Tennessee state officials lay out plan to return ASD schools to their local districts

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee state education officials laid out a plan to return low-performing schools, under the Achievement School District, back to their local school districts on Tuesday night.

The state will present the possible changes at Trezevant High School and get input from the community.

WREG obtained part of the presentation. It would return the ASD schools back to the districts they fall in. The state says the district grew too quickly and demand outpaced supply and capacity.

The Achievement School District was established in 2012. Its goal was to turn around schools that fell in the bottom 5% of student performance. However, the district faced criticism over the years for not being able to fully implement the change.

Based on research, state officials say they will reset the district in the 2022-2023 school year. The state plans to conduct more community engagement, hire a new state superintendent and all of the schools will transition out of the district no later than 2022.

"I got a grandson in an ASD school and I just want to make sure that, if they go back to the district, what's the plan to get them where they need to be?"  Executive Director of Memphis Lift Sarah Carpenter said.

Memphis Lift is a nonprofit organization that works to educate parents and families about education options available for their children.

Carpenter says she is not surprised by the reported proposal. It is an issue her and her team will be following closely over the next year.

"We just want what's right and what's best for our children."

WREG reached out to the Achievement School District and Shelby County Schools, and neither have commented on the situation.

Tennessee Department of Education Chief School and District Officer Eve Carney sent the following statement to WREG.

We are excited to be back in communities across the state to share how their feedback has been incorporated into the new school turnaround framework, which will provide supports and resources to Priority schools a three-tiered model. This week’s feedback sessions are focused on Tiers I and II, which will serve approximately 80% of the state’s Priority schools.

We are equally excited to embark on more extensive engagement on Tier III⁠—the Achievement School District⁠—that will be grounded in lessons learned over the past decade as well as continuous engagement with communities and stakeholders. Sustainable school turnaround happens over time and in collaboration with dedicated partners; the department is committed to investing the time and resources necessary to create lasting change in our high-opportunity schools.

Click here to see the state's full presentation.

Check back on WREG.com for updates on this story after Tuesday's meeting.


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