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who is in charge
September 25, 2018
School turnaround leader promoted to oversee all academics in Memphis schools
After nearly two years without an academic chief, Shelby County Schools has promoted its assistant superintendent of low-performing schools to the position.
September 21, 2018
Memphis moves from problem child to poster child on Tennessee’s new school improvement list
The city got encouraging news on Friday as fewer of its schools landed on Tennessee's newest list of troubled "priority schools."
August 20, 2018
Memphis schools in most need of growth see gains, but vast majority of students still not on grade level
Only three schools in the iZone have more than 20 percent of students reading on grade level.
August 13, 2018
Coaching will be key as Griffin adds two from Memphis iZone to state district team
Here are the members of Sharon Griffin's new leadership team for the Achievement School District.
July 31, 2018
Leaders of Tennessee’s state-run district call test scores ‘sobering,’ ask educators for new energy
“High school principals, you have the hardest job," Sharon Griffin said. "This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to tackle the issues. But a double-digit gain this year is what we need to be on track again.”
June 19, 2018
After five years, the Tennessee-run district isn’t performing any better than low-performing schools receiving no intervention, research says
The study compares Tennessee's state-run district with other and found that average test scores “before and after the reform is no different from the difference during the same period for comparison schools.”
April 10, 2018
A proposed budget for Memphis schools comes out this week. Here’s what we know so far.
The budget so far doesn’t include any major new initiatives as the district circles its wagons to strengthen strategies already in place.
March 23, 2018
Hopson asks state to let struggling Memphis school remain with local district
The superintendent submits a list of reasons why the state should hold off on its intervention plan at American Way Middle School.
March 1, 2018
McQueen: If Memphis school leaders won’t convert American Way to a charter, the state will
The commissioner's comments come two days after Memphis leaders voted to move American Way Middle School into its highly regarded Innovation Zone.
taking a stance
February 27, 2018
Memphis leaders urge state to stay out of their school improvement work
Shelby County Schools plans to move one school to its Innovation Zone and declines the state’s recommendation to close another.
February 26, 2018
McQueen’s plan would interrupt Hopson’s for improving one Memphis school
The state's recommendation to close Hawkins Mill Elementary comes in the school's first year of a three-year improvement plan under Shelby County Schools.
February 20, 2018
State’s most drastic school intervention plans won’t work, say Memphis board members
School board members suggest Hawkins Mill Elementary and American Way Middle instead move into the district's turnaround model, the Innovation Zone.
February 16, 2018
McQueen outlines state intervention plans for 21 Memphis schools
McQueen's letter offers the first look at how the state is pursuing school turnaround plans under its new tiered model of school improvement.
At what cost
February 1, 2018
Do schools lose ground when losing top teachers to turnaround schools? A little, but it’s worth it, says Tennessee research
New research addresses a nagging concern about the quest to lure top teachers to struggling schools.
January 31, 2018
How ‘central office’ in Memphis is taking on a new meaning under Sharon Griffin
A year after becoming the first chief of schools, Griffin is working to make central office more responsive to needs of schools rather than imposing top-down mandates.
January 18, 2018
Hopson weighs charters as school turnaround tool for Shelby County Schools
The Memphis superintendent's comments hint at a potentially significant shift for a district that has battled openly with the charter sector over students.
five years in
November 15, 2017
Tennessee’s two big school turnaround experiments are yielding big lessons, researchers say
Five years in, Tennessee receives a report card of sorts from researchers who have closely followed its two primary models for improving struggling schools.
Results are in
October 19, 2017
Tennessee’s largest district sees 1 in 5 young students meeting expectations on new TNReady test
The switch to the new test was especially disruptive for the iZone, which until now showed significant progress compared to other low-performing schools in the district.
good news bad news
September 19, 2017
Most Tennessee districts are showing academic growth, but districts with the farthest to go improved the least
It’s not just Memphis: Across Tennessee, districts with many struggling schools posted lower-than-expected growth scores on this year’s state exams, the data shows.
September 18, 2017
Most Memphis schools score low on student growth under new state test
Find out how your school fared in growth on the state's new test in this Chalkbeat exclusive.
September 13, 2017
Memphis’ new iZone chief shares his data-driven plan for fixing struggling schools
Antonio Burt returns to Memphis as assistant superintendent over the program where he started as a turnaround principal.
July 17, 2017
Former Memphis principal will lead iZone, turnaround work for Shelby County Schools
Antonio Burt returns to Memphis as assistant superintendent of priority schools and iZone schools.
June 21, 2017
How a Memphis school that missed the turnaround tide plans to catch up under Hopson’s budget
Hawkins Mill Elementary is one of more than a dozen schools chosen to receive extra funds next school year in an effort to foster turnaround instead of closure.
June 16, 2017
New principal named for Memphis school at the center of grading investigation
Shelby County Schools turns to a veteran principal with school turnaround experience to take the helm of Trezevant High School.
May 22, 2017
Charter school in Tennessee’s turnaround district relocating out of neighborhood it signed up to serve
Memphis Scholars announces the school will reopen next year in a building 16 miles away, where it already runs another school under Tennessee’s turnaround district.
April 25, 2017
Raleigh-Egypt would join Memphis Innovation Zone under Hopson budget
The high school joins Sheffield Elementary in the planned expansion of Shelby County's Innovation Zone to 23 schools.
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 the…
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 sustainable…
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.
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