Knowledge Academies and KIPP Nashville to expand networks
Educators and school leaders continue to answer the ASD’s call to transform schools and lives in Tennessee.
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. We’re excited to share the new additions to the ASD school portfolio as this year’s charter authorization process—our fifth as an organization—comes to a close.
KIPP Nashville plans to open an elementary school serving roughly 200 students in kindergarten and grade one, growing to 500 students in kindergarten through grade four one grade at a time. Knowledge Academies, Inc. will open a middle school, either phase-in or full transformation (all grades at once), serving approximately 360 students in grades five through eight. Both groups currently operate schools in Nashville authorized by Metro Nashville Public Schools and have a deep understanding of the communities to be served and a track record of results.
How Authorization Works
The ASD has a very high bar for charter authorization because our mission is urgent and our students deserve only the best. This announcement marks the end of this year’s authorization process, which launched in January with an all call for charter evaluators with expertise in curriculum and instruction, school operations, finance, and local context. These evaluation teams, comprised of both local and national experts, independently reviewed each applicant’s response to the Request for Proposals and participated in applicant capacity interviews before making authorization recommendations to the ASD. Recommendations were based on each applicant’s plan to create high quality options for Priority school students and the applicant team’s capacity to implement the plan.
In addition to these authorization decisions, the ASD will determine which of its current operators will grow to serve more students based on the end of year accountability data from the state. Factored into that analysis is the growth made by second and third-year ASD schools—the first two cohorts of schools to join the district— in 2014-15, which averaged Level 5 TVAAS ratings.
From there, all operators approved to serve neighborhood schools in the 2016-2017 school year will participate in an extensive community input process from August to December in order to be matched with specific Priority schools for transformation. KIPP Nashville and Knowledge Academies will participate in a similar process in fall 2016 prior to opening in the 2017-2018 school year.
About the ASD
The ASD has catalyzed change and improvement in Tennessee’s Priority schools. Since the inception of the ASD four years ago, student proficiency in Tennessee’s Priority schools has grown much faster than in non-Priority schools. Additionally, the vast majority of Priority schools are now part of a significant ASD- or district-led intervention.
The ASD is both an operator of schools—running five schools in Memphis’s Frayser neighborhood in 2014-15—and an authorizer of high quality public charter schools. ASD schools are public, neighborhood schools serving students zoned to Priority schools. This year, there will be 29 schools in the ASD, with 27 in Memphis and two in Nashville.