Seven charter schools in Shelby County, Tenn., will be forced to close at the end of this school year after landing on a state list for low performance.
WMC-TV reports that the seven schools ended up on the Tennessee Board of Education's priority list—they fall into the bottom 5 percent in state test scores and have low graduation rates.
About 1,500 students are attending the seven charter schools this year.
The affected schools:
- DuBois Elementary School of Arts and Technology
- DuBois Middle School of Leadership Public Policy
- DuBois Middle School of Arts Technology
- City University School Girls Preparatory
- Granville T. Woods Academy of Innovation
- Memphis Delta Preparatory Charter
- The Excel Center
A state law says that charter schools put on the priority list must close.
Once these schools close, it will leave Shelby County Schools with 56 charter schools in its jurisdiction.
Three of the affected schools are part of the W.E.B. DuBois Consortium of Charter Schools, which are run by former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton.
The closures will leave Herenton in charge of just one school next year, the Du Bois Elementary School of Entrepreneurship.
The Excel Center, which is run by Goodwill, is another charter school that will close. The Center helps Shelby County adults who didn't finish high school receive their diploma.
The Center released this statement:
Goodwill Excel Center Memphis wants to assure our current students they will be able to continue classes through the end of this academic year, which concludes in June 2019. In the meantime, we are working with SCS [Shelby County Schools] to continue operations of our school under a contracts relationship so that we can meet our commitment to help adults earn their high school diplomas.
Because we are an adults-only SCS charter school, the Excel Center for Adult Learners has faced some unique challenges in meeting seat time regulations of a traditional K-12 school model, and those challenges have placed GECM on the recent failing schools closure list. However, by working with the state legislature and SCS, we are making progress in our efforts to move from charter school to contract school status. We are confident this new model will enable the Excel Center to continue to serve adult students from Shelby County.