SCS board votes to remove charter from struggling school

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Schools board voted Tuesday to remove the charter from Southwest Early College High School and close the school at the end of the school year.

This decision, which passed on a 5-3 vote, comes after parents have been outspoken about issues at the school and after an investigation by the district, who last month recommended the charter school be shut down.

Parents of children who attended Southwest Early College High School who WREG spoke with hoped the decision would be to remove the charter.

“My child was there in the ninth grade,” Dianechia Fields said. “He was one of the inaugural ninth-graders.”

Her son is now in the 11th grade, and he’s adjusting to life at a new school after Fields pulled her him from Southwest Early College High at the beginning of the year.

“I’m still having problems to this day because all of his credits are not showing on his transcript,” Fields said.

Fields is one of several parents who have been outspoken about the high school. They’ve even protested at one point.

Fields said there’s been issues with the school since it started in 2017. It was supposed to offer students a way to earn an associate’s degree upon graduation from high school, but she said that can’t happen if students can’t get their diplomas.

Some complaints have been not enough teachers, or qualified teachers, for the classes they are teaching.

“We’re still concerned about children that’s there that may not get, not saying they won’t, but they may not get what they need,” Sarah Carpenter, director of Memphis Lift said. “Those kids in another year will be walking around in our city as citizens.”

Last month, Shelby County Schools looked into parent complaints, ultimately recommending the charter school be shut down.

After the vote to close Southwest Early College High, the school is set to close at the end of the current school year in May. The school can still appeal the board’s decision.

WREG reached out to Artesian Schools, who run the charter school, we haven’t heard back from them.

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