Brennon Patterson was 16 years old after his third attempt at the eighth grade. He'd just failed again. Uncontrolled asthma and problems in his family meant he missed weeks of school. After that, the Shelby County teen didn't much see the point in trying. "I thought I'd drop out, honestly," Patterson said. "I'd either end up in jail or dead." A guidance counselor told him about Pathways in Education, a school in the Achievement School District with a controversial academic model and 300 students at campuses in Whitehaven and Frayser. It likely saved his life. Now 19, Patterson is on track to graduate in May. An avid drawer who keeps a sketchbook in his backpack, he wants to go to college and work in the video game industry. Leaders at Pathways, a public charter school based in California, admit their program doesn't work for every student. It forces teenagers, many of whom have never been engaged in academics, to take ownership of their … [Read more...] about This Memphis high school saves students from dropping out. It constantly fights to stay open.
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A Whitehaven charter school will have to appeal to the state for any hope of staying open next year following a vote from the Shelby County Schools board on Tuesday. The board voted 6-3 not to renew the charter of City University Boys Preparatory school for another 10 years. That effectively closes the school at the end of this academic year. City University Chancellor R. Lemoyne Robinson said he plans to file an appeal to the state Board of Education within 10 days. "I tell parents tonight, it's not over," Robinson said following the vote. The board voted to renew the charter network's Memphis high school, City University School of Liberal Arts, along with Freedom Preparatory Academy and STAR Academy. 'Kids were regressing at City University' The district recommended the board vote not to renew City University Boys Prep, a middle school with fewer than 100 students, citing poor academic performance and a lack of growth over the last five years. "Kids were … [Read more...] about Shelby County Schools board votes to close a Whitehaven charter school; City University to appeal
Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Thursday she will leave at the end of Gov. Bill Haslam's last term in January. For nearly four years, McQueen's efforts had a substantial impact on Memphis and Shelby County, from writing the state's plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act to the hiring of Memphis native Sharon Griffin to oversee the state-run Achievement School District. In an interview Thursday with The Commercial Appeal, McQueen reflected on her influence in Shelby County. Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Candice McQueen through the years Fullscreen Posted! A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Buy Photo Erica Stephens laughs with Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen as Stephens is announced as the winner of the Milken Educator Award during an assembly at John P. Freeman Optional School. Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal Buy Photo Fullscreen Buy Photo Erica … [Read more...] about From school improvement to relationships with SCS, Candice McQueen reflects on her Memphis legacy
If one was to judge the success of Shelby County’s schools under Superintendent Dorsey Hopson by glimpsing headlines earlier this month, it wouldn’t be its best look. Nine Shelby County schools had to close for either an entire day or part of the day when their heating systems proved to be no match for the freezing temperatures — leaving both parents and students frustrated. But that problem, one which stems from $500 million worth of deferred maintenance costs, existed before Hopson took over in 2013. And it resonates more as a footnote than as a headline to his tenure. Hopson announced his resignation this month after six years of guiding a system that lost some 40,000 students to six new suburban districts and the state-run Achievement School District, which took over the district’s academically struggling schools. There was the grade-tampering scandal at Trezevant High School, changing achievement standards at the state level, … [Read more...] about Weathersbee: Hopson leaves a way forward — and lingering issues — for Shelby County Schools
The Shelby County Schools board threw a lifeline Tuesday night to a program that serves as a lifeline for adults lacking a high school diploma. The board voted unanimously to turn the Goodwill Excel Center of the Midsouth — which offers adults a chance to earn a full high school diploma instead of an equivalent degree — into a contract school, saving it from closure as a charter school. The school district also reduced the school's rent of the former Norris Road Elementary building to reflect only the portion of the building in use by the Excel Center. Why the school was going to be closed State law requires charter schools that fall into the bottom 5 percent in the state on test scores — a list the Excel Center found itself on last month — have their charters revoked. That would mean closure, unless the school became private. The school board found another option, however, with the concept of a contract school. Contract schools … [Read more...] about Shelby County Schools board saves The Excel Center from closure