Metro Schools to close Smithson-Craighead Middle - WSMV News 4

Metro Schools to close Smithson-Craighead Middle

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A Nashville charter school known for teaching low-performing students will close at the end of the school year.

The Metro School Board voted Tuesday to revoke the charter of Smithson-Craighead Academy Middle School, and the school will close at the end of the 2012-2013 school year on May 24.

Metro Nashville Public Schools officials had expressed concern in the past that students weren't making enough progress, but leaders at Smithson-Craighead asked for more time.

Several years ago, the city's first charter school expanded by adding the middle school. But it has experienced a rough start, including four principals in just three years and test scores among the lowest in Nashville.

Last year, only 5 percent of the school's nearly 300 students were proficient in math and 16 percent in reading.

In its report on the school board's decision Tuesday, the district cited frequent leadership changes along with low test scores as reasons to revoke the school's charter.

"Those of us who believe in charter schools also believe in quality," said Alan Coverstone, Metro Schools' executive director for the Office of Innovation. "If all we do is swap one governance structure for another, without improving the educational outcomes for children, we have accomplished nothing. As painful as it is, we believe closing Smithson-Craighead Middle School is the right decision."

The closure applies only to Smithson Craighead Middle and does not affect Smithson-Craighead Academy, which serves elementary students and is also operated by Project Reflect.

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