SCS Board considers reconfiguring grades at Raleigh-Egypt HS to possibly allow students to stay in district

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- As the state-run Achievement School District prepares to take over Raleigh-Egypt Middle School, the Shelby County Schools Board is discussing a plan that could keep some of those students from leaving the district.

The board is considering reconfiguring Raleigh-Egypt High School to give parents and students a choice to stay with SCS or go to the ASD.

"I think it's good," said Raleigh-Egypt sixth-grader Bryan Gamiz, referring to the prospect of remaining in Shelby County Schools.

"We have parents that reached out to us and said they want another option," said SCS board member Stephanie Love, who represents that area.

The ASD announced last December that charter-operator Scholar Academies will take over Raleigh-Egypt Middle School next school year. The school has been in the bottom 5 percent in the state for years.

In December, the SCS Board directed staff to look into opportunities for students to stay with SCS.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, the district is bringing forth a possible solution.

The agenda says, "Reconfiguring Raleigh-Egypt High School to grades 6-12 will expand the academic offerings and choices for 6th-8th graders in the Raleigh area."

That basically means students would continue to attend Egypt Elementary K-5, then have a choice of attending the ASD school or going on to Raleigh-Egypt High, which would include grades 6-12.

Last year, parent groups like Memphis Lift fought for change at Raleigh-Egypt Middle, supporting the ASD as an option to improve the school. No one from the organization was available to interview about this development Tuesday afternoon.

The ASD referred WREG to the Tennessee Department of Education when we asked for a comment.

The state said, "We are certainly disappointed in the implied reason behind the possible grade configuration change in the Raleigh-Egypt schools. LEAs may, of course, expand school options for students, but considering a reconfiguration in an attempt to divert students from an ASD school is contrary to the intent of state school turnaround policy. Regardless, we expect LEAs to communicate accurate information to families about their choices, inclusive of the ASD, and avoid any communication that would confuse or mislead parents about the options for their children."

The SCS Board could vote on the issue next week.

It is also considering grade reconfiguration for Dexter Elementary.

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