In an interview with Bernal E. Smith II, the publisher of the Tri-State Defender, Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson II said this week that he and his staff are building a grading system that will help parents navigate which schools to send their kids to.
“I’ve challenged our team that we need to have a legitimate report card for all schools. If I am a parent, I ask, “What’s best for my kid?” We must set a fairly uniform criteria and framework for guiding students and parents on what the success map looks like. Frankly, there is competition from all the different kinds of educational options that challenges everyone to step it up. Consider our iZone schools and they outperformed everybody in the state. And I expect them to do it again this year. So, it is a brave new world, but it is one that I’m excited about because at the end of the day if it raises student achievement throughout the county, I am all for that. Conversely, just like we close poor performing schools that we operate, I think you will see us being aggressive about the charter schools. If they are performing poorly, we will look to close them as well. We don’t want them to have schools just for the sake of having schools no matter what label is on them. It is ultimately about student achievement/success.”
The Shelby County School board could extend Hopson’s contract later this month.
He also said he has been in discussions with Memphis officials to create a “no-blight zone” around Memphis-area schools. This week, the administrators presented to the district’s facilities committee what would happen to the nine schools the district will shutter this summer.
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“…I have met with Mayor (A C Wharton Jr.) and Robert Lipscomb (director of Housing and Community Development) on at least three occasions now. They are collecting and reviewing the data and we are about to roll out a city repurposing plan, because the same thing that is going on with the schools is going on with the fire stations and police stations and community centers. We have all of these facilities that are essentially right on top of each other. …
“So a plan is under way and I think people will be excited about it. What we have discussed and what I have been assured of is when this next wave of closures comes about, we are going to have a whole lot more support from the city. They have mentioned “no blight” zones anywhere within two miles of the school – obviously a drug free zone, a crime free zone, as well.”