State Taking Over Eight Underperforming SCS Schools

(Memphis) School is about to completely change for thousands of Shelby County students.

The Achievement School District is taking over eight struggling Shelby County Schools.

The special district works exclusively with the lowest performing five percent of schools in the state.

All the teachers in those schools will have to reapply for their jobs and only the highest performing ones will get their job back.

The ASD will take the eight schools away from the Shelby County School district and give them more independent control with state supervision.

“It’s all hands on deck. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Superintendent Chris Barbic.

Barbic says the Achievement School District turns the very lowest performing schools into some of the highest performers within five years.

“It’s all about incentivizing the most highly effective teachers to want to work in the toughest schools in the state,” said Barbic.

Shelby County Superintendent Dorsey Hopson says if a teacher doesn’t make the cut with ASD, there is no guarantee they will get a job with SCS.

“They certainly have an opportunity to apply with the county, but at the end of the day, we’re making decisions on performance,” said Hopson.

The Achievement School District took charge of five former Memphis City Schools last year and say it made an immediate difference in math and science test scores, but reading scores still need to improve.

The ASD spread into more Shelby County Schools this year and plans on taking over eight more next school year.

The schools include Coleman, Denver, Springhill, and Westwood wlementary, as well as Southside and Wooddale middle schools.

Three high schools are up for takeover – Fairley, Frayser and Carver.

Only two will be chosen and Carver may end up closing.

Schools that do change will be different.

“They should expect a longer day, they should expect rigor, great teaching, and I think we’re all trying to do that,” said Barbic.

About five hours of extra school will also be added a week.

Money for the changes comes from a half billion dollar federal grant to Tennessee.

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