Memphis Schools Make Improvements, Others Rank Low In Tennessee

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(Memphis) At a playground near Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary, DeAngela Williams plays with her son, Kevion.

When it comes to schools under performing and possibly being taken over by the state, Williams is all business, "It does concern me. But if it's really for the interest of the students, we have to see what it's about."         

The state released its list of best and worst schools based on student performance on spring standardized testing.            

Nine Memphis City Schools with a preliminary designation as a priority school last year, made progress and do not appear on the list. 

They are:

  • Alton Elementary
  • City University
  • Egypt Elementary
  • Ida B. Wells Middle
  • Lanier Middle
  • Memphis Business Academy
  • Northside High
  • Raleigh Bartlett Meadows Elementary
  • Springdale Elementary

"Our test results for 2011-12 showed that students and their teachers made gains in almost every category measured, " MCS Supt. Kriner Cash said in a prepared state Monday.

"The lists announced today remind us that while those gains are impressive, our schools must elevate our students' achievement scores well past 50 percent proficient to avoid being named to the Priority Schools list."

Almost 70 Memphis schools are in the bottom five percent of schools statewide.

These priority schools will be targeted for improvement, with expanded school days and state and federal dollars.

Others face being taken over by the state-run Achievement School District.

Chris Barbic is superintendent of the Achievement School District, "What we'll do over the next several months is work with both local school districts and communities to go through a matching process to determine which set of schools we'll be working with next year."        

The ASD took over five schools in Memphis this year.

Plans are to have 18 schools statewide by next year to help students make the grade.

Barbic said, "We believe that kids can do better and we believe through the ASD we have an opportunity to create some freedom and flexibility to create a new type of school system."