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April 20, 2017
Tennessee reveals quicker exit plan for schools in the Achievement School District
A school will return to its local district if it improves and stays off of two consecutive “priority lists, or if it fails to improve.
March 29, 2017
How Memphis is taking lessons from its Innovation Zone to other struggling schools
Shelby County Schools is seeking to magnify the success of its iZone by replicating less expensive components of the school turnaround model.
February 23, 2017
No longer at the bottom: These 20 schools are Tennessee’s model for turnaround
The Tennessee Department of Education is studying these schools that have launched off its list of worst performing to inform future turnaround work.
February 21, 2017
McQueen rips Tennessee’s school turnaround work as ineffectual, overdue
Calling outcomes "a little embarrassing," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen notes that the state has only moved 10 schools off its “priority” list since 2012.
school turnaround lessons
February 14, 2017
Too many good teachers are quitting Tennessee’s Achievement School District, researchers say
Researchers examine whether the state-run ASD and local iZones have been able to recruit and retain teachers with top ratings.
February 14, 2017
Hopson now wants to invest in struggling Memphis schools instead of just closing them
The superintendent identifies 11 schools that will get their own “treatment plans” under a new model for addressing academics, building needs and enrollment.
movin' on up
January 4, 2017
Turnaround leader Sharon Griffin promoted to chief of schools in Memphis
In her new role, Griffin joins the superintendent's cabinet as part of a reshuffling of the academic office for Shelby County Schools.
December 19, 2016
How Westhaven Elementary — which combined three schools in a new building — may be the new model for closing schools in Memphis
Westhaven opened this fall in a new building in a model that's designed to address district challenges with academics, enrollment and aging buildings.
August 16, 2016
What’s the endgame for Tennessee’s Achievement School District? That’s the question facing lawmakers
State lawmakers will answer questions about the future of Tennessee's school turnaround district when they convene on Wednesday.
June 6, 2016
Here’s what happened to the original 69 priority schools in Memphis
When the state issued its 2012 list of lowest-performing schools, Memphis emerged as the battleground for school turnaround work. Here's the status of those schools.
May 31, 2016
Hopson: Not enough time to switch Memphis school from ASD to iZone
Citing time constraints, the leader of Shelby County Schools backs away from potential collaboration with the Achievement School District on Raleigh-Egypt Middle School.
May 25, 2016
Charter operator throws support behind joint Memphis school plan
Scholar Academies would be ousted under a new plan being floated within the state-run ASD and locally run Shelby County Schools.
May 23, 2016
Community proposes plan to save Carver High School, one of the few low-performing schools Shelby County hasn’t overhauled
If the third time’s the charm for efforts to close George Washington Carver High School, it won’t be because the community gave up on…
May 10, 2016
Budget uncertainty looms as Shelby County school board enters final review
After a month of wrangling over a $941 million spending plan, the board heads into the homestretch with more questions than answers shared in public forums.
May 3, 2016
Shelby County Schools innovation chief is finalist for Nashville school director
Brad Leon is the only Tennessean among six finalists for the top job at Metro Nashville Public Schools.
May 2, 2016
iZone chief Sharon Griffin on fixing Memphis’ most challenging schools
A Q&A on school turnaround strategies that work, the challenges of urban education, the importance of coaching and supporting principals and teachers, and more.
April 20, 2016
Here’s where Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools stand a year before the state’s next priority list
Here's the so-called "cusp" list from the State Department of Education, along with five things to know before viewing it.
April 19, 2016
Building on Innovation Zone successes, Shelby County Schools to launch separate ‘Empowerment Zone’
Shelby County Schools' prized school turnaround initiative is getting a little sister.
April 6, 2016
Hopson: Proposed budget cuts to Memphis schools could reverse years of improvements
More than $50 million in proposed cuts would impact staffing and programs including special education, the Innovation Zone and CLUE within Shelby County Schools.
March 29, 2016
To launch first new iZone school, Shelby County taps established leader
Rodney Rowan has done what few principals have managed to do — turn around a long-struggling school. Now, he’s being asked to replicate that success.
Gauging a game changer
March 16, 2016
How $90 million from Bill Gates spurred sweeping changes in one school district
As an unprecedented six-year investment begins to dry up in Memphis schools, leaders seek to sustain the teacher quality reforms that have just begun to take root.
March 10, 2016
Griffin hiring more top leaders for expanding iZone
As Shelby County Schools prepares to add more schools to its school turnaround initiative, regional Superintendent Sharon Griffin is putting three lieutenants in place.
February 29, 2016
Indianapolis school leaders visit Memphis iZone with eye on increased autonomy for principals
Four years into their school turnaround initiative known as the Innovation Zone, education leaders in Memphis are seeking to move schools from triage to…
February 22, 2016
Report: For Memphians, ASD’s sullied image rooted in city’s racial history
Researchers charged with providing an impartial assessment of the district’s work conclude that the city's divisive racial history is a barrier to the state-run district's work.
January 20, 2016
New ASD superintendent asks state lawmakers for patience on school turnarounds
Malika Anderson's first charge as ASD superintendent is to fend off bills to limit — or totally abolish — the district.
January 13, 2016
D.C. Public Schools officials tour Memphis iZone
The mounting success of Shelby County Schools' iZone attracts national attention from other districts exploring school improvement initiatives.
until next year
December 23, 2015
Advocacy groups counter mounting criticism of ASD with year-end rallies
Two Memphis organizations push back against heightened opposition to the state-run turnaround school district.
December 22, 2015
Top 10 stories defining Tennessee education in 2015
From Race to the Top to pre-kindergarten to teacher pay, education was a hot topic in Tennessee.
December 17, 2015
Why Shelby County’s school board wants to kick out the ASD — and probably can’t
While the board directed Superintendent Dorsey Hopson to pursue a moratorium, state law gives the Achievement School District authority to take over eligible schools.
December 16, 2015
Latest iZone expansion will leave few Memphis priority schools to improve on their own
Shelby County's Innovation Zone will absorb three more priority schools, growing turnaround efforts by the local district, in addition to the state's turnaround work.
December 8, 2015
Vanderbilt study: iZone more effective than ASD in turning around struggling schools thus far
A new study shows that iZones have had sizable positive effects on student test scores in Tennessee, while effects of the Achievement School District have been marginal.
October 30, 2015
Arne Duncan talks turnaround work in the trenches of struggling Memphis schools
The outgoing U.S. education chief makes his fourth trip to Memphis, where schools must overcome poverty and other mitigating factors to provide a culture of learning.
October 29, 2015
When Arne Duncan visits Memphis, he’ll see part of his legacy as U.S. ed chief
The outgoing education secretary will see firsthand one of America's battleground cities in the movement he spearheaded to transform public education.
October 28, 2015
iZone leader Sharon Griffin named Tennessee supervisor of the year
Sharon Griffin, who helped to create the Innovation Zone for Shelby County Schools in 2013, is Tennessee's 2015 supervisor of the year.
September 16, 2015
Philanthropic grant for $10 million ensures Memphis iZone expansion
The grant ensures the expansion of one of the embattled district's most successful initiatives at a time when federal funding for school turnaround work is drying up.
August 3, 2015
Just over half of Shelby County students are registered a week before classes start
Despite the fanfare around the district's new online registration process, student registration lags with just a week before school starts.
August 3, 2015
Strong iZone scores viewed as chance to grow Shelby County’s turnaround initiative
Most schools in the district's Innovation Zone saw their student test scores rise, but additional funding to expand the program is anything but certain.
May 18, 2015
Stanford-bound senior from Memphis Melrose talks about his public education and how students can defy the odds
Dellarontay Readus discusses how he overcame frequent moves and academic challenges to earn a full scholarship to one of the nation's premier universities.
April 29, 2015
For state’s only dual language program, turnaround efforts present challenges
Sometimes, when one innovative academic program bumps into another innovative academic program, worlds collide.
April 16, 2015
Laptops are providing new instructional tool for Shelby County students in ‘blended learning’ pilot
Shelby County Schools' 'blended learning' pilot program nears the end of its first school year with personalized computer instruction, high hopes for student testing, and a major new funding source.
April 8, 2015
Shelby County expands education reform efforts amid $125 million shortfall
While Shelby County Schools are cutting staff and services under a $125 budget shortfall, the district is expanding and investing in its Innovation Zone.
January 21, 2015
Shelby County Schools wants to close more schools, expand iZone
Shelby County School administrators want to shutter two chronically underperforming schools, transform two under-enrolled schools, pull hundreds of students from three schools being taken over by the state, and re-enroll those students at schools nearby.
October 9, 2014
With changes in leadership and funding, the splashy 'iZone' reaches a crossroads
Top officials have recently left the Innovation Zone, a Bloomberg-era initiative whose federal grants are drying up. City officials say the iZone's work is continuing, but some wonder where it fits in the new administration.
October 2, 2014
Hopson says current I-Zone schools will not become charters
Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson II told the board today that the district plans to pursue additional government and private funds to support its Innovation Zone, a set of turnaround schools that have shown dramatic growth on state tests in each of the past three years.
September 12, 2014
Innovation Zone financially unsustainable, SCS officials say
At a board committee meeting yesterday, Shelby County administrators told board members it would cost $28.5 million over the course of three years to expand the programs currently being used to turn around low-performing schools in its Innovation Zone—and that bringing in charter schools, which fundraise on their own, might be a more efficient strategy for the district. Board members are skeptical.
August 7, 2014
Riverview principal uses military theme to improve test scores
This is the second time that Riverview principal Rosalind Martin has used the theme “Bootcamp to Improve Student Literacy.” The first school where she…
May 29, 2014
Blended learning pilot means a new role for teachers in 16 Memphis schools
At the Shelby County district building on Wednesday, school board members were digging deep into 10th grade English language arts—and the questions at the…
May 21, 2014
De Blasio vows to expand tech programs hatched by Bloomberg
Mayor Bill de Blasio signaled his commitment to promote digital learning in schools on Wednesday and highlighted funding for that purpose. But the tech programs he promised to expand began under former Mayor Bloomberg.
March 25, 2014
Shelby County and Nashville reveal plan to use charters to help improve iZone schools
For the first time, the Innovation departments of Tennessee’s two largest school districts are planning to turn some of their lowest-performing schools over to…
High-Tech High Schools
March 21, 2014
Amid uncertain future, city's Digital Ready initiative spurs schools to experiment
A new Department of Education program, called Digital Ready, offers resources and support to 10 high schools as they experiment with new tools, partnerships, and methods of instruction and assessment. But its long-term prospects are uncertain.
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