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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 Authorizes Two Charter Operators

Following a rigorous review and recommendation from a team of external expert evaluators, the ASD is pleased to welcome two outstanding new nonprofit charter partners, KIPP Nashville and Knowledge Academies, both launching their first ASD schools in the 2017-2018 school year.

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ASD Students Outpace State in Math and Science

Students in the recently launched Achievement School District (ASD)—a statewide school district created to move Tennessee’s bottom 5% schools to the top 25%—showed faster learning gains than their peers across the state in math and science. As a group, ASD schools in their second and third years—the first two “cohorts” of schools to join the ASD—earned the state’s highest possible growth rating, averaging a Level 5 on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS).

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A Letter from ASD Superintendent Chris Barbic

After four years as superintendent, Chris Barbic is leaving the Achievement School District at the end of December. Here in his own words, Chris shares the reasons behind his decision and offers a few lessons he’s learned during his time at the helm of this pioneering, impactful work.

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The ASD Mourns the Loss of AAC Member Mitchell Saddler Sr.

Mitch was a truly amazing man.  His dedication to his family, his community, and to all kids across Memphis demonstrate a compassion, selflessness, and relentlessness that will not be forgotten. His joyful spirit and legacy will live on with the individuals he’s touched and through the seeds he sowed as an advocate for quality schools for all children.

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Happy Independence Day from the ASD!


Independence Day: What’s not to like? Summer, barbecues, family gatherings and fireworks are just some of the many reasons why we love this summer holiday.

And as we celebrate with friends and family this holiday, Independence Day is also an opportunity to affirm those famous words written in our Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal.”


On behalf of the Achievement School District and our partner school operators all across our great state, we most certainly believe in the idea of equality. This is why we are working to ensure that every student in Tennessee has the opportunity to receive a great education.

We are the Achievement School District: creating more choice and greater opportunities for students, parents, teachers, schools and communities.

Happy 4th of July everyone! We hope that you have a fun filled holiday celebrating our independence with your loved ones.

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