommendation to the ASD on December 10—a full week before the ASD makes a decision.

Where can I find out more? Please give us a call at (901) 878-5495, e-mail us at, and visit