Fairley, Westwood, Coleman, Spring Hill, Frayser, KIPP: A look at six new schools for state-run district

Fairley High, Coleman Elementary, Spring Hill Elementary, Westwood Elementary, and Frayser High schools will leave the merged Shelby County school system and become part of the state-run Achievement School District (ASD) next school year (2014-15). Each is being placed in the ASD due to chronic underperformance: The ASD takes over schools that are in the bottom five percent in the state. Earlier today, the schools were “matched” with charter school operators, which will set out to improve the schools’ performance dramatically. The charter operators are granted a ten-year charter and have autonomy over budget, hiring, academic/extracurricular programs, and hiring. KIPP Memphis will also be opening a new middle school next year as part of the ASD.

To give a sense of where the five existing schools are starting from in terms of the data, we’ve assembled the schools’ 2012-13 scores on Tennessee’s state standardized test, the TCAP, and on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS, which gauges how much schools’ scores improve each year.

Fairley High School


Charter Match: Green Dot

TCAP scores (percent of students proficient or above):

  • Algebra I: 26.2
  • Algebra II: 0
  • Biology: 10 percent
  • English I: 26 percent
  • English II: 15 percent
  • English III: 2.5 percent
  • U.S. History: 82.9 percent

Demographics: More than 99 percent of its students are black and 92 percent of its students are classified as economically disadvantaged. Graduation Rate: 74 percent Number of students: 750

Coleman Elementary School Coleman Elementary

Charter Match: Aspire

TCAP scores (percent of students proficient or above)

  •  Math: 22 percent
  • Reading/Language: 12 percent
  • Science: 18 percent
  • Social Studies: 60 percent

TVAAS Scores:

  • Composite: 2
  • Literacy: 1
  • Numeracy: 5
  • Literacy and Numeracy: 3

Demographics: Around 95 percent of its students are black and three percent are Hispanic. About 95 percent of its students are economically disadvantaged Number of Students: 515

Spring Hill ElementaryIMG_0014

Charter Match: Promise Academy

TCAP scores (percent of students proficient or above):

  • Math: 24 percent
  • Reading/Language: 19 percent
  • Science: 18 percent
  • Social Studies: 49 percent

TVAAS Scores:

  • Composite: 1
  • Literacy: 2
  • Numeracy: 3
  • Literacy and Numeracy: 2

Demographics: 95 percent of its students are black and 2 percent are hispanic. Around 96 percent of its students are classified as economically disadvantaged. Number of students: 435

Westwood ElementaryWestwood Elementary School

Charter MatchFreedom Prep 

TCAP scores (percent of students proficient or above)

  • Math: 24 percent
  • Reading/Language: 20 percent
  • Science: 13 percent
  • Social Studies: 65 percent

TVAAS Scores:

  • Composite: 4
  • Literacy: 1
  • Numeracy: 5
  • Numeracy and Literacy: 5

Demographics: Around 99 percent of its students are black and 94 percent are economically disadvantaged.

Number of students: 283

Wooddale Middle SchoolWooddale Middle School

Charter MatchGestalt

TCAP scores (percent of students proficient or above):

  • Math: 14 percent
  • English/Language: 14 percent
  • Science: 25 percent
  • Social Studies: 47 percent

TVAAS Scores:

  • Composite: 1
  • Literacy: 1
  • Numeracy: 1
  • Literacy and Numeracy: 1

Demographics: 87 percent of its students are black, 10 percent Hispanic and 3 percent are Asian. Around 91 percent of its students are economically disadvantaged.

Number of students: 836

Frayser High SchoolFrayser High School

Charter MatchFrayser Community Schools  

TCAP scores (percent of students proficient or above):

  • Algebra I: 16 percent
  • Algebra II: 6 percent
  • Biology: 12 percent
  • English I: 15 percent
  • English II: 11 percent
  • English III: 6 percent
  • US History: 71 percent

TVAAS Scores:

  • Composite: 1
  • Literacy: 1
  • Numeracy: 1
  • Literacy and Numeracy: 1

Demographics: 97 percent of its students are African American and 92 percent are economically disadvantaged.

Number of students: 550 students

Graduation Rate: 41 percent

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.