Achievement School District working to ‘close gaps’ caused by school closures

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Achievement School District leaders say they’re working to make sure their students don’t fall behind now that the coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to close for the rest of the year.

Twenty-eight schools within the city of Memphis are a part of the Achievement School District. After being in the bottom 5%, they are under state control to try to turn around student performance.

But now those 10,500 students who are getting a specialized educational plan are going to be away from school from the rest of the school year.

“The challenges are great for all our students, especially our students in the Achievement School District,” said Lisa Settle, interim superintendent of ASD schools in Memphis. “We are working to close gaps and remove gaps from our students. It is difficult to have them gone for so long.”

Settle told us about how they plan to keep all students engaged so they don’t fall further behind in academics.

“Our students are engaged daily,” Settle said. “Our school buildings are closed but learning continues. We use online platforms. We are also partnering with Tennessee Department of Education for educational services being provided on PBS and just all sorts of things being provided by the district.”

Memphis ASD schools have already been providing learning resources to students and parents since schools were first out last month. Now, they are working with teachers to do even more in these last weeks of school.

“[We’re] Planning for the Fall for remediation and what do we need to do on top of what we were already planning to do to help recover this time our students are losing. Lots of planning,” Settle said. “We will be pouring more into our teachers as well with professional development.”

As for ASD schools constantly striving to get out from under state supervision, weeks of missed classes would seem to make that even harder.

“We will continue to use our school performance framework, and that will be impacted because we won’t have state testing this year,” Settle said. “We will continue to work with the Tennessee Department of Education as we are reviewing schools and planning what we will do next year.”

ASD leaders say while it is ideal for kids to be in a set learning environment, with today’s pandemic, health and safety are priorities.

“It is about safety, and it is about us being prepared and continuing to give students what they need–the way we are–where they can remain safe at home,” Settle said.

ASD schools encourage parents to visit their website http://achievementschooldistrict.org/  to find information onindividual schools and state resources.

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