Rise & Shine: McQueen says more school takeovers likely in Memphis and Nashville

Good morning,

On her way out the door, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen says she will recommend her successor add more Memphis and Nashville schools to the state-run Achievement School District. The state's most drastic tool in school turnaround has not proven to be effective. In fact, recent research has shown schools in the district are no better off than schools that received no intervention. Still, McQueen says underperforming schools that have languished for years need a change — and she believes the ASD's new leader, Sharon Griffin, will make a difference. Read more in this exclusive story by Chalkbeat statehouse correspondent Marta W. Aldrich.

Also, as this week comes to a close, here's your official reminder that it’s Match Week at Chalkbeat. If you donate by this Saturday (12/8), your donations will go five times as far. Thanks to dollar-for-dollar matches from our partners, $100 turns into $500, and Chalkbeat continues to serve this community with independent education news. Become a sustaining member, and you can still get the brand-new Chalkbeat water bottle. Donate now.

— Laura Faith Kebede, reporter

FINAL ACT  Education Commissioner Candice McQueen says she’ll recommend that Tennessee’s Achievement School District take over more low-performing schools in Memphis and Nashville unless the state sees “dramatic changes” in those schools this school year. Chalkbeat

SCORE  This just announced: The longtime leader of one of Tennessee’s most influential education advocacy organizations is stepping down and will be succeeded by her chief lieutenant. Chalkbeat

IN THE CLASSROOM  This Memphis teacher wanted to make learning physics more engaging, so he created a website. Now it’s used in 40 countries. Chalkbeat

CAMPUS SCHOOL  The University of Memphis board of trustees votes to move forward with a new campus middle school. The proposal is scheduled to go before the Shelby County Schools board in January. Daily Memphian

The university’s elementary school educates the highest percent of white students from affluent families in the district. University leaders want the middle school to be more diverse, but hasn’t made an effort in its existing school. Chalkbeat (Nov. 7)

BUILDING BRIDGES  Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris likely will name his education liaison by the end of the month. Daily Memphian

SURPLUS PROPERTY   Shelby County’s school board is asked to transfer ownership of a vacant middle school building to the county. WMC

TRAGEDY AFTERMATH  Funeral expenses are covered for the family of a 9-year-old who died this week when a bus carrying dozens of Memphis youth football players overturned in Arkansas. The Commercial Appeal

BULLYING  An online petition demands that bullying stop at a Germantown high school after a student there took his own life. WREG

BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL  Nashville Mayor David Briley proposes a $1 million investment to boost college graduation rates. The Tennessean, Nashville Public Radio, The Associated Press

The program seeks to fill the gaps for Nashville students from low-income families who can’t cover the gaps for school supplies while enrolled in community college under the Tennessee Promise scholarship. Find out how to take advantage of the program. The Tennessean

Incoming undergraduate students at the University of Memphis receive a promise that their tuition won’t increase for four years. The Commercial Appeal

MOVERS & SHAKERS  The former chief operating officer for the city of Chattanooga joins the finance department for Hamilton County Schools. Times Free Press

STRATEGIC PLAN  A new performing arts center and making counselors more accessible to students are on the horizon for Franklin Special Schools. The Tennessean

STEM COSTS  Fans of a STEM school in northeast Tennessee speak out against its possible closure to save money. Kingsport Times-News

SUPE SEARCHES  Denver’s four-month search for a new leader was not the shortest among recent similar large city districts — but it was the most expensive. Chalkbeat


PHOTO: Laura Faith Kebede/Chalkbeat
At Superintendent Dorsey Hopson’s last regular school board meeting at the helm, board chair ShanteAvant read a two-page proclamation on his tenure, followed by a standing ovation.