Rise & Shine: Memphis district investigates new charter school

Good morning!

Shelby County Schools has launched an investigation less than a week after several students and parents raised concerns about a Memphis charter school during a school board meeting. At issue is the operation of Southwest Early College High School, now starting its third year on the campus of Southwest Community College. We've got comments from both district and school leaders here.

There's lots more news, so read on and have a great week.

—Marta W. Aldrich, statehouse correspondent

CHARTER SCHOOLS  Shelby County Schools launches an investigation into a 2-year-old Memphis charter school after parents and students report incomplete schedules, staff shortages, and missing high school credits. Chalkbeat

DIGITAL INCLUSION DAY  Comcast joins Olympic gold medalists to distribute free laptops and internet service to some Memphis students as the company promotes its broadband service program for low-income individuals. The Commercial Appeal, Daily Memphian, WMC

CHILDHOOD TRAUMA  Schools across Tennessee will start delving into traumatic experiences in students’ lives as part of a new law targeting “exclusionary” discipline under legislation sponsored by state Sen. Katrina Robinson of Memphis. Daily Memphian

EDUCATION INEQUITY  Concerned about resegregated schools, Nashville Mayor David Briley suggests pausing a long-planned move of one high school to West Nashville in order to address school inequity and overcrowding in Davidson County’s southeast quadrant. The Tennessean

PARENT NOTIFICATION  Knox County parents and several state lawmakers condemn letters that were sent to parents about underperforming student groups in some schools. WBIR, WHBQ, Chalkbeat

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT  Want to help Nashville public schools? Here’s are some ways to volunteer or donate. The Tennessean

Community partners sign on to aid public school students in Maury County. Columbia Daily Herald

COMPUTER SCIENCE  Chattanooga-area leaders discuss computer science education and preparing the future workforce during a roundtable event featuring representatives from Microsoft and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. Times Free Press

MOVERS & SHAKERS  A new Memphis nonprofit dedicated to investing in early childhood programs appoints its first executive director. Daily Memphian

The president of Great Schools Partnership steps down from the nonprofit that works to develop community schools in Knox County. Knoxville News Sentinel

BULLIED BOY  The young University of Tennessee fan who was bullied for a homemade T-shirt he wore to his elementary school’s collegiate day inspires the university to make his design into an official piece of apparel. Fox News, CNN, Knoxville News Sentinel

LISTENING TOUR  Student safety and property values emerge as key concerns of parents during one stop of a “listening tour” by Williamson County’s new superintendent. The Tennessean

CURTAIN RISING  A full-length feature film produced by students at a Williamson County high school will be shown at the Nashville Film Festival in October. The Tennessean

YOUNG ANGLERS  A Tullahoma elementary school offers fishing instruction during P.E. class to get students in touch with nature and the outdoors. Tullahoma News

SCHOOL SCHEDULE  A Hawkins County school is the first in Tennessee to adopt an extended four-day school week. Kingsport Times-News, Citizen Tribune

TRAIL OF TEARS  An educational symposium about the forced relocation of Native Americans in the 1830s is set for Thursday at Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens. Times Free Press

OPINION: PRE-K MATTERS  Now is the time for policymakers to pivot away from fruitless debate about the merits of pre-K after new research shows that learning can be sustained if children move on to high-performing schools and effective teachers, says the leader of Tennesseans for Quality Early Education. Daily Memphian

OPINION: TEACHER DIAGNOSIS  We need to stop calling it a teacher shortage. Forbes


Wilson County Schools Director Donna Wright was named 2020 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year last night in Gatlinburg during a banquet of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents. An educator for nearly 40 years, Wright has been a teacher, principal, administrator, and assistant superintendent before becoming director of her Middle Tennessee district in 2014. Under her leadership, Wilson County Schools was named an exemplary school district with 12 reward schools and 10 schools with a top TVAAS status. She will represent Tennessee in the competition for National Superintendent of the Year.